When Early Stage VC Isn’t

One of the biggest barriers to innovation is often the lack of early stage funds available. I recently had a bizarre conversation with a manager at an n early stage technology fund who told me that “we don’t invest in anything more than 12 months away from profitability.” Now I know that early stage investment is risk and scary for a lot …

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Innovation Starvation or Risk Avoidance?

While working on our report on Using Emerging Technologies to Address Global Risks, one of my favourite SciFi authors, Neal Stephenson, popped up with an essay on Innovation Starvation. It echoes Tyler Cowen‘s arguments that all the easy big stuff has been done,  and that all we have left to look forward to are incremental improvements rather than world changing …

Early Stage VC Investors Show 2.4% Higher Returns

NESTA released an interring report comparing the difference between US and UK venture Capital funds.  It’s mostly grim reading as most VC funds gave struggled to produce much in the way of returns since the dot com era, but the report does identify early stage investing as a useful, if risky strategy. Fund managers face several strategic choices that may impact …

The Russians Are Coming!

Or rather everyone involved in nanotech is beating a path to Russia and their new high tech cluster at Skolkovo. Not letting the grass grow under feet after splashing out a billion dollars on deals for Magnetic Random Access Memory (MRAM) from Crocus Technology and $700 million on organic electronics with Plastic Logic,  to coincide with the St Petersburg International Economic …

Harris & Harris & The Long Haul

Seeking Alpha has a bit of a puff piece about Harris & Harris, the doubly eponymous nanotechnology investors founded by the late Charlie Harris but misses the big story, which is simply this. To invest in an emerging technology takes time, ten to twenty years, which is three or four times the lifetime of an average venture capital fund, which …

Is the Venture Capital Business Broken?

That’s the question posed by Charley Polachi at Private Equity Hub. The results of a survey of over 1,000 VCs seem to indicate that it is, and the industry as a whole is in need of a ‘reset’ – both in terms of the number and type of companies involved, and in terms of their attitude to ‘innovation.’ Although in …

Got Dem Old European Innovation Blues Again

The European Union is getting increasingly interested in innovation, and convened a Business Panel on EU Innovation Policy to help it. The report is here, and  a blogged summary by Diogo Vasconcelos is here. While it’s all good stuff, and the recommendations about broadening the concept of innovation and creating new infrastructure and financing models are sensible, much of this, …

The World’s Largest Brainstorming

“World’s Largest Brainstorming” The Summit on the Global Agenda will take place from 20 to 22 November 2009 in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, in partnership with the Government of Dubai. The Summit will bring together over 700 Global Agenda Council Members, representing some of the most innovative and influential thinkers from over 90 countries – including 300 business leaders, 240 …