Category Archives: Innovation and Technology

AirAsia Targets Startups With New Venture Capital Fund

The latest in a number of airlines that are seeking to diversify their portfolios, AirAsia has started a fund called RedBeat Capital to provide seed money to burgeoning businesses. Sean O’Neal of Skift.com describes how the company is following the examples of JetBlue Technology Ventures and the unsuccessful Qantas AVRO Accelerator Program in its bifurcation of its focus into new and promising businesses. Whether the motivation for this venture capital fund comes from a desire to boost revenue, boost innovation within their cultures, or to insulate themselves from the uncertainties of the market through diversification, it is an undisputedly interesting and savvy move on the part of the Asian budget airline. Read more>>

2019 US VC Funds Take A More Boutique Approach

There are multiple types of venture capitalists (VC) who put up money to startups that need some funds to grow. Examples include business angels, small businesses, individual investors, and families. All of these VCs tend to provide support to certain categories of startups. Historically they have been the main lenders of capital to upstarts. That is until a couple of years ago. Since the tech boom of the 2000s a new and increasingly dominant type of investor appeared to snatch high growth and massively scale-able new business up into its clutches: the “supergiant” venture capital fund. These investors dominated the VC market for years and shelled out billions of dollars to startup businesses that they believed in. But Joanna Glasner of Crunchbase.com reports that a new trend may be emerging in the United States VC market — that of the boutique investor. Rather than awarding huge boluses of money to businesses, VCs are being more selective with their money, distributing it in smaller, more focused amounts to candidates. How are VCs establishing themselves in this new niche and what does it mean for startups? Read more>>

Can Predictive Analytics be Made Safe for Humans?

Everyone operating a computer in 2019 is aware to a greater or lesser degree of the war going on quietly under their fingers and in the cloud; a war involving subterfuge and attacks, heroes and villains. We are, of course, talking about the war on data privacy. From its very inception, technology has been a wild west that regulators have battled to control through the enacting of laws and policies. Unfortunately, as technology has rapidly outpaced regulation, ethical dilemmas such as the one posed by the increasing accuracy of data analytics will continue to arise. As TechCrunch.com writer Danny Crichton explains, “people can’t understand the extent that inferences can be made with their data”. A very public example of this concept is the story from Target, in which the software used by the retailer suggested maternity supplies for a teen based off of her early stage pregnancy shopping items. This suggestion alerted her father to the fact that she was pregnant. How are regulators attempting to tackle the significant ethical issues that arise from the undressing of people’s privacy through data while still allowing businesses and individuals to enjoy the benefits of these predictions? Read more>>

Your Guide to the Gold Rush of Digital Logistics

For any commercial manufacturing business, a huge expense and consideration is the logistics of product delivery. Logistics for many businesses are a nightmare of data surplus and chains of liability. As we move further into the 21st century, the headache is being taken out of logistics through digitization. According to Sangeet Paul Choudary, of INSEAD Business School, the forces of improved automation of inventory tracking methods, implementation of block-chain technology as a method of maintaining a distributed ledger, and the adoption of application programming interfaces (APIs) that allow databases and software to communicate with each other, innovative businesses have been able to springboard to lucrative business models. As logistics needs continue to develop and scale, new businesses will keep rushing to automate and digitize lean solutions to problems that we didn’t know needed to be solved. Read more>>

The 3 Pillars of Innovative Product Design (And How to Implement Them)

As we move further into the 21st century, expectations for products have grown drastically. Not only do users expect functionality, but they expect this functionality to be delivered in a truly unique way, that none of the numerous other competitors who are racing for their business have been able to replicate. According to Shachar Shamir of Hackernoon.com the key areas that innovators need to focus on include aesthetics, functionality, and value. Why and how do you create a uniquely innovative product, and how will this trend of innovation play an increasing role in the success of your business? Read more>>

Boeing Backs Aerion in Effort to Revive Supersonic Jets

For all of those who mourned the decommissioning of the infamous supersonic jetliner Concord in 2003, yesterday was a momentous day. Boeing, in collaboration with a startup named Aerion, have publicly announced their financial partnership in the effort to create a supersonic business jet that will travel at 1,000 mph — up to 70% faster than existing business jets. Even more astonishing is the fact that this jet will reach markets by 2023; Twenty of the jets have already been ordered! If you have ever wondered where commercial aviation may go in the next decades, this article from Bloomberg contributors Julie Johnson and Thomas Black may give you your answer. Read more>>

Micromobility’s 15,000-Mile Checkup

Shared micromobility, which allows people to share electric bikes, scooters and mopeds has grown rapidly and is projected to grow at an even quicker rate within the next decade. Billions of investment dollars have started to flood into this industry, which is taking away investments from car based sharing solutions that had been so profitable in the past. The market potential is short to none as people feel “the experience takes them back to their first time riding a bicycle or a scooter”. However, is micromobility just another transportation fad, or does it actually have the potential to be the next best investment? Read More>>105273312-GettyImages-954604862.1910x1000

Three Steps to Help Innovation Teams Succeed at an Established Company

It is well known by businessmen and industry outsiders alike that innovation and the research and development processes are absolutely vital to the ultimate success of a company. Without them a business will slowly die from an inability to reposition itself. So how do businesses encourage and create an environment conducive to this critical (and oftentimes elusive) process? Stephanie Farsht, a former Target executive, suggests some methods to start with. Read More>>

One Way to Finance Tech Startups Outside of Superstar Cities

As rising star companies have ascended, clung to the top, and fallen over the duration of the mercurial tech boom of the last few decades, everyone has heard about the bunching of innovative new businesses in now glamorous locations like Silicon Valley. Less lauded and much less attractive to large scale investors are reliable, low risk, but small upstart ventures coming out regionally across the country. These businesses – which are critical to the local economy and have reliable potential to generate return – are struggling to attract even the modest support that they need. Entrepreneur and innovator Edward Jung may have an answer to the issue at hand for these rising businesses that may benefit not only them but also regional economies, family businesses, and long standing local corporations. What are Local Innovation Bonds (LIBs) and how could they meet the needs of both conservative investors and needy upstarts? Read more>>

SATELLITES THE SIZE OF A GRILLED-CHEESE MACHINE COULD CHANGE THE WORLD

On this side of the world, the Internet has developed and became a big part of our daily routines. Indeed, according to Nielsen Company’s audience report, the average American spends about 10 hours and 39 minutes in front of a screen each day. As we use the internet for research, for work, for personal entertainment… we tend to forget that there are still billions of people that are not connected to the web. Global connectivity has been a dream for all since the 1990s and Sara Spangelo and Ben Longmier might have just found a solution. Their startup Swarm Technologies is developing a low-cost satellite the size of a grilled-cheese machine, that has for goal affordable, global internet connectivity for all. Read more >>