Weekly Roundup is a McNair Center series compiling and summarizing the week’s most important Innovation and Entrepreneurship news.
Here is what you need to know about entrepreneurship this week:
Catherine Kirby, Research Assistant, McNair Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation
In December, new US Department of Labor regulations on overtime pay eligibility will come into effect. These regulations will drastically increase the minimum salary for exemptions to overtime from $23,660 to $47,476. McNair Center’s Kirby discusses the pros and cons of the new overtime labor law. Her analysis offers insight on how to mitigate the increased costs to employers while promoting the benefits to low-income salaried workers.
- The pros: Estimates forecast that the new regulations will create jobs in addition to providing compensation for employees working over 40 hours a week.
- The cons: New regulations come with new costs for employers. Requiring employers to keep track of attendance and hours of more employees could be costly, especially for small businesses.
- Policy recommendations: The Department of Labor could implement the regulations in phased increments rather than in one single shock. The government could lower small business taxes to reduce the regulatory burden.
Dylan Dickens, Research Assistant, McNair Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation
Many U.S. immigrants start businesses. Immigrant entrepreneurs are a diverse and growing group; immigrant entrepreneurs also have greatly varying levels of education. While immigrant entrepreneurs tend to live in larger states such as Texas and California, they compete for business in every U.S. state. The type of work immigrant entrepreneurs engage in is extremely varied. Partly as consequence of this, on average immigrant entrepreneurs outperform their native counterparts and are more skilled at finding market gaps by fulfilling unmet demand. Overall, McNair Center’s Dickens proposes that recent research supports the claim that immigration bolsters entrepreneurship in the US.
Andrei Brasoveanu, Author, Mattermark
Brasoveanu’s article summarizes the top ten Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) that every entrepreneur should closely monitor when building a market for their product. Markets ultimately determine how every good and service in the economy is “discovered, priced and delivered.” KPIs, such as return on investment, growth and and burn rate, offer powerful and important insights for entrepreneurs. According to Brasoveanu, KPIs are effective and efficient marketplace metrics for getting startups on track to visualizing and contextualizing their success.
Brianna Stenard, Assistant Professor of Management and Entrepreneurship at the Stetson School of Business and Economics at Mercer University, Harvard Business Review
Highly skilled scientists and engineers are increasingly taking jobs that are outside of, or only slightly related, to their STEM degrees. Weak labor conditions in some STEM fields are partly to blame, but largely, the educational mismatch among scientists is voluntary. Stenard’s research indicates that many employees trained in the STEM fields take jobs outside of their field to acquire technical and managerial skills. Voluntarily mismatched scientists are nearly 50 percent more likely to become entrepreneurs.
Rather than bemoan an apparent oversupply of highly skilled scientists and engineers, Stenard recommends that policy makers implement initiatives that encourage technology entrepreneurship among these mismatched experts. Following a similar vein, Stenard proposes that universities should also consider adopting measures that equip STEM students with the “nontechnical skills…particularly valuable in entrepreneurship.”
And in startup news…
Russell Brandom, Reporter, The Verge
On Tuesday, Airbnb successfully blocked a class-action lawsuit that challenges the company’s platform on the basis of systematic racial discrimination. However, thanks to an arbitration clause in the company’s terms of service, the case will go through individual arbitration, and Airbnb will avoid a pricey and public lawsuit. The company recently added a nondiscrimination policy to its terms of service and has apparently taken measures to elimination discrimination from its network of hosts. When approached by the Verge on this issue, an Airbnb representative insisted that “Discrimination has no place in the Airbnb community.”
Rolfe Winkler, Reporter, The Wall Street Journal
Another California-based startup recently won big in the courtroom, as data-mining software firm, Palantir, prevailed in its lawsuit against the US Army in the Court of Federal Claims. Palantir Technologies, Inc. ranks among Silicon’s Valley’s “most highly valued private companies” and was valued at $20 billion in a late funding round in 2015. The company specializes in big data analysis and offers its services to large commercial customers and government agencies within the intelligence community,. The court’s decision means that Palantir is now eligible for a federal contract that would award up to $200 million for work relating to the Army’s Distributed Common Ground System.
At the 2016 Wall Street Journal Global Technology Conference, Palantir Chief Executive Alex Karp revealed that his company was positioned to go public.
Rolfe Winkler, Reporter, The Wall Street Journal
Founded in 2013, Giphy, Inc. serves as a search engine and database for Graphical Interchange Format files(GIFs). GIFs are the “short, looping video files” that have most likely taken over your, or your teenager’s, Facebook News Feed. Thanks to Giphy, GIFs have surged in popularity and are now ubiquitous on social media sites and group-messaging platforms, such as Facebook messenger, Twitter, and Groupme. Giphy’s Chief Operating Officer Adam Leibsohn summarizes the company’s platform as a ”search engine…for the messenger generation.“
Giphy recently released an update stating that the company currently serves more than one billion GIFs per day, that are in turn watched by over 100 million users daily. This New York startup’s obvious popularity has not gone unnoticed by investors; Giphy raised $72 million in equity funding from venture capitalists during its most recent funding round, which brings the company’s cash total to $150 million.