Weekly Roundup is a McNair Center series compiling and summarizing the week’s most important Entrepreneurship and Innovation news.
Here is what you need to know about entrepreneurship this week:
Tay Jacobe, Research Assistant, McNair Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation
This week, McNair’s Jacobe focuses on the link between entrepreneurship and human rights. While the intersection between activism and entrepreneurship has yet to gain significant traction in the U.S., international collaborations between the two sectors have found success. Jacobe points out that “Human rights and entrepreneurship have the ability to reinforce one another,” citing reports from Fordham University and Pontifical Catholic University of Peru on the potential of human development-centered entrepreneurial ventures. According to Jacobe, U.S policy should reflect a balance that advances entrepreneurship and promotes protection of human rights.
Keith Fix, Contributor, Silicon Prairie News
The annual Consumer Electronic Show (CES) took place earlier this month in Las Vegas. Silicon Prairie’s Fix shares his 2017 predictions for major trends to shake consumer technology, and artificial intelligence, smart homes, intelligent systems (Amazon Echo), wearables, self driving cars, virtual reality, and drones are among his top picks. Fix expects the industry to experience further fragmentation and democratization as startups continue to develop new technologies in order to keep pace with consumer expectations.
Jeremy Bailey, Contributor, TechCrunch
TechCrunch’s Bailey emphasizes the importance of gauging customer feedback throughout the design process in the tech industry. Too often, design teams undervalue the power of customer interactions. As evidence, Bailey cites AirBnB’s notorious success in growing its consumer base by 200% after meeting for one afternoon with its early users. In order to achieve a dynamic and responsive design model, companies should restructure their “internal bureaucracy” and adopt a “customer-centric” mindset. Bailey suggests that design teams take a simple approach: development of a problem statement, collaborative hypothesis-generation, and constant reevaluation.
Ruth Simon, Senior Special Writer, The Wall Street Journal
According to a recent study from JPMorgan Chase & Co. Institute that spanned the payroll records of 45,000 small business in 2015, small business hiring has been sluggish and inconsistent. In fact, the sector’s median level of employment growth sits at less than one new full time position per year. Although small businesses are often considered the crucial driver of the American economy, most do not expand. While small businesses employ 17% of America’s labor share, 89% employ fewer than 20 workers. Professor Scott Stern, who studies entrepreneurship at MIT, explains that the “belief that entrepreneurship in general is a driver of economic growth and prosperity” might be misguided.
Nathan Resnick, Contributor, Entrepreneur
Nathan Resnick, founder of Sourcify, a startup based in Tel Aviv that helps connect entrepreneurs with trusted manufacturers, offers helpful advice for millennial entrepreneurs who are considering their next venture. Resnick advises entrepreneurs to consistently gauge audience feedback during early planning stages as audience responses help narrow the focus of a project. Resnick emphasizes the importance of an entrepreneur’s willingness to acquire new skills and embrace market competition.
Jake Kendall, Author, Harvard Business Review
Harvard Business Review’s Kendall is the director of Digital Financial Services Lab, an early stage incubator that supports entrepreneurs who launch fintech startups in developing companies. Financial technology, or fintech, refers to the high-tech industry involved in computer software development of innovative financial services, such as digital banking programs. Despite investment into fintech increasing eight-fold since 2011, its benefits have largely been restricted to mature economies.
Kendall identifies three main challenges that fintech startups operating in developing countries must overcome: “lack of cloud infrastructure, users who are “less digital” than rich-world users, and users who live economically chaotic lives based primarily in the informal sector.” Still, many entrepreneurs are launching fintech startups to support the 2 billion customers living in regions without formal banking services. Plus, an increasing global trend of mobile phone ownership serves as a promising platform for fintech startups.
Adley Bowden, VP of Market Analysis, PitchBook
PitchBook released an article illustrating the diluting effects of venture fundraising on founder ownership. The data used in the graphic analysis are taken from the results of a survey conducted by J.Thelander Consulting’s of 380 private venture-backed companies in the US. Although capital raises are a critical and necessary component of any startup’s success, PitchBook’s Bowden emphasizes that founders should understand the diluting effects of venture fundraising on their equity percentages. According to Bowden, “If all goes well and the company’s value increases, this is a win-win situation, but in the case that things don’t go well, the economics can turn against founders fairly quickly.” The article includes three charts that track founders’ shares in their companies – distinguishing between biotech, medical device, and tech industries – through various funding stages. At pre IPO, all three industries reveal founder ownership percentages below 10%.
Kyle Stanford, Analyst, PitchBook
PitchBook also recently released an article that depicts the state of venture capital in 2016. The article features 15 charts of the key performance indicators that are frequently used in measuring VC activity. Utilizing standard industry metrics, PitchBook’s full report offers an in-depth analysis of VC-backed firms in the U.S, including graphics on angel and seed funding, fundraising by quarter, VC-backed exits, and corporate VC participation.