Entrepreneurship

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    Sherry Coutu: ‘There’s no such thing as small and medium-sized firms’

Sherry Coutu: ‘There’s no such thing as small and medium-sized firms’

Photo provided by Sherry Coutu
In Sherry Coutu’s world, the word SMEs (small and medium-sized enterprises) would be abolished, because they offer only a static snapshot of a company’s scale. “You’re either growing or shrinking,” she says. Sherry is a serial entrepreneur, angel investor and advisor who founded the Scale Up institute (among many other ventures) to provide support to […]

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    How founders psychologically disengage from their start-ups when it’s time to exit

How founders psychologically disengage from their start-ups when it’s time to exit

Box.net’s co-founder/CEO (Jan 13, 2011), by Robert Scoble, under a CC-BY-2.0 licence
Given the amount of time, energy, and resources it takes to start and develop a successful venture, it is not surprising that founders often describe their organizations as their babies or children. Much like the relationship between parents and their children, these organizations can become self-defining. At the same […]

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    Why there will never be a robot-entrepreneur and why it’s important

Why there will never be a robot-entrepreneur and why it’s important

Robot by geralt, Pixabay, under a CC0 licence
The debate is quite old. Machines, and then robots, have always brought fears and fantasies about unemployment and the brutal disappearance of skills and meaning.

With the rise of the so-called industry 4.0, fear is back. I believe that more than ever, it is a justified fear. Technology has never been more likely […]

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    An entrepreneur’s quest to build an EdTech product out of her invention

An entrepreneur’s quest to build an EdTech product out of her invention

Children eating lunch at school, by USDA, under a CC-BY-2.0 licence
The purpose of education is to produce happy, healthy, impactful lives, and let society reap the benefits. At first glance, this may not seem controversial, but taken to its radical extreme, this purpose statement — the core tenet of my company, Socos — leads to a fundamentally different approach […]

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    Fear of failure may inhibit entrepreneurs, but may also drive them to work harder

Fear of failure may inhibit entrepreneurs, but may also drive them to work harder

“Let fear once get possession of the soul, and it does not readily yield its place to another sentiment.” —  Sebastopol, Leo Tolstoy

Expressing one’s fears may indicate weakness and might even be considered a taboo subject, especially in the sometimes rather ‘macho’ world of entrepreneurship. Even for scholars of motivation, fear of failure has never received as much attention […]

Six principles for Britain’s post-Brexit startups

In 1973, when bright and ambitious Stanford University grads were laying the paving stones for Silicon Valley, Britain joined the European Economic Community, the precursor to today’s European Union. Back then, few if any investors or entrepreneurs had their eyes on Europe. The bright California sun was too dazzling, plentiful venture capital too exciting. Meanwhile Britain, the ‘sick man of […]

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    Cross-border venture capitalists are less patient with under-performers

Cross-border venture capitalists are less patient with under-performers

Oxstem, an Oxford biotech spin-off focusing on regenerative medicine for age-related diseases, recently raised a record £16.9 million at start-up (Ward, 2016). The money was invested by the local Oxford Sciences Innovation fund and two American venture capital (VC) investors. Why is this important?

Seed and early-stage venture capital were mainly provided by local investors in the past, as entrepreneurial […]

How small bars resist smoking bans in the Netherlands

We all know that smoking is bad for you. Yet, smoking regulation remains contentious on the basis of endangering individual rights, their discriminatory potential, and, notably, due to economic considerations. Smoking bans are part of a larger agenda of tobacco control focusing on health issues and involving, on one side, various activist groups whose interests are often aligned with […]

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    Tower Hamlets attracts more equity deals than Edinburgh and Manchester combined

Tower Hamlets attracts more equity deals than Edinburgh and Manchester combined

The number of announced equity investments into UK-headquartered non-listed companies dropped significantly between the fourth quarter (Q4) of 2015 and the first quarter (Q1) of 2016 – from 314 to 280. We could claim the drop is not relevant, since it applies to a comparison between different seasons. But equity investments also fell between Q1 2015 and Q1 2016 […]

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    The power play between venture capitalists and CEOs shapes startup innovation

The power play between venture capitalists and CEOs shapes startup innovation

Our research explores how venture capitalists (VCs) and chief executive officers (CEOs) jointly affect the risk-taking behaviour of a startup — manifested through innovation novelty over the new venture’s different life stages. We show that VCs behave differently for each stage. They generally encourage startups to take high risk by pursuing novel innovations early on. In later stages, VCs […]

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    Immigrants could well be Denmark’s new disruptive innovators

Immigrants could well be Denmark’s new disruptive innovators

Recently, I had the honour to analyse the challenge of immigration and refugees at the Danish National Association of Economists and Lawyers (Djøf). For quite some time there has been a political debate on what to do with immigration and refugees both in Denmark and Europe. What should we do with them? Let them in? Not let them in? […]

Small government is not a cure-all for entrepreneurship

At the Olympic Games, or when we see the GDP ranking of countries, or any other global comparison of countries, we tend to first look for the performance of the country we are from, live in, or have other ties to in the hope that this country has performed well against its global competition. Rankings of the level of […]

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    Gut feeling plays an important role in early-stage investors’ decisions

Gut feeling plays an important role in early-stage investors’ decisions

Early-stage investors make decisions to provide seed money to a startup based on the slimmest of information about the business. Even when they conduct in-depth due diligence, they receive very little tangible data on the product or service (because there is often not yet even a prototype) and they do not formally assess the market growth possibilities (because the […]

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    Startups working with venture capital firms perform the best

Startups working with venture capital firms perform the best

It’s a familiar idea that venture capitalists, or VCs, are the “money of invention” and fund firms with high growth potential, helping bring their products to market. However, entrepreneurs have many options when considering funding. There are corporate venture capitalists (CVC), which typically work within a larger corporate structure and seek to acquire innovative startups that would blend well […]

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    Conversion of open workspace to housing threatens London’s entrepreneurs

Conversion of open workspace to housing threatens London’s entrepreneurs

Open workspaces have grown in the last five years as a solution to the problem of workplace costs spiralling higher than smaller tenants can afford. They include artists’ studios, makerspaces, incubators, accelerators and co-working spaces. London was recently reconfirmed as the most expensive city in the world to live and work; the combined cost of living and working space […]

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    Crowdfunding solves market failures in new venture financing

Crowdfunding solves market failures in new venture financing

Entrepreneurship is essential for economic growth and employment creation. Yet despite its key role in the economy, entrepreneurs find it hard to access the financing they need to start and expand their businesses. Lack of funding is perennially identified as a major constraint on new venture growth. Moreover, traditional venture capital markets have been criticised for not being inclusive […]

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    Micropayments: paying only for the news you read is the next normal

Micropayments: paying only for the news you read is the next normal

When asked what would the Big Idea of 2015 be, Walter Isaacson, the CEO of the Aspen Institute and the author of an award-winning Steve Jobs biography, argued that “digital currencies and micropayments are likely to be the disruptive innovation”. In his view, “frictionless coin systems that allow us to buy digital content on impulse would support journalists who […]

A startup wants to disrupt the healthcare technology sector

Diagnostic lab testing is a multi-billion dollar business, and is not without shortcomings. Blood tests are costly, available at inconvenient locations and involve painful needles that draw more blood than is warranted. Elizabeth Holmes, the 32-year-old founder of Theranos, aims to make blood testing a consumer-driven experience that is painless and price efficient. Having traveled the country and delivered […]

Fostering good incubation in India

In a country that is home to a third of the world’s poor, promoting social enterprise has many potential benefits. It can make essential goods and services like healthcare and energy more affordable, improving well-being and contributing to economic development, particularly in rural areas. Furthermore, through the products and services they sell and the inclusive ways in which they operate, social […]

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    Venture capital increases a startup’s chances of issuing stocks or finding a buyer

Venture capital increases a startup’s chances of issuing stocks or finding a buyer

An ultimate challenge for technology entrepreneurs is the need for capital to continue to innovate, sustain, and commercialise their innovation. The considerable risks associated with the technological feasibility, business model credibility, and product or service viability severely limits access to capital, yet angel investors and venture capitalists fill this need by investing in startups in exchange for an equity […]