Interest: With recovery from the financial crisis well underway, it is clear that economic rebound isn’t synonymous with a heroic return to the way things were pre-crash. Investors frustrated by flat fixed-income securities and an economic climate wrought with uncertainty are increasingly including alternative investments in their portfolios in an effort to obtain uncorrelated returns.
Interest: The structure of entrepreneurial education seems to be based on an assumption that entrepreneurs need venture capital for growth. Accordingly many business schools organize business plan competitions; conduct shark tanks with mentors, angels and VCs; teach venture-capital financing; and lead students in the direction of capital intensity.
Interest: Who knew betting on the weather could make a billion dollars? It just did for The Climate Corporation, which underwrites weather insurance for farmers. Monsanto broke the news this morning that it was buying Climate for approximately $930 million.
Interest: "I can't tell you how many times we've met with early-stage companies, and they start by telling us their big vision. They say, 'This is what we're about and what we want to change.' But when we ask them what they actually do, they can’t tell us. If you can’t answer that question, don’t do anything else until you can. Nothing else matters."
Interest: When Google (GOOG) in 2009 announced its own venture capital fund, some traditional VCs smirked. Today, not so much: With a portfolio highlighted by names like Uber, Airtime and AngelList, the search giant's venture arm is in the thick of the action. Having launched with the goal of investing $100 million a year, Google Ventures now invests at least three times that amount annually.
Interest: A main focus for Lauren is executing programs to connect entrepreneurial and growth companies with the capital to accelerate their vision. With this platform, Lauren runs the Accelerate Michigan Innovation Competition, the Midwest Green Technology Entrepreneur Academy and the Midwest Midmarket Capital Survey. “We’re trying to address the full ecosystem behind new business start-ups, including venture funds,” says Bigelow.
Interest: Freshman Andrew Camel has been involved with computers and computer programming since he was 12 years old, when he designed his first app.
When looking at college options, he focused on places that offered both strong academics and an institutional culture that encouraged innovation and entrepreneurship.
Interest: A growing number of scientists are turning to a new channel for research funding—the masses. Crowdfunding sites like Kickstarter have enabled entrepreneurs, artists, and musicians to pursue their project dreams, and now scientists are finding their way in too. But since Kickstarter changed its policy regarding scientific research, a growing number of research-based websites are cropping up providing a catalyst that connects scientists to potential donors.
Interest: I recently moved from the business world into the University of Rochester as the head of its technology transfer function. The tech transfer function at a research institution works to get marketable research into public use through companies, either through licensing the technology or starting new companies.
Interest: In a new study of green tech investing in California between 2003 and 2013, Next 10, a San Francisco non-profit, found that venture capitalists like Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers still play a key role in clean energy startups. But their corporate counterparts increasingly provide the billions it can take, say, to get a solar power plant built.
Interest: Individuals, as well as a growing number of universities, are turning to the masses for funding as government funding dwindles, writes recent UW-Madison graduate Alexandra Branscombe. The option is particularly helpful for new researchers without track records to attract potential funders.
Interest: You've probably heard about the new ability of start-ups to do equity-based crowdfunding, based on last week's lifting of the 80-year-old ban on general solicitation. It's that same provision that blocks friends and family who are not "accredited" investors (any individual with, basically, an annual income of more than $200,000 or non-home net worth of more than $1 million) from such funding rounds.
Interest: With the technology industry in the midst of another boom cycle, many large corporations, particularly IT vendors, are investing heavily in their corporate venture efforts to gain access to trends in innovation and investment opportunities.
Interest: Over the last few months I've been heavily engaged with young-ish entrepreneurs in Rochester, New York City and at the University of Illinois, a big-ten school of 40,000 some-odd students. And working with these next-gens, I come away wondering whether universities are dead.
Interest: SAN FRANCISCO: Software giant SAP AG said it is allocating more than $650 million to a new venture fund, SAP Ventures Fund II, showing the growing role that corporations are taking on in funding the world's youngest companies.
Interest: Speaking at the launch of the University of Alabama at Birmingham's Institute for Innovation and Entrepreneurship Tuesday, Paul Sanberg, the University of South Florida senior vice president for research and innovation, said he was "very impressed with the high-caliber research" occurring at UAB, the Innovation Depot and the Southern Research Institute.