Wednesday, May 24, 2017
Sunday, May 21, 2017
Louise Beavers writes for Entrepreneur magazine, and identifies the top 10 accelerators around the world
Business Strategy Expert
Innovation is everywhere. Silicon Valley is no longer the center of the tech universe: Berlin is a creative hub, Seoul has a vibrant startup ecosystem, Tel Aviv is the leader in security software, London has a growing financial tech center, Shenzhen is ground zero for hardware startups, and Hangzhou is home to Alibaba and its e-commerce offspring.
If you are an Australian startup - Austrade has 5 launch pads around the world to help you get traction. In Telaviv, Berlin, Singapore, Shanghai and Silicon Balley
In China alone, there are an estimated 5,000 incubators, and the number is growing. But China is not the only one; every major economy is experiencing a startup explosion, much of it fueled by government money.
With all the activity, who are the major accelerators globally? We did our homework and came up with ten names you should be paying attention to. We judged them on a number of criteria, with the following taking precedence:
- Quality of startup education and training
- Connections to global strategic partners
- Access to local venture capital
- Worldwide reach and network
- Reputation and brand
1. Founders Space
Founders Space has gone through a massive global expansion over the past 18 months, adding new offices and partnerships all over the world. Known for the quality of its startup training, instructors fly all over the world educating startups. Founders Space now has over 50 partners in 22 countries and regularly runs programs in China, Taiwan, Korea, Europe and the Americas.
Founders Space has established its Asian headquarters in Shanghai and is opening up incubators in China’s top cities, which has created a huge amount of press for them, and given them a leadership position in Asia. With China being the largest market in the world at 1.3 billion consumers, this is no small thing.
Founders Space also has one of the strongest investor networks, with top-tier VCs from all across Asia, Europe and America participating. If you’re a startup and want an accelerator with a strong global presence and top-notch education, Founders Space hits the sweet spot.
Techstars has done an incredible job building their brand, and they now run programs in London, Israel, Germany, Canada, Australia and, of course, America. They started in Boulder, Colorado, but have grown into a global organization. Techstars Ventures has $265M under management, and they are currently investing out of their third fund.
Part of their strategy is to partner with big corporations. They use the term “powered by Techstars” and offer their expertise to specialized programs targeted at sectors focused around the needs of their corporate partners. Comcast NBCUniversal LIFT Labs Accelerator in Philadelphia, Barclays Accelerator in New York, London & Tel Aviv, The Cedars-Sinai Accelerator in Los Angeles, and SAP.iO Foundry in Berlin all count themselves among the partners of Techstars.
Techstars also has Target, SONY Music, Warner Music Group, Amazon, SONOS and METRO as some of their other backers. If a startup is looking for a specialized accelerator with ties to global corporations, this is the right choice.
While they aren’t as focused on education and training, they hit homeruns when it comes to connecting startups with corporations. They have dozens of corporate partners from all over the world, including Intuit, Credit Suisse, Honeywell, Bosch, Panasonic, and the list goes on.
PlugAndPlay has expanded to 22 locations around the world, with most of those locations closer to co-working spaces than accelerators. But because of their sheer size, they are able to offer real value. This gives them an edge, especially when working with overseas governments and multinationals. To their credit, they invest in around 100 startups a year and have built a brand recognized around the world.
4. 500 Startups
While they are huge, they aren’t as focused on opening up overseas accelerators. Instead of training overseas startups, they have transformed themselves into a global venture fund. In fact, 500 Startups has a dizzying variety of funds. They have raised capital from all over the world, including Korea, Taiwan, Turkey and the Middle East. Just take a look at their fund list:
Fund IV – fourth global flagship fund
500 Luchadores II – regional fund focusing on Spanish speaking Latin America
- 500 Fintech – vertical fund with fintech focus
- 500 Kimchi – regional fund focusing on Korea
- 500 Durians II - regional fund focusing on SE Asia
- 500 Istanbul – regional fund focusing on Turkey
- 500 Falcons – regional fund focusing on the Middle East and North Africa
- 500 Startups Vietnam – regional fund focusing on Vietnam
- 500 Canada - regional fund focusing on Canada
Clearly, they are the #1 accelerator when it comes to funding global startups at an early stage, and this alone has earned them a place on our list.
5. Y Combinator
(YC) had to be on this list simply because they are the best known of all the accelerators in the world. They are truly a global brand.
While they are #1 in name recognition because of their phenomenal success in Silicon Valley, they don’t offer as much abroad in terms of local training, education and funding. YC’s real strength is in bringing startups from all over the world to the United States and turning them into Silicon Valley companies. They also have a large fund, a sterling reputation, and an active alumni group. If you’re looking for a halo effect, YC has it.
Offering a global family of industry-focused accelerators, Startupbootcamp runs 19 programs around the world, including food tech, Internet of Things, financial tech, smart cities and smart transportation. These are located in cities like Amsterdam, Berlin, Rome, Barcelona, Mumbai, New York, Signapore, Cape Town and Istanbul.
Arguably the #1 global accelerator for hardware startups, Hax has done an incredible job at building a hardware-centric ecosystem. They are located in Shenzhen, the hardware capital of the world, and provide soup-to-nuts training and guidance for startups. They are also part of the SOSV family of accelerators, which includes INDIEBIO, FOOD-X, URBAN-X, CHINACCELERATOR, MOX and others. The combination of all of these is what puts it on our list of top global accelerators.
Right up there with Hax when it comes to building out an ecosystem for hardware startups, Highway1 are located in San Francisco but have their roots in Shenzhen. Backed by PCH International, one of the leaders in bringing electronics from conception to consumer, they offer a range of services. These include everything from design engineering to manufacturing, scaling, and fulfillment. If you’re a hardware startup, this is a good place to start.
Another world leader, Techcode has established incubators in Beijing, Shanghai, Shenzhen, Gu'an, Silicon Valley, Seoul, Tel Aviv, and Berlin. Techcode is backed by CFLD (China Fortune Land Development), a giant in the Chinese real estate business. Because they are well-financed and well-connected, they can bring a lot of resources to the table.
Last but not least, InnoSpring have set up in San Francisco, Silicon Valley, Germany, Kunshan, Nantong and Shanghai. They were one of the early Chinese accelerators to land in the Valley and make a name for themselves. They are going strong and we expect them to keep expanding.
That sums up our top picks for global accelerators for overseas startups. You can’t go wrong with anyone on this list. They are all excellent, and each offers its blend of unique services and value.
Thursday, May 18, 2017
Wednesday, May 17, 2017
Cliff Rosenberg - who has headed up Linked in Australia through its rapid rise over the past 6 years, is moving on to pursue a career as an advisor, investor and director with public companies to help tech start-ups.
This, in my view, is a big win for the venture capital industry, and I believe that Cliff will do for VC what he did for Linked-in.
Public companies need to and indeed want to Innovate.... but need someone to rely on that they can TRUST.
LinkedIn's marketing Director and head of enterprise, Matt Tindale will be filling in Cliff's shoes at Linked-In. .
Oliver Grand CEO of LinkedIn APAC has said about Cliff
“Cliff was also instrumental in building and keeping alive an exceptional culture in our Sydney and Melbourne office, one that continues to inspire our employees to live and breathe our mission. His leadership took us to where we are today, and will be foundational as we continue to chart a path towards our vision of creating economic opportunities for every member of the global workforce, including those in Australia and New Zealand. We wish him well for the future."
Tuesday, May 16, 2017
|Trevor Heisler Master Storyteller and Builder of Brands. PR, IR.|
Start by thinking about what the three or four main things you want potential investors to remember about your company or product after meeting with you.
Then explain those three or four things as clearly and concisely (the fewer words the better) as possible before even going to your computer.
Those three or four things have to include what makes you unique / different / better than everyone else in your defined space, and how that differentiation will lead to you making money for you and your investors.
Then you are ready to start mapping out your investor deck on your computer, preferably not with a generic template, but instead with a deck that is designed with your branding and messaging in mind.
Again, keep it clear and concise, not overly detailed. 12 to 15 slides is a good target. Much more than that and your messaging and your audience will tail off.
Feel free to check out some sample decks at www.heislercommunications.com/what-weve-done.html
Monday, May 15, 2017
Managing Partner at Red Rocket Ventures
There have been several articles written that talk about how venture capital investors prefer to bet on the jockey (the entrepreneur), over the horse (the startup idea). As I have often said, I would much rather invest in an A+ team with a B+ idea, than a B+ team with an A+ idea. So I agree with this premise of the jockey being more important than the horse, usually. This post will tell you when one outweighs the other.
When the horse outshines the jockey.
Unless the idea is a material one in the first place (e.g., it has a chance to become a billion dollar business), why waste your time when shooting for VC types of returns. Said another way, would you rather invest in Jeff Bezos, one of my entrepreneurial heroes, building a white water rafting business in the arid Sahara Desert, or me, a proven serial entrepreneur (albeit a fraction the talent of Bezos) trying to build a next-generation artificial intelligence technology disrupting a $200BN industry? The former has very little prospect for driving material revenues, and the latter could become the next unicorn size startup, so it's a relatively easy decision.
There is an inflection point where the idea is worth betting on, more than the entrepreneur. But the reality is, a smart venture investor would try to convince me that I am not nearly as qualified as someone like Bezos to actually pull off this grandiose vision, and to have me hand him the reins to take my business to meteoric heights. Which I may or may not do, depending how confident I was in my own abilities versus the equity value upside I could realize from having someone like Bezos in charge.
Which is exactly my point of this piece. It is not the jockey OR the horse. It is the jockey AND the horse. That is how to build terrific venture returns -- with A+ teams building A+ ideas. And, whatever you can do to make that happen, is the Holy Grail of venture investing.
Some insights from horse racing.
As a little fun, and to help me further illustrate this point, I took a look at some horse racing data to see if I could glean some insights on this topic. First, I looked at the last four Triple Crown winning horses -- Secretariat (1973), Seattle Slew (1977), Affirmed (1978) and American Pharoah (2015). I compared them to a typical top 100 winning race horse in 2016. The data was pretty incredible. The Triple Crown winners won their races 79 percent of the time, compared to the top 100 that won 48 percent of the time. That is a pretty good argument for the horse.
Then, I looked at the last four Triple Crown winning jockeys -- Ron Turcotte (1973), Jean Cruguet (1977), Steve Cauthen (1978) and Victor Espinoza (2015). I compared them to a typical top 100 jockey in 2016. I was surprised to see the Triple Crown jockeys won 15 percent of the time, a little less than the top 100 jockeys who won 16 percent of the time. That basically suggested that the jockey didn’t matter at all. Said another way, any of the top 100 jockeys could have lead any of the Triple Crown horses to their wins. Another data point speaking to the importance of the horse.
But, as an entrepreneurial leader rooting for the jockey, that left me unsatisfied, so I dug a little deeper. I learned Cauthen’s better than average 19 percent win rate (twenty percent better than the average top 100 jockey win rate of 16 percent), could have been a major contributor to Affirmed’s Triple Crown win -- as the horse’s 76 percent win rate was below the 80 percent win rate of the other Triple Crown winning horses. A good argument for the jockey taking a great horse and making him even better.
But then I learned Cruguet only won 12 percent of his races, far behind the 16 percent average of the top 100 jockeys. But Seattle Slew, the horse he lead to a Triple Crown, had won 82 percent of his races, in excess of the 78 percent average win rate for the three other Triple Crown winning horses. Chalk one up for the horse, making a jockey look better than he really was.
What is the point of all of this?
Based on the above examples, from both the business world and the horse racing world, there are times where the jockey is more important, and there are other times where the horse is more important for driving success. With all other things being equal, always bet on the jockey to take a good idea and make it better. But, when the idea is so big, you have no choice but to bet on it, assuming a competent leader is in charge. But, if need be, upgrade an average entrepreneur for a proven winner, and that will be like putting gravy on top of your turkey dinner -- one that is guaranteed to fully cook and taste great in the end.
A key lesson here for most of you entrepreneurs -- lose the ego and the pride of feeling you are the only person who can build your startup, as your personal equity value from your big idea could become worth materially more money in somebody else’s hands.
Separate your CEO hat from your chairman hat, and figure out what would truly be best for your shareholders, of which you are presumably the largest.