Finance Partner Insights Startup Culture

Financial Startups: Solid Investments that Improve Life in Emerging Markets

A kiosk for Zoona, an Zambian mobile money system that helps entrepreneurs and ordinary people transfer money.

Financial technology startups promise to dramatically lower costs and make financial services more accessible to people who are not reached by traditional financial services today, especially (but not only) in emerging markets. And serving these populations can be profitable. Omidyar Network, where I work, has invested in numerous other fintech companies. But for us, this is more than the latest trend for investors seeking big multiples.   More

Manufacturing Startup Culture Techonomy Events

From Techonomy Detroit: In Manufacturing, Speed Trumps Scale

The "Scale Means Nothing" panel at Techonomy Detroit 2015: (l to r) Michael Chui, Mike Whitens, Mark Hatch, Jerry Foster, Raj Batra.

A tech trifecta is transforming manufacturing: Cloud connectivity, cheaper, computing, and easily-shared digital information. When speed-to-market is valued over all else, businesses that best utilize these tools for R&D, production, and delivery will win. The new synergies are transforming one-man manufacturing startups as much as giants like Ford.   More

Bio & Life Sciences Finance Startup Culture

How Crowdsourcing Can Help Fund Science

A project on science crowd funding site Experiment.

This morning, I helped analyze fish scales to better track migration patterns, by giving the scientists some cash. Crowdfunding has made a difference in all sorts of initiatives, so it’s no surprise to see it pop up in science. Experiment was built by scientists who believe alternative funding could fill a key gap in research.   More

Analytics & Data Cities Startup Culture

Civic Jazz in the New Maker Cities

San Francisco's Market Street Prototyping Festival was a breakthrough moment for civic innovation.

The civic innovation movement began when cities started opening up data. Citizens found new pathways to help generate local energy and growth. Now the movement is getting support from the White House and extending to cities around the country. Communities are getting engaged, and Maker Cities are the result.   More

Cities Global Tech Jobs Startup Culture

The Global Rise of an Entrepreneurial Generation

Hindriks developed Jobbatical not in Silicon Valley for New York but in Tallinn, Estonia. (Photo via Shutterstock)

A connected world and periods of economic upheaval have redefined the aspirations of an entire generatiom. The Millennials are now seeking new ways of working and living interesting lives. The traditional global nerve centers are being augmented by a long lineup of cities working to attract fresh waves of modern talent. Individuals in far corners of the earth are creating products that impact billions of people. Jobbatical is a company started in Estonia which enables this trend to expand further.   More

Partner Insights 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

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

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 who 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

Society Startup Culture Venture for America profiles

Azoti Helps Farmers Sell and Consumers Eat Better


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

Global Tech Startup Culture

Forget Bubble Talk—Beirut Tech Is Accelerating

(Image via Shutterstock)

Recently called "the Silicon Valley of the Middle East" by CNN, and "the Middle East’s Tech Hub" by TechCrunch, Beirut’s tech scene is the darling of international media of late. (Though Techonomy first wrote about it over two years ago.) The tech scene here has turned a corner, going from fledgling to now officially on the map. Among the reasons: the launch of various funds that will bring over $100 million in investments to Lebanon’s startup economy over the next five years, and the ongoing efforts of Lebanon’s Central Bank to decrease the risk of investing in startups. But now three new companies that specifically aim to foster tech startups are setting up. Two of them are accelerators, and one will invest and nurture slightly more mature companies. In a city of 2.2 million, some are wondering, is this a bubble? And if so, when will it burst?   More

Bio & Life Sciences Startup Culture

The New Biohackers: How (and Where) They Work

Larry Melnick, left, and Andy Berks chat over lunch in the common kitchen area of Brooklyn-based community biolab Genspace. (Image via Ellen Jorgensen)

In a laboratory in New York City, molecular biologist Roy Buchanan is finishing up at the bench for the day. It is eight o’clock in the evening, and while late night work is a familiar scenario for most scientists, the presence of Buchanan’s two young sons playing a game in the common area outside the lab is not. “My wife let me work on this project only if I promised to continue sharing the child care responsibilities,” he explains. A computer programmer by day, Buchanan pursues a self-funded genome editing project in his spare time, enabled by the shared facilities and low price point of Genspace, a community biolab in Brooklyn. Buchanan is not alone. The economic downturn has resulted in a surfeit of unemployed and underemployed scientific experts itching to get back into the lab and flex their underused intellectual muscles.   More

Business Keen On Startup Culture

KeenON: SAP’s Bill McDermott Seeks Startup Mentality in the Corner Office

As the CEO of the business software giant SAP, Bill McDermott is self-evidently a winner. But it wasn’t also that way. Born into a humble Long Island family, McDermott is a self-made man whose journey from corner store to corner office is chronicled in his new book "Winners Dream." So is that journey from underdog to top dog still possible in today’s world? Yes, McDermott says.   More

Startup Culture

Idealab’s Bill Gross Taps the Crowd to Create Companies

Crowdsourcing predates the Internet, but Web platforms like Wikipedia supercharged the concept, giving it global currency and making it an increasingly indispensable business strategy. “Using the intelligence and wisdom and ideas from everybody anywhere on the planet—that’s really exciting to me,” says Bill Gross, founder and CEO of Idealab, a tech incubator that bills itself as a “company factory.” Gross sees crowdsourcing as a driving force in competitive new companies, and a powerful tool for established ones. He points to Amazon as a company that harnesses value from the feedback of its millions of users.   More

Startup Culture

Reid Hoffman to Entrepreneurs: Balance Optimism and Caution

Reid Hoffman knows a thing or two about combining entrepreneurial audacity with savvy risk-assessment. He co-founded LinkedIn in 2003, and his venture and angel investments with Greylock Partners include Airbnb, Facebook, Flickr, Mozilla, and Zynga. "One of the key things is maintaining a sense of youthful optimism in terms of the fact that you can make a difference," Hoffman counsels. But he adds that young entrepreneurs also have to "think crisply about how you navigate risk."   More

Keen On Startup Culture

KeenON: Venture Capitalist and Higher Ed Entrepreneur Tim Draper

With his trademark aplomb, the storied venture capitalist Tim Draper is revolutionizing higher education. His new Draper University of Heroes, a Silicon Valley-based startup college, is turning traditional education on its head. Instead of history, students learn the future. Instead of conventional economics, they learn about Bitcoin. And instead of success, they are taught how to fail.   More

Startup Culture

Running Scared? Big Companies Increase Innovation Spending

Screen Shot 2014-11-06 at 12.10.25 PM

VC money is funding aggressive newcomers like Uber and Airbnb, and aims to create the next Teslas, Facebooks and Googles. Insurgent startups seem to be targeting every industry and even inventing new ones. The startups are wielding the weapons of the Internet—cloud, mobile, social, and data analytics—and deftly taking advantage of connectivity and the flattened business environment it enables. As we enter the most disruptive period in business history, established companies with deep pockets—the ones you might call the "disruptees"—are waking up and determined to fight back. Many are refocusing their own efforts to innovate and stay relevant. The result is a stunning range of initiatives.   More

Cities Startup Culture Techonomy Events

Startups, Cities, and Sustaining Innovation

The ideas are flowing fast, as is the money. Young (and old) the world over are increasingly drawn to entrepreneurship, and inventive tech solutions are emerging everywhere. Is “Silicon Valley” a spirit rather than a place? What makes a city attractive for company incubation? Is this energy likely to continue, or will cities like Detroit have trouble sustaining it? Will the successful companies of the future stay put or move elsewhere? In this session from our Sept. 16 Techonomy Detroit conference, angel investor Jill Ford, Josh Linkner of Detroit Venture Partners, VegasTechFund's Andy White, and Venture for America's Andrew Yang join moderator Andrew Keen examine how cities can grow and retain talent and innovative companies.   More

Cities Partner Insights Startup Culture

How Three Idealists Became Ed-Tech Entrepreneurs

Evolve Team Photo

We’ll be the first to admit it: we are an unlikely trio of entrepreneurs. Two of us are black men who grew up in Detroit, left for college, and returned to the city. Two of us are young adults who dropped out of college due to a lack of guidance. Two of us are college advisors devoted to pushing opportunities to high school students and pushing students out of the hood. Together, we are all advocates of urban youth who share a vision and a drive.   More

Cities Startup Culture

Detroit Needs Talented People … and It’s Getting Them

Thanks in part to Venture for America, downtown Detroit has become a hotbed of startup culture. (Image via Shutterstock)

Detroit’s unique challenges have given rise to bold policy prescriptions and created a hotbed of opportunities. In 2012, a dozen smart, enterprising recent college graduates moved to Detroit. They were Venture For America Fellows, assigned to local startups to gain experience and contribute energy to Detroit's revival.   More

Cities Startup Culture

How Detroit Turned Me into a Coder and Entrepreneur


There are three things happening in my life right now that, frankly, would have shocked the college-aged Kate Catlin: I live in Detroit; I’m being trained as a coder; and I’m starting a tech company. All through college I was a gregarious environmental activist living in Washington State and happily climbing mountains every weekend. I dreamed of traveling abroad and leading political campaigns, or maybe a “social enterprise” like TOMS shoes. It almost gives me whiplash to look around now and ask, “What just happened?”   More