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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.

In the late 18th century there was a buttonwood tree in lower Manhattan where brokers gathered to trade stocks. But by 1817, the tree had become obsolete as a trading hub. The traders migrated indoors and changed the name of their group to the New York Stock and Exchange Board. The exchange moved a couple of more times after that, and in 1903 the NYSE opened for business in the neoclassical masterpiece that still stands at the corner of Wall and Broad Streets.

Today a giant American flag stretches across the tall Corinthian columns of that elegant design—the very symbol of American economic freedom. Yet even as hordes of out-of-towners stroll by daily on tours of New York's financial landmarks, it sometimes seems that international finance is leaving the bricks and mortar behind.

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BEIJING (Reuters) - China's top economic planner said on Friday that it had launched venture capital funds totaling 9 billion yuan ($1.32 billion) jointly with several provincial governments and private investors to support the country's growing high-tech sector.

Investments will focus on electronic and information industries, the biological and pharmaceutical sector and environmental and energy-related projects, the National Development and Reform Commission, the powerful planning agency, said in a statement on its website (

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What has become the Internet was started 40 years ago when computer scientists at UCLA made the first host-to-host connection to the Stanford Research Institute. From there, there's been no looking back.

It was October 1969 and Paul McCartney was not dead. He even said so in a press conference. The 100-to-1 shot New York Mets won the World Series. The cold war between Russia and the U.S. was anything but with nuclear testing continuing unabated by both sides. The U.S. though, was riding high in the space race after successfully landing two men on the moon earlier in the summer.

Buoyed by the national interest in the space race, U.S. science and technology programs were blossoming throughout the country with the best and brightest high school grads flocking to college science and computer majors. They could be spotted on campuses as the ones with shoe boxes full of punch cards to fed into university mainframes.

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A POPULAR children’s song has a refrain — “the more we get together the happier we’ll be” — that may sound like a simplistic formula for solving the complex challenges of climate change and sustainability. But if any area is ripe for sharing and collaboration among organizations, it’s green innovation.

“We all want to save the planet, and the problems are bigger than any one firm, sector or country,” says Dr. Sarah Slaughter, coordinator of the M.I.T. Sloan Sustainability Initiative. In that spirit, several major corporations have taken inspiration from the open-source software movement and are experimenting with forums for sharing environmentally friendly innovations and building communities around them. The first such effort, the Eco-Patent Commons, was started in January 2008 by I.B.M., Nokia, Pitney Bowes and Sony in collaboration with the World Business Council for Sustainable Development.

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A growing global appetite for agricultural assets is revolutionising farming in Australia and spawning new investment models that depart from the traditional family-run farm.

The Australian Financial Review reports that even as the most talked about model for city investors to take a stake in agriculture - through managed investment schemes - is under challenge after high-profile collapses, new alternatives are emerging.
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Harlan Anderson turned 80 this month. With Ken Olsen, he started Digital Equipment Corp., which was one of the pillars of the Route 128 era in Massachusetts and at one point was the second-biggest technology company in the world, after IBM. Next month, his memoir (“Learn, Earn & Return: My Life as a Computer Pioneer’’) will be released.

Oh, and he also started blogging recently.

I spoke with Anderson earlier this month to ask him about becoming an author, meeting (and later parting ways with) Olsen, how they raised money for the start-up, and what he views as the Achilles’ heel that undermined DEC.
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Over 300 Members filled out a recent survey. 81.7% are CEOs, just 29.1% are running their first startup, and 49.3% are on the West Coast of the US. Help TheFunded by filling out the nine question survey at
Survey results are below:

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Mark Suster, a partner at GRP Partners, has an outstanding post up this morning titled VC Seed Funding is Dead, Long Live VC Seed Funding. Mark started blogging recently and has quickly turned into my second favorite VC blogger (after Fred Wilson) – if you don’t subscribe to his feed, you should.

Mark just did his first seed deal, a $500k investment in a company called, and his post is a long essay on how he’s thinking about seed investing these days. He makes the appropriate warning (and differentiation) between VC investors who view seed investments as “options” on future rounds (e.g. they toss a little money in and then generally ignore the company until the next financing) and “active seed investors” (like First Round Capital, SoftTechVC, True Ventures, Union Square Ventures, and O’Reilly AlphaTech) who view the seed investment as their first round of several as they help get a company up and running.


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Looking for more than just our good word and that of our community on how open innovation is changing the world for the better? We hope you’ll be impressed by our announcement this week about the findings of Forrester Consulting’s study, “The Total Economic Impact of InnoCentive Challenges.” Results? A $15 billion global consumer goods company, SCA , achieved a Return on Investment (ROI) of 74 percent (saving the organization more $1.5 million) with payback in less than three months as a result of posting innovation Challenges to the InnoCentive Global Marketplace.

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Data on third-quarter venture capital shows that green-technology companies are attracting dollars from both investors and government programs.

Ernst & Young on Thursday said that venture investing in green tech rose 46 percent compared to the prior quarter to total $965 million in 50 deals. Solar, auto, green buildings, and biofuels continue to be fast-growing segments within the overall category, according to the Ernst & Young analysis of data from Dow Jones VentureSource.

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Last Thursday, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) proposed a rule intended to preserve the ability of individuals to access all lawful content or software without interference by their Internet service provider (ISP). This principle often goes by the name "net neutrality," reflecting the idea that the ISP should be neutral as to the content people choose to access over their Internet connection.

As heads of an Internet company competing in today's marketplace, we fully support the FCC's proposal.

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$15 billion. That is the figure at the heart of a growing consensus of energy innovation experts, all calling for dramatically larger U.S. investment in clean energy research and development. As Congress debates energy and climate change legislation, a chorus of leading voices from business, policy and research communities have converged on a $15 billion increase in annual U.S. energy R&D budgets as a critical component of any final legislation.

Testifying before Congress this week, Google’s Director of Climate Change and Energy Initiatives stressed that it “is essential that Congress address” what he characterized as a “serious energy R&D short-fall” by including “$15 billion per year in federal energy R&D spending in final climate legislation.”

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Schumpter is known for the phrase "creative destruction," and he lived a life with lots of both. His mother "married up" to give him access to a better education (and higher social status) in Vienna, and the boy genius made his mark there -- before failing as finance minister (politics!) in the post WWI chaos.

His life took many turns and he worked in many places. In one terrible fortnight, his life turned upside down: just as he rushed to his mother's deathbed, his [second] wife died in childbirth -- as did the child. At that moment, Schumpter's goals (to be the world's greatest horseman, lover and economist) seemed trivial.

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Companies may have chopped capital investment, marketing and payrolls during the steep recession, but new studies suggest that research and development spending and patent activity held up remarkably well.

In its annual survey of the 1,000 largest corporate spenders on research and development, released this week, Booz & Company reported that their R&D budgets rose 5.7 percent in 2008. The rate of increase was less than in 2007, when R&D spending rose 10 percent. Still, it was an increase. And the consulting firm’s survey found that 70 percent of the companies plan to maintain or increase R&D outlays in 2009.

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The European Union has outlined its Internet innovation strategy. Viviane Reding, EU commissioner for information, society and media, says that European systems can become smarter and more efficient by harnessing the power of the Internet. The strategy, designed to boost European Internet infrastructures, will see the European Commission partner with national governments and IT companies to build up a 300 million euro (US$204 million) war chest to be used from 2011 through 2013, reports. This will be added to the 200 million euro (US$136 million) annual in IT support contributed by the Commission.

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While the mood in Silicon Valley may still be a far cry from the Gold Rush mentality that was common in the late 1990s, many investors there believe that the worst of the global recession has passed.

In its quarterly Silicon Valley Venture Capitalist Confidence Index, researchers from the University of San Francisco's business school found that of the 35 venture investors surveyed, most believe the economy is on the mend.

On a confidence scale of 1 to 5, with 5 indicating high confidence, investors have registered a 3.37 for the second fiscal quarter in a row, USF researchers said. The figure marks a continued rebound from a low of about 2.8 in the first quarter of 2009, but hovers lower than the 4.5 rating achieved before the recession, in the first quarter of 2007.

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S 1929 EAH

In the House of Representatives,

U. S., October 28, 2009.

Resolved, That the bill from the Senate (S. 1929) entitled ‘An Act to provide for an additional temporary extension of programs under the Small Business Act and the Small Business Investment Act of 1958, and for other purposes.’, do pass with the following


Strike out all after the enacting clause and insert:


(a) In General- Section 1 of the Act entitled ‘An Act to extend temporarily certain authorities of the Small Business Administration’, approved October 10, 2006 (Public Law 109-316; 120 Stat. 1742), as most recently amended by section 1 of Public Law 111-66, is amended by striking ‘October 31, 2009’ each place it appears and inserting ‘January 31, 2010’.

(b) Effective Date- The amendments made by subsection (a) shall take effect on October 30, 2009.




1st Session

S. 1929


CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- The Charleston Area Alliance wants to spread this message throughout the local business community: a diverse work force can bolster your bottom line.

The Alliance has started an initiative called "Inclusion=Innovation." The program includes a series of roundtable seminars to encourage businesses to diversify their work force.
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The company's developers will work with Symbian, Android, and Chrome to optimize open source software with Qualcomm technology. In a move to bolster its mobile open source efforts, Qualcomm is establishing the Qualcomm Innovation Center (QulC), a separate wholly-owned subsidiary.

In a sign of the importance of the QulC, the company's board of directors named Rob Chandhok president of the innovation center. Chandhok is senior vice president of software strategy for Qualcomm CDMA Technologies.

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In the middle of a venture capital funding slump, you might think that early stage investments would be the hardest hit--VC dollars would be siphoned away from early-stage deals and poured into existing portfolio companies (conventionally Series B, C, D, etc. deals). In other words, money attracts money.

You'd have good reason for this belief. Overall venture capital investment funding levels are significantly lower on a year-over-year basis ($6.1B in Q3 2009 versus $7.2B in Q3 2008, according to ChubbyBrain). The absolute amount of money flowing to these early stage ventures is less than it has been.

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