Tech hubs are blossoming in America's big metros. Not just in Silicon Valley, but in New York City and Boston too. Richard Florida's new "Startup City" report shows tech firms and venture capital "shifting back to the great urban centers."
This growth is great. But what about the rest of America? Surely there must be innovation bubbling up there. And if it is, financial capital should follow.
It turns out that, yes, there's a lot going on beyond the traditional tech hubs. Take the recent Google for Entrepreneurs Demo Day, for instance. Ten startups from seven cities across North America joined up to pitch investors, Shark Tank-style. Three additional investors — Steve Case of Revolution, Steph Palmeri of SoftTech VC, and MG Siegler of Google Ventures — then offered their advice. Check out the companies (and especially where they're from):
Elizabeth Holmes took a huge risk when she dropped out of Stanford to start her own company, but it was a risk worth taking.
The 30-year old Holmes is the founder of Theranos, a company that is influencing the way lab testing is done. Her company has invented a technology that can run 30 lab tests on a single drop of blood—at a fraction of the time and cost of traditional blood tests.
Test results are electronically delivered to both patient and doctor in less than four hours (in most cases). The prices are listed up front, with tests starting at $1.55—with most under $10.00. This allows even those without health insurance to afford lab testing, which in turns helps with detecting diseases and irregularities, and allowing for lifesaving treatment. If all lab testing was done at Theranos’ rates, it is estimated that Medicare and Medicaid (combined) would save more than $200 billion over the next 10 years.
“The worst part of success is trying to find someone who is happy for you.”
― Bette Midler
There have been so many celebrations of failure in business recently, it seems success has become a dirty word. From ideas like “failing up” as a way to celebrate rightfully-earned humility to entrepreneurs boasting about their failed ventures to potential investors, one is left to wonder about what success actually means.
We live in an ever-growing ocean of data. Our networked world is a data-producing machine, and increasingly businesses and governments are recognizing the great potential for groundbreaking innovation stemming this much-championed “Big Data.” Yet, innovations do not on their own bubble out of all this information. How exactly does data drive innovation and what are the tools that enable us to harness that data?
As noted in the previous Data for Good installment, the opportunities afforded through data are unlocked by deep analysis, looking for revelations in unlikely places. This innovation challenge is daunting, but the resources available for insightful data gathering and innovation optimization have never been greater. Data-driven innovation is facilitated through:
A massive increase of digital data
All the excitement over the age of “Big Data” sometimes seems to champion numbers and raw information as the source of world-changing innovations. The thing is, data on its own does nothing. It is the people who take an insight gleaned through data and run with it through all the frustrating hurdles of the innovation process that turn a sound insight into a viable, groundbreaking application.
Innovation success requires hiring and nurturing skilled people who can access and mine data for gems; who can collaborate with others for mutual benefit; and who can muster the spark of energy, the passion, and the fortitude to drive the process from data to insights and invention to a systemic innovation or business model shift that takes hold in affecting a true, breakthrough change. This despite—and often persevering through—the inertia that will likely need to be overcome. Bleeding-edge stuff.