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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.

Screen shot 2010-01-29 at 6.00.51 PMBig news for late on a Friday afternoon: Tesla Motors, the darling of the burgeoning electric car market, has filed for an initial public offering worth $100 million. If it pulls it off, electric vehicles will have officially gone mainstream.

Tesla was one of several companies in the cleantech sector named as likely IPO candidates at the start of the year, along with Silver Spring Networks in the Smart Grid space. With solar system maker Solyndra also filing in December, it looks like green might be one of the most active areas for public exits in 2010 — just as the Cleantech Group predicted.

But this isn’t your average public sale. Eyes have been fixed on the company’s success since its inception, both because of its sexy product and its notorious CEO, Elon Musk — who has been pushing toward this IPO for years. For this reason, its success could boost business for the whole electric car market, including competitors like Fisker Automotive, Th!nk North America, Coda Automotive and even General Motors with its Chevy Volt. However, if the filing languishes, or it doesn’t exceed $100 million, it could dampen excitement for the next generation of advanced vehicles.

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WSJOne of the most exhilarating but also most difficult things about creating a start-up from scratch and trying to nurture it to success is the feeling that everything is tied up in your company - not just your heart and soul, but all your financial hopes too.

At least on the financial side, First Round Capital is trying to help entrepreneurs stressed out by “all-eggs-in-one-basket” syndrome - it has announced a pooled fund for founders in its portfolio companies.

The founders of First Round companies will be able to contribute a small portion of their company stock to the First Round Capital Entrepreneur’s Exchange fund and in return will receive an interest in all the other companies that participate. When any one of the companies in the fund reaches an exit, all the entrepreneurs involved will benefit.

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Silicon Valley earned its name and first great fortune as the cradle of the computer age. Then it built a launching pad for the Internet age. Now the valley has assumed a leading role in the global competition to develop renewable energy and other clean, green technologies.

Cleantech is poised to be the valley's third great wave of innovation — not just the next big thing, but perhaps the biggest thing ever. Confronting the peril of greenhouse gases and climate change happens to be a multi-trillion-dollar business opportunity.

"Energy is the biggest opportunity Silicon Valley has ever seen," declared T.J. Rodgers, the founder of Cypress Semiconductor and chairman of SunPower, a leading maker of photovoltaic panels to produce solar energy.

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Ownership in the Innovation ProcessIf someone asked members of your Innovation Team about "ownership" of a current initiative, would individuals reply, "Yes"?

Or would the people involved point to the team leader, the CEO or someone else - someone other than themselves? Would they reply, "No, that's his"?

I spoke recently with a CEO of a consumer products company who expressed disappointment that an idea for an exciting new wrinkle in sunglasses technology had faltered. In doing so, others had beaten the company to market.

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As Florida embraces “economic gardening,” a concept first advanced in Colorado and becoming an accepted principle of economic development, much of the initial activity will take place across the Florida High Tech Corridor ... working to see that second-stage companies have the resources necessary to build the state’s economy. • The Florida High Tech Corridor is fertile ground, according to economic gar- dening expert Steve Quello. “Gardening is about serving growth-oriented companies of all sectors. Technology companies tend to create more high-wage, high-value jobs which means focusing on the High Tech Corridor is a good place to start.”

Companies in the Corridor are already creating new technologies, and Florida can capitalize on technologies ready to be transferred from its established research universities, Quello observes. “Visionaries in the Florida Legislature have said it is time to be there to support growth companies at the second stage of development,” Quello says, “and the potential for return on investment in the High Tech Corridor is very high.”

Quello was an early advocate of the concept in Florida, urging leaders to consider investing in second-stage development. He has served as an advisor to the Edward Lowe Foundation of Michigan, advancing their mission of supporting entrepreneur- ship and second-stage businesses, and worked closely with Chris Gibbons ... consid- ered “the co-founder” of the economic gardening movement. Gibbons, of Littleton, Colo., helped create and refine practices now in place throughout the country in communities ranging from California to New Mexico, Indiana and Georgia.

“Florida has been wise to protect the focus on the stage-specific needs of growth companies. This aspect of the Florida economic gardening pilot is unique when com- pared to other related initiatives that we’ve observed across the nation,” says Mark Lange, executive director of the Edward Lowe Foundation.

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Seven projects in this province are getting up to $13.8 million from ACOA's Atlantic Innovation Fund. The announcement was made yesterday at the Marine Institute by Minister Responsible for Newfoundland and Labrador Peter MacKay. Among the projects funded is bottom trawl fishing technology, as well as autonomous underwater vehicles, high frequency radar applications and genetics. Projects selected for AIF funding are PanGeo Subsea, C-CORE, Memorial University's faculty of engineering and faculty of medicine, Fisheries and Marine Institute and AMEC Americas Limited.

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The eight entrepreneurial finalists of the inaugural CERT-Wharton Entrepreneurial Planning and Innovation Competition (EPIC) at the HCT Global Entrepreneurship 2010 Conference ('E2010') in Dubai on March 8, have been announced.

The 'Great Eight' will pitch their innovative concepts to the judging panel at the Venture Finals of the Competition, during E2010 at the Dubai Men's College campus.

The CERT-Wharton EPIC /'Great Eight' finalists are:

  • Boutique on Wheels: A low-cost B2B marketing tool through the use of mobile marketing.
  • Lotus Restaurant: A restaurant that focus on serving healthy meals and beverages at lower prices.
  • Miracle Makers: A Life Sciences/Bio-Tech company which combats the prevalence of diabetes in the UAE community.
  • Qahwa Cafe: A high quality coffee and food products, and services for women, in a warm and inviting environment.
  • OrganicMe: An organic products store serving Jumairah and Um Suqaim through a home delivery system.
  • PartyRAK: A catering service that focuses towards small businesses and home residents for events and parties, such as wedding anniversaries, birthdays, and new addition to the family.
  • The Tea Haven: A locally established tea bar offering the best selection of tea, either freshly prepared, or packed for enjoyment at home.
  • An Emirati website targeting UAE women who are future brides-to-be. It provides information related to the wedding and specifically for the bride.
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01/29/10 - Gov. Charlie Crist announces his budget priorities for the 2010–2011 fiscal year.TALLAHASSEE -- Gov. Charlie Crist Friday laid out his budget priorities for Florida’s 2010–2011 fiscal year.

Three big ‘E’s’ -- Education, Environmental protection and Economic recovery -- were among the biggest recipients for state funding under the governor’s proposed budget.

Crist said he planned to dedicate $2.1 billion to protecting the state’s natural resources, including $50 million each for Everglades restoration and the Florida Forever program.

An additional $167.6 million would go toward wastewater and drinking water initiatives, while solar tax rebates would receive $10 million.
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A comprehensive look at the scientific, commercial and economic development accomplishments in New York City's growing bioscience industry during the past year


  • Funding successes and advancements made by bioscience companies in NYC
  • Science highlights from NYC's top academic medical centers
  • Chronicle of the City's commitment to the biotech sector

This report captures the momentum of New York  City's bioscience cluster and outlines the City's key initiatives, including developing commercial lab space, incentive programs and supporting industry events for the sector.

CLick here to download the full report: Link to report

Coral reefs aren't just beautiful and rich in species. They also have long served as an evolutionary wellspring for countless types of marine life, even groups such as clams and snails that researchers thought had originated in shallow coastal waters. That's the conclusion of a new examination of the fossil record, and the findings reinforce the idea that evolutionary potential is linked to the environment.

Coral reefs are well-known hot spots for biodiversity, but scientists have assumed that many types of reef-dwelling animals had migrated from other ecosystems, such as shallow coastal waters. Paleontologist and lead author Wolfgang Kiessling of the Museum für Naturkunde in Berlin initially shared that assumption. But spurred by older studies of reefs and hints from the genetics of fishes, he took a closer look.
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How can regions participate in, and take advantage of, today's knowledge-based innovation economy? A new website provides tools to facilitate relevant insights and help answer the fundamental questions underlying regional development in today's changing economy. The purpose of these tools is to aid strategic discussions about where to invest dwindling resources and build regional prosperity for the next generation. Two of these tools will be discussed here, Measuring Regional Capacity for Innovation, and Occupation Cluster Analysis.

Measuring Regional Capacity for Innovation
Innovation is a key ingredient in an economy’s ability to increase the standard of living for a region’s residents. Building on other national and European research, a newly released Innovation Index provides policymakers and economic development practitioners with a unique web-based tool for exploring regional innovation performance and comparing that with the United States, a state or other regions. Provided by the Indiana University's Kelley School of Business, the Index combines multiple variables into a composite index providing a single, high-level snapshot to evaluate innovative capacity, innovation outcomes, and economic progress. The indicators in the Innovation Index are derived from both official government statistical agencies and several private, proprietary sources, including Economic Modeling Specialists, Inc., Innovation Economy 360, and Moody’s The user can determine the state, county (or counties), or Metropolitan Statistical Area they want to compare. Up to 255 individual counties may be selected. Each region of the country has a different mix of qualities that can boost its overall innovation score. No two counties or regions will be exactly alike and there is no single path toward an innovative and growing economy.
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Unfettering New York State's Innovation EconomyThe Public Policy Institute this week released a new report, "Transcending the Hamster Cage." Weird name (it's explained inside). Interesting publication. The document sets out to explore and solve a challenge: "The key to unlocking the innovation economy is talented, driven and risk favorable people. Motivation, inspiration and the capacity to dream, and to act on those dreams, are the greatest assets in the global innovation competition."

Guided by New York State academic and industry leaders, economic developers and entrepreneurs, it includes chapters on:

* Human capital -- creating a critical mass of talent
* Business climate -- developing regional innovation clusters
* Economic development -- policies and investments that emphasize innovation
* Tax policy -- enhanced incentives for R&D
* Energy -- encouraging the development and commercialization of green technologies
* Sector-based development -- strengthening key sectors such as bio-pharma and biotechnology

The theme of the report is creating an "innovation culture" that facilitates the creation of ideas that can be translated into new products and services. "The only path to sustainable growth is through innovation," writes Linda Sanford, IBM, a contributor to the report. "Today's global economy rewards the innovators who can deliver unique value that cannot be easily replicated. Creating a climate that consistently produces new ideas and advances intellectual property effectively to the marketplace is the best way to remain competitive in the innovation economy."

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Cameron Lester and Mike Kwatinetz of Azure Capital Partners examine why start-up companies need to be time-efficient as well as capital-efficient.

In the world of start-ups, capital efficiency is a factor in determining how much entrepreneurs and investors realize on their invested time and capital. It is the ability of a business to reach positive cash flow at scale while consuming an acceptable amount of invested capital. It is important to limit shareholder dilution to entrepreneurs and early investors — the more capital raised, generally the less of the business the entrepreneur and the early venture capitalists will own.

Moreover, the greater the capital efficiency of a business, the better the probability that the company will be acquired or financed at attractive terms (or both), since acquiring companies and venture capitalists pay a premium for capital efficiency. Therefore, it is central to a company’s financial planning, board meetings and presentations to investors.
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Apple and its pending i-tablet intro has Silicon Valley and Apple fans everywhere buzzing. There's buzz brewing in these hot spots as well:

TURKEY – Estimated fastest growing country in Eastern Europe; by European Bank for Reconstruction and Development . Followed by Moldova, Russia, Belarus, Ukraine, Slovakia, Serbia, Poland, Macedonia and Albania.

DAVOS – This year’s theme; the theme "Improve the State of the World: Rethink, Redesign, Rebuild".

SILICON ARABIA-Can the MENA Region Become a Viable and Vibrant Hub for Start-Ups?

EUROLABS - Europe betting on payout from Intel Labs' gambit

SINGAPORE- Singapore manufacturing grows 14.4 percent in December as electronics production surges . See also: Culture of Innovation
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I still have an older version of the New York City version of Monopoly, which is quite fun to play.Alright, Hasbro, we get it. Monopoly is one of the best-selling board games of all time, but everyone’s got a copy by now. In fact, everyone’s probably got multiple copies right now, thanks to the proliferation of Monopoly boards by city, sports team or TV show (I just bought Mayor West’s Mansion!). The first non-standard version I purchased was an early Boston version that wasn’t great quality, but a couple of years later, I got a New York one that rivaled the quality of the standard Hasbro version.

On the opposite end, some trials have been made with raising the price of property values to make more sense in a 2000s society, doing a World Edition featuring properties from all over, not just Atlantic City, and the tech twist of allowing the game to be your banker electronically. Of course, various electronic versions have appeared over the years, everywhere from the computer to the iPhone. I loved playing the computer player on the Palm version back in the day.
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Today, President Obama announced details of his plan to grow jobs, first outlined in his State of the Union address. One of his leading proposals is providing tax credits of up to $5,000 to businesses for every new employee they hire in 2010.

Bill Milliken co-owns the Portland Market House, a purveyor of specialty foods in the city's downtown. He hopes that Congress will approve the president's plan. "It's $5,000 bucks. I don't know about all these big corporations, but for me as a small business owner, $5,000, whether it's help with wages or anything else is a substantial amount of money."

Milliken and his partner opened a coffee shop in the Market House in December, and just hired a fourth employee. They're thinking about hiring a fifth.
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My PhotoSuppyChainBrain - A new study by global management consulting firm A.T. Kearney, Delivering Technology Innovations, finds that while industry leaders overwhelmingly acknowledge the value of IT as an important strategic differentiator, investment in IT innovation misses target levels more than 75 percent of the time. Moreover, although innovation accounted for 30 percent of the average IT budget in 1999, it has fallen to less than half of that -- 14 percent -- in the subsequent 10 years.

The study found that IT innovations were adding value in virtually every aspect of a business, from sales and marketing through R&D and product development, manufacturing and supply chain, and even mergers and acquisitions. Yet a successful IT program does not come easily, and the study identifies the greatest IT growth barriers as complexity, inconsistent data, and excessive time spent on daily activities. Further, it finds that the lack of effective enterprise integration and a limited incubator environment are the two most important reasons why IT innovation projects fail.
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Where now for European innovation strategy?This article about European innovation strategy was published by EurActiv on 29th January 2010.

Plans to unveil an Innovation Act in time for the spring meeting of EU leaders have been stalled while the new European Commission beds down and looks at broadening the scope of the strategy.

The document is now expected to be published in June and will fit into the ‘EU 2020′ strategy for growth and jobs. By that time, a clearer picture will also have emerged of the roles of the new European commissioners.

The first clear sign of a delay came when MEPs grilled incoming Industry Commissioner Antonio Tajani at his parliamentary hearing earlier this month.
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Angel investing groups from around the region will gather in Cambridge next Wednesday for their 14th annual meeting. It's organized by CommonAngels and Hub Angels, two Boston-based groups of wealthy individuals who can provide anywhere from a few hundred thousand to a few million dollars to start-ups they deem worthy.

I spoke with James Geshwiler, managing director of CommonAngels, yesterday morning to get a sense of what they'll be discussing.

"The #1 issue is sufficiency and availability of capital," Geshwiler said, adding that groups want to be sure they can keep funding start-ups as they grow, not just hand them initial seed money. "We're looking at a venture capital industry and a population of high-net-worth individuals that is contracting. So we're increasingly putting emphasis on collaboration between different angel groups."
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The University of Missouri System plans to establish a new three-year, $5 million fund for start-up companies, President Gary Forsee announced Friday in his State of the University address.

The Enterprise Investment Program “is designed to help fund start-up companies in Missouri that can move the discoveries of our faculty from the laboratory to the marketplace,” Forsee said.

He said he anticipates the new fund will leverage the university’s expertise in life sciences, nano science, information technology, engineering, medicine/medical devices and energy.
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