Para assinalar a data, decorreu ontem uma conferência que juntou parceiros, colaboradores e empresas. Com mais de 600 estágios e bolsas organizados, a InovaRia terminou, ontem, o programa comemorativo do seu 10.º aniversário, com uma conferência que juntou alguns dos principais parceiros desta estrutura, bem como especialistas na área da inovação tecnológica, como é o caso da Universidade de Aveiro, PT Inovação, Fórum Digital Champions Europe, CISCO e Ponto C. A conferência quis procurar o modelo para o futuro, na área da inovação, e foi transversal a todos os intervenientes que a importância das parcerias é essencial para o crescimento global. Um esquema de parcerias que, aliás, está na base da InovaRia. Hoje, são mais de meia centena de empresas e dezenas de parceiros que partilham conhecimentos, interesses e desafios. Na InovaRia encontramos “gigantes” como a PT Inovação, a N okia Siemens e a Ericsson Telecomunicações, e ‘start-up’s’ como a Pictónio e a BeeveryCreative, de todos os subsectores das telecomunicações, e não só, da região de Aveiro.
In centuries past, explorers searched for the legendary city of El Dorado, where everything was made of gold. Today, at large organizations, innovation is the new El Dorado. Consultants and keynote speakers all purport to provide maps to it. Chief executives and business unit leaders weave the word innovation into their PowerPoints, hoping it will magically yield better product ideas, or miraculous improvements to existing processes.
I’m not (only) mocking the cult of innovation. Something very real is happening here: as it becomes cheaper and easier for startups to upend existing businesses with new offerings, big companies are realizing that they can’t continue to rely on their time-worn methods for cultivating and developing new products, and lumbering into new markets.
But in pursuing new strategies like open innovation, hackathons, corporate venture capital investing, or the “lean startup” methodology, the hulking mass of corporate culture and structure can get in the way. It’s like heading to the jungle to hunt for El Dorado in an overstuffed Winnebago.
I’ve spoken with more than twenty innovation-oriented executives over the past three months, at multi-national giants like Intel, Whirlpool, General Mills, and Publicis Groupe, always opening the conversation with the same question: How do companies shoot themselves in the foot when it comes to innovation? I also interviewed entrepreneurs who have been acquired into big companies. These were the 11 answers I heard most often. All of them describe various kinds of corporate underbrush that need to be hacked through before real innovation can happen.
No definition or metrics for what success means. “One of the typical flaws I’ve seen in innovation programs is starting without a clear view of strategy: What is it supposed to do? What do you want out of it?” asks Moises Norena, global director of innovation at Whirlpool. It must be instantly apparent and quantifiably demonstrable how every new idea has billion-dollar potential, or 18-month return-on-investment. Ideas don’t move forward without scads of spreadsheets modeling every aspect of cost and benefit. “It’s a sign that things aren’t working when there’s a lot of deferring commitment, asking for more analysis and data,” says James Euchner, vice president of global innovation at Goodyear. Seeking more influence and power, the company’s Chief Information Officer has altered his title, becoming Chief Innovation Officer. Sorry, but innovation doesn’t tend to radiate from the corporate data center. The innovation team is considered “the CEO’s thing,” disconnected from business units and their most pressing concerns. “You need to embrace lots of people, so they feel they are part of the story,” says Rishad Tobaccowala, chief strategy and innovation officer at the digital ad agency VivaKi, part of the Publicis Groupe. Innovation is expected to happen in cubicles and around conference tables. “I can’t tell you how many companies I know that have innovation programs, but no space to foster creativity,” says Julia Austin, formerly VP of innovation at the tech company VMware. “Large spaces with whiteboards and comfy places to sit so people can brainstorm ideas are critical.” Ideas don’t gain momentum if they’re seen as potentially competing with existing products or services, or threatening today’s business relationships. The paradox of proximity. If innovation groups are connected too closely to business units, they are typically asked to collaborate on near-term projects that can impact revenue quickly. But if they are off on their own working on long-term, truly disruptive projects, it can be hard to get participation from business units when they need it. Fear of releasing “alpha” or test versions of new products and services to get early market feedback. Entrepreneur David Rose calls the alternative approach “Let a thousand flowers bloom, then mow.” Every good idea is expected to spring from the hermetically-sealed world of the corporation. Those from outsiders are consistently undercut. “A decade ago, our lab was the world,” says Peter Erickson, senior vice president of innovation at General Mills. “Today, the world is our lab.” Company culture doesn’t tolerate — or understand how to learn from — failure. Staffers who are linked to failed projects see their career prospects dim. Lack of commitment. Innovation initiatives get started, but then are de-prioritized as strategies shift — or executives leave. Corporate venture capital programs especially have the tendency to come and go when enthusiasm for startups abruptly ends. Erickson at General Mills says, “Innovation is not a short game. It’s the art of playing the long game.”
DeMiFi, the recently-launched Berlin based WiFi hotspot provider, wants travellers in Germany to stop constantly worrying about sky-high phone bills or finding a WiFi cafe to work in. It offers users a pocket-sized WiFi hotspot that they can rent on a daily or monthly basis – letting them connect their laptops, tablets or smartphones to the network.
Alguns dos empreendedores da área da tecnologia mais bem-sucedidos assinam um Manifesto que será hoje entregue aos decisores políticos da região e que reúne contributos para adaptar melhor a Europa à era digital.
Pinterest has raised an additional $225 million in capital, bringing its valuation to a whopping $3.8 billion.
The pinboard photo-sharing social network scored the funds in a Series E round, led by Fidelity Investments with participation from Andreessen Horowitz, Bessemer Venture Partners, FirstMark Capital and Valiant Capital Partners.
This latest round comes on the heels of its February round of $200 million.
“We hope to be a service that everyone uses to inspire their future, whether that’s dinner tomorrow night, a vacation next summer, or a dream house someday,” CEO Ben Silbermann said in a statement. “This new investment enables us to pursue that goal even more aggressively.”
The funds will be used for international expansion, mobile, acquisitions, growing its IT infrastructure and monetization – something the startup desperately needs to support its valuation.
To date the startup has raised $564 million without any visible source of revenue. But that will soon change.
There are so many things that could be done to make schools better — improving teaching methods, curbing dropout rates, cutting down on bullying.
“But there’s no way to understand what’s going on, because there’s not enough data analysis, not enough data being collected, and nobody there to analyze it,” according to Panorama Education co-founder Aaron Feuer. “This would never be acceptable at a company, because nobody would know what’s going on.” That pitch worked on Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, who, along with his wife Priscilla Chan, is co-leading a $4 million investment in Panorama, which runs and analyzes surveys at 4,000 K-12 schools. The couple’s investment is being made through their Startup:Education effort, which was established with $100 million in 2010 dedicated to schools in Newark, N.J. A Facebook spokesman declined to comment on whether this is Zuckerberg’s first angel investment in a tech startup, but, at the least, it appears to be the first one that has been publicly disclosed. The spokesman noted that the Panorama deal is separate from the $100 million dedicated solely to Newark. The Panorama round was co-led by SoftTech VC, with Google Ventures, A-Grade Investments and Yale University participating. Panorama has seven employees and is currently based in Boston, though it was started when Feuer and his co-founders were undergraduate students at Yale in New Haven, Conn., and honed at the Y Combinator program in Mountain View, Calif., which is where Zuckerberg found it when he spoke at a participant dinner last summer. (Why Boston? “It’s an education town,” according to Feuer, who said he had only spent three days there before moving.) Feuer grew up in Southern California, where, as a high school student government rep, he worked on state legislation that mandated student-feedback surveys. Though the bill passed in Sacramento, it failed to make a difference because of a lack of survey tools, Feuer said. Part of Panorama’s secret is its willingness to do paper surveys, Feuer said. Paper may not be hip, but it’s a great way to get a representative sample rather than a tech-savvy one. (AllThingsD previously wrote about a non-education-focused startup with a similar take, called Captricity.) The other thing that’s working is that school districts are actually paying for this product. Panorama’s 4,000 participating schools are spread among fewer than 200 contracts, Feuer said. All of those school districts pay an annual license fee based on size, starting at $200 for a tiny district, and hundreds of thousands of dollars for big ones. By the time Feuer and his co-founders graduated from college in May, they had half a million dollars in revenue. Now they are rolling out with Teach for America and the Los Angeles Unified School District. “We want to not just be a ‘SurveyMonkey for schools,’” Feuer said. “We’re working with so much data right now, that we’re trying to find the most helpful applications and improve the depth of how we can help.”
The way startup companies get funded is changing, and it’s freaking traditional venture capitalists out. A company called AngelList came out with a new product called AngelList Syndicates.
Through AngelList Syndicates, wealthy individuals can invest their money with so-called “angel” investors, who will turn around and invest the pooled money into startups.
AngelList will collect 5% of any profits those investments earn. The angel investors will get 15%. The wealthy individuals will get the rest.
Over the weekend, entrepreneur and “angel” Jason Calacanis shocked the startup world by saying he’d started an Angel Syndicate and raised $300,000 with it in just one week.
Here’s how AngelLists Syndicates will change things, according to people in the industry:
Angel investors will be able to “lead” rounds in early-stage startups. “Angels” are usually well-connected, wealthy people in the tech industry who invest their own money into startups. They’ve been around for a long time. But thanks to AngelList Syndicates, they can now write much bigger checks — checks as big as the ones only professional venture capital firms used to be able to write.
Fundraising won’t take as long. Jason Calacanis, who has already raised $300,000 through his AngelList Syndicate, says “VCs take weeks to get their partners to agree on a deal, and I understand that’s part of their value to their LPs. But it also creates problems for founders, who are frequently caught up in the middle of partner conflicts (i.e. you didn’t support my Google investment and we lost $250M, so I’m going to not support your deals). It also means founders have to wait weeks, sometimes months, to get their funding closed.
“I take a couple of hours — and sometimes a couple of days — to make an investment decision. In fact, I typically decide in minutes. Because at the end of the day, I’m a product guy. I can tell if a product’s good or not — and by extension, if the founders are good or not — in minutes.”
This is a great way to fund apps. Apps are inexpensive to make, but they have short idea-to-execution windows, so they can’t afford to spend lots of time time fundraising.
Entrepreneurs will have more choices, and will probably get better terms. Union Square Ventures partner Fred Wilson says, “The more folks who can lead a round, the better, at least for the entrepreneurs.”
Lower-tier venture capital firms will go bust. At least, that’s what Calacanis thinks. He writes, “The bottom half of VCs — the ones who don’t really provide a lot of extra value — have already been at risk due to their anemic returns, so I predict this is the nail in the coffin. They’re fracked.”
Fewer angel investors will get to invest in startups. Hunter Walk, a partner at VC firm Homebrew, notes that angel investors writing bigger checks will edge out other angels. “Before as a founder I might have been able to get both Dave Morin and Kevin Rose into my deal, offering them each $50k slugs. Now they each represent more than $300k in syndicate dollars. Does that full slug get invested into each deal or can they pro rata down? If not, all of a sudden the $250k in the round I set aside for strategic angels doesn’t get me a few value add folks, it makes me choose which syndicate do I want to include. Angels, who previously collaborated, now might be competing?”
Some industry-famous angel investors will get exposed as lousy lead investors. Usually, angel investors take a very passive role with the startups they invest in. They write a check that’s much smaller than the startup’s main VC investor, and then watch as that VC “leads.”
If AngelList Syndicates is going to “lead” investments, writes Wilson, “they will have to learn to lead and lead well.”
“They will have to step up before anyone else does. They will have to negotiate price and terms. They will have to sit on boards. They will have to help get the next round done. Essentially they will have to work. That’s why they are getting carry from the syndicate, after all.”
Wilson says many of these angels are going to get exposed as poor leaders by the process.
He writes, “Not everyone is good at this. In fact, very few are. It’s hard to be a great lead investor and a completely different thing than being a well sought after angel investor who can get into someone else’s deals. Some will turn out to be great at this. Many won’t. And only time will tell who is and who isn’t.”
This is great news for full-service firms like Andreessen Horowitz.
MongoDB, capitalizing on the popularity of its online database software, raised $150 million in a venture-funding round that would make it the most valuable Internet startup in New York.
The deal attracted new investors such as EMC and Salesforce.com, along with previous backers Red Hat, Intel, New Enterprise Associates and Sequoia Capital, according to MongoDB. The round values the company at $1.2 billion, said two people familiar with the matter, who asked not to be identified because the valuation isn’t public.
MongoDB has been quietly building a global database business — with its sales and headcount more than doubling each year, Chief Executive Officer Max Schireson said. The company is making inroads with its lower-cost software, aiming to threaten the dominance of Oracle Corp.’s relational databases, he said.
“We’re picking up an increasing share of the market and over time that could become a really significant share,” said Schireson, who declined to discuss MongoDB’s valuation. “The volume and type of data and the consumer and developer expectations are so radically different than they were when the relational database was invented.”
A large financial-services company led the investment round, MongoDB said, without naming the firm. T. Rowe Price Group Inc. and Altimeter Capital also participated as first-time investors. MongoDB, which has its West Coast headquarters in Palo Alto, Calif., has now raised more than $231 million.
The deal vaults MongoDB to the top of the heap among New York startups, despite having a lower profile than consumer Web companies such as Foursquare, Gilt Groupe and Etsy. At $1.2 billion, the valuation would exceed the roughly $1 billion Yahoo! paid for Tumblr this year.
MongoDB — whose name is a play on humongous — now has about 600 customers, including Goldman Sachs Group and MetLife, Schireson said. The company markets its database software as easier to manipulate and scale up, making it better-suited to the Internet age.
Founders Dwight Merriman and Eliot Horowitz came up with the idea for MongoDB’s NoSQL database technology after getting frustrated with having to make specialized systems from scratch to handle their company’s needs. At the time, the two were working at DoubleClick, an advertising-technology business that was acquired by Google in 2008 for $3.1 billion.
“We spent too much time working to custom-build databases when we should have been working on the project we wanted to work on,” Horowitz said. “We wanted to go ahead and solve the database problem so we wouldn’t have to do it again and again.”
MongoDB, formerly called 10Gen, sells its database technology as a subscription, charging about $5,000 per server per year — with support and training included. That differs from the multiyear, multimillion-dollar contracts traditionally used by software providers. The total database market is worth $30 billion, according to Forrester Research Inc.
The company also gives free lessons on how to use its database software. The more programmers that understand the technology, the more likely it is that companies will build applications for the platform, Schireson said. The software has been downloaded more than 5 million times.
The free seminars also give the company a sense of where its software is catching on, said Joe Morrissey, head of MongoDB’s operations in Europe, the Middle East and Africa, or EMEA. The company drew more than 200 people to an event in Tel Aviv and 100 people to one in Cape Town, building on its strength in countries such as Germany and the U.K., he said.
“We’re growing at least 300% a year here in EMEA,” Morrissey said.
The rise of big data is helping fuel MongoDB’s growth. Companies are seeking new ways to manage a flood of information on their customers and the markets they serve, aiming to use the data to make decisions in real time. The market for big-data technology and services will grow at 32% annually, research firm IDC predicts.
With the new funding, MongoDB is looking to accelerate its global expansion and find more partners that can customize its software for different industries. So far, it’s teamed up with 250 other companies, the biggest of which is IBM.
Schireson has recruited many of his executives from Oracle, where he used to work, and other corporate-software companies. His staff has increased to more than 300 this year, and he plans to double MongoDB’s headcount next year.
“We made a good living at Oracle managing teams that would do projects for customers for tens of millions of dollars to get big systems built,” he said. “Now what we’re trying to do is make it easy, so people can do it themselves in weeks.”
O novo cluster empresarial, apresentado no dia 4 de Outubro, chama-se PIMS – Portuguese Innovative Media Solutions e está direcionado para a área da inovação. Tem como missão ajudar a RTP a transformar-se numa das empresas mais inovadoras em termos tecnológicos, garantem os promotores.
Fazem parte do leque empresas de áreas como o streaming, video on demand, legendagem automática entre outras, que no âmbito da parceria passam – algumas já são – a ser fornecedoras da RTP, garantindo a projeção da sua imagem e da sua oferta nos países onde a RTP chega.
Cycloid, MOG Technologies, wTVision, VoiceInteraction, Priberam Informática, InnoWave Technologies, WayNext, Streambolico e GSoft são as empresas envolvidas nesta parceria. Juntas somam receitas anuais superiores a milhões de euros.
Começam a trabalhar na parceria com a estação de televisão nacional já nas próximas semanas, num modelo que não implicará qualquer investimento por parte da RTP. A prazo o leque de organizações envolvidas no cluster pode crescer.
Esta é a ambição do Startup Genome, um serviço online que pretende mapear todas as startups existentes e em funcionamento nos “quatro cantos” do mundo.
Com um design renovado há pouco tempo, o projeto, criado por dois alemães, assume-se como uma comunidade digital que possibilita, num primeiro momento a consulta, e posteriormente a troca de informação e o networking para profissionais do sector.
A pesquisa é feita por país e os resultados são mostrados num mapa, com a devida localização das startups, assim como numa lista organizada por ordem alfabética, no lado direito do ecrã. A par das organizações, podem aplicar-se filtros por estatísticas ou por pessoas.
No caso de Portugal, mostram-se 100 resultados identificados como startups, a par de 110 “empreendedores” associados. No separador estatísticas ainda não existem quaisquer dados.