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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.

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Standing outside of the Mercy Virtual facility in St. Louis on an unusually cold fall day, I was on the phone with two founders who were pitching me on a new blockchain startup. They had a few customers and some early traction, but nothing to indicate product-market fit. And yet, they had raised $3.5 million from crypto investors in an Initial Exchange Offering (IEO) to grow the team and build product. Remarkably, the $3.5 million they raised was non-dilutive, meaning they didn't have to give up equity in their business the same way you would have to through traditional venture capital. 

Image: https://finance.yahoo.com

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Armed with some data from our friends at Crunchbase, I broke down the largest US startup funding rounds from the last quarter of 2019. I have included some additional information such as industry, company description, round type, founders, and total equity funding raised to further the analysis. To maintain a focus on tech-enabled companies, real estate, biotech, and lending companies were excluded.  This report only contains equity fundings.

Image: https://www.alleywatch.com

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Home Office Computer Desk Free photo on Pixabay

It’s a well-known fact that innovation is vital in today’s business world. And, strategic innovation requires skilled people. In the right roles. With clear paths to advance careers. Yet, a major challenge to businesses lies in the way they select, develop, and reward these people.

In their book Beyond the Champion: Institutionalizing Innovation Through People, Babson Professors Gina O’Connor and Andrew Corbett identify nine key roles that businesses must fill to achieve strategic innovation—a must in today’s business world.

 

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The 15 most iconic Super Bowl commercials ever Business Insider

The Kansas City Chiefs and the San Francisco 49ers both have their eyes set on the Lombardi trophy.

But off the field, brands from Facebook to Pepsi will attempt to outwit each other with their Super Bowl commercials.

While we wait to see which advertisers will win this year's event (here are the brand winners and losers of Super Bowl 2019), it's as good as a time as ever to take a walk down memory lane.

Image: Budweiser's "Puppy Love" commercial from 2014. YouTube/Budweiser

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Banners and Alerts and Unicorn Moon Full Free image on Pixabay

We live in the age of the unicorn; startups that seem to leap to billion dollar valuations overnight. It’s a wonderful time to be an entrepreneur. The upside has never been greater. But let’s face it, the reason they’re called unicorns is because they are exceptionally rare.

While I regularly work with well-funded startups that have the possibility of joining the ranks of unicorns, I’ve also seen the other side of this phenomenon; founders and companies that become obsessed with their valuation and set their sights, and those of their employees, on incredibly unrealistic growth expectations.

 

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Gov Wolf Announces PA Innovation Plan Proposal MyChesCo

HARRISBURG, PA — Governor Tom Wolf yesterday announced a budget proposal intended to fuel innovation across Pennsylvania, with the hope of making the commonwealth a national competitor in attracting and retaining entrepreneurs and startups through strategic funding and community support.

“A strong community and entrepreneurial network are crucial for success. This holds true for start-ups, as well as established businesses,” said Gov. Wolf. “I’m proposing a strategic statewide innovation investment plan that will help get us on the right track to making Pennsylvania an innovation leader.”

Image: Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf speaks during a press conference, which announced an ambitious budget proposal to fuel innovation across Pennsylvania, inside Mill 19 in Pittsburgh on Friday, January 24, 2020. - https://mychesco.com

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cash

It's a new year and a new decade, and private equity finds itself in something of a paradox. PE firms have record amounts of unspent cash on hand, and they plan on heading back to the markets to raise still more.

Private markets continue to attract investors looking for the historically higher returns that can be found outside the public markets. The upshot: PE fundraising this year will likely come in fairly steady, near 2019's record haul.

 

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echo dot

Since last year I’ve had a smart speaker in my living room—an Echo Dot. My family uses it mostly to ask Amazon’s digital assistant, Alexa, to play music. But after I saw a report that an Alexa-enabled speaker owned by a family in Portland, Oregon, had recorded a conversation and sent it to a contact, I started wondering: what is it picking up on at my house when we’re not talking to it directly?

So I checked my Alexa history (you can do that through the “settings” portion of the Amazon Alexa smartphone app) to see what kinds of things it recorded without my knowledge.

 

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Aytekin Tank

Here's a lesson in longevity, so take notes.

Grab the nearest pen from your desk, bag, or junk drawer. There’s a good chance it’s a Bic Cristal, the ubiquitous ballpoint launched in 1950 by Marcel Bich. Since then, BIC has sold over 100 billion worldwide. The product even has a place in the Museum of Modern Art’s permanent collection.

Today, BIC is known for three product categories: stationery, lighters, and razors. But a look back at the company's 70-year history offers a case study in the value of sustained focus, and the dangers of straying from the path. 

 

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bomb

One of the quickest ways to become an entrepreneur these days is to develop and publish a smartphone app. The price of entry can be less than $10,000, so the competition is huge and growing rapidly. According to Tim Cook at Apple, there were over 20 million registered developers in 2018. Yet according to other statistics, vanishing few of these ever generate a significant profit.

We all hear about the big winners, such as the game Clash of Clans, which still pulls in over a million dollars a day, and the smartphone version of Skype, which is making money through credits as an extension of the website version. We don’t hear about the remaining several million apps that are mostly free, and garnering only trivial revenue through advertising.

 

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reading a book.

Want to be a millionaire? Start thinking like one. And if you're not sure how, one logical first step is to start reading like one. 

MillionaireMatch, a dating site for high-net-worth individuals, conducted a survey over the holidays to determine the books most recommended by millionaires. About 500 users were surveyed, and according to a site representative, their millionaire status was "verified" by way of submitted financial documents.

 

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Jeremy Whannell

Crowdfunding in the Netherlands has become one of the most popular ways to raise money for a project, or event. There are numerous reasons for crowdfunding becoming such a phenomenon in the modern era. Part of the reason is that it embraces new technological trends by using the online sphere to connect people with entrepreneurs and gives both newfound opportunities to make money.

 

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