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innovation DAILY

Here we highlight selected innovation related articles from around the world on a daily basis.  These articles related to innovation and funding for innovative companies, and best practices for innovation based economic development.

The Swedish government’s venture capital company for the automotive industry, Fouriertransform, has invested SEK 60 million (US$8.6 million) in Powercell Sweden, which develops, produces and sells fuel cells, fuel reformers and auxiliary power units.

“We regard it as very positive that Powercell will gain an additional strong financial owner. This will enable us to be a long-term partner in heavy industrial development projects,” said Per Wassén, chairman of Powercell Sweden and investment director at Volvo Technology Transfer.

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The dearth of funding for venture capital investments puts the future of Israel’s entire high-tech industry at risk, says chairman of research company and founder of Giza Venture Capital.

Venture capital firms invested a total of $303 million in Israeli companies in the third quarter of 2009, 50 percent lower than the $600 million they invested in the country in the corresponding period in 2008.

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Entrepreneurship and innovation are critical factors that determine the overall economic health of a country, according to the 2009 Legatum Prosperity Index.

The index, which considers both material wealth and quality of life when evaluating the prosperity of nations, ranks 104 nations that account for 90 per cent of the world's population.

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The World Bank recently released the results of its 2008 World Bank Group Entrepreneurship Survey. The results show something free marketers around the globe should appreciate. After accounting for differences in per capita income across countries, the World Bank researchers found that countries with easier and less expensive procedures for registering new businesses have higher rates of new business creation.

The figure below shows the relationship between rates of new-business creation and the time it takes to register new businesses. It shows that in countries where it is harder to start a new business (the country’s rank on ease of starting a business is a higher number), rates of new-business entry are lower (the entry-rate density percentage is smaller). (The United States ranked sixth in ease of doing business among the countries in the study.)

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NEW YORK--(Business Wire)-- In the face of a severe global recession, the world`s 1,000 largest publicly traded corporate research and development spenders increased spending on R&D in 2008, affirming the critical importance of innovation to their corporate strategies, according to global management consulting firm Booz & Company`s fifth annual analysis of global innovation spending, released today. R&D outlays for these companies rose by 5.7 percent to US$532 billion, even as sales were up only 6.5 percent. While the increase in 2008 R&D spend was less dramatic than 2007's gain of 10 percent, it was just slightly less than the 7.1 percent global five-year compound annual growth rate (CAGR) for R&D.

Overall, more than two thirds of companies maintained or increased their R&D spending in 2008, despite more than a third (34 percent) reporting that net income plummeted last year, according to the study. More than a quarter of companies decreased their R&D allocation in 2008.

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WASHINGTON, Oct. 26 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The United States Senate today passed legislation to temporarily extend Small Business Administration (SBA) programs through April 30, 2010. S.1929 provides for a clean extension of all SBA programs. Senator Mary L. Landrieu, D-La., Chair of the Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship, today issued the following statement on the passage of the extension:

"A six-month extension of the SBA and its programs - including the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) programs - ensures that the agency has the stability it needs to provide our innovators and job creators the assistance they need to remain successful. While we continue to make progress on all of our reauthorization measures - SBIR/STTR, SBA's loans and venture capital programs, contracting assistance, and management counseling - this temporary reauthorization will help keep America's 29 million small businesses running through the holiday season."

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Center for Venture Research

Director, Jeffrey Sohl (603)862-3341



Market Size

The angel investor market in Q1,2 2009 experienced a considerable decline in investment dollars from last year but exhibited a slight increase in the number of investments. Total investments in Q1,2 2009 were $9.1 billion, a decrease of 27% over Q1,2 2008, according to the Center for Venture Research at the University of New Hampshire. However, a total of 24,500 entrepreneurial ventures received angel funding in Q1,2 2009, a 6% increase from Q1,2 2008, and the number of active investors in Q1,2 2009 was 140,200 individuals, virtually unchanged from Q1,2 2008. The significant decline in total dollars, coupled with the small increase in investments resulted in a smaller deal size for Q1,2 2009 (a decline in deal size of 31% from Q1,2 2008). These data indicate that while angels have not significantly decreased their investment activity, they are committing less dollars resulting from lower valuations and a cautious approach to investing. While the market exhibited a decline from Q1,2 2008, when compared to the market correction that occurred in the second half of 2008 these data indicate that the angel market appears to have reached its nadir in Q1,2 2009.

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Venture capital investment in the international markets rebounded in the third quarter from the dismal previous quarter but still fell far short of the same period last year, according to new global data from industry tracker Dow Jones VentureSource.

Venture capitalists put $1.8 billion to work in 297 deals in Europe, Canada, Israel, China and India in the third quarter, up from $1.5 billion invested in the second quarter, but half of the $3.6 billion invested in the third quarter of 2008. (See charts below.)

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NEW YORK, Oct. 27 /PRNewswire/ -- How does a university introduce a cutting-edge academic model, one based on invention, innovation and entrepreneurship?

By rolling blogging together with real-time celebrity lectures (and required attendance) -- all in a first-year forum unlike anything other universities have ever attempted.

Polytechnic Institute of New York University's newest undergraduate course presents 465 first-year students to the joys and rigors of creative thinking in its Innovation and Technology Forum. The forum is the latest entree in the Institute's mission to educate the next generation of global innovators. Other institutions offer graduate courses in entrepreneurship, but NYU-Poly's forum is the first designed specifically for the entire class of first-year students. It is also one of the first to supplement in-class discussions with online learning for such a large number of students.

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Most of the world’s population now lives in cities. How can we make sure these urban centers are good homes for humanity? Cities from Bogotá and Rio de Janeiro to Seoul are leading the way, using fresh ideas to reduce pollution and waste; provide efficient, clean transportation; and support biodiversity.

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THERE may not be an immediate solution to the difficulties small businesses face in getting finance but innovation is not necessarily expensive, experts said at the Pujiang Innovation Forum yesterday.

Hans Christian Pfohl, chair of Management and Logistics at the Darmstadt University of Technology in Germany, said even small companies in Germany have problems trying to get financing from banks, private equity firms or from the capital market.


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SAN FRANCISCO — Companies big and small monitor Twitter to find out what their customers like and what they want changed. Twitter does the same.

It started two years ago as a bare-bones service, offering little more than the ability to post 140-character messages. Then, it outsourced its idea generation to its users. The company watches how people use the service and which ideas catch on. Then its engineers turn the ideas into new features.

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At first glance, it appears that the term “innovation” is used too freely in aerospace—every incremental improvement in a product, process or service is trumpeted as such. Where are the discoveries and breakthroughs that marked the first century of aviation?

They are there, is the answer, but not where they once were to be found. Aerospace and defense contractors can no longer afford standing armies of scientists, so they are forging close relationships with universities and acquiring innovative small companies as they cast their net wider for new ideas.

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Groundbreaking ideas rarely make money without patience, passion and relentlessness. "I've been a pain in the butt, believe me," said Michael Wielgat, a Chicago firefighter and inventor of the "Hero Pipe."

Four years and tens of thousands of dollars ago, Wielgat began working on a device that enables fire crews to fight flames in high-rises from one level below. Hero Pipe is now drawing interest from the Department of Homeland Security, and last week Wielgat was recognized as a visionary during the 8th annual Chicago Innovation Awards.

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Last month FTW sat down and talked with Jean- Daniel Tordjman, who is Ambassador for France’s Competitive Clusters. This is an unusual title and Tordjman brings to the job a unique combination of skills that includes a long government career and involvement in international trade and investment. Tordjman visited Washington DC for the Council on Competitiveness’ National Energy Summit and International Dialogue, where he was enthusiastic about the use of nanotechnology in the manufacture of solar energy components. He twice served in the French Embassy in Washington; as commercial attache (1971-75) and as a minister (1985-92).

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U.S Still Leads the World in Innovation, Despite Economic Crisis; America Also Strong on Personal Freedom and Community Life, Finds Legatum Prosperity Index Finland is the Most Prosperous Nation Overall, While the United States, Ranked 9th, is the Top-Performing Large Nation. Poor Performance on Health Drags the U.S. Down

LONDON, October 26 /PRNewswire/ -- The third edition of the Legatum Prosperity Index, published today, ranks 104 countries (covering 90% of the world's population), based on a definition of prosperity that combines economic growth together with measures of happiness and quality of life. Finland tops the Index, with the U.S. ranking ninth out of 104 countries in the Index, ahead of large European nations such as Britain, Germany and France, which all still make the top 20. Finland is narrowly ahead of Switzerland, Sweden and Denmark; Zimbabwe ranks last, following Yemen and Sudan.

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Innovation, by definition, means doing things differently and exploring new opportunities. It is a reference to both radical and incremental change. Innovation becomes the key driver of the economy, encompassing growth, competitive advantage and productivity. Contemporaneously, organisations have been challenged to satisfy customer requirements and provide competitive products while facing exponentially escalating costs. Innovation appears to hold the key. Innovation systems, management and applications are now regarded as interrelated critical areas of study in most schools of business, economics, engineering, social education, environment, and policy construction. There are, therefore, a wide range of theoretical frameworks and models to conceptualise innovation as well as a wide range of approaches to applications of innovation. While there are many successful innovation project applications, there are also a number of failures.

what is innovation theory

Don’t Get No Respect - “It surprised me that being a start-up founder does not get you more admiration from women.” That’s one response to the question, “What surprised you the most about starting a company?” asked by Paul Graham, the co-founder of seed investor Y Combinator. Graham, who asked this question to all the founders of start-ups that Y Combinator invested in, summarizes the responses - many of which are more serviceable than the lighthearted one above - in a helpful post for first-time founders. What’s interesting, Graham finds, is that the founders’ surprises are all things that Graham told them would happen beforehand. “Unconsciously, everyone expects a start-up to be like a job, and that explains most of the surprises,” Graham says.

WSJ: The Daily Start-Up: So You Founded A Start-Up - Surprise!

NEW YORK, NY, July 07, 2009 MaiMai News — FundingPost ( proudly announces the start of its sixth annual Pitching Across America(TM) competition today. FundingPost, which has been introducing entrepreneurs to investors for over 8 years, established the competition in 2004. In the past 5 years more than 500 Venture Capital Funds and Angel Investors have participated as judges, voting on over 1,000 business summaries from emerging companies nationwide. They have been the largest Venture Capital competitions ever organized. The Pitching Across America competition not only showcases emerging companies to investors, but helps Venture Capital and Angel Investors quickly identify worthwhile investment opportunities. Many of the judges request additional information and meetings with the participating companies. FundingPost expects to duplicate its success from previous Pitching Across America events again this year.

The emerging companies’ executive summaries will be evaluated on a scale of 1 to 10. Judging criteria consist of several key points including: the professionalism of the written summary, current stage of development (customers, revenue), competitive advantage and need in the marketplace, feasibility for success, and whether the company is “VentureWorthy(TM).”

Venture Capital Funds & Angel Investors to Elect the Top 50 Emerging Companies Nationwide