In: Venture Capital

Why Europe lags behind the US in VC investment
March 14, 2016

GUEST:
Activity in the USA and Europe firmly dominates the venture capital (VC) industry. Where ‘the Valley’ led the way, start-up ecosystems have sprouted across the whole of Europe. Be it financial technology in London, ecommerce in Berlin or advertising technology in Paris, over the last decade Europe has grown a number of healthy start-up centers encouraging entrepreneurs to take a leap of faith in their ideas and start building a business.
But despite being equal to the US in terms of GDP and possessing a larger population, Europe sits very far behind the US in terms of venture financing.
As Figure 1 shows (based on data from CB Insights Venture report 2014), in 2015, VCs invested 5.4 times more money in the US compared to Europe. VCs also closed more than three times as many deals in the US as in Europe.
Above: Figure 1. Source: CB Insights Venture report 2014
Despite the massive difference in volumes of capital, the last five years have seen larger growth in Europe in terms..

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Facebook arrest foreshadows the global data encryption war
March 14, 2016

ANALYSIS:
On March 1, Brazilian federal police arrested Diego Dzodan for his failure to turn over decrypted WhatsApp messages for a drug investigation. Dzodan is a vice president at Facebook, the parent company of WhatsApp, which offers its customers “end-to-end” encryption of their messages. Though he spent only about 24 hours in jail, Dzodan’s arrrest shows that foreign governments may take measures that are far more direct — and immediate, than those pursued by the FBI in its effort to force Apple to unlock an iPhone.
Above: Senior Facebook executive Diego Dzodan, who was recently released from a Brazilian jail due to a disputed court order demanding data from the company’s WhatsApp messaging service for a confidential drug-trafficking investigation, speaks at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in Cambridge, Massachusetts March 5, 2016.
Image Credit: Reuters/Mary Schwalm What if Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg had been in Brazil at the moment his company defied a court o..

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The tech industry, according to Trump
March 14, 2016

Despite having never held public office (nor, perhaps, a computer mouse?), Republican front-runner Donald Trump has a lengthy track record of commentary on tech policy and trends. Trump seems completely out of touch at times, but his positions on mass surveillance, immigration reform, Net Neutrality, major tech corporations, and cyber warfare nevertheless hold weight with a significant portion of the U.S. population, and thus seem worth gathering together for further study.
That’s what we’ve done below. If you’d like to submit a quote, please let us know.
Trump on Google Why doesn’t President Obama just get the people from Google to fix the failed website. In fact, why didn’t he use them in the first place! (2013, Twitter)
Trump on Apple
I think what you ought to do is boycott Apple until such time as they give that security number. How do you like that? I just thought of that … Boycott Apple! (2016)
I use both iPhone & Samsung. If Apple doesn’t give info to authorities on the te..

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5 marketing trends surfacing at SXSW 2016
March 14, 2016

GUEST:
SXSW Interactive 2016 kicked off this week with thousands of marketers descending upon Austin, Texas for food, fun, and a glimpse at new and emerging technologies that will impact how brands connect with consumers. Even in its 23rd year, SXSW Interactive’s influence and role in innovation is not waning.
Several trends surfacing this year will greatly impact how brands and consumers interact. Here are 5 to keep an eye on:
1. Virtual reality is everywhere Virtual reality (VR) has been a key part of the SXSW experience for the past few years, with the Game of Thrones VR experience and Samsung’s Gear VR both standing out in past years. This year, virtual reality is at the forefront.
Panels are on tap to discuss everything from Cinematic VR, virtual football, and VR storytelling to city planning using social VR. And the event features various branded installations such as the Samsung Gear VR Lounge and the McDonald’s Loft.

The McDonald’s Loft is showcasing a V-Artist virtual re..

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North Korea denies cyber attacks on South Korea officials
March 14, 2016

SEOUL (Reuters) – North Korea on Sunday denied that it conducted cyber attacks against officials from rival South Korea, calling the South’s accusation that it did so a “fabrication”.
South Korea’s spy agency told lawmakers on Friday that North Korea had recently stepped up cyber attack efforts against the South and succeeded in hacking the mobile phones of 40 national security officials, according to members of parliament who received a closed-door briefing.
“The South is claiming the North’s cyber attack and using it for its own political purpose,” an opinion piece in the Rodong Sinmun, the official daily newspaper of the North’s ruling party, said on Sunday.
It accused the South of making the cyber attack claim in order to justify a controversial new “anti-terrorism” law.
“There is nothing to expect but the sound of eating corpses from a crow’s mouth. However, we cannot just overlook the South’s abrupt, provocative, and heinous accusations against its neighbor,” the article said..

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Valve enables gamers to play non-VR games on the HTC Vive
March 13, 2016

Valve just announced that it has launched an early beta test for the SteamVR Desktop Theater Mode, which enables gamers to play non-virtual-reality games with VR systems.
The new mode will work with the upcoming HTC Vive virtual reality headset, and it will be shown off at next week’s Game Developers Conference in San Francisco. VR is expected to become a $30 billion market by 2020, according to tech advisor Digi-Capital. And GDC will be full of VR companies trying to win over hearts and minds.
We haven’t seen this mode yet, but it looks like a way to provide more content on VR systems in their early days, when there isn’t that many dedicated VR games available yet. It’s not likely to cause anyone to buy a new VR system, I would guess. But it could give people something to do in VR while they’re waiting for more content.
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Go board game champion Lee Sedol apologizes for losing to Google’s AI
March 13, 2016

Lee Sedol, whom many people believe to be the top player of the ancient Chinese board game Go, put up a real fight in each of the three games against Google’s AlphaGo artificial intelligence (AI) program, but, in the end, the machine won the match. And for that, Lee Sedol is sorry.
In a press conference after the third game of the match, Sedol made unscripted remarks that clearly conveyed his regret:
I don’t know how to start or what to say today, but I think I would have to express my apologies first. I should have shown a better result, a better outcome, and better content in terms of the game played, and I do apologize for not being able to satisfy a lot of people’s expectations. I kind of felt powerless. If I look back on the three matches, the first one, even if I were to go back and redo the first match, I think that I would not have been able to win, because I at that time misjudged the capabilities of AlphaGo. The second match, I think, would have been the make or break.
If ..

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SXSW is wasting the chance to take on world-changing issues
March 13, 2016

GUEST:
Each year, SXSW brings together a unique mix of people in the world of technology, design, media, film, music, and — as of late — an increasing number of people associated with the worlds of philanthropy and social change. The event provides a unique opportunity to cross-pollinate thinking and partner on efforts related to addressing the most interesting and serious issues facing our global society today.
In other words, SXSW should be the ultimate playground for people trying to solve complex problems and have a meaningful, measurable impact on the world.
Unfortunately, that isn’t happening. The tens of thousands of smart, passionate, talented people who descend on Austin each March are not committing themselves to solving the most interesting and important problems. The potential that exists to dramatically transform the way we address serious global issues simply isn’t being realized.
When I first started attending SXSW 15 years ago, I could count on one hand the number o..

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