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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