Ace 5

 

TL:DR Large corporates really struggle to innovate. Meanwhile startups eat their lunch.

Corporate venturing and accelerators can solve the issue and create a win-win.

If you are a corporate CEO you are probably frustrated by the inability of your company to innovate like a startup. You almost certainly employ some of the brightest people around and may have huge departments looking at innovation or R&D. However, your industry is almost certainly being disrupted by tiny teams of startup founders with new business models and a grasp for frontier technologies such as artificial intelligence and virtual reality.

Corporate executives shouldn’t beat themselves up too much. The odds are weighted against them. It is almost impossible to innovate within the existing corporate structure. Most truly innovative ideas will cannibalise existing business models, change the structure of the company and redeploy the workforce at the very least. It is therefore, extremely difficult for internal departments to gain acceptance from the rest of the company. In addition, risk is a fundimental component of all radical change. Who wants to fail fast in a corporate environment? Yet it is enshrined in startup culture.

The most effective way for corporates to access startup innovation is to buy into it. This can involve either buying early stage startups outright, investing in them or running accelerator programmes. In all cases, there can be huge advantages from having third party involvement. The key is to take a relatively hands-off approach to stop corporate interference which invariably kills the innovation that you are searching for.

Accelerator programmes illustrate this well. A corporate working with a third party can immediately invest relatively small amounts of capital into a small portfolio of interesting early stage businesses. They can provide an environment conducive to growth by giving access to essential corporate assets such as sales channels, engineering resources and other mentors.

At a later stage corporates can invest in more mature startups with a corporate venturing approach. This involves scouting for winners and making individual investments. The challenge is picking the winners and a company like Dreamstake Ventures can help cut through the noise and reduce risk.

Corporate investment in startups, through programmes or individually creates a win-win. The corporate accesses innovation quickly and efficiently, whilst the startup gains resources and support for growth. Corporates need to embrace the startup culture and take their businesses to new heights.

Blog by Paul Dowling — Co-Founder of Dreamstake the world’s first tech accelerator platform focusing entirely on taking startups from inception to Series A. Dreamstake identifies promising startups from universities and other accelerators and provides them with access to the resources they need to achieve later stage success. This is achieved through a large programme run out of Google Campus in London and our own network of experts and investors. We run corporate accelerators on behalf of clients and have recently supported Just Eat with a Foodtech accelerator.

Pitch

TL:DR: Early stage founders tend to use the same playlist before approaching angels for investment. However, it’s not enough to simply tick boxes. Focus your effort on the sections that investors are really interested in.

We have been helping early stage technology founders for over 5 years now. During this time things have changed. It used to be possible for founders to focus their pitch on an idea and gain investment by simply creating a good deck. As we then went through the app phase, pitch decks became productised and focused on approximately 10 key elements (The Dave McClure Deck is a good example). However, this can often lead to disappointment as founders feel they have ticked all the boxes and still fail to interest anyone.

Early stage founders are normally advised to create pitch decks covering the following sections;

Problem, Solution, Market, Competition, Team, Business model, Financials, Roadmap and The ask.

Founders very often put far too much emphasis on ‘the solution’. Investors are much more interested in other sections of the deck;

Team

Investors want to know that they are investing in a strong founder and a team that can execute against the plan. They look for founders with relevant experience and an open-mindedness to new ideas. Investors will obsess about the team and look for gaps. As startups focus on deeper technologies such as AI or machine learning, investors will expect to see specialists in the team. We would advise founders to obsess on this element of the pitch. If they don’t have every skill covered they can compensate by having strong advisors to fill the gaps. Don’t bluff about having skills that you don’t possess. It will come back to bite you.

Problem

Investors want to know that you really understand the problem that you are solving. Too many founders believe that they have identified a large problem that users will pay to solve. They jump to building an MVP, only to find that the problem is insignificant or users already have better ways to solve it. It is worth spending time understanding the problem in depth before building any tech. This can be done at minimal expense using open questioning and other techniques (see The Lean Startup).

Market opportunity and timing

A product can easily be introduced to the market either too early or too late. If there is well established competition you are probably too late. The speed of innovation is accelerating and if are competing against similar propositions with VC backing you may have missed the boat. You can look at deficiencies of existing products and as long as you can get a 10x improvement it could be worth continuing. It is also possible to be too early. Google Glass is an example of this. It can be risky for investors to invest in pure research from universities where there is no clear roadmap for commercialisation. Finally, investors are looking to invest in startups that address very large and growing markets or in new markets that can be massive.

When preparing a pitch deck focus on these 3 areas and make sure you can provide all the answers to any questions that investors may throw at you. Remember, it’s not enough to simply have good words on a deck. Although the deck is a marketing document, the information needs to reflect the true state of the startup and demonstrate your awareness of the domain that you are involved in.

Blog by Paul Dowling — Co-Founder of Dreamstake the world’s first tech accelerator platform focusing entirely on taking startups from inception to Series A. Dreamstake identifies promising startups from universities and other accelerators and provides them with access to the resources they need to achieve later stage success. This is achieved through a large programme run out of Google Campus in London and our own network of experts and investors. We run corporate accelerators on behalf of clients and have recently supported Just Eat with a Foodtech accelerator.

Technological progress is threatened by dual threats from Trump and Brexit. The eco-system needs to show some backbone and stand up for our startup values.

trump farage

 

We have seen immense technological change over the last 2 decades, much of it enabled by the global spread of the internet. The pace of this change is only going to accelerate and represents a real opportunity to tackle some of most persistent challenges facing humanity. The internet has spawned a generation of hugely ambitious entrepreneurs intent on building global companies. However, it is exactly this rate of change that is alienating large sections of society who feel left behind.

Over the last 6 months we have witnessed a monumental onslught on our startup values. Trump and Brexit represent a threat to our open and progressive culture. Both would like to focus resources on populist policies such as re-envigourating traditional industries and allaying the fears of their core supporters. Neither understand the fragility of the startup eco-system and how easily it can be destroyed.

Startups thrive in eco-systems such as Silicon Valley and London. They demand a lot of support to prosper and can easily fail if this support isn’t forthcoming. These startup clusters attract the best brains from across the globe and cannot survive without continual access to this talent.

The recent inauguration of Donald Trump and the vote to leave the EU both represent a huge threat to the open and democratic ideals of the startup world. It will cut access to entrepreneurial talent that will be forced to go elsewhere. Trump and Brexit will redirect resources towards re-establishing traditional industries that will prove uncompetitive in the longer term and can’t hope to emulate the growth of digital businesses. This will hold back progress in tackling major issues such as eliminating disease, reducing poverty and improving education. All areas where technology is already making a major impact.

The Silicon Valley elite have been disappointing in their response to the threat; acquiescing to Trump rather than making a stand. Apart from a few exceptions their London equivalents have been equally feeble in response to Brexit. These are leaders who have access to the most powerful channels for protest in the world. For god’s sake, Trump has shown more gumption in using Twitter than the whole Silicon Valley eco-system put together.

If we want to ‘change the world’ we need to earn the right to do so. We need to get across the advantages that exponential technologies such as AI, genomics, robotics, blockchain and virtual reality can bring to society. We need to lobby strongly to promote our values of openness and diversity and how this will bring benefits to all. Most of all we need to recognise the threat and should voice our disapproval at every opportunity to any injustice being imposed on our friends and colleagues in the global startup community.

Blog by Paul Dowling — Co-Founder of Dreamstake the world’s first tech accelerator platform focusing entirely on taking startups from inception to Series A. Dreamstake identifies promising startups from universities and accelerators and provides them with access to the resources they need to achieve later stage success. This is achieved through a large programme run out of Google Campus in London and our own network of experts and investors.

FailsWe all make mistakes, especially when trying to do something for the first time. In fact, I think I have probably made all of these startup fails at some time or other.

The startup world is constantly evolving. However, most of these fails are not new. I would really like other entrepreneurs to learn from my mistakes. Avoiding these simple fails will increase your chance of building a successful startup and reduce the time it takes you to get there.

Don’t build before you are certain there is a burning need

Probably the most common mistake for founders to make is to build an MVP before establishing a need. You may have read articles that suggest that it is important to get an MVP out as quickly as possible. Right, but not before you can verify that there is a burning need for what you are about to build. It is easy to test demand for your product using pen and paper and open questioning. Check that you are solving a real problem and that there are no valid alternatives that the user might use. Obsess at this stage and do not move forward until you are absolutely certain that your solution will address the issue in question. If you do build an MVP without validation of the problem you will find engagement to be slow or non-existant and total reluctance from investors to get involved.

Don’t do it alone

Building a tech startup is a team activity. A single founder will never have the full set of capabilities or bandwidth to launch a startup on their own. At early stage there is very little else, apart from the team, for investors to judge the startup on. As well as the core team, surround yourself with experts. Persuading an advisory board to support you is good way to get validation for what you are doing. If they won’t come in, they probably don’t have confidence that you will make it. Listen to what they say and tweak your proposition if it makes sense.

Don’t be closed-minded

Although founders are expected to be strong, driven individuals, close-mindedness is a red flag to investors (and probably to clients and employees). It is important to listen to advice and decide what to act upon. Select advisors with relevant knowledge; either existing successful founders or individuals with deep sector experience. Don’t look for yes-men. It is much more valuable to find people who will give blunt feedback. Learn how to take tough love.

Don’t misjudge timing

It’s easy to be either to early or too late with an idea. A lot of what you read is hot is from a Venture Capital perspective. However, by the time you have got your startup off the ground the VCs will be exploring the next big thing. If what you are working on seems too familiar then you are probably too late. Many consumer apps are in this category. If you are coming in late, make sure that you can improve on whats already out there and be totally sure that users will switch from what they have become familiar with. It is also possible to be too early. Think Google Glass or the first iterations of tablets. Remember there is a difference between pure research and being a first mover in a commercial marketplace.

Don’t under-estimate how long it takes to raise capital

Raising capital is much more difficult than first-time founders ever imagine. It is also important to remember that it is not just the first round of funding to take into consideration. There is nothing worse than raising a simple seed round only to find that you can’t get VCs (or anyone else) interested, once you have burned through the cash. Work backwards from the VC round and estimate how much you need to raise at the seed stage to get there. Venture Capital firms are moving upwards and this has created a nasty gap, sometimes calling for a bridge round. In building the first seed round, find a lead investor and build around this individual. They will bring confidence and attract other investors. Allow 6 months for each round and make sure that you are investment ready before starting the process.

Blog by Paul Dowling — Co-Founder of Dreamstake the world’s first tech accelerator platform focusing entirely on taking startups from inception to Series A. Dreamstake identifies promising startups from universities and accelerators and provides them with access to the resources they need to achieve later stage success. This is achieved through a large programme run out of Google Campus in London and our own network of experts and investors.

Lean 2.0The Lean Startup by Eric Ries and other such works provided a great playbook for the last wave of internet startups. They detailed a clear methodology that founders could follow when developing reasonably simple technologies to address consumer needs. We have therefore seen a whole generation of startups executed using this highly effective approach. The lean methodology made launching a startup relatively simple for even a novice because it was possible to follow a series of simple well defined steps from validating the idea to scaling up.

The startup scene went through a transformational shift during 2016. We saw a move away from these relatively simple consumer apps to more substantial technologies such as AI and machine learning. These demand a more complex set of relationships to get them to market, often involving universities, education and health services, corporates and regulatory bodies.

However, the processes for creating startups have not adapted to reflect this. Peter Thiel’s, Zero-to-one and Steve Case’s, The Third Wave, do a good job of describing the changes we are encountering but don’t give much guidance for creating startups in this environment. Both point to the idea that we will be using deeper technologies to solve big problems and therefore suggest that lean methodologies will are too incremental in approach to deliver the complexity required. However, this is of little help if you are talking to investors about getting funding for your big idea.

This year, 2017, will see the mass adoption of technologies such as AI, AR/VR, Robotics, Blockchain and Genomics. Startups leveraging such technologies will no longer be able to slavishly follow the lean methodology. It is simply not designed to accomodate complex partnerships and development cycles needed in the next phase. Firstly, I would predict that universities will play a greater role in conducting the pure research needed to get these technologies to a point where they are commercially viable. Therefore Lean 2.0 will need to accommodate partnerships in a way that the original Lean is unable to do.

I think the key to this next stage of internet development is ‘Startup Culture’ itself. We have seen how startup founders have an amazing capacity to move mountains when they set out to do so. They are also prepared to take risk in a way that cannot happen in the corporate environment. I therefore feel that any new methodology needs to promote this ‘can do’ execution oriented approach but apply it to commercialising the deep research coming out of the academic sector.

Europe and London in particular is well placed to lead this next wave. We have strong universities that well connected and close to a vibrant startup scene. We need to think more about how startups will develop in a more technology driven environment and make sure that Governments encourage the right approach. We also need to adapt our own methodologies so as not to lose the agility that we have built up over the last few years.

Blog by Paul Dowling — Co-Founder of Dreamstake the world’s first tech accelerator platform focusing entirely on taking startups from inception to Series A. Dreamstake identifies promising startups from universities and accelerators and provides them with access to the resources they need to achieve later stage success. This is achieved through a large programme run out of Google Campus in London and our own network of experts and investors.

IMAG2929

 

Just like one of the favourite startup queries by non-technical founders is “how to find a CTO” (see my blog post here), another one is the recurring question whether founders should “learn how to code”. If you are a non-technical founder, wondering if it’s time to start programming yourself, please read on.

With non-technical founders often struggling to find a technical co-founder or a budget to hire developers, or maybe being stuck in an inefficient technical development agency relationship or outsourcing agreement, I can understand where the wish to turn into a coding hero themselves comes from. Wouldn’t it be nice if any idea could be implemented immediately, if any change to the website could be rolled out instantly, and if that A/B testing campaign could start right in the middle of the meeting where it was conceived ? If you could build your own ebay and Facebook in a week, after attending a weekend workshop in “Ruby on Rails” ? Wouldn’t it be a wonderful world ?

The founders of one of the startups I am involved with came out of some workshop a while ago, announcing in the most energetic way possible, that they are going to learn how to code now, “because everyone in a tech startup should know how to code”. A few months later I put this to the test, and I distributed some instructions on how to run SQL queries to generate statistics reports to some team members, and I explained how to customise the queries depending on their needs. I have yet to see any evidence of any reports generated that way.

Just like with many other skills and professions, you have to expect years of experience before producing commercially viable results – would you trust an architect, a car mechanic or a brain surgeon with 100 hours of experience ? So what makes you think you could clone the Facebook mobile app, the Angry Birds game, or the ebay website, after attending a coding workshop, where the products you are comparing yourself with have been built by teams with combined experience of dozens or Hundreds of years and nearly unlimited funding?

When I did “Computer Science” lessons in school, we used the PASCAL programming language to build an analogue clock, where we had to “draw” the dial with numbers in a programmatical way on screen and animate the “hands” on it. Would that programme have been fit to run in the NASA Cape Canaveral space mission control centre ? Maybe not.

Let’s see what’s actually achievable.

I definitely agree that each member of a tech startup should understand certain technical buzzwords – and learn how and when not to use them.

There is nothing worse than non-technical founders blasting out technical buzzwords and pseudo-knowledge to prove their competence and startup worthiness, for example how they are “going live with their e-commerce site hosted for free on an Amazon EC2 micro instance”, or how they have to “rebuild their website with Python because it will improve their SEO”, or how they are “off to a recruitment fair to hire a full-stack developer to build their mobile app”. How often do people talk about “back-end” and what they mean is some “back office” / admin site like the WordPress admin panel.

It is super useful to understand enough of how a website and a mobile app actually work, from a high level perspective, to have more meaningful conversations with developers, designers, investors etc.
- What is web hosting,
- What is “cloud”,
- What is a database,
- How does a development life cycle look like,
- What are the typical roles in a technical development team,
- What are popular development languages,
- What platforms and languages are your competitors using.

That would already be a great starting point, before delving into the “node.js” book or joining the jQuery seminar. Or even knowing which of the endless languages or frameworks would actually be suitable for what you are trying to achieve.

After learning how to interpret and selectively ignore the buzzwords and learning what each of the other technical terms actually mean, at a high level “first paragraph on Wikipedia” kind of way, you have to set yourself a realistic target.

Fact is, founders are very busy people. How much time do you really have, between working on the marketing strategy, finding advertisers for your website, recruiting a social media intern, appointing an accountant, updating the pitch deck, and filling in that trademark application ? Maybe while still doing a full-time day job ?!?

Unless your ambition is general career change, or you already have some technical background, I don’t think taking a year out of the business (a year for a startup is more like five or ten years for a more grown up business) or even spending 4 hours time each day learning programming, will be time well spent for a busy startup founder. By the time you can contribute in a meaningful way as development resource your business will probably be dead.

What might be better use of your time is:

Learn about prototyping: Often what you need to demonstrate an idea to others does not require the pain of a full product being built, sometimes all you need is a prototype that can show a concept, and allows you to gather feedback; it will also make it easier to communicate your requirements to both non-technical and technical people. A popular one is invisionapp.com. Spend your time on building a killer prototype and use that to convince a technical co-founder to join your team ! Or to find investment to hire one !

A variation of the previous point – mobile app prototyping : Delve into ways of creating mobile app prototypes without the need for much coding, with tools like goodbarber.com/ or buildfire.com/ – these tools have limitations but will give you a real mobile app to install on your phone or tablet.

Build on existing skills: Maybe you have done Excel programming with VBA, or worked with SQL in your previous data analyst role – that might get you into an easier starting position to do “coding” in your startup, and that might have been your motivation for considering to do technical work yourself. With the time limitations and need for multi-tasking for a founder still in place – the question is how far you can get within reasonable amounts of effort. If you had some exposure to SQL, changing the date in a query every week for a management report then maybe will not get you very far, but if you did VBA for five years then it will be easier to start doing VB.NET (while not exactly being the startup language of choice) or even take up JavaScript (or one of the fancy frameworks like AngularJS, React or Node.js using JavaScript as its base).

If you just looked into some of the tools I mentioned above and this is already looking too technical for you – focus on de-mystifying the terminology first. Maybe do a taster weekend workshop – not with the expectation to become the technical co-founder and developer hero over a weekend, but to find out how far you want to go, and to enable yourself to have more competent high-level technical conversations.

CTORalph Stenzel, Dreamstake CTO, advisor and mentor for various startups.

Twitter @amazingsquirrel

foodtechLondon is considered a world leader in the launch and growth of high growth Fintech and Fashtech startups. Few people realise how successful the city is becoming in Foodtech. With a latge and vibrant foodie population situated side-by-side with a rapidly expanding tech community London is set to become the Foodtech capital of Europe.

Startup communities tend to thrive where there is a logic for them to be situated. This usually means that they have a large successful sector thtiving in close proximity to the resources required to build them into technology businesses. For example, London is strong in financial services and has therefore built a leading position in Fintech. The same applies to fashion. We tend to forget the third Ftech, Foodtech. London has all the ingredients necessary to create a thriving Foodtech eco-system.

So what makes London so special in this domain? We have a very large, prosperous population with a huge appetite for some of the most diverse cuisines in the world. This has created an amazing opportunity to offer all sorts of culinary experiences, exactly where and when people demand them. In the midst of this melting pot we have a highly developed technology startup scene and the investor community needed to fuel growth. This has lead to the emergence of a whole host of providers covering everything from insect protein through to vertical farming. We already have our own food delivery unicorns such as Just Eat and Deliveroo with hundreds of new players emerging all the time.

For investors there are a whole host of opportunites to look at, including; food ordering, restaurant management, supply chain and waste management, new food production techniques, new sources of protein, diet management and many others. Food is the world’s largest industry sector and is only set to grow. London is extremely well placed to be at the centre of the foodtech revolution.

We strongly urge founders to look at solving real problems across all points in the supply chain; from farm to fork to bin and not to limit themselves to simple delivery apps which is rapidly becoming a crowded market.

Blog by Paul Dowling — Co-Founder of Dreamstake the world’s first tech accelerator platform focusing entirely on taking startups from inception to Series A. Dreamstake identifies promising startups from universities and accelerators and provides them with access to the resources they need to achieve later stage success. This is achieved through a large programme run out of Google Campus in London and mentoring with our own network of expert investors. We are currently running a Foodtech accelerator with Just Eat. Investors please register for demo day here.

TL:DR – It’s not the next Bourne movie but refers to the error of Government support for businesses that are quite capable of supporting themselves.

bourneIn UK there seems to be a misconception that scale-ups need support. This came about because for a while we were failing to create unicorns and exits such as IPOs or major trade sales. Government sought advice from consultancies who not unsurprisingly came up with the conclusion that it was because startups needed more support to scale. However, this misses the real issue. The quantity of scale-ups relates directly to the number of quality startups coming through the system and we were simply not creating enough early stage activity.

Approximately 10 years ago the UK Government started to put major effort into the technology startup community, partly through TechCity and focusing on East London. This has been a success and the area now has a vibrant technology startup scene. Other areas of the UK have also benefited with tech clusters in university cities such as Oxford and Cambridge. However, a couple of years ago Government started to consult the eco-system players and came to the conclusion that there was a lack of support for later stage businesses. This has lead to the re-direction of resources into this sector and neglect of the real issues.

Startups develop in eco-systems which bring together resources to stimulate growth. This is largely a numbers game. The more startups that are created, the more unicorns you are likely to encounter. It is also a meritocracy. Only the best survive and this is how it should be. London has an extremely strong supporting eco-system for scaling startups with at least 100 VC funds with more than enough capital and capability to support any startups that are able to demonstrate sufficient product/market fit for scaling. We do not have a Series A crunch. We have a problem of not enough startups meeting the criteria of the VC community.

Businesses that do reach series A are normally extremely capable. They are also naturally provided with the resources to scale without the need for interference from Government or big five consultancies who have little right to be in this space at all.

There are still consideable issues at the startup phase. Great progress is being made in commercialising university IP using startup culture as the success driver. However, there is still a huge amount of work to be done in this field. The UK has traditionally been great at pure R&D but has lagged behind in getting these innovations to market and has often lost out to Silicon Valley and other eco-systems. We are now entering a phase where we can lead on frontier technologies such as AI, Machine Learning, AR/VR, Blockchain, Robotics and IOT. However, we need to do far more to address the university /startup interface and get these technologies to market.

I would argue that the current focus on scaleups is completely misguided. More resources need to be put into stimulating the commercialisation of the excellent work coming out of our universities and early stage startup eco-system. We should stop wasting money on management consultancies, accountants and other organisations that don’t play a natural part in the eco-system and we should ensure that early stage businesses are not starved of the technical and financial resources they need to thrive.

Blog by Paul Dowling — Co-Founder of Dreamstake the world’s first tech accelerator platform focusing entirely on taking startups from inception to Series A. Dreamstake identifies promising startups from universities and accelerators and provides them with access to the resources they need to achieve later stage success. This is achieved through a large programme run out of Google Campus in London and our own network of experts and investors.

 graphene copy

The last 10 years have been dominated by the lean startup. Often inexperienced and under-qualified founders have been over-funded and hyped by VCs to create startups that claim to change the world but deliver questionable value to society. This second wave of the internet democratized the startup scene and reduced the barriers to entry to enable the rise of the unicorn culture. Unfortunately, we can only deal with so many social apps, two-sided markets and sharing economy propositions and now the pendulum is swinging in the other direction.

The likes of Steve Blank and Eric Reis did an amazing job of making startup building accessible to anyone with enough entrepreneurial flair and drive. Access to internet cloud-based hosting and mobile platforms reduced the cost to play and provided unprecedented access to markets. Venture capital firms saw the potential and jumped on the band-wagon. Without doubt this phase has produced awesome change and many notable successes.

The last couple of years have seen some dampening of the market, especially in Silicon Valley. Although, it looks like a full bubble has been avoided the appetite for new consumer apps is plateauing and VCs are increasingly focused on managing their existing portfolios, particularly at later stage.

This tightening of the market has coincided with a period of significant technological change. In a difficult market there is always a tendency to focus on investing in real IP which has an improved risk profile and VCs are now shifting their interest into these areas. The recent report on The State of European Tech 2016 by Atomico confirms these trends.

The third wave of the internet will harness technologies such as AI, AR/VR, Genome Sampling, Blockchain, Robotics, Autonomous Vehicles, Graphene and other deep technologies to solve some of the big challenges facing society. This will demand a different approach to supporting and building startups. The lean methodology will have to be adapted to support more complex development cycles and teams with a deeper technical focus.

Europe and particularly the UK is in a good position to exploit these changes, with several world class universities and a strong reputation for advanced R&D. The UK Government seems committed to supporting this with increased funding and there is a growing trend of graduates moving directly into building startups following their university studies.

These trends will involve a huge shift in mindset both from existing founders and investors. It is going to become increasingly difficult to take scrappy lean startups to market with a simple combination of capital and hype. Founders will need to manage teams with real technical depth over longer timeframes and this will have implications on the way investment is secured and channeled. Investors will need to get better at spotting teams earlier in the cycle and providing commercial guidance. Partnering will come back to the fore as many of these technologies require a complex web of participants to get to market. Think autonomous vehicles or virtual reality which will often require combining hardware, software and content to deliver the whole experience.

We can be immensely positive about the technological changes we are about to experience. They will bring a healthier and better educated society, wth ever reducing poverty across the globe. However, there will be increased polarisation in western societies between those that can understand and exploit these deeper technologies and those left behind. The startup community needs to be aware of this and show some leadership in spreading the benefits more widely.

Blog by Paul Dowling — Co-Founder of Dreamstake the world’s first tech accelerator platform matching over 16,000 founders with the most appropriate investors using a unique startup rating system. This allows entrepreneurs and investors to monitor startup progress and inject capital and support when most needed. Startup founders create profiles on the platform and get curated introductions to investors. We are constantly looking for great early stage tech startups. Investors please contact [email protected]

MeStartups change the world! It’s impossible to over-estimate the impact that technology startups have on our lives. We are on the cusp of a period where exponential technologies will combine to solve some of the world’s really pressing problems. Technology is simply the enabler and I believe that it is startup culture that really moves mountains. People such such as Elon Musk are undaughted by technology challenges. They simply spot an opportunity to make things better and go for it. This is what startup culture is all about. Unfortunately, this culture is often misunderstood and I would argue is under threat on both sides of the Atlantic.

Startups are finely tuned machines that are driven by a passion to succeed. Founders risk everything to follow their dreams but can easily be thrown of track if the eco-system is unsupportive. They rely on access to the best minds, freely available capital, support from experienced mentors and a strong user base.

Both Silicon Valley and London both face challenges in accessing the talent needed to build great startups. Opposition to immigration sits at the core of the problem. Both Brexit and Trump are a misguided reaction to the success of startup culture and it’s ability to bring change. In middle England and the mid-west there is little appetite for this pace of change and startup founders are often seen as spoilt brats with little entitlement to their success.

The UK Government, through Brexit, seeks to restrict immigration with the argument that we can create our own talent. They talk about introducing processes for admitting highly skilled people. However, this simply won’t work with startups. Successful founders often have no formal qualifications. Ten of the most successful leaders in world all dropped out of college. Would we have blocked their admittance to the UK on the basis they were under qualified? Entrepreneurs are risk takers who often leave their home country to set up business where they see an opportunity to build something of value. The London startup scene is packed with these inspiring young leaders who represent the future engine of growth for the UK economy. If we pull the rug from under them it will be to the disadvantage of all.

Blog by Paul Dowling — Co-Founder of Dreamstake the world’s first tech accelerator platform matching over 16,000 founders with the most appropriate investors using a unique startup rating system. This allows entrepreneurs and investors to monitor startup progress and inject capital and support when most needed. Startup founders create profiles on the platform and get curated introductions to investors. We are constantly looking for great early stage tech startups. Investors please contact [email protected]