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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.

Using technology to turbocharge innovation in a downturn by Jacques Bughin, Angela Hung Byers, and Michael Chui

Amidst the pain of economic downturn, comes an overlooked competitive opportunity for companies: during recessions, only major innovations pass the test of success. These are the kinds of innovations that can sweep away older business models, creating a foundation for major growth that will endure long after the downturn has passed and a New Normal has taken hold.

DOE Finances 'Old Guard' Auto Companies as Startups Lose Out by John Gartner

Some automotive entrepreneurs are feeling like when it comes to getting DOE funding, it's who, not what you know.

The $2.4 billion in federal funding for advanced battery and vehicle electrification announced this week boosted battery manufacturers that had prior relationships with the DOE, while some lesser-known innovators were left with hat in hand.

Global trends in venture capital: 2009 report by Deloitte

The survey was conducted with venture capitalists (VCs) in the Americas, Asia Pacific (AP), Europe and Israel. There were 725 responses from general partners of venture capital firms with assets under management ranging from less than $100 million1 to greater than $1 billion.

Multiple responses from the same firm were allowed, as the survey was a general measurement of the state of global investing from all general partners, not attitudes of specific firms. If respondents did not answer a question, the count for the question was adjusted accordingly.

The highest number of respondents—35 percent—claimed assets under management totaling between $100 million and $499 million. Another 34 percent had managed assets that were less than $100 million, 17 percent had managed assets greater than $1 billion, and 14 percent had between $500 million and $1 billion in assets under management.

Falling Valuations: Poison for Venture Capital by Brad Stone

In a quarterly study of venture financings published Friday, Fenwick & West, a Silicon Valley law firm, found that so-called “down rounds” in the second quarter of 2009 exceeded “up rounds,” 46 percent to 32 percent. Last quarter was similarly bad – with 46 percent down rounds and 25 percent up rounds.

In a down round, a start-up issues more stock with a lower valuation than in previous rounds, which means that the equity of previous investors has shrunk. This is poison for the V.C. industry, which depends on returning large bounties to its investors, who have plenty of safer asset classes in which to invest their money.

Innovation in your career development by Tara Pengakis

What does innovation mean to you as you seek a new career? Searching for a job in new way? Do you have to be really intelligent or creative to be innovative?

Some people say that an invention is an idea made real and that innovation is that invention used successfully. So, while a new product may be a clever concept and even a working model, if people cannot find a use for it at the right time and the right place, it isn't likely to be successful. Be innovative in your career development. Use established inventions in new ways.

Red Hat's JBoss road less traveled by Matt Asay

Red Hat has announced its 2009 Innovation Awards, with some impressive finalists making the list. From Whole Foods to Harvard Business School Publishing, major organizations are doing impressive things with Red Hat technology. Interestingly, however, the real "innovation" revealed by these awards is just how much more money Red Hat makes in its JBoss deals than in its Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) deals.

China's Innovation Advantage by Sramana Mitra

"The venture capital market in China really only opened up in the mid-1990s," Chao says. "Business law came into effect in China in the late 1980s. There was not very much access to capital. IDG was there in the early 1990s, but that was a slow process. There were firms like Walden and WI Harper that originally did a lot of Taiwan deals and then did a deal or two in China. In 1999, we made an investment in 51Job, which is the of China."

Crunch Time for Obama by Doug Shoen

The latest Wall Street Journal/NBC News public opinion survey shows steadily eroding support on the president's health care proposal, and more generally, his lowest registered job approval ratings since taking office nearly eight months ago. Personally, Mr. Obama remains popular, but he's witnessing backward movement on nearly every major policy reform initiative proposed -- climate change, the economy and the debate over how to reform the nation's ailing health-care system, just to name a few.

DOE Announces Stimulus Funding for new SBIRs, by Fred Patterson (The SBIR Coach)

The Department of Energy gets it. On several levels. Stimulus means creating opportunities for creating jobs. Clean Energy is currently a cool technology to support. R&D without commercialization is just, well, academic.

So, the DOE is putting a nice chunk of their ARRA Stimulus money ($8.5 million) into new Phase I SBIR and STTR projects that place an emphasis on near-term, clean energy technology commercialization. Sixty six-month Phase I projects will be funded in amounts up to $150,000.

Tony Blair, Climate Group, and CAP call for public investment and technology-centric climate policy by Teryn Norris

Two new studies published last month -- one by the Office of Tony Blair and the Climate Group, the other by the Global Climate Network and Center for American Progress (CAP) -- strongly advocate a climate policy strategy based on direct government investment in energy technology development and deployment.

Letter from the NASVF President: Jim Jaffe

They are 38 days till the NASVF 16th Annual Conference. This theme for this year’s conference Seed Investment at the Forefront of Economic Recovery promises to deliver the key elements for all Seed and Early-stage investors; entrepreneurs, state and regional economic development organizations, academic technology transfer organizations and the federal laboratory system.

One of our featured keynote speakers is Tom Vilsack, the 30th Secretary of the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). Secretary Vilsack and the USDA’s chief scientific research agency office of Agricultural Research Service (ARS), provide solutions to agricultural problems that affect our lives every day, from field to table. Here are a few quick facts about the ARS organization:

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Turning Out The Lights: SplashCast

SplashCast, which lets people watch TV shows within social-networking sites, has been unable to raise new funding and has decided to shut down.

In March 2008, the Portland, Ore.-based company announced $4 million in Series A financing led by Australian media and advertising veteran Mark Bayliss with participation from angel group Emergent Growth Fund.

From Silicon Valley to Herzliya, Israel, venture capital firms are concentrated in very few locations. More than half of the 1,000 venture capital offices listed in Pratt's Guide to Private Equity and Venture Capital Sources are located in just three metropolitan areas: San Francisco, Boston, and New York. More than 49 percent of the U.S.-based companies financed by venture capital firms are located in these three cities. This paper examines the location decisions of venture capital firms and the impact that venture capital firm geography has on investments and outcomes. Findings are informative both to researchers in economic geography and to policymakers who seek to attract venture capital.

Direct link to the PDF.

The Price of Innovation - Megan McArdle

Dean Kamen has some lengthy thoughts on innovation that are well worth reading. As the article notes, besides the Segway and the world's first stair-climbing wheelchair, "His innovations include the first wearable infusion pump, a portable kidney dialysis machine, a more flexible stent, one of the world's most advanced prosthetic arms, and many other devices used in the treatment of diabetes, heart disease, cancer and other conditions". Kamen's core point is that innovation is expensive. You can't stop rewarding innovators and expect to have as much of it.

Angel captital groups adjusting strategy to the economy

LENEXA, KS - The economic recession is having an impact on angel group investment strategies, which are investing more in portfolio companies and have less appetite for new deals, according to a survey by the Angel Capital Association.

The survey says Angel groups’ 2009 strategies include increased investment in portfolio companies, preferences for co-investing, less appetite for new deals, fewer anticipated exits, and a predicted increase in both quantity and quality of deal flow.

UK State-led venture capital lags behind rivals

State-backed venture capital funds have underperformed their purely commercial rivals in recent years, according to new research.

Commercial VC funds started in 2002-04 achieved weighted annual average returns of 7.7 per cent, compared with 1.7 per cent for all VC funds, including those backed by the state, according to the British Venture Capital and Private Equity Association.

Replace the World Bank with Venture Capital? by Carl Hammerdorfer

"Is it just me, or is the world actually discussing global poverty and development solutions with renewed passion and genuine rethinking? Work in the development racket for too long can make even the most starry-eyed optimist feel a bit jaded. After all, how long can you hang your hat on the success of South Korea and Poland? Sure, Ghana and Botswana are starting to seem like good stories, but what about Egypt, Burkina Faso, Honduras, Bolivia and a hundred other countries spinning their wheels in poverty’s swamp? When do we start seeing some real, long-term results? When do perennially poor states stand on their own feet?

GAO Report on Bayh-Dole: Leverage to Promote Commercialization of Federally-Funded Inventions

The General Accountability Office submitted its report to Congress today on the administration of the regulations found under the Bayh-Dole Act, the foundation of all federally-funded research in the United States and one of the key factors in the creation (and boom) of biotechnology as both a research field and industry in the 1980s.

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