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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.

Minneapolis, MN, USA, July 22, 2010 (PRESSbooth.ORG) -- Innovation Europe is a private group of chief innovators from Europe's largest corporations. This is not just another association: the group was formed by Chief Innovators for Chief Innovators and connects those who are charged with developing breakthroughs for their customers, and helps members build the corporate bottom line through revenue from new sources.

Innovation Europe is currently being built by Generate Companies and is affiliated with their emerging network of U.S. chief innovators groups. The first group members include Rising Tide in Zurich, Switzerland who is a founding member and has provided seed capital for this new initiative. The group is currently offering invitations to 14 additional members from a variety of industries and to companies not in competition with each other.

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Nearly a dozen organizations from around the country will share in the first round of Social Innovation Fund (SIF) grants from the federal government totaling $50 million. Combined with the required private matching funds, the total in grants is $74 million.

The Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS) announced the inaugural SIF grants this morning. “This portfolio is a collection of extraordinary organizations with an unparalleled body of knowledge and expertise on growing what works,” Patrick Corvington, the corporation's CEO, said in a prepared statement. “They are all driven by the search for bold solutions and recognize that we must use evidence to target limited resources where they will have the greatest impact.”

CNCS announced this past April that it has received more than 200 letters of intent and ultimately requests from 69 organizations totaling $125 million. The 11 organizations were selected through “a rigorous review process involving 60 external experts” and represent “a diverse set of nonprofit organizations and private and community foundations and share a track record of success at identifying and growing high-performing nonprofit organizations.”

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The Internet will run out of Internet addresses in about 1 year's time, we were told today by John Curran, President and CEO of the American Registry for Internet Numbers (ARIN). The same thing was also stated recently by Vint Cerf, Google's Chief Internet Evangelist.

The main reason for the concern? There's an explosion of data about to happen to the Web - thanks largely to sensor data, smart grids, RFID and other Internet of Things data. Other reasons include the increase in mobile devices connecting to the Internet and the annual growth in user-generated content on the Web.

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Imagine Walt Disney at the age of nineteen. His uncle asks him what he plans to do with his life, and he pulls out a drawing of a mouse and says, "I think this has a lot of potential."

Or Springsteen. In a concert he once told the story of how he and his dad used to go at it — how his father hated his guitar. Late one night, Springsteen came home to find his father waiting up for him in the kitchen. His father asked him what he thought he was doing with himself. "And the worst part about it," Springsteen says, "was I never knew how to explain it to him." How does he tell his father, "I'm going to be Bruce Springsteen?"

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Investing in China is nothing new for U.S. venture capital firms, but recently these have firms begun raising local-currency funds to make it easier to invest in homegrown start-ups.

One of the latest to raise such a fund is Menlo Park, Calif.-based DCM, which VentureWire reported today that it raised CNY200 million ($29.5 million) for a new Chinese currency fund.

Investors like DCM are turning to Chinese yuan funds to invest in industries that might otherwise be off limits, like media and financial services companies, and to cut through some of the red tape that investing via foreign-currency denominated funds in China entails.

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Mergers of small biotechs, such as the recent union of Evotec AG and DeveloGen AG, could grow more common as public companies look for scale and as aging venture-backed players look for the exit, some observers say.

Publicly held Evotec, which agreed last week to buy venture-backed DeveloGen for EUR14 million ($18 million) in stock plus performance payments, bulks up with metabolic-disease technology and other assets, while DeveloGen backers, such as TVM Capital and Nomura Phase4 Ventures, are on track to profit from a bet they placed last decade.

“I do expect that there will be more of this, especially in times when it is difficult to take companies public,” said d Helmut Schühsler, DeveloGen’s chairman and managing partner of TVM Capital. “We looked around and said, ‘We don’t want to be in the company for another 10 years.’”

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Commissioner Maire Geoghegan-Quinn has announced the EU’s biggest annual research budget ever for 2011 - at €6.4 billion - with a pledge to make the money easier to access.

But it was a case of giving with one hand and taking away with the other, as the Commission proposed that some Framework Programme 7 funds be diverted to plug the gap in the budget of the ITER nuclear fusion project. 

“I am determined that the package we are announcing today will not only be the biggest ever, but also the most effective and the best administered,” Geoghegan-Quinn promised.

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“Even if we don’t have a lot of money we can still be innovative,” says Open Innovation guru Henry Chesbrough. The global economic crisis is a good opportunity for companies to open up, collaborate, and find new partnerships. The key, he says, is to create new business models that can add value to already existing technologies.

“The nice thing about Open Innovation in business models is that it isn’t just about having more money, it is about thinking differently about what you can offer to your customers and finding new ways to differentiate your business and add value to it,” said Chesbrough, Director of the Open Innovation Centre at Berkeley University in California, in an interview with Science|Business on a recent visit to Barcelona, where he is Visiting Professor at the business school, ESADE.

With world economies struggling, Chesbrough urges governments to support innovation. “The only way that countries with high debts are going to be able to deal with it is to figure out new ways to get economies to grow again, and to get this growth we need innovation,” he says. “It’s too punishing to citizens to simply cut spending and services, if we don’t get economies to grow again, it will be politically very difficult. Innovation is not only for companies, but for society.”

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Patents granted to small businessesAmerica is supposed to be a place where independent inventors and small firms play a key role in the creation of new technology. As New York University economics Professor Will Baumol wrote in the 2008 Small Business Economy, “small enterprises have made … a critical contribution to … innovation accomplishments. Without breakthroughs such as the airplane, FM radio, and the personal computer, all introduced by small firms, life in the industrialized economies would be very different today.

Moreover, small firms are believed to be particularly productive inventors. According to the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA), small companies “produce 13 times more patents per employee than large patenting firms.” And small firm patents tend to be more technically important. As the SBA explains, “these patents are twice as likely as large firm patents to be among the one percent most cited.

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scott-heiferman-meetup-smashes-ipad-2Here's one more tiny anecdote to go with the news that the iPad is having pretty much the most amazing new-product launch in the history of technology.

(Can you think of a bigger one?  One that proliferated this quickly and generated this much revenue this fast?  Netscape's Navigator went bananas, as did a whole bunch of other software and web site-based products.  But those were free or near-free.  This is a $500-$900 gadget.  And I'm not counting the iPhone 4, which is a new upgrade.  I'm talking about a completely new product.)

Here's my iPad anecdote: One month after we got it, my kids are addicted to the darn thing.

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The Seed Stage is where the Entrepreneur has the most control on developing the business. It is prior to outside capital, unless of course the Entrepreneur or principals have invested their own seed capital.

The Seed Stage has the following characteristics:

  • The Entrepreneur idea is being flushed out
  • The Business Plan is in development
  • The Principals are recruiting their management team
  • Initial Capital Requirements is determined and sought
  • The Company most likely has no revenue or very little
  • Establishing your legal structure
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