A compilation of important news from the startup world:
In search of scarcer funding, start-ups go corporate
Corporate venture groups poured more than $2.5 billion into start-ups via 228 deals in the first quarter of 2016, accounting for 23.5% of all venture deals — the highest level since the third quarter of 2008, according to a report from PricewaterhouseCoopers and the National Venture Capital Association.The convergence of tech start-ups reshaping brick-and-mortar industries and the Fortune 500 companies delving into digital services is making for new couplings in venture funding. Such strategic investments are increasingly becoming business as usual, said executives and investors.
Lending in the Digital Age
Digital technologies are dissolving the boundaries between industry sectors. Banking is no exception. A report by Accenture estimates that competition from digital players could erode as much as one-third of traditional retail bank revenues by 2020.The reason being the ease and comfort of a transaction for an end user. Imagine a situation when you need to borrow a substantial sum of money? Some options that may occur in your mind: friends, family, maxing out credit cards, or the traditional bank. Now, imagine you could whip out your smartphone, answer some simple questions on an app, and get an answer within minutes. If the latter sounds appealing, then it clearly simplifies the reason behind the growing popularity of lending businesses across the globe.
Lost And Found In Old San Juan (A Technology Story — Part I)
The name of the project is Parallel 18 (a reference to the eighteenth latitudinal parallel, which runs roughly through the midpoint of Puerto Rico), one of several initiatives of the Puerto Rico Science, Technology, & Research Trust (which many people here simply refer to as “the Trust”), a government-funded NGO. Mission of the project: to provide a “unique gateway for startups to scale from Puerto Rico.” It’s a simple statement, but there’s a lot packed into it. First, the focus is not on Latino-owned startups per se (though P18 certainly is courting that community) but rather on startups who might be attracted to the idea of growing their businesses from an emerging caribbean hub: year-round sunshine, a range of tax and business incentives, a location close to both the US mainland (for companies that see the US as the destination for their products and services) and Latin American (for companies that see Latam as the destination).
Dropbox cut a bunch of perks and told employees to save more as Silicon Valley startups brace for the cold
The change at Dropbox, last valued at $10 billion, shows even the most richly valued and highly funded startups are no longer immune to the changing tides of Silicon Valley. A weaker VC funding environment and freezing tech IPO market have forced startups of all sizes to take cost cutting measures and focus more on profits – signifying a shift in the free-spending, growth at all cost culture that had seeped through Silicon Valley over the past few years. “We’re keeping the panda as a company-wide reminder of the importance of both our past and future in thoughtful spending – but it’s just one example. If you spot other ways we can help Dropbox save, please share them,” the note said, providing a special email address for cost-saving tips.
How to keep your investors invested
You successfully instilled the confidence investors need to see before signing on the dotted line. Now that you’ve earned this faith and raised that critical cash, it’s time to consider the new relationship with your investors and maintain their faith. There’s plenty of advice out there for how a first-time founder should scout and pitch investors. But similarly to many of the topics they didn’t teach us in school, nobody taught you what to look out for once you’ve actually raised your seed round. There’s no formal handbook for founder-funder etiquette, but here are some of my learnings that have served me well.
Lebanon’s startup clusters go beyond Beirut
As Lebanon develops its tech startup culture to become a serious player in the region, the capital of Beirut has become the country’s undisputed hub for innovation, investment and networking. The suburbs Downtown, Sodeco and Hamra are home to thriving tech companies, some of which have gone global. And these days, tech talks and workshops are weekly rituals, often attracting regional and international attendees.
Ho Chi Minh City wants smart city ideas from startups
Ho Chi Minh City Government is calling for ideas from startups on transport, pollution and smart farming. The IoT Startup Competition was launched by the government’s Saigon Hi-Tech Park Incubation Centre. In particular, it wants ideas on how sensors can be used for traffic safety, air and water pollution, and air and water monitoring in farms.Ideas will be judged on their potential to become commercial products, the competition website says. Five winning projects will get assistance to take their products to market, according to Tuoi Tre News. The government will provide training, technical consultations and financial support to make the products viable for markets. There is a total prize pool of VND100 million (US$4,490).