Startup Roundup January 21, 2016

CIOs May Reconsider Startup Strategy as VC Funding Falls Sharply: Report – The CIO Report – WSJ

Funding for venture capital-backed startups fell sharply in the fourth quarter of 2015, according to a new report. The news could lead CIOs to reconsider partnering with enterprise startups to implement emerging technologies, a strategy that has become increasingly popular over the past several years.

Startup India: Intent declared, action should follow – The Economic Times

The dust is finally settling around the Startup India action plan and all in the ecosystem have made their analysis. The action plan is great in a number of ways and has the potential to be path breaking, but also contains some topics that need to be addressed. 

Gilt Groupe Is a Cautionary Tale for Startup Employees Banking on Stock Options | Re/code

A $250 million acquisition probably sounds like a lot to many employees of privately held companies. But for startups backed by big venture capitalist money, even a deal that big can be a financial bloodbath for employees.

Case in point: Re/code spoke to a half dozen former employees of flash sale site Gilt Groupe in the two weeks since its $250 million acquisition by Hudson’s Bay Company was announced. And at least three of them lost more than $10,000 as a result of the deal. 

With Urban-X Program, Mini Joins Automakers’ Rush To Fund Startups – Forbes

BMW’s Mini brand now is joining the movement by automakers — and many other huge companies — to get closer to innovative and disruptive technologies, products and services by dangling help for startups that may be able to bring Mini the next great thing instead of Mini waiting to invent it.

The new Urban-X program by Mini and venture-capital outfit HAX will back startups focused on “intelligent cities, urban hyper-growth and society-scale challenges,” starting in New York City by backing 10 small companies this year, according to a release. The partnership will invest $60,000 in seed capital per startup and provide in-kind legal, marketing, HR and accounting support as well as mentorship opportunities, an “attractive office and meeting space” and a demo day with investors. 

Start-Ups At Risk As Investors Close Taps, PM Modi Fund May Fall Short

After pumping billions of dollars into internet start-ups in the last 24 months, global investors are cutting that flood back a trickle as dreams of huge online sales are clouded by soaring valuations and still-distant profits.

Even as Prime Minister Narendra Modi lines up a four-year, $1.5 billion government fund to help startups create jobs, entrepreneurs fear that may prove a drop in the ocean. Venture capitalists have already tightened purse strings as ripples from China’s economic slowdown lap around the world. 

Meet Sprinklr, The Billion-Dollar Startup That Cracked Social Advertising – Forbes

Ragy Thomas has a saying about attendance at Sprinklr’s weekly customer review meetings, held every Monday at noon across the startup’s 11 offices worldwide. Senior staff and board members know it by heart: “The only excuse is if you’re attending your own funeral.”

For a CEO with a Catholic devotional item around his neck and a Buddha on his shelf, the motto is more a motivation than a threat. The conference calls, formally named the Customer Delight Assurance Program, or “See-daps,” run down every Sprinklr account with any cause for concern. Sprinklr’s clients are some of the biggest global brands and demand constant attention to their feeds on any of two dozen social networks. As Thomas told his 1,100 employees at a recent all-hands meeting: “Every one of you is in sales now.” 

Exclusive: Boxed, The E-commerce Startup For Costco-Sized Orders, Nabs $100M From Investors – Forbes

It’s been a hard season for e-commerce startups. In recent weeks, One Kings Lane slashed its workforce, Gilt Groupe sold itself for one fourth of what it was once worth, and a string of other companies have shown signs of strain. Online retail, it seems, is largely Amazon’s playground; everyone else has to play in the dirt.

But even in the dirt, some startups have managed to find things to do and profit from. Boxed Wholesale, which sells Costco-sized groceries and household goods online and via mobile, just nabbed $100 million in financing, defying both the odds facing e-commerce startups and a sharp downturn in investors’ mood. 

Hong Kong-Based Fintech Startup Boosting Banks’ Profits – Forbes

As an investor in SoFi, a San Francisco-based consumer lending service, I am not surprised when fintech startups aspire to convince consumers to fire their banks.

So it comes as a surprise to learn that capital is also available to startups that aspire to boost big banks’ bottom lines instead of wiping them out.

A few weeks ago I visited with Hong Kong’s WeLab, operator of a mobile service that makes consumer loans on behalf of banks. And WeLab claims that its rate of making bad loans is less than half that of the industry. 

Plunging dollar a boon for Canadian startups | Toronto Star

Industry watchers say the tumbling loonie is a blessing in disguise when it comes to Canadian startups and the innovation economy as U.S. venture capitalists look to make their investments go further.

As the resource boom that helped fuel Canadian growth over the past decade continues to go bust, Canada’s commodity-sensitive currency has lost nearly 40 per cent of its value and now trades at near 13-year lows.

While that spells trouble for snowbirds looking to travel abroad and for shoppers facing higher prices on imported goods, it presents an opportunity for foreign investors, says Steve McCartney, vice-president at Communitech, a Waterloo, Ont., startup incubator. 

3 Reasons “Scaleup” Businesses Are Just As Important As Startups | Cathy Belk

At JumpStart, we’ve spent more than ten years focused on accelerating the growth of startup companies in Northeast Ohio. Our goal has been to increase entrepreneurs’ odds of success, so they can transform our region’s economy and make it a nationally significant center of innovation and entrepreneurship.

The results speak to the impact of the work.

Recently though, we’ve begun expanding our focus to include working with existing small businesses that have high growth potential. Typically, these companies have 4-99 employees, a founder with a commitment to growth and existing revenues of $2 million or more. 


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s