Category Archives: Weekly Newsletter

FOUR TIPS FOR START-UP ENTREPRENEURS IN THE POST-COVID19 ERA TO REFRAME REJECTION INTO CONSTRUCTIVE ENGAGEMENT

In the life of a startup founder, it is normal and to be expected that she or he will inevitably face rejection in many areas, and for a long time. Invariably, rejection has many forms and faces. Many smart people have prognostications on how to handle rejection. If you get a “no” from a potential customer, consider asking for feedback on why they went with another solution. At minimum, thank everyone that you meet with for their time and interest. Find common areas of interest that will allow you to follow-up over time. Be kind, courteous, fair and consistent in all of your behaviors. Make sure your reputation online reflects who you are and how you want to be perceived. If the fit was never there, consider whether it was not meant to be. Is there a lesson to be learned? Some startup founders take rejection the wrong way, either ignoring the nay-sayer, or worse, taking personal offense and even lashing out. While you may suffer from a bruised ego, the way you prepare for, conduct and follow-up from each meeting speaks volumes to your target audience about your aptitude for future success.  Read More >>

HARNESSING TECHNOLOGY IN OUR BATTLE WITH COVID-19

Tech companies are pumping out new services and products to tackle pandemic challenges. For all the misery caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, it looks certain to leave us with at least one benign legacy: technological innovation. Across sectors and industries, from medicine and biotechnology to logistics and communications, existing technology is being repurposed while new innovations are emerging within a matter of weeks in the battle against the coronavirus. n the race against COVID-19, getting technology innovation up to speed is key. Since COVID-19 laid siege to the Chinese city of Wuhan in January, one of us (Xian-Sheng Hua) has been heading an “intelligent healthcare team” – a kind of rapid response team – at Alibaba’s DAMO Academy to develop or repurpose technologies quickly to meet the specific needs of the epidemic response. The Alibaba team followed an Agile-like strategy, as solutions needed to be developed in a matter of days. From day one the team worked on multiple things simultaneously, such as data analysis, model definition, parameter modelling, parameter learning, verification and deployment. Increasingly, however, privacy is becoming a concern as technologies are deployed for a “new normal” of living with the coronavirus while the search for a vaccine or treatment continues. The epidemic response is very much inter-sectoral; it is not just a public health issue. Social media has enriched epidemic intelligence and become an essential channel for risk communication. The emergence of AI in medicine and health security today is sowing the seed of tomorrow’s technology for worldwide epidemic intelligence and global coordination of pandemic response.  Read More >>

TO SUCCEED WITH NEUROMARKETING, WHAT DO YOU NEED TO KNOW?

Much of the classic market research advice applies to consumer neuroscience as well – but the emerging field also features unique challenges. Companies once viewed neuromarketing as a risky, perhaps overhyped proposition. But scepticism is now retreating in the face of mounting research evidence. A raft of recent studies confirm that, used properly, brain-scan technology (e.g. fMRI, EEG, fNRIS) is capable of revealing the reasons for consumers’ preferences, capturing their emotional reactions to ads and products, and (in some cases) predicting their behaviour, with greater accuracy than conventional focus groups and surveys. A good neuromarketing study will be aimed at answering a few key questions, at most. More than that will require an excess of statistical comparisons that will bias your results and call for multiple comparison corrections. Neuromarketing studies are especially prone to technical glitches and random mischance, such as EEG sensors coming loose or excessive head motion distorting electromagnetic signals. To spot any mutant data before they influence results, it is crucial to visualise distributions before performing any data analysis. When it comes to the replicability and reliability of your results, don’t rely on assumptions. You should have a method for ascertaining the validity of your data-set. It is important to be sceptical of companies making overly simplistic claims about how the human brain works, or touting “secret sauce” analytical techniques or offering a single solution for every problem.  Read More >>

SURVIVAL IS TOO SMALL A GOAL: PANDEMIC LESSONS FOR START-UPS

The instinct for survival may be baked into all life on our planet. But it doesn’t inspire people to do their best work or to leave their broadest mark.  Start-up companies are in some of the most precarious positions in today’s foundering global economy. Some of them, though, at least have the luxury of using other people’s money as life preservers.  Plan to thrive, not merely to survive.  That sort of personal investment becomes even riskier during the coronavirus pandemic, of course: Most startups don’t have the luxury of coasting or treading water in the best of times, let alone in a down market.  Start-ups don’t have the capital, market presence or the runway to simply survive. Start-ups are built for massive growth in a short period of time. If they aren’t growing massively, they’re dying.  Read More >>

DON’T LET A SINGLE METRIC DRIVE YOUR BUSINESS

Metrics are essential to running a business. We all know that. What may not be as obvious, though, is how metrics intersect with your company mission and even employee happiness. Prioritize a single number — to the exclusion of all others — and you’ll invariably leave a lot of people and priorities out.  Instead, it took a constellation of metrics to capture what the business needed to scale and how each team could facilitate that success.  This constellation is made up of three kinds of metrics: quantity, quality, and efficiency. In relationship to each other, they tell the story of your business and allow for prioritization and alignment.  Of your top three metrics, one should become a north star for the business — almost always this will be the quantity metric that you are trying to optimize.  No metric is perfect. But understanding, and regularly reassessing, the relationship between quantity, quality, and efficiency is critical to more deeply understanding your business — and to staying nimble.  Done right, metrics are among the best ways to make people truly understand how their work impacts the business in a positive way.  Read More >>

YOU GOT REJECTED BY A VC, NOW WHAT?

Entrepreneurs must understand that venture capitalists sometimes filter more than a thousand startups annually and can only invest in a handful. Therefore, by definition, their job is to say “No.”  After every meeting, and certainly if you are rejected, which could happen in person and more often via email, you should reply and thank them for taking the time to meet with you.   Maintain a long-term relationship with all your VC contacts.  Don’t fall in love with your idea.  Do not take VC rejection personally.  VCs require very high returns in a specific time frame that may not be relevant to your specific startup.  Perhaps VCs are pickier, timelines may increase and round sizes may get smaller, but most of the investors and buyers will not back down from a good deal.  Read More >>

HOW STARTUPS AND ENTREPRENEURS CAN POWER THE ECONOMIC RECOVERY

Entrepreneurs are critical to the economy’s long-term success.  Startups created roughly 2.6 million jobs, according to the Census Bureau’s Business Dynamics Statistics. By comparison, firms of all other ages lost a net 267,000 jobs.  The COVID-19 outbreak has introduced a host of economic challenges. But even before the pandemic took hold, entrepreneurial-driven job growth was in a steep decline. Approximately one-third fewer workers hold jobs at young firms today compared to in 2000—a trend accelerated by the Great Recession.  The economic lockdown imposed by COVID-19 presents severe challenges for all businesses, but young firms are especially vulnerable without some of the resources and capital established firms have. Due to the current crisis, our economy is at risk of losing an entire cohort of young firms—job creators that we cannot afford to lose. As we begin to reopen and rebuild, policymakers and economic developers must focus on creating environments that support and nurture entrepreneurs.  Cities across the country need an economic boost now more than ever as they face the challenges of COVID-19. Entrepreneurs and young firms could hold the power to help economies rebound from the crisis.  Read More >>

TAMPA BAY COLLEGES SEE ENTREPRENEURSHIP SPIKE DURING COVID-19 CRISIS

As Florida’s economy begins to rebound, local education leaders are tracking new opportunities for people looking to launch a new product or service. The innovative nature and creative nature of entrepreneurs is a lot of times what gets us out of a crisis. The United States also experienced notable spikes in entrepreneurship after two other significant events in our nation’s history: The September 11th terrorist attacks and the Great Recession. 9/11 brought security startups. The recession brought real estate and finance companies. COVID-19 could bring innovation to the ways we work from home, get deliveries, prevent the spread of germs and innovate online education. Experts say this could be the perfect time to start a new business.  Read More >>

EAGLEHAWK BEGINS DRONE-ENABLED DISINFECTANT SPRAY OPERATIONS TO HELP COVID-19 SPREAD

EagleHawk, a Tech Garden member and past GENIUS NY finalist, has engineered a safe, effective, and efficient process for disinfecting large areas against COVID-19, both outdoors and indoors. EagleHawk is using disinfectant chemicals approved by the EPA and New York DEC for effectiveness against the SARS-CoV-2 virus with a process that places the highest priority on safety of personnel and protection of facility equipment. The current and unprecedented global crisis caused by COVID-19 is changing the way people view the importance of facility cleanliness and the new normal is going to require higher levels of vigilance on cleanliness and sanitation. EagleHawk is currently a Tech Garden member and past GENIUS NY accelerator finalist. The company won a $500,000 award last year to continue developing its software and intelligent algorithm solutions for facility managers to better manage the maintenance and repair of their roofs, district heating systems, solar panel installations, building envelopes and facades, and other large-scale facility assets. Unfortunately, we have seen a number of companies recently begin to market such drone-enabled disinfection services using these agriculture drones, promising results that they won’t be able to deliver. EagleHawk has spent months researching, designing, and testing our solutions to ensure we’re offering a safe and effective service for our clients and are working closely with regulatory agencies such as the FAA, EPA and New York DEC to ensure all safety standards and protocols are followed.  Read More >>

HOW THE SPACE INDUSTRY IS WEATHERING THE CORONAVIRUS PANDEMIC

The COVID-19 pandemic has taken a sledgehammer to the economy and the space industry is no exception.  Before the pandemic, the global space industry was really coming into its stride, valued at around $360 billion.  For the last few years, space startups with bold ideas could successfully close round after round of funding.  Now, companies may have a hard time getting infusions from outside investors.  That means companies will likely rely on government contracts, either from NASA or the Department of Defense, now more than ever as a guaranteed source of funding.  A few high-profile space companies succumbed at the start of the pandemic.  Analysts say these early losses are likely the result of problems that companies had before the pandemic, and the economic downturn just amplified those issues.  Whether they’re keeping busy or just trying to keep the lights on, companies across the industry are all stuck in the same pandemic-induced holding pattern. Like many industries, it’s still too early to say what will happen in the future. But for smaller companies with loftier ambitions, the financial picture has already shifted. To make it through, they’ll have to tighten their belts and adjust their plans or scramble for a government-funded lifeline that keeps their unique space goals alive.  Read More >>