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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.

Top 5 Venture Capital Firms: Funding Social Missions by David Capece

In recent years, a new breed of venture capital firms has emerged to make an impact beyond just profitability. Social venture capital funds are adding a new mission in combination with positive financial returns: social and environmental impact. Highlighting social venture funds across the world, this week’s top five will focus on VC portfolios that range from organic beverages to water purification systems in Rajasthan to fiber optic enterprises making energy companies more efficient.

SBA chief speaks out on credit crunch, venture capital

Small Business Administration chief Karen Mills says improving access to credit for entrepreneurs is her top priority, and she cites the creation of $6.2 billion in loans since the stimulus package went into effect. As for the controversy over providing SBA loans to companies backed by venture capital, Mills says "we don't want to turn away the most promising businesses ... [just] because they have a certain structure." BusinessWeek (07/23)

Typical Company Founders Are Married with Children and Well-Educated; Strive to Rise Above their Lower-, Middle-Class Heritage

(KANSAS CITY, Mo.) July 8, 2009 — Although entrepreneurs provide the majority of jobs in the United States, little is known about what makes them tick. The Anatomy of an Entrepreneur, a newly released study from the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation, fills in some gaps by providing insights into high-growth founders' motivations and their socio-economic, educational and familial backgrounds. The findings: Most founders came from middle-class or upper-lower-class backgrounds, are well-educated and married with children.

Innovation - playing the game right by Brian McNamee

The Australian press is full of references to the innovation economy, after a proliferation of reports focusing on the issue. We are told it is central to Australia’s future position in the global economy. There are calls from all quarters — politicians, academics, business and community leaders — for Australia to be more innovative and for governments at all levels to foster more innovation. Laudable as this is, what does this mean for governments and businesses? And if we do become more innovative, how can we ensure that Australia is the beneficiary?

Green Wineries Embrace Innovation from the Fields to the Bottle by Anna Clark

Consumers are discovering that going green doesn't mean the end of the good life. On the contrary, when it comes to wines, sustainability makes them even better. Word is getting out, spurring a plethora of wines labeled "sustainable" to appear on the shelves of retailers like Whole Foods. No surprises there, since every industry these days recognizes the potential of reaching the LOHAS market.

South African innovation agency takes shape by Linda Nording

[CAPE TOWN] South Africa's government has taken a key step towards establishing an agency that it hopes will improve the country's patchy record in commercialising research.

Science minister Naledi Pandor unveiled the board members of the soon-to-be-launched Technology Innovation Agency (TIA) in Johannesburg this month (6 July).

What To Look For In A Venture Capital Firm by Venture Capital Dispatch

...venture capital takes a big risk on you and demands a commensurate return. But you know that six more months of financing could make the difference between your start-up failing before the first customer walks in and a blockbuster success. Here are a few clues as to how to find the right venture firm and make the most of the relationship.

O'Brien: Clouds are gathering over the venture capital industry by Chris O'Brien

The past couple of weeks brought another round of startup funding data that reinforced my belief that the venture capital industry is staring into the abyss.

The money coming in to VC firms, and the money going out, were both bleak. It's the latest clue that a massive shakeout looms for a VC industry that remains bloated from the dot-com boom days.

€34 million Invested by Enterprise Ireland Partnership Funds in 2008

Today (Friday 24th July 2009) Feargal Ó Móráin, Director of Corporate and Investment Services at Enterprise Ireland, launched the Enterprise Ireland Seed and Venture Capital report for 2008. In 2008, Enterprise Ireland partnership funds made 104 investments worth €34 million. These investments are spread across all sectors, with a particularly strong focus on communications, life sciences and software. Investments were made in both innovative start up and expanding companies spread throughout the regions. This brings total investment made under all three Enterprise Ireland supported seed and venture capital programmes to €459 million at end 2008.

Some companies and entrepreneurs are great at innovation.  Some suck at it.

Kevin Ryan is the former CEO of DoubleClick and Founder/Chairman of Gilt Groupe (and The Business Insider).  In this clip, Kevin shares his top three secrets to successful innovation.


In Malta, a landmark on the road to innovation by Charles E. Schumer

The global economic downturn has many looking to narrow their vision and protect their local interests, yet the interconnectedness of the problems we face today points in the opposite direction. We need alternative fuel cars, smart oil fields and better trading platforms. The economy will improve, but first America's model for innovation needs new, better and more sustainable ideas.

Do Internet Start-Ups Really Need Venture Capital?

With software-development tools readily available – and with seemingly insatiable demand among consumers for easy-to-use applications for smartphones – it continues to be easier, and cheaper, to start up an Internet or software business.

At the same time, global financial troubles have made it harder than ever for new companies to get funding from venture capitalists – who are, in turn, having trouble raising money from their limited partners.

Find Funding in Your Backyard by, Lydia Dishman

Creating a must-have product for a hot market is every entrepreneur's dream. Frank Greer had it. The president and CEO of Zipit Wireless developed a nifty little device with embedded technology to allow users to communicate via SMS texting without using a cell phone or a computer. Teens and tweens no longer needed to compete for time on the family computer to IM friends, nor did their parents have to worry about spilling over the texting limits of their cell phone plans.

International venture capital plummets 63 percent in Q2 by Newsmedian Blog

Overseas markets saw a sharp drop in venture capital investing in the second quarter, falling 63 percent since last year to $1.46 billion across 250 deals — the lowest it has been for six years, according to Dow Jones VentureSource. To put this into stark context, $5.27 billion was invested in 595 deals in the U.S. during the same time period.

The data VentureSource collected comes from Canada, Israel, China, India and Europe. The second quarter’s investment total is lower than the $1.99 billion distributed in the first quarter — a typically slow time for the market. And it’s much lower than last year’s second quarter’s figures: $3.95 billion invested across 452 deals.

Innovation Isn't Just for Startups by Rick Wartzman

We can all picture the scene: A couple of guys toiling away in a cluttered garage, perfecting the next innovation that will shake an entire industry. Meanwhile, the big corporate players in the market stand oblivious—fat, dumb, happy, and too bogged down by bureaucracy and conservatism to be innovative themselves.

It's a great image—one that has long persisted. There's just one problem with it: It's false. "The all but universal belief that large businesses do not and cannot innovate is not even a half-truth," Peter Drucker wrote in his 1985 classic Innovation and Entrepreneurship.

Federal grant helps UF create Florida Innovation Hub

GAINESVILLE, Fla. — The federal Economic Development Administration has awarded the University of Florida an $8.2 million grant to help create the Florida Innovation Hub at UF, a facility officials describe as a “super incubator.”

The 45,000-square-foot facility, slated to be built on what is now a parking lot at Shands AGH, will nurture start-up companies in much the same way as the Sid Martin Biotech Incubator in Alachua. But the Florida Innovation Hub will also become home to the university’s main commercialization efforts. The building is scheduled for completion by December 2011.

WSJ: Europe Falls Behind Silicon Valley In VC Deal Flow

Instead, it’s because Europe’s venture capital scene is rapidly shrinking. Some firms have recoiled or pulled out of venture capital completely, like Europe’s largest investor, 3i Group, did this year to focus solely on growth equity and buyouts.

In the second quarter, Europe’s deals fell for the fourth consecutive quarter to 156, or 24% below the first quarter, while investment dropped 31% quarter-to-quarter to EUR619.7 million ($880.6 million), less than half the amount in the San Francisco Bay area.