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 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

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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

Cities Startup Culture

Hooked on Company-Building and Community in Detroit

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Entering my senior year of college after a summer working at an investment bank, I had decided that I wanted to be an entrepreneur. As I began thinking about how to become an entrepreneur, however, I was faced with the reality that I didn’t have an idea to launch straight out of college, and even if I did, I had no idea how to go about starting a company. I was an aspiring entrepreneur without experience, mentorship, or an idea. I had a problem. Then I heard about Venture for America, and it was the perfect solution to my problem.   More

Cities Startup Culture

Idea Village: 5 Things We Can Learn from the Folks Bringing Startups to New Orleans

New Orleans Skyline During Sunrise

In the mid-1980s, New Orleans was in a downward spiral, in part because of its longstanding political corruption and failing education system, but also because the once-thriving Louisiana energy industry tanked as soon as oil prices fell to $10 a barrel. Statewide, one out of every eight people was unemployed. Economic hardship drove residents toward opportunities in more prosperous places such as Atlanta, Dallas, Houston, New York, and Boston. The exodus was most prevalent among 23-to-35-year-olds, the very demographic that could have provided the fresh ideas and innovative businesses essential for growing the state’s economy and addressing its pressing social issues.   More

Startup Culture

SwiftKey CTO Debuts Our “Three Questions” Video Series

Techonomy hosted Ben Medlock, CTO and co-founder of Britain's SwiftKey, in our Manhattan offices for a short video interview. It was the first episode of a new online series we call "Three Questions from Techonomy." Medlock talked about his company, the growing importance of AI, and how tech is changing the world. This modest CTO has a company with outscale success—now on about 150 million smartphones globally, including most Samsung phones. His software autocompletes typing on the Android keyboard, and is the state of the art in keyboard technology. The company recently completed a $20 million funding round with venture capital firms Accel and Index Ventures.   More

Cities Startup Culture

Techonomic Top 5: Startup Slowdown, Euro Urban Innovation, Prescribing Addictive Games, and More

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Every week we spotlight techonomic happenings on the Web and beyond, picking people, companies, and trends that exemplify tech’s ever-growing role in business and society. Here’s what’s got our attention. A new report from entrepreneurship advocacy organization the Kauffman Foundation indicates the number high-tech startups—defined as young companies with a high proportion of STEM workers—has been in decline since 2000. The study concludes that the slowdown in tech entrepreneurship “might have disproportionate effects on long-term economic growth,” noting that while tech startups often fail, they help to sustain a vigorous rate of net new job creation.   More

Global Tech Startup Culture

You Don’t Have to Live in Silicon Valley to Start a Company

Berlin has emerged as one of Europe's startup magnets. (Image via Shutterstock)

Just about every city in the world is now teaming with young people (and some older ones) who are starting companies with ambitious and tech-savvy aims. This good essay by a former Facebook European executive underscores how pointless it is for everyone to compare their own region or city with Silicon Valley. Yes that hub will remain potent, but with tech transforming the entire planet there is ample reason for confidence that numerous other places can become vibrant hubs. The bigger challenge for Europe is the continuing prejudice in many countries against entrepreneurship and risk, and labor laws that frequently become punitive.   More

Learning Startup Culture

Education Experts Say College Becoming Like a Startup

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A global survey of leaders in education arrived at six five-year predictions. But they didn't just say social media will burgeon as a tool, along with "blended learning," in which online and offline methods converge. The leaders surveyed by the New Media Consortium and the Educause Learning Initiative also think college will become more like a startup, literally. Methods that replicate the atmosphere of startups will emerge on campus. And the influence of the maker movement will lead to actually producing things as a way to learn. Also likely to become more important: data-driven learning and assessment, as well as just plain more online learning.   More

Startup Culture

Don’t Worry, Be a Happy Entrepreneur

Bobby McFerrin, the original evangelist of the "Don't Worry, Be Happy" gospel. (Image via Shutterstock)

In terms of satisfaction with their work lives, entrepreneurs are some of the happiest people on the planet, according to a report put out last week by the Global Entrepreneurship Monitor. The finding was a part of GEM's 2013 Global Report, which examined the special topic of Entrepreneurship and Well-Being.   More

Government Startup Culture

Should Politicians Be More Like Silicon Valley Entrepreneurs?

Should all politicians have to launch a startup before entering politics? That’s the question I asked California’s Lieutenant Governor, Gavin Newsom, at the latest Ericsson and AT&T hosted FutureCast event held at the AT&T Foundry in Palo Alto. Newsom, the author of "Citizenville," a kind of digital manifesto for 21st century networked politics, didn’t beat around the bush. “Yes," Newsom replied, sounding more like a startup guy than a career politician.   More

Startup Culture

Why Do People Still Come to Silicon Valley?

The traffic is terrible, the real-estate ridiculously expensive, the public schools aren’t that great and the gulf between rich and poor is increasingly pronounced. So why do people still come to Silicon Valley? That’s the question we asked participants at a recent Ericsson and AT&T Foundry hosted FutureCast event that focused on innovation in Silicon Valley. The answers from our international audience were varied, instructive and entertaining.   More

Startup Culture

Can Silicon Valley Survive?

Silicon Valley hasn’t had one of its best years. There are more and more complaints about inequality, discrimination against women and minorities, lack of innovation and a focus on short-term economic gain. The Valley, veterans say, isn’t what it used to be. And, they go on, if Silicon Valley is to survive, it has to reinvent itself in an increasingly competitive global economy where most of the rest of the world is trying to emulate the Valley. So, I asked David Kirkpatrick, when I interviewed him at an Ericsson and AT&T Foundry hosted FutureCast event that focused on the future of innovation, how exactly can Silicon Valley reinvent itself?   More

Startup Culture

Are the Best and Brightest Still Coming to Silicon Valley?

Are the smartest entrepreneurs and technologists still attracted to Silicon Valley? Does the Valley still pull in the best and brightest from around the world? According to David Kirkpatrick, who I interviewed at an Ericsson and AT&T Foundry hosted FutureCast event, the answer may well be no. Kirkpatrick tells the story of a remarkably talented Chinese guy he met in Beijing recently who had read his book, “The Facebook Effect,” five times. “I was just amazed I stumbled across that in Beijing,” he told me. This guy, Kirkpatrick explained, was running a 20-person Beijing startup just focused on making Facebook games.   More

Startup Culture

Is Silicon Valley the Center of the Innovation Universe?

Silicon Valley takes it for granted that it’s the center of the innovation universe. But that, of course, is a weakness—which points to the often parochial and inward looking nature of many Silicon Valley entrepreneurs and investors. So is Silicon Valley really the center of the innovation universe? That’s the question we asked an invitation-only crowd who came to the AT&T Foundry in Palo Alto to hear me interview David Kirkpatrick at the Ericsson and AT&T hosted FutureCast event.   More

Energy & Green Tech Startup Culture

Microsoft’s Craig Mundie on Why He’s a Techno-Optimist

Take a monolithic problem like climate change and consider its solutions. Many would say the only answer is to get all of us to alter our lifestyles so we can cut back on greenhouse gas emissions. But a "techno-optimist" like Microsoft's Craig Mundie would urge us to approach the problem from a different, more novel angle: Instead of hinging Earth's health on changing all of society, what about engineering a method of reflecting heat out of the atmosphere? At our Techonomy 2013 conference in November, Mundie spoke with us about how creative traits like "risk tolerance" and "novelty seeking" will help us confront big challenges like climate change. "If you give us a big problem, we'll invent a big answer," he says. "We're [not] bound to live within the constraints of the capabilities we only know today."   More

Manufacturing Startup Culture

Tesla’s Elon Musk to Would-Be Innovators: Just Try

Techonomy’s David Kirkpatrick was in Texas this week to interview super-magnate Elon Musk, the entrepreneurial marvel behind Tesla Motors and SpaceX. Their wide-ranging conversation was part of the opening keynote at this year’s Dell World, held Dec. 11-13 at the Austin Convention Center. Kicked off by Dell Founder and CEO Michael Dell, Thursday’s keynote delved into Tesla’s rapid but sometimes rocky evolution, from the electric car company’s early struggles to get financing to its current market capitalization of over $18 billion.   More

Techonomy 13 Startup Culture Techonomy Events Video

180° Shift: From Collector of Puzzle Pieces to Letting Go

Michael Smolens discusses his startup Dotsub and the challenges of communicating in a diverse world of languages. Watch video and read the complete transcript here.   More

Techonomy 13 Startup Culture Techonomy Events Video

180° Shift: Is Freemium Dead in the Enterprise?

Gaurav Dhillon of SnapLogic discusses startup business models and why his company abandoned the "freemium" approach. Watch video and read the complete transcript here.   More