Archives for the month of: January, 2016

Lean has served the startup world well and is still applicable to 90% of technology startups. It was designed for high growth, low capital intensive startups as defined by the likes of Steve Blank. It has never been for everyone but I find that it is often ignored through laziness or in some cases pure arrogance.

I would now argue that lean will also be adapted over time. In the case of really simple startups, I would suggest we will see a kind of leaner than lean approach, where the tech has zero cost (wix etc.) and it is quicker to simply build a product to test both problem/solution and product/market simultaneously.

The second area is highly complex products. As we move towards more impactful use of tech building an MVP will not always be possible. This could include hardware, chips, drones, blockchain etc. For the time being I will still relate all startups to the lean stages but with an open-mind in the above situations.

Blog by Paul Dowling – Co-Founder of Dreamstake  the world’s first tech startup platform to match 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 can create profiles on the platform and get direct introductions to investors. We are constantly looking for great early stage tech startups. Investors please contact [email protected]

We have also recently launched an exclusive tech angel investment club in partnership with The Hoxton. HoxTech Angels will run invitation only angel investment evenings every month.

 

povertyOn 25 September 2015 the 193 member United Nations General assembly adopted the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable  Development, along with a bold set of new Global Goals, which Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon hailed as a universal, integrated and transformative vision for a better world.

Unsurprisingly, goal number 1 of the 17 sustainable development goals was the total eradication of world poverty by 2030.

We recognise that eradicating poverty in all its forms and dimensions, including extreme poverty, is the greatest global challenge and an indispensable requirement for sustainable development. All countries and all stakeholders, acting in collaborative partnership, will implement this plan. We are resolved to free the human race from the tyranny of poverty and want and to heal and secure our planet.’

Although this may first seem like a pipe dream, world poverty was halved in the 15 years between 2000 and 2015. I believe that although technology is only an enabler of change we have a huge opportunity to leverage it’s power to make significant change to the lives of hundreds of millions of people living in poverty.

The big question is how can technology contribute to achieving this goal?

Connecting individuals and communities 

The internet and connected smart phones are enabling wealth generation in much the same way as previous technologies such as the printing press, railways and telecommunications. However, the reach of the new technologies is far greater. For the first time in history communities such as those in sub-saharan Africa are being connected with the rest of the world. This brings many of the associated benefits described below.

Spreading democracy and reducing corruption

Social platforms such as Twitter and Facebook have played a significant role in spreading democracy and giving a voice to individuals in countries where freedom of speech is restricted by Governments. This trend will only increase as technologies such as the blockchain and crypto-currencies provide the power to deliver wealth and aid directly to the rightful recipients.

Delivering education

The spread of micro-education and online university courses is bringing education within reach of anyone with a smartphone. Already the best universities in the US are providing course materials free of charge online. This brings with it the possibility of anyone, anywhere being able access the same education as available in the most developed economies. It also enables female students who might otherwise be denied an education to study at home.

Promoting commerce

There are many ways in which access to technology will promote commerce. Startups such as M-Pesa have brought banking to people in Africa who would otherwise have no access to a bank account. Today, this company has more than 17 mn customers across Africa who use its mobile transfer service. The internet also allows anyone with access to the internet to set up a business. E-commerce sites can be run from home with fulfilment carried out remotely.

Improving healthcare

We are on the verge of a healthcare revolution. Whether it’s delivering healthcare education to isolated communities or delivering healthcare remotely, we will see unprecedented improvements in this area.

Access to capital and resources

Access to capital has been a major issue for entrepreneurs in many developing countries. It has been impossible for people to set up even micro-businesses without working capital. However, crowdfunding platforms such as Kickstarter will give founders new sources of funding. Accelerator programmes offer the possibility for startup activity outside the traditional tech clusters.

There is little doubt that internet platforms are changing the world. We see this in developed countries with the likes of Uber and Airbnb. However the next wave of technologies will address truly global issues. I strongly believe that technology is a great leveller. It provides the promise of a global meritocracy where the best can succeed irrespective of locality.

Dreamstake have been selected by Google to deliver a workshop as part of their Solve for X programme.  This programme has the objective of addressing truly global challenges through the innovative application of technology. As part of the initiative Dreamstake will be bringing together experts from all walking in life; Scientists, economists, artists and technologists to suggest novel ways to eliminate poverty.

Blog by Paul Dowling – Co-Founder of Dreamstake  the world’s first tech startup platform to match 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 can create profiles on the platform and get direct introductions to investors. We are constantly looking for great early stage tech startups. Investors please contact [email protected]

We have also recently launched an exclusive tech angel investment club in partnership with The Hoxton. HoxTech Angels will run invitation only angel investment evenings every month.

Although 2015 was an amazing year for startups, there is still plenty more to come from the year we are just getting into. We are entering a period of unprecedented changes as internet technology matures and we begin a phase where we all reap the benefits created by the early pioneers. Some of these changes will be surprising and may present challenges to our current way of thinking. My top predictions include;

The rise of the multipreneur - Early startup founders had little choice but to focus all their energy into single startups. The high failure rate and complexity of creating a startup dictated that pioneers such as Mark Zuckerberg had a this single startup mentality. However, we are now seeing entrepreneurs such as Elon Musk who are able to build several world changing business ideas in parallel. Jack Dorsey and Will.i.am are other examples of this approach which has come about because the process for creating a startup is now better understood and to some degree simplified. Books such as The Lean Startup allow founders to follow a more predictable path. The next 5 years will see an increase in the number of these multifaceted entrepreneurs.

Tech startups become democratised - Until 5 years ago there was only one place to build a tech startup; Silicon Valley. Then other clusters sprung up across the globe. We saw increased activity in New York, London, Tel Aviv and Berlin. Now we are seeing accelerator programmes being launched in all five continents. For the first time ever, a strong founder in Africa or Asia can launch a global startup to rival the best that Silicon Valley can produce. Startups such as M-Pesa have proven that emerging nations can provide the climate to leapfrog existing players. This democratisation will lead to a massive increase in startup activity from all regions which ultimately the possibility of reducing poverty through greatly increased economic activity.

Startups get serious – The past 5 years has been the era of the consumer internet startup. Much of the growth has come from social networking, marketplaces and similar consumer applications. How many more location based drinking/dating apps do we need? Although we often refer to the current crop of startups as world changing, this is only the start. The next 5 years will see massive growth in sectors such as HealthTech, FinTech and other technologies that really improve our quality of life.

Enterprises eventually get it - Corporations have long been frustrated by their inability to innovate.  There has been a growing recognition that they face disruption from nimble and efficient startups. Corporations are waking up to the need to adopt startup thinking to their own businesses. This can either be an openness to accepting new processes or the adoption of innovative technologies. Products such as Slack will transform the ways that enterprises work and some will finally figure out how to work with the startup world.

Tech takes over – We all face immense challenges as artificial intelligence, machine learning and big data change our lives. We will see a widening gap between those that understand how to leverage these technologies and those that don’t.  Industries that have traditionally relied on professionals will be decimated as machines take over many activities. Big data will predict our behaviour and provide us with tailored on-demand services. Society will have to deal with increased leisure time and a reduction in skilled jobs.

I am looking forward to 2016.  It will be great to see what all the inspiring entrepreneurs on our platform will come with. I hope that between us we will be able to address some real problems and use technology to build a better future.

Blog by Paul Dowling – Co-Founder of Dreamstake  the world’s first tech startup platform to match 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 can create profiles on the platform and get direct introductions to investors. We are constantly looking for great early stage tech startups. Investors please contact [email protected]

We have also recently launched an exclusive tech angel investment club in partnership with The Hoxton. HoxTech Angels will run invitation only angel investment evenings every month.