Archives for category: business skills

About 6 months ago I heard a presentation given at Campus London by Daniel Kraft from Singularity University.  A similar presentation from him can be found as a Ted Talk.  The talk blew my mind away and opened it up to the amazing possibilities facing the medical world from the exponential growth of several technologies in parallel.  The combination of low-cost gene analysis, improved computerised bio-informatics, robotics and increased connectivity will revolutionise the way we interact with medicine.

The amazing growth and connectivity of technologies such as connected digital medical records, robotic surgery, nano-medicine and genomics will provide us with a health eco-system that will allow greater emphasis on preventative health and re-direct medical budgets on improving quality of life rather than focusing it on the last few years of a patients existence.

Health services the world over struggle to deal with a variety of problems; increasing cost, unfavourable demographics, access variability, fragmentation, waste and the slow adoption of technology.  Technology can have a positive impact in addressing all these issues.

The increasing power of the smartphone alone is providing a new and increasing range of innovations. It is already possible to test for STDs, blood sugar levels and many other symptoms using sensors or patches linked to smartphone apps. Graphene patches will be even smaller and cheaper.  We are seeing a massive increase in the adoption of quantifiable self solutions. The popularity of wearable wristbands and smart-watches allow us to monitor our health in realtime and take preventative actions. It will not be long before clothing will incorporate sensors that will monitor all aspects of our health and warn us of any problems.

Another area of huge change is in imaging, which is getting increasingly faster and provides far higher resolution. This enables improved diagnosis and supports the surgeon in decision making.  Advanced robotics also provide surgeons with the tools to conduct operations that would not previously be possible.  This can be combined with internet connectivity to allow sharing of information by surgeons during surgical procedures.  Technologies such as augmented reality and even motion detection have potential in medicine, for example in detecting or monitoring stroke victims.

Medical scientists are also carrying out extremely advanced research on devices that allow brain-computer interface as a means for helping quadriplegic patients to restore certain functions.  Artificial retinas will help restore sight and robotics are either replacing or augmenting limbs.

The reduced cost of the genome sampling to less than $100 will allow us to predict the likelihood of developing certain hereditary disorders , this combined with environmental data, and will allow us to take preventative actions.

In general, technology offers the possibility to bring a new approach to medicine that focus resources on prediction and prevention, bringing a higher level of personalisation and participation.  In so doing, technology will increasingly help to empower patients, enable physicians and enhance wellbeing.

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.

 

drinkersTo build and scale great product startup founders need access to substantial funding.  However, building a funding round can take 6 months and this assumes that the startup is investment ready. On the other side of the table investors are sitting on a huge pile of decks and can’t see the wood for the trees. At later stage, this is not such a problem because the founders can afford to pay trusted third parties to get involved and make introductions and even take a strategic deal-making role. Their involvement cuts the process and brings investment ready startups to the attention of the most appropriate source of investment. At early stage it is difficult for third parties to undertake this role because the founders have no money to pay for such a hands-on approach. Platforms such as www.dreamstake.net bring down the cost of each fund-raising transaction and can therefore support the founder in a more efficient way.

Corporate Finance houses normally get involved in funding rounds at around about £1m -£2m or when founders have enough money to pay a substantial retainer. Although founders may find the retainer a deterrent it focuses the advisor on putting resource into the task of getting the startup funded. It is rare that any startup is 100% ready for funding and the role of the advisor is to work with the founder to refine the deck (and the proposition) to the point where it is ready. The next step is to match the startup with the most appropriate form of funding. VCs are invariably sector and stage oriented and therefore a ‘spray and pray’ approach to distributing decks rarely works.

The beauty of platforms, is that they radically bring down the cost to serve. Look at how Airbnb and Uber are transforming their sectors. They do this by building efficient markets where consumers are matchedwith providers at a fraction of the cost. We have brought the same principles to funding startups and use algorithms to sort the deal-flow and match with the most appropriate form of investor. We can therefore, engage with earlier stage startup founders on a performance fee only basis or later stage at a greatly reduced retainer cost.

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.

 

baby unicornAngel investors are often cautious about diving in too early when it comes to investing in early stage tech startups.  They argue that it is highly risky and that there is little quantitative data on which to judge performance. Of course this is correct but does the situation get any more favourable if you leave participation until later? We all know that even VCs have a poor record of picking winners. Surely it is better to make a larger number of smaller bets at early stage than risky larger amounts on later rounds when the valuations are poorer and you have less influence? Here are a few reasons for getting in early;

You can cherry-pick the best opportunities

In the current frothy market there is strong competition for VC ready startups.  However, at seed stage, there is the possibility of spotting a gem. Admittedly it takes more work and you may want build a relationship before committing but you can construct a portfolio of startups that play to your personal strengths and experience. I would advise networking like crazy in your designated sector, learn whats attracting VC investment and get in before the rest.

You can influence the outcomes

If you are first in, you can have a strong influence on the strategic outcomes of the startup that you invest in. You will want to pick strong founders in industry sectors where you have previous knowledge and contacts. You can build a powerful relationship in an advisory role and take away some of the burden from the founder in building the first full funding round. You can also bring the benefit of your experience and help the founder attract other investors.

You get a better valuation 

Clearly the earlier you invest the more favourable the valuation you will secure. This has the advantage that you will be able to construct a portfolio in which you hold equity in a great number of startups with higher equity share. The diversification of your portfolio is an essential part of achieving a higher return on your investment. If you spot opportunities early enough you will find that quite small individual investments can have a major impact.

I would advise founders to start building their funding rounds, bottom up, from very early in their startup lifecycle. They should identify smart investors who are able to add value during the early days and later bring in other investors to construct the full seed round. Most founders fail to realise that they will need a lead investor anyway. It is better for both parties to build the relationship early to obtain maximum benefit.

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.

 

It is true, that these days with enough patience you can learn absolutely any business skill online or offline, but where to find workshops for internet startups that’d be of great value for time and money?

There are all sort of online and offline workshops for internet startups and digital entrepreneurs, offered by ed tech (educational technology) startups and some very established players. I would like to highlight a couple of sources that I still myself, if I need to quickly freshen up my skills.

General Assembly London. Originally out of New York, these guys are now also fully established in London. You can attend all sort of useful sessions for technology entrepreneurs to learn skills from coding to growth hacking. Their prices start from about 15GBP per one session. You can also attend their full time courses over several weeks and become a certificated professional i.e. User Experience or Programming.

Coursera. Wanna learn from a Yale professor about financial markets or discover recent case studies in business analytics with Accenture? No problem, you can now do it online from your sofa for a very affordable price or sometimes even free. This company has international universities on board producing their online workshops, many of which are not only useful for digital businesses, but will help to build any professional skills.

LinkdIn’s Lynda.comOnline learning portal Lynda has been acquired by linkedin this past spring and is slowly becoming a well established online destination for anyone incl. digital and technology entrepreneurs wishing to polish their business skills and set up business online incl.  coding, online marketing , design, video etc. Their subscription model is very affordable for anyone and their range of online workshops is very wide with tutors from all countries and backgrounds.

Digital Business Academy is pretty much the  new offer from the British Government, which is trying really hard to support internet startups and digital entrepreneurs. They have a full range of online tutorials about how to start a business online. The great thing about it is that it is not only free but also produced mostly by established entrepreneurs from the tech industry. Seems that they know what they are talking about and have great case studies and practical examples.

Dreamstake Academy - we have been running free workshops for tech entrepreneurs and digital startups for three years. Since then we have had a chance to learn what are the most important and valuable for our entrepreneurs.  It is a free non-profit project and we now have some of the best tutors from all over Europe supporting us. We run up to 4 workshops for entrepreneurs per day with subjects including anything from Business Model Canvas to VC and angel funding for early stage tech businesses. You can become a member and sign up here.

Blog by Marina Atarova, 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.