Women in tech? Not still enough!

Gender equality on work places has seen a strong improvement in recent years and, also if a lot of efforts need to be done, the trend seems to be well clear: the role of working women is gaining more and more importance while wages differences are getting closer.

But.. there’s a but. Is every sector experiencing such a beneficial trend? Unfortunately not.

Infographic: The Tech World Is Still a Man's World | Statista You will find more statistics at Statista

Surprisingly one of the worst area for gender equality is tech. While it has an average performance for Leadership jobs, being 25% S&P500 average for women with leading positions, shows a lack of women in charge for technical jobs.

None of the top companies has more than 25% of tech positions covered by women with Microsoft reaching a mediocre 18%, such a results are even more disappointing as the United Nations planned last year to have a 50-50 gender parity on work places within 2030.

I hope new tech startuppers will revert such a trend to avoid loosing good resources and opportunities on the way.

 

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What’s the world like from startups perspective?

The Silicon Valley Bank has recently released the Startup Outlook Report 2017, a survey meant to know deeper the situation of startups and the mood of their funders.

The report had 941 respondent companies mainly working in US, China and UK  on sectors like tech and health.

The picture coming out from the survey points out probably for the first time a pessimistic outlook for business, 16% of companies in fact thing that the business conditions will be worse for the future. Just one year ago pessimists were a mere 1%.

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Funding is still an issue for almost every startup, only 19% in fact find raising capitals for their business not challenging while the remaining 81% is somewhat rather then extremely challenged during fundraising process.

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Regarding Brexit, it seems that UK startups are not scared of remaining as only 17% are considering to move their headquarters outside UK or Europe following the triggering of article 50 of which only 1% will leave Britain for sure.

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It’s still to define instead how Brexit will affect talent recruiting that is considered, by 76% of responders, as the main public policy issue affecting their companies. It’s very likely though, in my opinion, that at least for EU nationals will be put in place bilateral agreements for permanent working visa in the UK.

All images are courtesy of Silicon Valley Bank.

The most powerful city? London!

Ever wondered what is the most important city on earth? Well.. London! At least according to last Mori Memorial Foundation’s report. Their 2016 Global Power City Index in fact sets London as the most powerful city in the world for the fifth year in a row.

The total score is calculated on 6 main areas accounting 70 parameters : Economy, R&D, Culture, Livability, Environment and Accessibility; London with the first place in Culture and Accessibility secures the overall top scores of 1511.5, followed on the podium by New York (best for R&D) with 1384.7 and Tokyo (N. 1 for Economy) 1338.5.

09_worldmap_2016

Others cities worth to mention are Paris with a remarkable 4th place, Vienna 10th despite a smaller economy and not being a metropolis and Frankfurt 11th but best scorer in the Environment sector.

The only weak point of top cities seems to be livability both London and New York along with Singapore (5th) have poor results when speaking of cost and ease of living, working environment and security.

The challenge for next years, for such cities, will thus be find new solution to housing crisis and quality of work and working places.

Mori Memorial Foundation’s Institute for Urban Strategies: http://www.mori-m-foundation.or.jp

Deadly costly startups

London, New York and Silicon Valley have never been famous for being cheap places to live in. According to a recent report of Knight Franks though, also office rent costs for startups are sky rocketing and, of course, London is leading the race.

Renting an office in Shoreditch district in fact, cost more than 66,000 US$ annually that is enough for relegating Brooklyn and San Francisco Mid Market to 2nd and 3rd position respectively with a good 62,000 US$ and 61,000 US$.

Infographic: Where Startup Costs Are Sky High | Statista

You will find more statistics at Statista

The top ten is completed by Paris, Boston, Dublin, Los Angeles and then far east trio Hong Kong, Beijing and Singapore.

Till now the bad news. But Knight Frank has also calculated the rent for a 4 seats shared office and the good news is that prices are far lower also if not properly cheap. In this case London Shoreditch and Brooklyn would cost “only” around 29,000 US$, while San Francisco 24,000 US$.

Oddly enough Hong Kong has dedicated offices cheaper than serviced ones!

The outcome is that co-working spaces are very important for cutting costs of starting up and having an high entry level values for office rent could bring lot of potential entrepreneurs to drop out.

Another service that in my opinion could help in cost cutting is co-living, having house shares with communal facilities such as computer lab, printers, wi-fi connection could bring to cut dramatically office expenditures.

Basically you can have a bedsit and an office at the cost of the bedsit only, for sure won’t be good when you rise facebook-like funding but to start cheap is a good option for sure!

Knight Frank’s analysis: http://www.knightfrank.co.uk/news/start-up-costs-for-techies-in-london-are-the-highest-in-the-world-09857.aspx

Book review: Blue Ocean Strategy

After a while i’d like to come back with a book review following the last one The E-Myth Revisited; this time i want to suggest another milestone for anybody that want to develop his own start-up business: Blue Ocean Strategy by W. Chan Kim and Renée Mauborgne. The authors are two professors at INSEAD Business School and considered two of the most important influencers in business strategy.

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The main theory they present in the book is that, to survive the market challenges, is better for a business to discover new competitor-free blue oceans rather then fight in the shark-infested (blood) red oceans. Again a obvious concept but very rarely pointed out by anybody… the power of simplicity!

The book shows how to systematically search for blue oceans or never discovered before markets, plenty of new opportunities and new products and services to sell. It gives tools and analytics frameworks to create new blue oceans and develop a strategy for winning in such new marketplaces without competition with others.

From sketching the strategic chart of the business sector to carrying out a blue ocean strategy the authors lead the reader to think out of the box in a very effective way, bringing also many cases of study from very different sectors and times.

I suggest reading this book before you start your venture so you can directly dive into a blue ocean!

Blue Ocean strategy on Amazon: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Blue-Ocean-Strategy-Uncontested-Competition/dp/1591396190/ref=sr_1_2?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1474967574&sr=1-2&keywords=blue+ocean+strategy

W. Chan Kim wiki: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/W._Chan_Kim

R. Mauborgne wiki (German): https://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Renée_Mauborgne

The university dilemma

The QS World University Rankings 2016-17 has just been released. Top rankings have no surprises with USA and Europe leading the top ten with 5 universities for each side.

First three places are for the well-known “sisters” MIT, Stanford and Harvard while the first European is Cambridge in 4th; to complete the other positions Caltech, Oxford, Univesity College of London, ETH of Zurich, The Imperial College and Chicago University.

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Rest-of-the-world universities are lead by Singapore with NUS and NTU at 12th and 13th respectively and mainly China with several institutes in the top 30.

Criteria used for drafting the rankings include several indicators such as academic and employees reputation, citations and international students.

There is thus a wide number of top class colleges and universities to choose among especially if you’re looking for a technical or economics major, but the real question should be: does it worth the hassle? Does investing tens of thousand euros (or dollars, or pounds if you prefer) in high level formation is better than investing in your startup? And last but not least, are universities still the innovation centers that used to be for centuries?

Looking at the (in)famous dropouts list drafted by the College Dropouts Hall of Fame may be not anymore, at least if you’re planning to be the next world-changing entrepreneur. Reading the list in fact, beside well known dropouts such as Steve Jobs,  Bill Gates, Elon Musk and Richard Branson, we can find among other hundreds, people such as Stanley Kubrick, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Dan Akroyd and Bill Murray, Stefi Graff and Boris Becker.

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Dropouts occasionally speak at graduations too

The web site propose also a half-serious good lists of reasons both to attend and not to attend college that worth a read. At least to make a half-serious reflection on what you really want from your future life.

London is the new European Start up Capital

Despite Brexit and related roller coaster of economic and monetary factors, the first six months of 2016 have stated the overtake of London vs Berlin as capital of start up in Europe.

According to the German EY’s startup barometer report in fact, investments in Berlin have dramatically fallen to 520m€ in the first semester of this year, sinking the whole Germany to a 957m€  amount that is the half compared to the same period of 2015.

Infographic: London Usurps Berlin As Startup Capital Of Europe | StatistaYou will find more statistics at Statista

This tumble, with the contemporary rise of London and Stockholm, has taken Berlin out of the podium as also Paris has  bring investment into startups to a bright 673m€ level.

The amount of 1,32om€ for London is also remarkable considering the fall of 12% in fintech investments and funding on the same period in the city.

The next year would probably bring more clarity due to the mitigation of Brexit effects but London will any case play a main role in the startup funding and development sector.

EY website: www.ey.com