Mar 28

Wonders & Blunders: Startups That Don’t Want Money

 
OUR CRITICAL ANALYSIS OF THE WEEK’S NEWS
Rarely does a startup refuse investors’ money, and rarer still does that refusal make the news. But the media did cover a public announcement from a group of top tech executives and entrepreneurs, who urged the venture capital (VC) industry to diversify or else their companies won’t accept the money. In the cutthroat, competitive world of Silicon Valley, VCs may be forced heed the call of increasing diversity if they want to continue the everlasting quest to invest in the hottest startup.
 
Automation has its naysayers, but some countries are in desperate need of a solution to the problem of an aging population. Robots can fill this worker shortage, keeping previously short-staffed factories and other businesses open while retaining and creating jobs for human employees.
 
It was only a matter of time before the master of the universe, Google, started adding blockchain technology to its cloud services. Rest assured, we’re probably safe from a blockchain-based name change just to increase the stock price!
 
This message brought to you by Alphabet Blockchain Company (ABC). Just kidding.
Startups Refuse VCs Without Diversity
Wonder: Hundreds of Start-Ups Tell Investors: Diversify, or Keep Your Money – by Pui-Wing Tam in The Wall Street Journal.
 
More than 400 entrepreneurs and executives in the tech industry have formed a
Founders for Change coalition. ‘Change’ refers to the importance of increasing diversity in the venture capital industry. “We’re interested in reshaping the way that tech looks,” one member said. Executives from Dropbox, Lyft, Airbnb and StitchFix joined the group, which published an unusual (for Silicon Valley) statement outlining diversity’s importance in the tech industry and how the diversity of an investment firm will be an important consideration when the companies within the coalition accept investor funds. This announcement turns the tables on the traditional power balance between VCs and startups.
Robots Help Fix the Worker Shortage
 
Aging nations such as Germany and South Korea have a shortage of workers and are unable to fill the jobs available. Robots are stepping in to fill the gap, according to a new study by the U.S. National Bureau of Economic Research. The study found a correlation between aging blue-collar workforces and the increased use of automation. The places with the fastest-aging population were most likely to deploy machines to fill in for scarce workers. Employers predict the overall labor force will keep shrinking, so many are getting started with automation to prepare for the future.
Blockchain Services by Google Cloud
Wonder: Google Is Working on Its Own Blockchain-Related Technology – by Olga Kharif and Mark Bergen in Bloomberg.
 
Is there anything Google’s not doing? The tech giant is now working on blockchain technology for its cloud business, hoping to subdue competition from startups already using blockchain. Google may use a distributed digital ledger to prove to customers that their data is secure on the servers that power the Google cloud services. Third parties will be able to post and verify transactions, and a white label version of the blockchain tech will be available for companies to operate on their own servers, as well.
» IN THE NEWS
The San Diego Business Journal quotes Ken Slaght, President of San Diego’s Cyber Center of Excellence (CCOE) about the cybersecurity programs at universities.
The Next Web quotes George White, CEO of Pavia Systems, about the next big thing in IoT.
» BOTTOM LINE: 5 Standouts from the Forbes Fintech 50 List
Every year Forbes publishes a list of the 50 hottest fintech companies challenging the status quo. Some members are veterans while others are newcomers, but most importantly, as the list changes over time it demonstrates the industry’s shifts and demands. We’ve selected a few standouts to highlight, here’s why.
» FEATURED CASE STUDY: COBINHOOD
COBINHOOD, a cryptocurrency platform built for the blockchain era, approached KCD PR as an unknown entity to the outside world. From our initial proposal to the Initial Coin Offering (ICO), KCD PR had three weeks to build awareness with the media and potential investors. In addition to being in Taipei, Taiwan, the firm also faced challenges associated with not having a U.S. presence or U.S. representation on its board of advisors.
 
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