Archives for category: founders

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.

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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.

At first glance, investing in technology startups looks highly attractive. The best ones grow into billion dollar companies in amazingly short timeframes and fortunes are made by those that spot the winners. Even without betting on individual unicorns David Rose of New York Angels estimates an annualised IRR of 25% for angel investors. Not bad by any standards.

So where is the dilemma? The problem is that when you look to make your first investment all technology startups look high risk and of course they are. There is at least a 50% chance that the startup you are reviewing will fail and only 10% that it will be that billion dollar unicorn. It is only when you diversify the risk over at least half a dozen startups that things start to look more rosy.

I recommend that the first decision to make is whether to be an active or passive investor. You can choose either approach but your tactics will vary depending on which strategy you follow. To passively invest, you will need to follow others. Pick investors who you trust, investing in sectors that they understand. These are often HNW’s who have made their money from successfully selling or IPOing a company. Let them do the due diligence and set the term-sheet and invest alongside them.

If you choose to be an active investor, you should do a lot more research up-front. This kind of investment has to be fun and is often best driven by a passion. The tech startup sector is very diverse and it is rarely possible to pick a sector that has more potential that the next because everything moves so fast. If you are based in a city such as London, you can predict the sectors which will get the most support from Government and corporates. In the case of London it might be FinTech and FashTech. You might alternatively choose to bet on the future and take a look at sectors such as EdTech or HealthTech. You can also take a technology focused approach, looking to back emerging technologies such as Virtual Reality, Artificial Intelligence, Robotics or Big Data. Whatever choice you make, base it on research.

Active investors sometimes choose to invest in smaller portfolios. The reason for this is that it’s difficult to manage more than a few startups at once.

Finally, there is nothing wrong with taking a hybrid approach. This would involve investing in a small number of startups as the active lead and then build the rest of your portfolio by following other more active investors.

So the main tips to angel investors are;

  • Always diversify your investment across multiple investments
  • Only actively invest in what you understand
  • Follow other angels when you don’t fully understand a sector or technology

Blog by Paul Dowling — Co-Founder of Dreamstake the world’s first tech startup platform to match 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]

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

MeWe would like to wish all our investor friends a great summer holiday period. It is a good time to reflect on the Brexit decision and make an assessment of the implications before the next HoxTech Angels event at the end of September.

London has an extremely strong tech scene which will continue to boom over the next few years.  Tech Angel investing delivers extremely high annualised IRR in relation to most other asset classes so long as investors act responsibly and diversify risk across portfolios of quality startups. Our mission at Hoxtech Angels is to identify the best tech startups from over 1,500 on the Dreamstake platform and curate them into selected angel investors.

I would suggest that the startup investment scene was already changing before Brexit.  European tech investors had been responding to fluffiness in Silicon Valley valuations by focusing on more tangible propositions, addressing real problems and with more proof points. The Brexit decision has simply reinforced this.  Expect to see less angel investment in social and consumer apps and more going into sectors like Fintech, Healthtech and Edtech.  As far as technologies are concerned, we are on the cusp of a revolution, with the UK in a great position to exploit leadership in areas such as Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning, Virtual and Augmented Reality.  We can also expect to see demands from investors to see high levels of traction and lower valuations. However, to repeat a common cliché, great startups will always attract the capital they need to grow.

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.

 

 

great-gatsby-party

 

I read the recent blog by Bryce Roberts of O’Reilly AlphaTech Ventures, ‘Are we reaching the Limits of Silicon Valley’s Venture Model?’, in which he questioned the validity of the model.  As a Londoner with little connection to The Valley,  I realised that it was only one of many hundred recent blogs I have read from Silicon Valley VCs that recognised that the model might be broken.  It was refreshing to hear a VC actually take some responsibility for the current situation.

As an outsider, I would be a bit more blunt in my observation.  I guess Mattermark could confirm that over the past 20 years, Silicon Valley has consumed by far the highest ever level of resource in human history.  This has involved deploying trillions of dollars of capital in addition to concentrating some of the best minds from across the globe.  And the result?  A taxi app and a bed and breakfast app!  Before you shout that I don’t understand.  I do realize that Uber could be the basis for driverless cars and that VCs have been clever enough to spot this and pump in capital.  However, it is still only a taxi app. and it is quite possible that Tesla or someone new will get there first.  In the context of the trillions of capital and concentration of resource, is this really a great result and shouldn’t VCs take full responsibility for failing to invest in more significant opportunities?  It’s your bubble guys. No-one else is to blame.

Silicon Valley VCs are hypocritical in their approach to investment.  They dictate rules that they don’t observe themselves.  They insist that businesses are scaleable but have done nothing to ensure their own businesses are. They still invest in companies an hours drive from the office and employ little in the way of automation. It’s an old story. Turkeys don’t vote for Christmas and VCs don’t wish to put themselves out of a job.  They therefore insist that somehow VC is different from other professional services and can’t be automated by platforms or machine learning.  They have been guilty of extreme groupthink which has lead to a bubble.  Yes, sorry guys, it is a bubble. Just in case you haven’t noticed.

The bubble has been caused because of this groupthink.  It’s always the same. It goes back to the tulip bubble and has caused every bubble since. This time around it has been caused by an inability to take true risk on innovation, instead chucking capital into ‘me-too’ marketplaces and ‘safer’ business models. This groupthink happens because of a lack of diversity and the exclusion of wide ranging opinions. There is life outside The Valley in case no-one has noticed.

The rest of the world has some justification in being unsympathetic to The Valley and in particular Sand Hill Road.  You have sucked our resources for a few decades and risk spoiling our party too. You have given us the basis of our own startup revolution but any bubble threatens to take us down as well.

The solution?  Silicon Valley VCs need to admit that they are myopic in their approach. They can no longer kid themselves that somehow a bunch of bright people can change the world through concentrating capital based on their decisions.  The close-knit cluster has had its day. The internet will open it up, as it has the industries VCs invest in.  We should strive to reach the point where a founder building a startup in Nairobi will have equal access to resource as the college kid from Stanford. As VCs themselves say, ‘platforms change the world’.  This much is true.

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.

 

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.

 

 

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.

 

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.