Entrepreneurship

The fast growth of co-working spaces in London

The growth of shared, flexible urban workspaces for startups and SMEs (small and medium enterprises) is now a striking, and very visible feature of British cities. Over the past decade or so, startups and small firms in retail, manufacturing, arts, the cultural industries and the digital economy have been making creative use and re-use of urban spaces – through […]

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    In the absence of domestic resources, foreign cash is feeding UK startups

In the absence of domestic resources, foreign cash is feeding UK startups

For over two years we’ve been concerned about the fall in investment rounds to UK businesses. So we are pleased to see this decline abating in our analysis of equity investment activity in the first half of this year, as well as a record level of cash invested.

But, as usual, beneath the surface there are some interesting undercurrents. The fact that later-stage […]

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    Naveen Jain: ‘If we can learn to live on the moon we can live anywhere in space’

Naveen Jain: ‘If we can learn to live on the moon we can live anywhere in space’

Naveen Jain is the co-founder and executive chairman of Moon Express, one of the four enterprises vying for the Google Lunar XPRIZE. The project, also called Moon 2.0, offers a $20 million prize for the first privately-developed spacecraft to land on the moon, travel at least 500 meters across its surface, and transmit photos and video. Moon Express bought three launches […]

Developing a new framework for small business success

Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) have long been established as an effective mechanism to generate employment and promote economic growth, and have been the focus of political, business and management research. Despite their undisputed importance and significant empirical research in this area, there is still neither a universally accepted definition for SMEs — with significant variations in different countries […]

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    The price Asian venture capitalists pay to work in Silicon Valley

The price Asian venture capitalists pay to work in Silicon Valley

Do ethnic minority investors behave differently from more mainstream investors? This study on venture capitalists (VCs) in Silicon Valley over the period 1976-2004 found that they were, perhaps unsurprisingly, more likely to invest in immigrant Asian entrepreneurs than mainstream VCs. What is surprising, however, is that when Asian venture capitalists did invest in mainstream ventures, they paid higher valuations than mainstream […]

Business accelerators: A user’s manual for entrepreneurs

Does participating in a business accelerator offer a shortcut to startup success? It can help, but it’s no guarantee, according to Peter Kirby, the CEO of Factom Inc. He spent three months in 2015 under the wing of Plug and Play, a Silicon Valley accelerator program, despite a colleague’s warning that he would be wasting his time. The colleague […]

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    The ethics of New Zealand selling citizenship to tech investor Peter Thiel

The ethics of New Zealand selling citizenship to tech investor Peter Thiel

Billionaire Peter Thiel has never lived in New Zealand and has no intention of doing so. In fact, Thiel has only visited New Zealand four times. But he has New Zealand citizenship. How did he get it? Basically, he bought it.

More precisely, New Zealand’s minister of internal affairs waived the normal requirements for naturalization in Thiel’s case. You normally need to […]

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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 […]