Bio & Life Sciences Government Techonomy Events

Growing Bones and On-Demand Joints: Top Picks from TE Bio and Policy

At TE Policy: from left, Sean Parker, Sen. Cory Booker, Sen. Deb Fischer, David Kirkpatrick

This year's Techonomy Bio and Policy conferences examined critical fields being altered by the progress of tech. We covered everything from growing bones to decoding the brain at TE Bio in March. Then TE Policy explored the not always happy confluence of tech innovation and government. We had briefings on Blockchain and the Internet of Things, and deep dives on cyberwar and the European single digital market. We closed with Senators Booker and Fischer and the inimitable Sean Parker on tech, innovation and American progress.   More

Startup Culture Venture for America profiles

The Surprising Truth About Young Entrepreneurs – They’re Fewer than Ever

Venture for America helps young people get acclimated to entrepreneurship. (Photo courtesy VfA)

We are bombarded with prominent images of young people starting tech companies, but the facts tell a different story. The proportion of people ages 20 to 34 who started a business in 2013 has dropped to its lowest level in 17 years. There's a crisis in entrepreneurship, and Andrew Yang, who heads Venture for America, explains what his organization is doing about it. VfA hosts its own annual conference in Detroit immediately following Techonomy Detroit, Sept. 15th & 16th.   More

Venture for America profiles

This Philanthropic Startup Aims to Help Cincinnati Now

People's Liberty takes an innovative approach to social change in Cincinnati, above. (photo via Shutterstock)

People’s Liberty is a philanthropic lab funded by the Haile and Johnson Foundations. Each year, individuals in the Cincinnati area receive grants to work on projects related to civic improvement. Operations Director Jake Hodesh spoke to Techonomy about the nonprofit and its mission.   More

Venture for America profiles

A Startup’s Inspiration: “Dad Had Us Build Our Own Dollhouses”

Cristal Glangchai founded VentureLab in San Antonio to help kids, especially girls, learn about entrepreneurship.

Engineer Cristal Glangchai had trouble convincing female college students to take her entrepreneurship classes. They seemed intimidated and unconfident, both about STEM fields and as potential business leaders. She decided to tackle this problem with early education, founding VentureLab in 2013 to teach K-12 students, particularly girls, about technology and innovation. It's now operating in San Antonio and Austin. VentureLab started as girls-only summer camps in San Antonio. After requests from parents and school administrators, VentureLab now holds co-ed camps in addition to girls-only programs—though the majority of students are still girls—and it designs entrepreneurship curricula for teachers during the school year. It now operates in Austin as well as San Antonio.   More

Bio & Life Sciences Global Tech Startup Culture

Lebanon’s Unlikely Hydroponic Farmer Wants to Change Local Agriculture

Pictured from Left to Right: Christian Sakr, Mahmoud Hossari, Ali Makhzoum, Ali Awad, and Celine Sakr.

Ali Makhzoum thinks his hydroponic farming system can increase farmers’ yields, decrease the labor needed to harvest and reduce the water requirements by up to 90 percent. His Life Labs systems, developed in Beirut, are automated, self-contained, and, Makhzoum hopes, “smart”--with the ability to govern themselves.   More

Venture for America profiles

Tax Policy Eases Life for a Big Easy Solar Startup

Startup Joule takes advantage of the sun shining on the new New Orleans

In 2009 Julian Thomas co-founded Joule, a New Orleans-based solar energy company that helps home and business owners install solar panels and LED lighting. He spoke to Techonomy about startups in New Orleans, the future of solar energy, and the importance of public policy for its future. His company is hosting a Venture for America fellow.   More

Government Security & Privacy Society Techonomy Events

The Mind-Boggling Challenges of a Private and Secure Net

Digital privacy isn’t simple for anyone–consumers, the companies that hold data, or the government. In this high-profile session at Techonomy Policy in June 2015, leaders from AT&T and Microsoft joined venture capitalist Brad Burnham and FCC Commissioner Julie Brill in a probing conversation that underscored the many challenges. Brill worries that consumers do not understand […]   More

Cities Learning Society

Making Detroit a Movement: The Power of Narrative

Building a narrative for Detroit

Throughout history, certain cities at certain moments in time have had an outsized impact. Think about Detroit’s future, built on a rich legacy of innovation and diversity, in terms of a movement—of individuals as well as companies, nonprofits, and public sector institutions. What would really help is a well-crafted narrative.   More

Business Manufacturing Startup Culture

Will Makerspaces Jumpstart a New Industrial Revolution?

Making things at TechShop Palo Alto.

After I first visited TechShop in 2006, I hypothesized that if makers could be given access to the tools of the industrial revolution at a cost they could afford, they could change the world. Nine years later we have innumerable examples of how this access has revolutionized gets to make things, what gets made, and where and how they do it. In other words, it changes the very nature of manufacturing in America.   More

Analytics & Data Global Tech Society

Artificial Intelligence Catches Fire in Ethiopia

Young Ethiopian with robot whose AI software was created in his country. (courtesy iCog Labs)

Ethiopian artificial intelligence R&D is on fire. The driver for this unexpected sector is the government’s massive multi-billion dollar, industrial plan and fervent development of higher education. At the hub is an AI group, iCog Labs, co-founded in 2012 by a young Ethiopian roboticist, Getnet Aseffa Gezaw, and an American AI pioneer, Ben Goertzel. With twenty five Ethiopian software engineers, iCog pursues full-on ‘Strong Intelligence.’   More

Bio & Life Sciences Business

Can Hot Consumer Genomics Startup Helix Keep the FDA at Bay?

image from Shutterstock

A new company launched by the market leader in DNA sequencing aims to bring genomics to the masses. Helix, kicked off on August 18 with a capital injection of more than $100 million, appears to embrace a direct-to-consumer approach that hasn’t been seen since pioneer 23andMe's ready-to-mail spit kits. Given the FDA’s firm pushback against 23andMe, though, does Helix has a bright future?   More

Business Video

Citi Ventures’ Colella on Disruption and the Pace of Change

“Every industry…is ripe for some kind of disruption,” says Citi Ventures’ Vanessa Colella, a veteran investor and tech expert embedded in the heart of a major multinational financial institution. In this video interview, conducted by Techonomy at a recent dinner jointly hosted with Citi Ventures, Colella speaks about the challenges and opportunities for big companies […]   More

Society Startup Culture Venture for America profiles

Azoti Helps Farmers Sell and Consumers Eat Better

via Shutterstock.com

Azoti helps buyers connect to local food sources. Based in Columbus, the startup works with small farms to supply discounted fresh produce to employees of schools, civic organizations, and major employers like OhioHealth. Dave Ranallo started the company in 2012. He's an Ohio native who grew up eating fresh fruits and vegetables from his grandparents’ garden.   More

Cities Transportation

The Techonomic Pleasures of Renting a Bicycle in Austin

Austin's Excellent Bike System Philip Arno Photography / Shutterstock.com

As the on-demand economy grows, people increasingly rent things just when they need them, with services like TaskRabbit, Uber, Airbnb, and RideShare. And urban bicycle rental services are burgeoning. In Austin, Texas recently, I discovered the one there is impressively well run. It integrates just the right cyber and physical elements to deliver a glass-smooth experience.   More

Cities Jobs Techonomy Events

I Love Detroit

At last year's TE Detroit--Brookings' Jennifer Bradley, TaskRabbit's Stacy Brown-Philpot, WEF's April Rinne, and NUY's Arun Sundararajan.

It’s been amazing to watch the change in Detroit the past four years. In late 2011 when we started thinking about organizing a conference in Detroit, even Detroiters thought we were a little nuts. Eventually people responded with enthusiasm, especially those from out of town who were fascinated by the provocative location. Four years later, the entrepreneurial energy is going full force. Startups are burgeoning, cultural institutions are arising, and in general Detroit is a place to be. And we're still going strong. Our speaker line up for Techonomy Detroit on Sept. 15 includes Mayor Mike Duggan, Carl Bass of Autodesk, Mark Bertolini of Aetna, McKinsey's Michael Chui, Jennifer Crozier of IBM, Esther Dyson, Jim Fallows, Andrew Keen and Charlene Li.   More

Global Tech

Staunch Syria Enclave Holds Off ISIL—And Finds Support Online

Socialist activists demonstrate support for Rojava / via Allt åt Alla Malmö

In northern Syria, along the Turkish border, has emerged a de facto autonomous region known as Rojava. The enclave is engaged in a brave and for the time being successful fight for self-governance and independence against considerable odds. Many of its best soldiers fight in all-female battalions. Meanwhile, supporters of the region’s socialist-feminist ideology are working to help them with a new Indiegogo campaign. Rojava's population is roughly the same as San Francisco, and comprised of a Kurdish majority along with Arabs, Chechens, Armenians, and other ethnic groups. After declaring autonomy from Syria in November 2013, Rojava established a political system built on principles of direct democracy and gender equality, and has drawn comparisons to revolutionary Catalonia in the Spanish Civil War.   More

Business

What Becoming Steve Jobs Taught Me About Management

GongTo / Shutterstock.com

Brent Schlender and Rick Tetzeli's Becoming Steve Jobs is an intimate portrait of Steve Jobs’ evolution. It is also, perhaps accidentally, one of the most insightful and instructive books on management I have ever read. While one may not typically think of a biography as a leadership or self-help book, Schlender and Tetzeli capture the kind of growth that all leaders should push themselves towards.   More

Government Techonomy Events

Towards a Bipartisan Tech Strategy in D.C.

Should America have a bipartisan technology agenda? It certainly seems like a good idea. And Senator Cory Booker of New Jersey argued for one emphatically at the closing session of the Techonomy Policy conference in Washington in early June. What made the session remarkable, at least to those of us whose expectations are dulled by the deluge of punditry proclaiming partisan deadlock in Washington, is that Senator Deb Fischer of Nebraska agreed with him. Fischer of course is a Republican, and Booker a Democrat. Booker says we are now too often choking innovation rather than allowing it to flourish. Meanwhile, Sean Parker, the tech entrepreneur and investor, who joined the two onstage, spoke passionately about his own bipartisan approach to policy advocacy. He says his friends call him crazy for not just supporting politicians of one party, but he says he thinks "it's actually quite sane."   More

Government Partner Insights

What the U.S. Government Does Right in Promoting Innovation

John Holdren and Wan Gang at the U.S.-China Innovation Dialogue. Photo by Erin-Michael Gill

There are two unfortunate, and incorrect narratives around the United States government’s role in innovation: some say our government is increasingly neglecting its duty to “promote science and the useful arts” by not adequately investing in new science and technology development. Or this even more pernicious narrative: the U.S. government is wasting taxpayer resources and doing too much to handhold innovation. These people say we are inappropriately directing government monies toward high-risk research that private companies should do instead, since they are better equipped to understand market needs and opportunities.   More

Business

Who Wins in Innovation, the Big or the Small?

During a dinner hosted by Techonomy last month in New York, we asked a few of our guests to talk about the challenges of innovation at large companies. Even the big company people there recognize that smallness has its advantages. Startups are often able to move at a quicker pace, unburdened by the operational complexity that large companies often experience. They are able to “fail fast and be much more agile,” said Jud Linville, who runs Citi's credit card business.   More