2019 was a record year of venture capital funding for start-ups in emerging economies from Latin America, Africa to Southeast Asia. This year, well, it’s safe to say the money is not exactly sloshing around, and the pace is likely to remain depressed well into 2021. Even though Covid-19 has opened up many possibilities, in edtech and fintech for example, entrepreneurs in developing markets will have to work harder to secure the resources they need.
In a Strategic Entrepreneurship Journal special issue I co-curated with Maw-Der Foo and Brian Wu, researchers highlight how emerging market start-ups mobilise resources under conditions a world apart from those in developed economies. Entrepreneurs in developing economies – as well as developed ones – would find insights contained in the issue’s eight papers helpful in these lean times. What stood out in particular are ideas on how to do more with less as well as tapping community and other ties to obtain resources and reduce costs. Read More>>
This year — 2020 — was a year for the books, with COVID-19 throwing a gigantic monkey wrench into our personal and professional lives as marketers. As we look into 2021, we have to ask: Which changes in consumer behaviors and associated marketing strategies will have a lasting impact, once a vaccine is readily available?
There is reason, for example, to be somewhat optimistic about digital advertising’s future. While ad spend decreased overall in 2020, some ad channels (like podcasting) have already rebounded, while popular channels (like search) are estimated by eMarketer to benefit in the long-term from the pandemic.
Other digital channels also have benefitted from coronavirus (see Zoom’s stock price as a reference point). But what of the rest of marketing? This article takes a broader look at trends we predict will dramatically alter digital marketing in 2021 and beyond. Read More>>
After nearly a decade in operation, QuantumScape, a San Jose-based startup backed by Volkswagen and Bill Gates, is finally breaking its silence. In a virtual “battery day” event for investors, the recently public company announced that its “solid state” batteries for electric vehicles will charge faster, hold more power, and last longer than traditional EV batteries.
Solid-state batteries have eluded researchers for decades. Most EV companies use “wet” lithium-ion batteries, which use liquid electrolytes to move energy around. But these batteries can be slow to charge, can freeze up in subzero temperatures, and contain flammable material that can be hazardous in the event of a crash.
QuantumScape claims to have developed a production-ready solid-state battery with cells that are made of solid and “dry” conductive material. And while most startups pursuing solid-state batteries remain mired in the lab, QuantumScape says it will be ready to go into production in 2024. Read More>>
Given the Bitcoin price craze in the face of the morose economy during the Covid-19 pandemic, one may assume that the distributed ledger technology (DLT)/blockchain bubble is ready to burst once again. However, new developments justify paying close attention to this sector.
The idea behind IOTA, launched in 2015, is to create an open-source public DLT fit for the IoT economy. Tomorrow’s digital economy will run on automated, distributed cyber/physical systems. New approaches to data management and sharing between citizens, organisations and IoT assets or machines must be designed around novel digital trust frameworks and a new type of e-infrastructure. IOTA wants to be for IoT what TCP/IP has become for the web. The vision is a machine economy where IoT assets, e.g. autonomous vehicles, participate in creating and exchanging value through machine-to-machine transactions.
Minimal usage fees and a low-energy consumption for running the overall decentralised network are needed to allow frictionless data sharing and the emergence of new data-driven business models such as “everything-as-a-service”. While conventional public blockchain protocols introduce fees associated with miners’ node operations and lead to controversial energy consumption, IOTA removes the need for miners and their operational friction altogether. Read More>>
Today, amidst all that is happening in our country and the world, is the best time to launch a business. The economy right now is fertile ground for entrepreneurs and business owners. Interest rates are as low as they’re ever going to get. Millions of people are looking for jobs, which means labor markets are abundant. The rise of “working from home” has opened a larger pool of talent to choose from when hiring. And most importantly, major industries are showing their vulnerabilities—which means opportunity for entrepreneurs savvy enough to invent new, compelling solutions. Health and wellness products are certainly going through a major push right now. Many businesses outsource manufacturing to other countries: China and Mexico being two of the most common. But depending on how trade wars continue between America and these other countries will heavily impact many businesses here in the states. Ecommerce is quickly establishing itself to be the best and easiest way to launch a product and/or business. But especially for entrepreneurs looking to launch a new product or venture in the world today, you are far better off starting online and then pursuing any kind of brick-and-mortar distribution later on down the road. Read More >>
As the Covid-19 pandemic continues to evolve, managers around the world are bracing for new challenges ahead. Many of them wonder whether the strategic approaches that proved to be successful in the past will still apply to changed business realities in a post-pandemic world. Indeed, many changes are likely to occur – supply chain restructuring, altered customer preferences, changed government regulations, to name a few. But one fundamental reality will endure and intensify. In the immediate aftermath of the pandemic, companies will face a heightened degree of competition as customer demand is depressed due to a reduction of income, persistent unemployment and looming uncertainties. While everyone desires a V-shaped economic rebound, it will be difficult for companies to overcome the current financial distress once they are locked into a hopeless game of dividing a shrinking pie. More than ever, firms need to create blue oceans of new demand in order to generate revenue, profit and new growth. It is far more urgent for managers to think like a blue ocean strategist. Read More >>
From finding the right analogy to tapping into FOMO, learn how to sell your ideas to potential supporters. Innovation is built on great ideas, usually about solving a customer need. Successful innovation, the sort that makes fortunes and sometimes change lives, is also built on financial and other kinds of support to implement those ideas. For a brilliant innovator like Nikola Tesla, getting that support might be the harder part. We call this the innovator’s paradox: the more novel, radical or risky the idea, the harder it is to acquire the necessary resources. The good news is, you do not need to be a born salesperson to overcome that barrier. Few things signal the viability of your idea to your potential backers as much as how much you’re prepared to stake on it. That might include investing substantial financial resources or giving up a lucrative job. Committing is particularly effective when the innovation is complex or when details cannot be fully revealed because the innovator wants to protect trade secrets. Read More >>
Success in this new era of accelerated disruption requires a holistic approach to technology. In the current era of disruption, recently accelerated by the pandemic, firms must be in command of cutting-edge technologies; otherwise, they face potentially mortal danger. For example, the introduction of the smartphone was not initially seen as a game-changer for the taxi industry. But by making ride-hailing apps like Uber, Grab and Gojek possible, Android and iOS devices helped trigger the turmoil that industry is now enduring. And even as these apps were disrupting the taxi industry, automakers were mistakenly ignoring them as a potential threat to their business. To avoid being blindsided, leaders must proactively scan the landscape of emerging technologies and strategically leverage innovation to transform how their company does business. In other words, they must shift their mindset from product-focused innovation to process-focused innovation or, as it is better known, business model innovation (BMI). Read More >>
Virgin Hyperloop has trialed its first ever journey with passengers, in the desert of Nevada. The futuristic transport concept involves pods inside vacuum tubes carrying passengers at high speeds. In the trial, two passengers – both company staff – travelled the length of a 500m test track in 15 seconds, reaching 107mph (172km/h). However, this is a fraction of Virgin’s ambitions for travel speeds of more than 1,000km/h. Virgin Hyperloop is not the only firm developing the concept but nobody has carried passengers before. Their speed was hampered by the length of the track and acceleration required. The concept, which has spent years in development, builds on a proposal by Tesla founder Elon Musk. Some critics have described it as science fiction. It is based on the world’s fastest magnetic levitation (maglev) trains, then made faster by speeding along inside vacuum tubes. The Maglev train speed world record was set in 2015 when a Japanese train reached 374mph in a test run near Mount Fuji. Los Angeles-based Virgin Hyperloop is also exploring concepts in other countries, including a hypothetical 12 minute connection between Dubai and Abu Dhabi, which takes more than an hour by existing public transport. Read More >>
America is currently experiencing what some are calling a “startup boom.” That’s right — even with a raging pandemic and an ugly recession, America is seeing a boom in the creation of new businesses. Most of these new businesses are seizing opportunities created by the weird coronavirus economy — an economy where people don’t really want to do stuff face-to-face anymore. The largest area for new business creation is online retail. Of course, at the same time, we’ve seen a massacre for brick-and-mortar retail — and we don’t know yet whether these new businesses will fill the job void. Moreover, many of the new businesses are just people who were laid off and were forced to strike out on their own. But with these important asterisks, it may be good news that new businesses are growing out of the ashes of old businesses. The lack of business creation during the Great Recession, was a big reason that it took so long to recover. Fingers crossed it’s different this time. Read More >>