All posts by bowersm1

Matchmaker, Matchmaker Make Me An Algorithm: STEM Contest Winner Pairs Data

The world of matchmaking won’t have to rely on luck, as much as math, thanks to one very accomplished teenager.

Yunseo Choi, a senior at Phillips Exeter Academy in New Hampshire, came up with a matching theory that can be applied to people looking for a life partner.

Instead of matching a finite number of people, the 18-year-old figured out how to pair an infinite number of potential couples.

The idea being that when your options are infinite, your matched date will likely be better suited for you.

“Essentially I studied these stable matchings, but in the context of the infinite matching market,” She explained in an interview with NPR’s Morning Edition. “Where instead of matching a finite set of men to another finite set of women, we’re matching an infinite number of men to an infinite number of women.”

Choi’s matchmaking tool that uses algorithms came in first place Wednesday night in a prestigious STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) competition that’s run by the biotech company Regeneron and the Society for Science. Read More >>

Why Storytelling Matters for Startups

Every startup has an incredible story to share with the world. Some stories are centered around a “Eureka!” moment. This is when a startup founder figures out a practical, yet genius, method to quickly and efficiently solve a problem facing many people. Others may be stories of friends or family members that team up to start a business rooted in a specific mission and meet the needs of its target audience.

Storytelling gives us the chance to share who is behind the business and its purpose, or mission, with its audience. It’s important to share the story of your startup, from humble beginnings to where it is now in the present day, for several reasons.

Stories show us that we are not alone.

One of the most common challenges entrepreneurs face is loneliness. Going it alone often lends itself to feeling as though you are alone on your entrepreneurial path. Has anyone else had similar struggles or are we simply experiencing them for the first time? Read More >>

Startups eye opportunity for fresh crowdfunding cash

Beginning Monday, startups can raise up to $5 million every year from ordinary people who can get a proportionate slice of the company in return.

Why it matters: The changes take effect amid a retail investing mad dash, kicked into high gear by the pandemic and the extra money in (some) people’s pockets.

  • It gives regular investors the opportunity to participate in a private company’s upside (or the opposite, if a company goes under).

Catch up quick: Previously companies had been limited to raising a little more than $1 million in “regulation crowdfunding” per year.

  • This higher threshold could draw a new crop of later-stage companies into the crowdfunding equity trend that may have felt the $1 million wasn’t worth the effort.
  • “There’s kind of a snowball effect: When more companies do this, they’re bringing their audience and customers, which brings in a whole bunch of new investors in the market,” says Brian Belley, founder of Crowdwise, an equity crowdfunding research site.

Other changes taking effect today: Retail investors are now allowed to invest higher amounts this way each year, and companies can essentially pool crowdfund investors into a single line on the cap table.

Read More >>

American Express Ventures Makes Strategic Investment in Boom Supersonic to Fuel the Future of Travel

Amex Ventures’ Investment Will Support Boom’s Development of Sustainable Supersonic Airliner

Boom Supersonic, the aerospace company building the world’s fastest and most sustainable commercial airliner, today announced a strategic investment from American Express Ventures. The funds will support the continued development of Boom’s flagship product, the supersonic airliner Overture.

Overture is Boom’s 65- to 88-seat supersonic airliner, capable of running on 100% sustainable aviation fuel. The supersonic aircraft is slated to roll out in 2025 and begin commercial flights by 2029. Built on the core principles of speed, safety and sustainability, Overture will fly twice as fast as conventional jets over more than 500 transoceanic routes worldwide. Boom currently has $6 billion in pre-orders of Overture aircraft.

“We’re proud that Amex Ventures shares our commitment to making the world more accessible by bringing sustainable supersonic travel to passengers everywhere,” said Blake Scholl, Boom founder and CEO. “2021 is a pivotal year for Boom. As we prepare to fly our supersonic demonstrator, XB-1, we are also accelerating Overture development.” Read More >>

Four Storytelling Techniques to Bring Your Data to Life

The adage that “our world runs on data” means that decisions are being based on vast amounts of statistics. Data-derived insights drive what time trains stop running, when Starbucks introduces holiday cups, and the temperature of the building you might be sitting in right now.

Even though most corporate roles now work with data, it’s shockingly easy to forget that people generate most of it. When a user clicks a link, gets blood taken at the lab, or sets up a smartwatch, that person generates data. As people move, buy, sell, use, work, and live, their actions nudge numbers up or down and drive organizational decisions, big and small.

If it’s your role to communicate data insights and persuade people to change their behavior, you’ll have more influence and promote better decision-making if you emphasize the people behind the numbers. In a story, we root for the hero as he or she maneuvers through roadblocks. To use data to steer your organization in the right direction, you need to tap into the human tale your data can tell. Read More >>

Archer Aviation aims to launch network of urban air taxis in Los Angeles by 2024

Archer Aviation, the electric aircraft startup that recently announced a deal to go public via a merger with a blank-check company, plans to launch a network of its urban air taxis in Los Angeles by 2024.

The announcement comes two months after the formation of the Urban Air Mobility Partnership, a one-year initiative between Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti’s office, the Los Angeles Department of Transportation and Urban Movement Labs to develop a plan for how to integrate urban aircraft into existing transportation networks and land use policies. Urban Movement Labs, launched in November 2019, is a public-private partnership involving local government and companies to develop, test and deploy transportation technologies. Urban Movement Labs and the city of Los Angeles are working on the design and access of “vertiports,” where people can go to fly on an “urban air mobility” aircraft. Urban air mobility, or UAM, is industry-speak for a highly automated aircraft that can operate and transport passengers or cargo at lower altitudes within urban and suburban areas. Read More >>

How Jeff Bezos and Elon Musk are ushering in a new era of space startups

As Blue Origin and SpaceX democratize access to space, small companies will get to explore an array of promising new ideas that lie beyond planet Earth.

In early February, Jeff Bezos, the founder of Amazon and one of the planet’s wealthiest entrepreneurs, dropped the bombshell announcement that he would be stepping down as CEO to free up more time for his other passions. Though Bezos listed a few targets for his creativity and energy—The Washington Post and philanthropy through the Bezos Earth Fund and Bezos Day One Fund—one of the highest-potential areas is his renewed commitment and focus on his suborbital spaceflight project, Blue Origin.

Before space became a frontier for innovation and development for privately held companies, opportunities were limited to nation states and the private defense contractors who supported them. In recent years, however, billionaires such as Bezos, Elon Musk, and Richard Branson have lowered the barrier to entry. Since the launch of its first rocket, Falcon 1, in September of 2008, Musk’s commercial space transportation company SpaceX has gradually but significantly reduced the cost and complexity of innovation beyond the Earth’s atmosphere. With Bezos’s announcement, many in the space sector are excited by the prospect of those barriers being lowered even further, creating a new wave of innovation in its wake. Read More>>

WHY STARTUPS SHOULD TAP INTO THE GOVERNMENT MARKET FOR FUNDING

For startups that are typically reluctant to work with the government, there are plenty of reasons to seek federal grants and contracts.

In many respects, startups embody the American way. If you’re not building something bold with funding in short supply and a little uncertainty over its addressable market, you’re probably doing something wrong.

World-class talent and an unmatched support infrastructure have long been the bedrock of U.S. innovation. Even with limited IP, founders are able to attract investors and scale. But the economic fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic has caused capital investment and traditional startup revenue streams to dry up.

The outlook is particularly stark for enterprise-focused tech startups. A PwC report of U.S. CFOs last year found that half expected to cancel or defer less-critical projects in 2020. Startups that are short on runway are already feeling those measures. Read More>>

Building Diversity into the Venture Capital Ecosystem

Before Melissa Bradley taught at Georgetown University, before she served under Presidents Clinton and Obama, and long before she launched a nonprofit accelerator to help minority entrepreneurs, she was a young college graduate trying to build her first business.

She went to the Small Business Administration for help with her startup financial services company, and she was turned down flat.

“They told me there was no way in the world I would get funding because I was Black, I was a female, and they didn’t know any successful Black women in financial services,” Bradley said.

That frustrating experience revealed the institutional roadblocks for female and minority entrepreneurs, and it set her on a lifelong path to remove them. At her nonprofit 1863 Ventures, Bradley’s mission is to close the wealth gap in the United States by helping more Black, Brown, and female founders get their businesses off the ground. Her programs provide mentorship and instruction that goes beyond the typical lessons about pitching and fundraising. She wants new entrepreneurs to learn management, marketing, technology and digital skills. Read More>>

Venture capital starts 2021 with a bang after record 4th quarter -Goldman

Venture capital funding globally has more than doubled to $50.5 billion so far this year after a record fourth quarter as investors searching for the “Next Big Thing” poured money into promising healthcare and tech businesses, Goldman Sachs said.

The 130% surge in year-to-date funding was led by Robinhood, Cruise Automation, Lalamove, Didi Cargo and Databricks, which cumulatively have raised over $9.4 billion, data from the U.S. investment bank showed on Tuesday.

Online broker Robinhood alone raised over $1 billion of fresh capital from existing shareholders last month, having been strained by high volumes of trading.

“The story of Venture Capital is the search for the Next Big Thing,” said Goldman researchers led by Heath Terry. Read More >>