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innovation DAILY

Here we highlight selected innovation related articles from around the world on a daily basis.  These articles related to innovation and funding for innovative companies, and best practices for innovation based economic development.


Internet Connectivity -- Zara Matheson, Martin Prosperity Institute -- photo.jpg

Across the world, two in 10 households have access to the Internet at home, according to a just-released Gallup survey. Internet access at home was far greater in more economically advanced countries: Nearly eight in 10 people (78 percent) in countries where gross domestic product (GDP) is more than $25,000 have Internet access at home. Home Internet access drops off steeply in less affluent, less developed nations, according to the Gallup survey, especially in countries with less than $10,000 in per capita GDP. The survey is based on telephone and face-to-face interviews with approximately 1,000 adults, aged 15 and older in 116 countries, and was conducted in 2009.

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Seed CampI had the pleasure of spending all day yesterday, from 9am to 6pm, listening to pitches from the finalists selected out of the mini seedcamps from all over europe this year. Seedcamp is Europe's premier startup accelerator. It is like Y Combinator, Techstars, Seedstart, and many other programs of this sort. Like Techstars, Seedcamp heavily emphasizes mentors and mentoring. It is a big part of the value proposition of going through the Seedcamp process.


I am not going to talk about the companies/pitches I liked best right now. But I will say that I came away with three interesting opportunities (out of about 20 pitches I saw). That is a good percentage. In talking to the other judges (there were about a dozen judges), there were another handful of companies that others took an interest in. So almost half of the presenting companies interested at least one or more judges in taking a closer look. That is a great percentage.

The thing that is most interesting about Seedcamp is that it selects teams from all over Europe and Israel (and now South Africa). They do mini seedcamps in Zagreb, Prague, Barcelona, Paris, Tel Aviv, Copenhagen, Berlin, Lodon, and they just added one in Johannesburg South Africa in a couple weeks (Aug 11th). This allows Seedcamp to find teams that might not fly to London on a whim but will travel to a regional hub to see if their project is interesting to Seedcamp.

I was particularly impressed with the quality of the teams coming out of places like Zagreb and Prague. Eastern Europe, from Ljubljana to Tallinn and everywhere in between, contains a ton of smart entrepreneurial technologists looking to build businesses on the web and on mobile devices. I am not going to leave NYC and focus on this emerging market but someone should. It is ripe.
Kudos to Saul Klein and Reshma Sohoni for creating and building Seedcamp. It is building an ecosystem, slowly but surely, throughout Europe and other emerging technology markets that I believe will result in new vitality to startups in this part of the world.

The Seedcamp finalists for 2010 will assemble in London for Seedcamp Week this September. If you are in the VC business and want to see what is going on in Europe firsthand, Seedcamp Week is a great place to start.

The foundation of the ocean food chain, phytoplankton, is declining at a much faster rater than expected. Phytoplankton are down 40 percent since 1950 and disappearing at a rate of one percent yearly. Scientists don't know what the effects will be, but clearly it's not looking good.

Sorry, this is another global warming story.

Spiegel:

"We had suspected this for a long time," Boris Worm, the author of the study for Dalhousie University in Halifax, Canada, told SPIEGEL ONLINE. "But these figures still surprised us." At this point, he said, one can only speculate as to what the repercussions might be. "In principal, though, we should assume that such a massive decline is already having tangible consequences," said Worm. He said that the lack of research on the food chain between phytoplankton and larger fish in the open ocean is a hindrance to knowing the extent of the damage.

plankton

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Microsoft's new search engine Bing has been making waves in the search market, adding new features and slowly chipping away at Google's established search dominance. But smaller search engines have an uphill battle when it comes to toppling Google in search.

As Ask.com's Barry Diller pointed out today, innovation in search often works toward Google's advantage. Regardless of whether Google does the innovating.

Ask.com made headlines this week with some userface changes that reverted the site back to its earlier question and answer format. Furthermore, the site beat analyst expectations, growing 18% to $197.2 million. But IAC head Barry Diller had some candid words about Ask's prospects during the company's second quarter earnings call. According to PaidContent, he said:

“One thing I want to make clear to investors is that Ask itself is not a large segment of the company. I had hoped it would become one, but I was wrong about that. I was wrong about the competitive landscape with Google."


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Porsche said it would come out with electric sports cars in the future, but left the specifics to be revealed at a later date.

The company, in conjunction with Siemens and others, has shown off an all-electric Boxster at trade shows. We took this picture of one of the three all-electric Boxsters earlier this year at the World Future Energy Summit in Abu Dhabi. Now, Porsche says it has been testing the prototypes on the track and will come out with a car in the future.

"We will definitely be offering electric sports cars in the future," said Michael Macht, the President and CEO of Porsche AG in a prepared statement. "But such a concept only makes sense if it offers performance and a cruising range comparable to that of a sports car today."

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Innovation Hubs in the United StatesThe United States Department of Energy (DOE) announced in May that it’s launching three Energy Innovation Hubs, designed to “help advance highly promising areas of energy science and engineering from the early stage of research to the point where the technology can be handed off to the private sector.”

These hubs not only demonstrate the nation’s commitment to tackling our energy and climate challenges, but they also represent an innovation endeavor not often associated with the U.S. government.

Each of the three hubs will tackle a different energy challenge in a highly collaborative way that welcomes diversity of thought. They will “bring together top researchers from academia, industry and the government laboratories with expertise that spans multiple scientific and engineering disciplines under the leadership of a dynamic scientist-manager.”

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How’s this for absolutely dominating an increasingly lucrative and fast-growing segment?

Google currently boasts a mobile search market share of 98.29%, with it closest competitor Yahoo taking up just over 0.8% of market share and Microsoft’s Bing barely touching even half that, according to recent data from StatCounter as relayed by Pingdom.

This graph, made by Pingdom, puts it all in perspective:

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altState ranks No. 5 on Top 10 list, based on strength of biotechnology industry.

Kansas has received recognition from a national site selection magazine for the state’s leadership position in building a vibrant regional bioscience industry.

Business Facilities magazine this week pegged Kansas as No. 5 on its 2010 list of Top 10 states based on biotechnology strength. The states, ranked in order, were: 1. California, 2. Texas, 3. Pennsylvania, 4. Massachusetts, 5. Kansas, 6. New Jersey, 7. North Carolina, 8. Illinois, 9. Maryland and 10. Ohio.

The annual rankings are compiled using more than two dozen criteria, including an assessment of state-funded research and development programs, interaction with institutions of higher education and major projects announced within the past year.

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Tangible signs of U.S. economic turnaround are evident, and the recovery is already under way, according to this economic analysis from Ross DeVol, Executive Director of Economic Research.

From Recession to Recovery: Analyzing America's Return to Growth calls for modest but sustainable growth in GDP, consumer spending and jobs. According to DeVol, strong recovery in business investment in equipment, more robust exports, a more upbeat consumer and continued low interest rates will fuel the growing recovery.

Key points in the forecast:

  • Real GDP will grow at 3.5 percent in 2010, 3.7 percent in 2011 and 3.8 percent in 2012. Growth returns to slightly less than 3 percent from 2013 to 2015.
  • The U.S. will add 1.8 million jobs in 2010, 3.1 million in 2011 and 2.6 million in 2012.
  • Real consumer spending is projected to increase 2.8 percent in 2010, 3.5 percent in 2011 and 3.0 percent in 2012.
  • New home construction won’t aid economic growth in 2010, but residential fixed investment should jump 26.0 percent in 2011 and 25.7 percent in 2012.


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Clint Brauer stands on his family's farm near Cheney with his laptop. He grew up in Haven and moved back to Kansas after living in California for more than a decade. He is  the managing editor of Cyberread, an e-book company.After more than 13 years in Los Angeles, Clint Brauer decided to come home. The Haven native and Kansas State graduate was able to get in on the dot-com boom of the 1990s and turn degrees in business marketing and advertising into a career in high-tech that's taken him from entry level to senior positions at companies such as USWeb, Universal Music Group, Sony and Fox Interactive.

But at 36, Brauer wanted a change in the pace of his lifestyle.

So the West Coast techie opted to come back to his home state and run his current venture, Cyberread.com, an e-book company, from his hometown.

"L.A. was great. (But) L.A. is a hard place to truly relax because the bar is so high to do well there," Brauer said.

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Video: Unlearn Your MBA (Entire Talk)
David Heinemeier Hansson, 37signals
58 min. 49 sec.

David Heineimeier Hansson, the creator of Ruby on Rails and partner at 37signals in Chicago, says that planning is guessing, and for a start-up, the focus must be on today and not on tomorrow. He argues that constraints--fiscal, temporal, or otherwise--drive innovation and effective problem-solving. The most important thing, Hansson believes, is to make a dent in the universe with your company. 

Video: Make Meaning in Your Company
Guy Kawasaki, Garage Technology Ventures
2 min. 37 sec.

Guy Kawasaki, founder and Managing Director of Garage Technology Ventures, believes that those companies who set out to make a positive change in the world are the companies that will ultimately be the most successful. He gives examples of the best way to make meaning: increase quality of life, right a wrong, and prevent the end of something good. 

Video: A Panorama of Venture Capital and Beyond (Entire Talk)
Marc Andreessen, Serial Entrepreneur
61 min. 7 sec.

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Dark clouds still hang over the venture capital industry despite a slight improvement in initial public offerings and mergers & acquisitions. Cambridge Associates and the National Venture Capital Association today issued a report showing that 10-year returns -- perhaps the most important measurement of the industry --were a negative 3.7 percent for the period ending March 31.



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