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Cities Learning Startup Culture

With Help from Etsy, a Small-City Mayor Brings the Maker Movement to the Classroom

Larry Morrissey was 35 and had never held a political office when he ran a successful campaign as an independent candidate to become mayor of Rockford, Ill., in 2005. Now in his third term, Morrissey is determined to bring the city where he grew up back from years of economic decline. Among efforts to bolster local business and the city’s faltering education system, he recently teamed up with the online marketplace Etsy to create a pilot program for entrepreneurship education. He says it’s a link to an era when entrepreneurship was a way of life, not something learned in grad school.   More

Startup Culture

Venture for America Brings a Socially-Conscious Entrepreneur Home

When Chelsea Koglmeier left Cincinnati after high school, she never thought she would return to live in her home city. But barely a year after college graduation, she’s back, working for a company that makes a mobile app for planning road trips. Koglmeier is a fellow at Venture for America, a program that places bright college grads at startups in struggling cities. Techonomy spoke with Koglmeier about creating social impact, diving into startup culture, and seeing her home city in a new light.   More

Cities Media & Marketing Startup Culture

Detroit’s Ambassador Helps Companies Reward Their Advocates

How do companies leverage the communities they build among users, and reward consumers for becoming unofficial ambassadors for their products and services? Detroit native Jeff Epstein asked this question in 2008, just as social media was coming into its own as an empowering platform for consumers. Epstein established Ambassador as a way for companies to give their biggest online evangelists a piece of the action. We spoke with him about harnessing word-of-mouth for a digital marketplace, and on Detroit as startup mecca.   More

Cities Startup Culture

Why a Recruiting Startup Thrives in Detroit

With backing from Detroit Venture Partners, Matt Mosher founded hiredMYway.com in 2010. In the crowded field of online recruiting, it might have seemed an unlikely-to-succeed upstart. But as an entrepreneur since his early teens, Mosher knew how to take a fresh approach in order to coexist with the biggest names in the industry. With Detroiter moxie, he built the Swiss Army knife of recruiting sites.   More

Cities Startup Culture

Detroit Startup Wants the World to Get Glocal

Launched in 2011, Detroit's Glocal offers users a tailored local experience via online community forums. It aims to counter a loss of connection with local community that many see as a negative effect of the global hyper-connectedness driven by social media. Techonomy spoke with Glocal President Lincoln Cavalieri about the importance of zooming in on what’s happening in your own neck of the woods.   More

Cities Startup Culture

Detroit’s Workfolio Helps Anyone Build Their Own Personal Website

Workfolio was founded in Detroit, but today also operates out of New York. The company aims to make creating online professional profile websites intuitive for everyone in the working world. Techonomy spoke with Workfolio Founder and CEO Charles Pooley about personal branding, how he got into DIY Web design, and what sets Detroit apart from other cities.   More

Learning Startup Culture

What Is Blerdology?

Blerds unite! Blerdeology, a social enterprise to support and engage the black startup and STEM community, is rallying blerds (black nerds) across the country with its “Blerd’s Night Out Tour.” Blerdology is the first organization to produce hackathons specifically targeting African-Americans, and these summer networking events aim to showcase rising black innovators and engage minority startup ecosystems.   More

Cities Startup Culture

Why I Love Detroit for Launching a Startup

By the time my company LevelEleven launched last fall after being incubated within Pleasant Ridge’s ePrize, I had already planned our business strategy and next steps. And it never crossed my mind to move out of Detroit to build LevelEleven in a more obvious startup market. Why? In part, because this is home. But Detroit also has many characteristics that make it a great place to launch a technology startup. There’s a lot of noise about entrepreneurs in Silicon Valley and New York. But listen closely and you can hear a new buzz coming out of the Motor City.   More

Startup Culture

A Talent Transfusion for Scrappy Startup Hubs

Maybe Millennials aren't as selfish as people think. Some college grads are turning down high salaries in finance and consulting for entry level positions at startups in cities like Detroit, New Orleans, and Baltimore—where they can have an impact on the community while also learning important entrepreneurial skills. They are doing so with the help of Venture for America, a nonprofit that matches highly talented graduates with startup businesses in cities that need an economic boost, The New York Times reports. Founder Andrew Yang says that the program aims to improve talent allocation among bright college graduates. “Promising growth companies, companies that are five years old or less, are the consistent engine of job creation in this country,” he told Techonomy in an interview last fall.   More

Security & Privacy Startup Culture

How Startups Helped the NSA Build PRISM

In 2004, while working for USA Today, then based in part of an Arlington, Va., office tower, I wanted to do a story about the CIA’s then-experimental venture capital unit called In-Q-Tel. I got the OK from In-Q-Tel to visit its office. But the CIA was so concerned about secrecy and terrorism, I had to agree to not reveal where the office was located. So I met a man on the ground floor of an office tower that had once housed USA Today, and he promptly took me back up the elevator. In-Q-Tel’s office was in the same building. I may be one of the only journalists to go there. In-Q-Tel has since moved down the street. You can find its address on the Web—though not on its own web site. And now that the National Security Agency’s PRISM data-collection system has been outed, In-Q-Tel is more visible than it's ever been.   More

Global Tech Startup Culture

Beirut—yes Beirut—Has a Vibrant, Growing Tech Scene

OK, Beirut, Lebanon may not yet be a startup hub like Silicon Valley, Silicon Alley, or even Dubai. But recent success stories suggest that the Middle Eastern city is emerging as a serious contender. They include event-ticketing and crowfunding platform Presella, mobile music app Anghami, and local tech darling Instabeat, a swim-goggle-mounted heart-rate monitor. “You can get a feel that there is a community developing,” says Rabih Nassar, founder of element^n, a company that provides cloud platform services. “There are a lot of ideas, a lot of young people who want to jump in.”   More

Startup Culture

At Jeff Skoll’s Annual Woodstock for Social Entrepreneurs

Jeff Skoll made his fortune as the first full-time employee and president of eBay. Now, as a philanthropist, he uses his eponymous foundation to back people tackling problems like education inequality and disease. A few weeks ago I attended the Skoll Foundation’s tenth annual World Forum on Social Entrepreneurship. The three-day event takes place at the Saïd Business School at Oxford University, where in 2003 Skoll endowed a center devoted to social entrepreneurship.   More

Finance Government Startup Culture

Why the JOBS Act Hasn’t Launched Equity Crowdfunding

When the JOBS Act was signed into law, its knotty crowdfunding provisions quickly became a source of consternation for the SEC. More than one year later, the law continues to languish, as the SEC moves slowly to implement its two most important provisions. One would enable general advertising for private investment offerings, and another would open the floodgates by allowing unaccredited investors to participate in online equity crowdfunding.   More

Internet of Things Startup Culture

Launching the Internet of Everything One Startup at a Time

With our May 16 Techonomy Lab: Man, Machines, and the Network in Menlo Park this week, we look at five startups delivering connectivity to consumers in various aspects of their lives. BERG Cloud of London pivoted from design consultancy to cloud service with its own connected products. In 2006 BERG built the Availabot, a puppet-like, vaguely humanoid USB-plug-in gadget that notifies users when their contacts are available to chat by standing up, and then falling down when contacts go offline. One day the notion of the Net existing only behind a screen will seem odd, predicts BERG Cloud’s Matt Webb. “To me the Internet won’t stay trapped behind the glass; we’ll see it flip. It’ll be everywhere.”   More

Business Startup Culture

XO’s Carley Roney on Startups, NY, and The Knot

At a Dell Women's Entrepreneurship Network dinner, Techonomy's David Kirkpatrick spoke with XO Group co-founder Carley Roney about her company's trajectory since 1996. Roney says barriers to entry are much lower for startups today than when she and her husband David Liu were launching The Knot, XO's signature enterprise. "Now you can iterate more quickly and test things and segment," says Roney. "None of those things were possible at the time." With resources scarce, Roney says her team had to launch with a clear business plan.   More

Business E-Commerce Startup Culture

Startup Creativity Flourishes at NY Tech Day

There seems no limit to the business ideas the Internet can spawn. More than 400 tech startups, most of them dot-coms and 75% New York-based, exhibited at NY Tech Day on April 25. Some presented pre-launch concepts; others, more established, were there seeking investors, recruiting employees, and hatching partnerships. Concepts included the countercultural (InkedMatch.com, online matchmaking for tattoo lovers), the controversial (Parlor, enabling phone conversations between like-minded strangers), and the socially purposeful (Audicus.com, high-quality hearing aids sold at steep discounts to a market that includes earbud-damaged 20-somethings).   More

Business Startup Culture

It May Be Easier to Start Businesses Than You Think

My friend Loic Le Meur writes an ebullient explanation for LinkedIn of the many ways you can advance a business without agonizing over it. His main message is not to agonize, but rather just do it. Company ideas come when you least expect them; the best ideas don't flow from workaholism; mistakes are part of the package; starting before you're ready is routine; and focusing on how much money you'll make is counterproductive.   More

Business Startup Culture

Josh Linkner on Why Entrepreneurs Should Be Street Fighters

Having built four startups from scratch and now investing full-time, you could say I’m in the business of entrepreneurship. But I don’t think that’s the right term anymore. At all. The word entrepreneur is borrowed from French and implies an aristocratic polish. It conjures up images of backroom deals with white men in three-piece suits, perhaps even wearing top hats, neatly manicured and coddled, issuing orders from afar to sweaty and tattered workers. But that just ain’t the way you win today.   More

Techonomy 12 Business Startup Culture Techonomy Events Video

Cloudpreneurs

In this talk, Bertil Chappuis, Senior Partner at McKinsey & Company, explores how cloud technology is helping to boost entrepreneurship. Read the full transcript below. Kirkpatrick: So now I’m going to bring up Bertil Chappuis from McKinsey who’s talking about some very interesting issues surrounding cloud and how to think about that. McKinsey is going […]   More

Business Startup Culture

Welcome to Little Big Inc.

You’ve got a great idea. You’ve assembled a team of four or five people, all enthusiastic, all raring to go. That’s it. You’re ready to take on the giants. This is not the familiar story of online start-ups and one-app wonders, where the business model is a quick sell-out to Facebook, Google, or Apple. Instead it’s the story of companies like Jimdo, a small German business that makes it easy to build and run websites—whether you want to run a blog, create a personal site to show off your fly-fishing prowess, or create an online presence for your small business. Jimdo started as the side project of an online marketing team that didn’t like the software available at the time to build websites. So they built their own easy-to-use, browser-based tools.   More