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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.

WSJ: ‘Low Points and Screw-Ups’: Start-Ups Crave Mentors’ Real Stories by Tomio Geron

Twenty four companies put their best face forward for investors at Y Combinator’s ninth Demo Day for start-ups completing its incubator program.

The program is known for launching Web start-ups on a shoestring; it takes place twice a year and provides companies with $10,000 to $20,000 in exchange for a small equity stake. Perhaps more important than the money, though, are the networking and learning opportunities - the program provides start-ups with advice, community with other founders and weekly dinners with prominent tech entrepreneurs and investors.

Nokia innovation award sees little innovation by Bill Ray

Nokia's Calling All Innovators competition is listing finalists again, but while last time saw dancing games and Fair Trade guides, this year we've got sniper-safe routing and home automation.

This time around the competition saw 1700 entries, which have been whittled down to 12 finalists looking for a share of the additional $100,000 in prize money. This takes the total up to quarter of a million dollars. Last time around the focus was on applications to improve the quality of life, but this time the focus is on widgets, Flash and maps, rather than native Symbian applications.

Summary of Finnish High-Tech Company Capital Raising Activity - H109

The following are the findings of the Quarterly Survey, conducted by Technopolis Online, which is at the forefront of high-tech venture capital research in Finland. This survey reviews capital raised by private Finnish high-tech companies from venture capital funds and from angel investors, both Finnish and foreign. The Survey is based on both publicly-reported and proprietary information regarding 140 Finnish and foreign investors, and 1,500 Finnish high-tech firms.

Is There a Future for Science Parks? by Anthony Townsend

Earlier this year Raleigh, North Carolina’s Research Triangle Park celebrated a very important birthday. At the largest-ever conference of the International Association of Science Parks, the industry’s global consortium, the Research Triangle Park marked 50 years of technology-led economic development alongside over 40 other parks from around the world in operation for 25 years or more. It was a grand celebration of a model for economic development pioneered by the Research Triangle Park that has been copied in every corner of the globe.

Innovation Yin and Yang by Bret Swanson

There are two key mistakes in the public policy arena that we don’t talk enough about. They are two apparently opposite sides of the same fallacious coin.

Call the first fallacy “innovation blindness.” In this case, policy makers can’t see the way new technologies or ideas might affect, say, the future cost of health care, or the environment. The result is a narrow focus on today’s problems rather than tomorrow’s opportunities. The orientation toward the problem often exacerbates it by closing off innovations that could transcend the issue altogether.

DOE Announces $37 Million for Small Business Research and Technology by US Department of Energy

U.S. Energy Secretary Steven Chu announced today that $37 million in funding from the Recovery Act will be made available to qualified small businesses through the Department's Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) programs. Today's funding announcement emphasizes the Department's commitment to developing near-term, clean energy technologies while allowing small businesses take part in the new industrial revolution that the sustainable energy economy will bring.

Innovation and Unrealistic expectations by Jeffrey Phillips

I grew up as one of those kids who was sort of good at a lot of sports but not really a master of any one sport. As I've gotten older, I've put considerably more time into biking, tennis and running, which leaves little time for the sport of business titans: golf. Now, I "play" golf at least four times a year, in a fund raising game or with friends and neighbors. I never practice and it shows. I cannot break 100 to save my life. I'm not familiar with any of the local courses and not familiar with my clubs (tools). I don't expect to be successful when I play and I don't take it too seriously. I uncork a nice drive every once in a while, or a good putt, but I don't expect it to happen regularly. Mostly I am a very poor golfer who occasionally gets in a good shot, and that's all I expect.

BusinessWeek: Private Equity Trumps Venture Capital by Alex Yoder

Core to the traditional model of Venture Capital (VC) is the assumption that, through investment in a large number of disparate, disruptive technologies, losses can be limited to the initial investment, while gains can be ridden out and, ultimately, the significance of the winners will far outweigh the losers. By their nature, VCs are looking for a big win on some and cutting losses of most. Accordingly, their investment timeframe is typically shorter. The model is built on momentum in the broader market generated by demand for more, newer ways to do things, thus requiring rapid adoption of disruptive technology by consumers (read: willingness to accept risk). This entire cycle, from inception to completion, is based on the broad willingness to assume larger risk positions. From inventor to consumer, demand for risk tends to be higher.

Seed fund group, Temple to study venture trends from Philadelphia Business Journal

The National Association of Seed and Venture Funds said Wednesday that it has entered into a research partnership with Temple University’s Fox School of Business that will focus on early-stage investing trends.

The partnership’s initial venture will be a survey of senior executives of early-stage funds to gather information on capital raising, investment, regional investment and technology development, and other things.