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21 February, Tue
The value of venture capital investors and the importance of physical infrastructure

On the back of the news that Wing Venture Capital has closed its second fund, to the tune of $250 million, venture capital is once again under the spotlight.

At the end of November, the U.K. government also focused heavily on the industry as part of its Autumn Statement, with plans to invest £2 billion into science and tech innovation, as well as a plan to invest £400 million via the British Business Bank into VC funds for growth capital. Interestingly, the U.K.’s Autumn Statement was also laced with new funds and investment strategies around infrastructure.

So why is it important to invest via VCs, and do they add value further to the money they invest into a growth business? Furthermore, what role do physical transport links play in terms of business success and innovation in this, the digital age?

Seemingly, in this very modern and digital world to which most developed societies are now accustomed, there are all manner of different mediums by which to connect, communicate, share knowledge and even send physical objects, in the guise of 3D printers, without need for physical transfer or transport. So surely enhanced physical transport links will have little impact, right?

Wrong.

Research we undertook over the last year was trying to empirically prove or disprove the idea that venture capital investors actually added value further to the capital they invested. We undertook the study predominantly in the U.S., with U.S. businesses and U.S. investors, looking at how direct flights increased face to face interaction between investors and portfolio, and how that in turn impacted those businesses’ probability of success and innovation. The results were really quite interesting.

A good old-fashioned face to face should not be overlooked.

Our research showed that better infrastructure links between investors and portfolio, in the shape of a new direct airline route in this instance, led to an increase in face to face interactions between investors and portfolio businesses due to the comparative time and cost saved. The results for those portfolio with increased face to face time highlighted that the number of patents filed rose by three percent, and the citations per patent rose by almost 6 percent, indicating an increased quantity and quality of innovation.

Furthermore, the probability that those portfolio would IPO or achieve a successful exit also increased. By controlling the impact of “local shocks,” we confirmed that pre-existing trends were not driving these results and that VCs really are adding value to their investments.

Therefore, we were able to empirically prove that venture capital investors do add value to their investments further to the cash injection they are able to provide. How each VC does this will be specific to their skill sets and relationships, but most will be able to offer sound advice and support due to their own business acumen, and open doors to which startup founders may not have access.

Furthermore, the research also highlighted the importance of face to face interactions for businesses, even in this digital age when video calls and emails are seen to be more efficient ways of doing business. In the case of our U.S.-centric study, the introduction of direct flights were effective in increasing these interactions. In the U.K., and other, less expansive, nation states, direct flights are less feasible in terms of intra-city travel, but enhanced transport links such as high-speed trains could have a big impact on increasing these interactions, and, in turn, the success and innovative nature of their growth businesses.

In light of Brexit, it is interesting to see the U.K. investing heavily in infrastructure, whilst other European hubs, which already have access to things such as high-speed rail, namely Germany and France, jostle to take the U.K.’s crown as the European king of startups and venture capital. With other European nations, such as Sweden and Portugal, also working hard to support their blooming tech and investment ecosystems, it is no secret how important innovation, high-growth businesses and their VCs are to the economies of nation-states. These businesses and technologies are the future, but a good old-fashioned face to face should not be overlooked, especially with VC investors.

 

Original

May 2017
23 May, Tuesday
2017 VC Market: U.S. Startup Investment Picks Up In Q1

U.S. startup investment activity somewhat rebounded after a downturn late last year, with larger rounds and an improving environment for tech IPOs. However, funding totals are still below the highs set several quarters ago...

23 May, Tuesday
IKEA launches online sales and builds giant distribution center in Russia

Illustrating the appeal of the Russian e-commerce market, IKEA Russia has made a substantial part of its assortment available online to the inhabitants of Moscow, Saint Petersburg and their surrounding areas, as well as of several cities of Siberia, the Far East, the Central and Northwestern federal districts.

18 May, Thursday
Russian programing language - Kotlin - on Android. Now official

Today, at the Google I/O keynote, the Android team announced first-class support for Kotlin. We believe this is a great step for Kotlin, and fantastic news for Android developers as well as the rest of our community. We’re thrilled with the opportunities this opens up.

17 May, Wednesday
The thaw of the Russian venture market

From the seed stage to maturity deals, venture investment amounted to $894 million last year, up from just $383 million in 2015. “Market growth was essentially driven by a dramatic increase in expansion deals, whereas the volume of seed- and startup-stage deals fell to new lows,” notes Arseniy Dabbakh of RG Partners


17 May, Wednesday
Mid-sized Japanese firms invest in robots and automation due to labor shortage

Desperate to overcome Japan’s growing shortage of labor, mid-sized companies are planning to buy robots and other equipment to automate a wide range of tasks, including manufacturing, earthmoving and hotel room service.

According to a Bank of Japan survey, companies with share capital of 100 million yen to 1 billion yen plan to boost investment in the fiscal year that started in April by 17.5 percent, the highest level on record.


15 May, Monday
Lyft and Waymo Reach Deal to Collaborate on Self-Driving Cars

SAN FRANCISCO — As the race to bring self-driving vehicles to the public intensifies, two of Silicon Valley’s most prominent players are teaming up.


12 May, Friday
Apple invested $200 million in a company that helped make the first iPhone

Apple isn't out to get all of its third-party suppliers, it seems. 

The company has handed $200 million (£155 million) to one of its most important suppliers for the iPhone — glass and ceramics maker Corning.

11 May, Thursday
Nvidia announced a plan to go up against Amazon, Google and Microsoft

Nvidia announced the launch of a cloud service for developers to train artificial intelligence models. But the company, whose stock has been on a tear this week, already sells its graphics processing units to the biggest cloud companies to do just that. What it means is that Nvidia plans to directly compete with Amazon Web Services, Microsoft's Azure, and Alphabet's Google Cloud Platform.

10 May, Wednesday
Amazon unveils the $230 Echo Show, with a screen for calls, shipping June 28

Look out, world: Alexa is coming to a screen near you. Today Amazon unveiled the Echo Show, a WiFi-enabled home device with a seven-inch screen that is the newest addition to its Alexa-powered Echo range of home hubs that plays media and responds to voice commands.

05 May, Friday
Startup investment in Central and Eastern Europe: A ground-breaking research

Already recognized for their engineering excellence, several countries of Central and Eastern Europe (CEE) are now emerging on the global startup scene. Thus for the past couple of years Belarus, Estonia, Russia, Ukraine...

04 May, Thursday
Apple to create $1 billion U.S. advanced manufacturing fund

Apple Inc (AAPL.O) plans to create a $1 billion fund to invest in U.S. companies that perform advanced manufacturing, Chief Executive Officer Tim Cook said on Wednesday, the iPhone maker's latest effort to show how it is creating U.S. jobs. Read more...

03 May, Wednesday
Data management startup Rubrik confirms $180M round at a $1.3B valuation

Rubrik, a startup that provides data backup and recovery services for enterprises across both cloud and on-premises environments, has closed a $180 million round of funding that values the company at $1.3 billion. 

02 May, Tuesday
New Zealand Launches A Three-Year Visa Program For Impact Entrepreneurs

New Zealand recently launched a first-of-its kind program for global impact entrepreneurs interested in setting up shop in the country.


April 2017
28 April, Friday
Robinhood stock-trading app confirms $110M raise at $1.3B valuation

Zero-fee stock-trading app Robinhood has joined the unicorn club.That’s thanks to it reaching 2 million total users, and 17 percent month-over-month growth of its revenue-driving Robinhood Gold subscription product. 

27 April, Thursday
Uber looks to soar with flying taxis by 2020

Uber expects to deploy its flying taxis in Dallas-Fort Worth, Texas, and Dubai by 2020, Chief Product Officer Jeff Holden said at the Uber Elevate Summit in Dallas on Tuesday.

25 April, Tuesday
Snap acquires the crucial geofilter patent from Mobli for a record $7.7M

According to sources, serial entrepreneur and investor Moshe Hogeg, who co-founded Mobli, sold Mobli’s Geofilters patent to Snap this month for $7.7 million. This is believed to be the highest amount paid for a patent from the Israeli tech industry.

24 April, Monday
Elon Musk’s Neuralink wants to turn cloud-based AI into an extension of our brains

Neuralink’s ultimate aim may actually be the most ambitious of all three Musk's companies, surprisingly, and a new exploration of the foundational ideas behind Neuralink on Wait But Why goes deep within what Musk hopes to achieve by creating better, higher-bandwidth connections between our brains and computers.

10 April, Monday
UK financial services fear threat of fintech could cause 40% revenue loss

47% of UK financial firms are planning to make fintech acquisitions during the next three to five years

07 April, Friday
Crunchbase raises $18M, debuts Enterprise business intelligence, plans ‘Marketplace’ for 3rd party data

Crunchbase is laying out a roadmap to be "the master record of all the companies on the Internet"

05 April, Wednesday
Data analysis startup ActionIQ raises $13 million led by Sequoia

ActionIQ, which wants to help marketing employees navigate big data without having to write code, today announced a new $13 million round led by Sequoia Capital.

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