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As the money gets tighter, VC demands get more absurd
Venture Capital
Startup valuations maybe getting more reasonable, but the requests they receive from venture capitalists are not. In fact, the two might even be inversely correlated. Re/code lists just four examples of just how out-of-hand VCs are getting as the power balance shifts from the entrepreneurs to the ones with the cash. As the rout in valuations continues, VCs' heavy-handedness with
More and more corporates are turning to startups for innovation
Venture Capital
As big corporations feel the pressure to innovate, more of them are setting up startup programs to get them out of a creative rut. Forbes  reports that the number of corporate accelerator programs reached unprecendented levels in 2015. In the past year, 31 programs were launched globally with pretty much an even split between the U.S.(10), Europe and Middle East (11),
Uber's enemies close in as rivals form pact
Venture Capital
We have already reported extensively  on the anti-Uber alliance, and on Thursday it was made official.  The ride-sharing app's  global rivals - Lyft, Didi Kuaidi, GrabTaxi and Ola - have now formed a blood pact covering every market where Uber operates. In a statement on behalf of the Alibaba-Softbank-backed hunting pack, Lyft said: Together, these companies now cover nearly all of Southeast
Basecamp founder blasts VCs in satirical press release
Venture Capital
Unicorns have gone from idealistic fantasies to a joke for many in Silicon Valley. Basecamp founder Jason Fried jumped on the trend of blasting venture capitalists for their flippant valuations of companies in a Medium post Tuesday. Much like the recent anonymous book "Iterating Grace" that rips on the power and influence of VCs in the startup world, Fried wrote a
Has Didi Kuaidi got Uber's billion-dollar China business up against the ropes?
Venture Capital
<p>Venture capital-backed taxi app giant Uber has sunk a lot of cash into breaking China. It even raised $1 billion in funding last August purely so it could spin off its China unit and focus on grabbing market share in the country. Unfortunately, Uber’s Chinese rival, Didi Kuaidi, claims the Silicon Valley-based firm’s China business is taking a bit of a beating. </p> <p>By its own reckoning, the Chinese unicorn -- which was formed out of a merger between Didi Dache and Kuaidi Dache earlier this year -- claims it is the market leader in all of 259 cities where is provides private-car hailing service. It also claims a 90% market share in the country’s capital Beijing where the company gets over 1 million ride requests, Forbes reports.  </p> <p>Of course Didi's data should be taken with a large grain of salt, but there are third party reports which still paint an equally grim picture for Uber. </p> <p>Last month, Chinese research firm Analysys International released a Chinese report also showing that Didi leads China’s private-car ride-hailing market by a wide margin, with company representing 83.2% of active users. Uber's share comes in at 16.2%. Ouch. </p> <p>Still, that's 16.2% of a very large market, but is it enough to justify the massive amounts Uber has already piled into its China business?  Uber is now fighting a war on many fronts and it 's looking less likely that it will grow that share by a significant margin.  <br /> Photo: Boxing AIBA</p>
Zenefits tops list of 2015's fastest growing unicorns
Venture Capital
&nbsp; Cloud-based HR software developer Zenefits was the fastest growing unicorn this year -- in percentage terms -- growing by a staggering 800%. The startup, which tops a list compiled by CB Insights, was last valued at $4.5 billion in May when it raised $500 million. The round was equal to the company’s entire valuation a year ago when it raised
The top 10 cities to launch a startup
Venture Capital
<p>The cost of living, competition for talent, and access to capital are just a few hurdles facing startups. Forbes broke down the top 10 cities entrepreneurs should look to launch a startup:</p> <p> Kuala Lumpar- This Malaysian city is cheaper than Singapore, and has a good test market of Chinese, Indonesian, and Indian users.<br /> Beijing- China may not equate with freedom of ideas, but entrepreneurship is becoming more desired in the country. China has set up a venture capital fund for startups, and is giving tax deductions.<br /> Warsaw- With a bigger internal market and strong entrepreneurial history, Poland has more opportunity than nearby Slovakia or Czech Republic. Google is opening a campus in Warsaw this year.<br /> Moscow- The Soviets encouraged a large number of quality engineers, who are now available to the business world.<br /> Bangalore- The startup scene in this Indian city has been heavy on the engineering and tech development. The city hosts a number of startup-related events each week for engineers and entrepreneurs.<br /> Sydney- Startups in Sydney are starting to think more globally, and several collaborative co-working events are encouraging the dialogue.<br /> Tunis- The Arab spring changed the city, spurring the use of tech products to engage and mobilize the communities.<br /> London- There is a record number of venture capital funds pouring into the digital sector of London. The government is eager to offer startup loans and tax breaks to encourage innovation.<br /> Cairo- The Egyptian city has a large number of young, educated graduates ready to work in the startup world. Accelerators and crowdfunding is taking off in the country.<br /> Sofia- The capital of Bulgaria has one of the lowest income tax rates and one of the fastest internet speeds, making it a regional hub.</p> <p>Photo: Aeropixels Photography</p>
SE Asia VC Ardent blurs lines with recruitment arm
Venture Capital
<p>Gone are the days when venture capitalists would just chuck their cash at the most likely winner and hope for the best. VCs today are much more hands-on, and none more so than Southeast Asia-focused Ardent Capital which is now taking on the biggest startup bottleneck with Ardent Hired.</p> <p>The newly launched recruitment service, which claims to be the first of its kind, is a new way for Ardent to bag the best talent for its startups. The service is not entirely new, Ardent has had internal team working on recruitment for some time. Led by John Thornton, the team has made hires for Ardent portfolio companies such as aCommerce, Moxy and HappyFresh.</p> <p>Thornton will now head up Ardent Recruit to build up a network through which Ardent’s startups – and other third party clients -- can source their people. Noting the challenge startups have finding talent, Thornron recently told e27:<br /> The traditional forms of hiring and [the] way we attract candidates are changing. Companies must have a winning brand and different methods to woo the candidate … One of the things we aim to address is the ability to get in touch with the candidate.<br /> Ardent -- which describes itself as “venture capital and builder” – is as much about building an ecosystem as it is about building startups, blurring the lines between VC, accelerator, and portfolio company.</p> <p>Its flagship startup aCommerce is a case in point. The logistics firm, which provides services to Southeast Asian ecommerce startups, including Ardent’s portfolio companies, is led by Paul  Srivoakaul, who is also partner and co-founder of Ardent Capital.</p> <p>Photo: Flazingo Photos</p> <p>&nbsp;</p>
Video: Founders can make or break a startup
Venture Capital
<p>"Founders are paramount," says Hendrick Lee, managing partner at Palm Drive Ventures, explains to NexChange at "Going Global: Startups' paths to funding and expansion in Asia." Founders create the culture of the company. Startup founders will grow and learn with their companies, but they need to be obsessive, dedicated entrepreneurs, he says.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p>
Fenox backs Jibo, is this the future of robotics startups?
Venture Capital
This week Indiegogo-funded robotics startup Jibo Inc revealed its latest undisclosed round of funding led by Fenox Venture Capital. Its product – Jibo – is a family robot that represents the latest in a series of VC deals involving robotics. But not all these investments have been quite so adorable. For its part, Jibo – which has raised more than