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Startups

  • Silicon Valley startups can’t rebuild US workforce

    There has been a lot of discussion lately about US jobs and Silicon Valley's role in helping to rebuild the US workforce. US government officials and many others believe that Silicon Valley is key to reviving US jobs growth. But is this really true? It's worth revisiting an article in Bloomberg Businessweek from last year, written by Andy Grove, a veteran Silicon Valley executive who helped build one of its most successful companies: Intel. Andy Grove worked with the early founders of Intel and became its CEO and chairman for many years. In this article in Bloomberg BusinessWeek he takes...

  • The six types of startup…And what protects Silicon Valley

    Silicon Valley veteran Steve Blank, writing in Xconomy, does a great job in describing six types of startups and how a clear understanding of the needs of each is necessary by national and local governments seeking to foster more innovation: 1. The lifestyle startup On the California coast where I live, we see lifestyle entrepreneurs like surfers and divers who own small surf or dive shop or teach surfing and diving lessons to pay the bills so they can surf and dive some more. 2. Small businesses, usually family owned and run They work as hard as any Silicon Valley entrepreneur. They hire...

  • Why emerging markets need startup accelerators to produce gold

    While I was living in Silicon Valley for a couple of months earlier this year, I had the opportunity to see how a number of the startup accelerators over there function, and also to speak to a number of tech entrepreneurs that passed through their programmes. The formal definition of an accelerator is a "programme designed to assist startup businesses with financial and/or operational resources that will increase their chance of growth and success". After seeing them for myself, my definition is slightly different. I would suggest that: "Accelerators are schools for entrepreneurs, primarily tech entrepreneurs, where you can do your...

  • The Big Data revolution: 5 startups mining the trend

    Big Data is, well, big. In the information age, companies are literally drowning in vast oceans of data. Petabytes of data are being gathered everywhere in the digital age at a furious rate, and by a variety of devices. Websites and devices that are collecting data on a large scale include ubiquitous information-sensing mobile devices, cameras, microphones, RFID readers, and wireless sensor networks. Most large corporates are sitting on mines of data by virtue of their everyday operations and vast networks. Social networks have also become information goldmines, generating massive amounts of user data. Harvard Business Review refers to the...

  • 5 steps to show you’re a safe investment, even in an ‘unsafe’ market

    The US Chamber of Commerce have lamented the fact that American investors were losing out opportunities in emerging markets during a time when the recession was killing profits seemingly everywhere. Part of the fear is a lack of stability and concern over just how safe it is to put money in areas where returns have been massive. If your country’s investment profile doesn’t seem that great, it may not be so...

  • Why Silicon Valley can be bad for emerging market startups

    Launching a startup anywhere in the world is challenging, but launching one in an emerging market territory where there is often limited access to funding and a fragmented entrepreneurial ecosystem it is so much harder. One sure way to fail is to try and duplicate first world solutions for emerging market problems without tweaking them for the unique local conditions. The Silicon Valley story is inspirational. Its ability to launch globally competitive, world-changing internet startups is unsurpassed. It continues to be the leading hub for high-tech innovation and development and accounts for one-third of all of the venture capital investment...

  • 5 free web applications to take your startup to the next level

    Starting a business can be daunting and trying to keep tabs of everything from sales to projects, even more so. If you happen to be an entrepreneur still writing things down on paper or using TextPad or the like, then this one's for you. The digital age is one that encourages start-ups, in the sense that they no longer need expensive stand-alone applications to move their business to the next level. Say hello...

  • Digital marketing: Next steps for startups

    Promoting your startup effectively is a critical step towards ensuring that your business makes it from being a big idea to a well known and self-sustaining concern. In a previous article, on Digital Marketing and what startups need to get right from the start, I mentioned that building a new business is like caring for a baby. Now it’s time to teach your baby to walk! Once you have completed the initial steps in marketing your business online, it is time to get serious about the next two steps and make sure that your business has legs. The initial steps...

  • FabFi does fabulous things in Afghanistan and Kenya

    Something interesting is happening in Afghanistan. It’s also happening in Kenya. I think that it is proof that it is possible to open the Internet to every developing country in the world. Back in December 2008, a group of individuals in Jalalabad, Afghanistan started working on a project to bring high-speed internet to a village, hospital, university, and an NGO in the city. The group was known as FabLab Jalalabad and they modelled their project on a system which was designed to track sheep in Norway. The remarkable thing about this project was that they were designing an incredibly...

  • 3 digital marketing strategies startups need to get right from the start

    Starting a new business is a bit like caring for your first born. Now while you don’t need to write a marketing strategy for your first born; you do need to ensure that you are giving your business the best chance of success. That is done by ensuring that you are placing it in front of people looking for your product. When you are devising your business strategy; planning the supply chain; product specifications; looking at costing models and ultimately picturing your retirement on a Caribbean beach; don’t forget your marketing strategy – specifically your internet marketing strategy. The reason...