Co-creation and aging

Last month I gave a talk on co-creation and the future of aging at the Commonwealth Club in San Francisco. You can view the entire talk below.

It’s about the intersection of several megatrends:

  • the rapid growth in the elderly in most countries over the coming decades;
  • the sad fact that society is ignoring a large talented pool of individuals who are 65 and older and have lots to contribute but who are all too often excluded from the workforce;
  • the rise of the crowd as a way to tackle societal challenges; and
  • the striking lack of high tech solutions to the many challenges of aging.

Hope you find it interesting.

Co-creating the future of aging from Richard Caro on Vimeo.

Crowdfunding done right: Scanadu’s tricorder

I’ve been excited about the potential of crowdfunding for quite a while (here and here). The campaign that launched this morning on Indiegogo by Scanadu (developing a Tricorder) is a good example of a campaign done right, and shows the potential of this approach.
Scanadu on IndieGoGo

  1. The campaign reached its goal of $100K in 2 hours.
  2. It’s up to $240K as I write this and day 1 is not ended.
  3. 1200+ people already pre-bought the product as a result of this campaign, thus doing a great job of validating that (some) people will buy it. Frankly, this is probably more important than the capital.

BUT, …. this is by no means a “typical” crowd funding result. What are the lessons? [Read more…]

How Crowdfunding pushes the bounds of what can be funded

954c40800427975e22d301351271d611_largeI just backed a new project on Kickstarter that I consider a fascinating experiment. Who knows how well it will work, but if you are interested in how Crowdfunding is changing the landscape of funding early stage ventures, science projects, and projects at the intersection of art and technology, it is worth checking out the Dragon Empire project on Kickstarter, and the companion Lightning Gun project website. [Read more…]

Can there really be 452 crowd funding platforms?

Hard not to be struck by this statistic in this morning’s in-box. According to the report below from crowd, there are now 452 crowd funding platforms, and collectively they were used to raise $1.5Billion in 2011, in over a million successful fund-raising campaigns.

I thought I was on top of this space, but if this report is correct there are far more of these platforms than I know about, and far more successful crowd fund-raisings than I had imagined. Does this match anyone else’s experience? [Read more…]

Crowdfunding: more work needed

Crowd-funding challenges

Nice post yesterday by “Startup Iceland” on the challenges of creating a robust Crowdfunding platform. This concept is certainly resonating way beyond the normal Silicon Valley world!

The author acknowledges some of the issues that are scaring various pundits in the blogosphere, and might make crowdfunding “risky”. He mentions:

  • Information asymmetry;
  • Valuation issues;
  • High cost of transparency and accountability.

His conclusion: more work needed. But soluble.

[Read more…]

Crowdfunding and the Nanny State

Lots of activity in the blogosphere this week on Crowdfunding, coinciding with debate in the Senate of the so-called JOBS bill (HR3606), which contains various provisions relating to Crowdfunding. I wanted to comment on some of the different perspectives, and in particular, on a series of recent posts in one of my favorite blogs, Baseline Scenario. [Read more…]

Fewer IPO’s: the reasons

Relating to my last post on Crowdfunding and the 99%, yesterday’s Wall St Journal had an excellent summary of the state of the US IPO (Initial Public Offering) market, written by Jack Markell, Governor of Delaware.

In my earlier Crowdfunding post, I made the point that the small, early-stage companies that a public investor could invest in 20 years ago no longer do IPO’s on exchanges like NASDAQ, and I felt that was part of the compelling argument in favor of new initiatives like Crowd Funding. Mr Markell adds a lot of color to this, explaining how the “US has experienced a stunning decline in IPOs …. while capital markets in Asia, Europe and South America have thrived“. He cites both a decline in annual IPOs over the last decade, and a decline in total listings on US exchanges (from 8,800 15 years ago to 5,000 today).

This is a different point than the one I was making, but I suspect there are common causes for these two phenomena. [Read more…]

Crowdfunding and the ninety nine percent

I have been following the idea of “crowd-funding” for several years and am a great fan. A couple of weeks ago I was having lunch with a colleague who is starting a new crowd-funding site. As we discussed it, I realized that crowd-funding represents an antidote to one of the many ways in which today the “ninety nine percent” are disadvantaged compared to the “one percent”. I have not seen this particular line of thought articulated before, so here it is.

In case that introduction sounds too rabid, let me qualify this post by saying I am not really a fan of Occupy Wall St (OWS), I have no problem with the 1% earning lots of money (so long as the taxpayer is not acting as bailer-out of last resort), and I am myself an accredited investor, long-time startup entrepreneur, and occasional angel investor. I dont believe in equality of outcomes, but I believe very strongly in equality of opportunity. And that is where I see an intersection of crowd-funding, and the concerns of movements like OWS. [Read more…]

Can science-based startups learn from Web 2.0?

For startups developing web-focused businesses, the ecosystem has changed enormously in the last 2-3 years, almost entirely for the better. In contrast, in the world of new ventures based on hardcore science (cleantech, medical devices, biotech, etc.), as far as I can see it is more or less “business as usual”, and in some areas things have gone significantly down hill (think FDA and medical devices for example).

Being an eternal optimist, I see grounds for excitement here. It seems to me there is now a great opportunity to take some of the ecosystem improvements pioneered by the Web 2.0 folk, and adapt them to the world of science-based startups.  [Read more…]

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