Month: June 2021

Long Waves: The History of Innovation Cycles

This post is by Dorothy Neufeld from Visual Capitalist

Innovation Cycles

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Long Waves: How Innovation Cycles Influence Growth

Creative destruction plays a key role in entrepreneurship and economic development.

Coined by economist Joseph Schumpeter in 1942, the theory of “creative destruction” suggests that business cycles operate under long waves of innovation. Specifically, as markets are disrupted, key clusters of industries have outsized effects on the economy.

Take the railway industry, for example. At the turn of the 19th century, railways completely reshaped urban demographics and trade. Similarly, the internet disrupted entire industries—from media to retail.

The above infographic shows how innovation cycles have impacted economies since 1785, and what’s next for the future.

Innovation Cycles: The Six Waves

From the first wave of textiles and water power in the industrial revolution, to the internet in the 1990s, here are the six waves of innovation and their key breakthroughs.

First WaveSecond WaveThird WaveFourth WaveFifth WaveSixth Wave
Water Power
Internal-Combustion Engine
Digital Network
New Media
Digitization (AI, IoT, AV,
Robots & Drones)
Clean (Read more...)

Your Sales Team Should Be Leading Your Company’s Digital Transformation

This post is by Ayzia Vizcocho from Blog – Crunchbase

This article is part of the Crunchbase Community Contributor Series. The author is an expert in their field and a Crunchbase user. We are honored to feature and promote their contribution on the Crunchbase blog.

Please note that the author is not employed by Crunchbase and the opinions expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect official views or opinions of Crunchbase, Inc. 

Digital efforts have proliferated for years as companies strive to catch up and utilize new technologies in the workplace. COVID-19 accelerated the process, and while many employees look forward to returning to the office, we’ve also grown accustomed to the flexibilities of a digital-first workplace. However, this accelerated pace shouldn’t be confused with the actual digital transformation businesses need to succeed. 

Digital transformation is the integration of modern technology into all areas of a business, fundamentally changing how you operate internally and deliver value to customers. But, it doesn’t happen overnight. For a transformation to be successful, leaders must understand, manage, and communicate throughout all levels of the organization. 

In general, when an organization is looking to implement a digital transformation, many leaders look to the IT department to guide the initiative. While this approach seems like an obvious choice, companies often overlook one department that would be perfect for the job — sales. Over the past few decades, the “traditional” sales department has evolved from leading and implementing transformative technologies that improve revenue performance to creating better employee and customer experiences.

Streamline your sales workflow with Crunchbase – (Read more...)

Silver Through the Ages: The Uses of Silver Over Time

The following content is sponsored by Blackrock Silver.

Silver is one of the most versatile metals on Earth, with a unique combination of uses both as a precious and industrial metal.

Today, silver’s uses span many modern technologies, including solar panels, electric vehicles, and 5G devices. However, the uses of silver in currency, medicine, art, and jewelry have helped advance civilization, trade, and technology for thousands of years.

The Uses of Silver Over Time

The below infographic from Blackrock Silver takes us on a journey of silver’s uses through time, from the past to the future.

3,000 BC – The Middle Ages

The earliest accounts of silver can be traced to 3,000 BC in modern-day Turkey, where its mining spurred trade in the ancient Aegean and Mediterranean seas. Traders and merchants would use hacksilver—rough-cut pieces of silver—as a medium of exchange for goods and services.

Around 1,200 BC, the Ancient Greeks began refining and minting silver coins from the rich deposits found in the mines of Laurion just outside Athens. By 100 BC, modern-day Spain became the center of silver mining for the Roman Empire while silver bullion traveled along the Asian spice trade routes. By the late 1400s, Spain brought its affinity for silver to the New World where it uncovered the largest deposits of silver in history in the dusty hills of Bolivia.

Besides the uses of silver in commerce, people also recognized silver’s ability to fight bacteria. For instance, wine and (Read more...)

Casualties of Perfection

The key thing about evolution is that everything dies. Ninety-nine percent of species are already extinct; the rest will be eventually.

There is no perfect species, one adapted to everything at all times. The best any species can do is to be good at some things until the things it’s not good suddenly matter more. And then it dies.

A century ago a Russian biologist named Ivan Schmalhausen described how this works. A species that evolves to become very good at one thing tends to become vulnerable at another. A bigger lion can kill more prey, but it’s also a larger target for hunters to shoot at. A taller tree captures more sunlight but becomes vulnerable to wind damage. There is always some inefficiency.

So species rarely evolve to become perfect at anything, because perfecting one skill comes at the expense of another skill that will eventually be critical to survival. The lion could be bigger and catch more prey; the tree could be taller and get more sun. But they’re not, because it’d backfire.

So they’re all a little imperfect.

Nature’s answer is a lot of good enough, below-potential traits across all species. Biologist Anthony Bradshaw says that evolution’s successes get all the attention, but its failures are equally important. And that’s how it should be: Not maximizing your potential is actually the sweet spot in a world where perfecting one skill compromises another.

Evolution has spent 3.5 billion years testing and proving the idea that some (Read more...)

NVCA Member Spotlight: S3 Ventures

Welcome to our Member Spotlight series where we give a profile overview of our many diverse members. For this deep dive, we spoke to Brian Smith, Managing Director at S3 Ventures, to learn more about his firm.

Tell us about your firm. What makes it different?

Based in Austin for over fifteen years, S3 Ventures is the largest venture capital firm focused on Texas. With more than half a billion in assets under management, we lead Seed, Series A, and Series B investments with the capacity to invest $20M+ over the life of a company. Backed by a philanthropic, multi-billion-dollar family, we empower great entrepreneurs with the patient capital and true resources required to grow extraordinary, high-impact companies.

Our goal has always been to partner with amazing companies for the long-term – throughout their growth journey – not just a single investment transaction. Our single-LP model is of great benefit to our entrepreneurs because it allows our senior team to focus its time and efforts on meeting, funding, and supporting founders. It also provides patience and flexibility when it comes to fund sizes, time horizons, and later-stage co-investment opportunities.

What defines your portfolio?

We invest in entrepreneurs re-imagining the way the world works, lives, and heals. Since 2007, we have invested in 45+ companies across three sectors: business technology, digital experiences, and healthcare technology.

We currently have 18 active portfolio companies innovating in a wide range of markets including PropTech (IFM, Levelset, NoiseAware), EdTech (Interplay Learning, Upkey), Cybersecurity (HYAS), (Read more...)

Getting Over Imposter Syndrome When Building Your Public Profile


A lot of people have furthered their career by “putting themselves out there”—creating blogs, newsletters, participating on Twitter, doing podcasts, etc. It’s a way that many have created connections for themselves and shown off their insights.

A lot of these people aren’t the most experienced or knowledgeable people in their field. In fact, most of them aren’t.

Social media and online content contributions tend to come from younger professionals—leaving the people with the most to share missing from the conversation.

What’s fascinating is how much fear some of those folks have about putting themselves “out there”. What I hear most often is the following:

  1. What if I say something controversial and get “cancelled”?

  2. Who’s going to want to hear from me? I’m not successful/interesting/etc enough.

  3. What would I even say?

On getting cancelled…

It's unlikely that you're ever going to put out commentary that's far out of your lane. You'll probably be talking about debt restructuring, product management, packaging design or some other innocuous topic that isn't likely to spark serious controversy.

The small number of people who have actually stirred up public controversy usually did so by posting or doing something highly offensive—and they’re normally pretty visible to begin with.

They tend to fall into two categories and you're not either one of these:
—Celebrities that are willfully ignorant about cultural issues.
—People treating others inhumanely.

if you want to opine on something you feel strongly about, you should feel free to, but with help. Have others review your (Read more...)

Daylight raises millions to build a digital banking platform ‘designed for and by’ the LGBTQ+ community

Over the past year, there has been a surge of newly formed digital banks aimed at specific demographics. The banks in nearly all cases are trying to meet the needs of certain populations that they believe are feeling left out or underserved by traditional financial institutions.

The latest such neobank to emerge is New York-based Daylight, which describes itself as the first LGBTQ+ digital banking platform in the United States. (There is a digital bank in Brazil with a similar mission called Pride Bank).

Founded by LGBTQ+ entrepreneurs Rob Curtis (CEO), Billie Simmons, a trans woman (COO) and Paul Barnes Hoggett (CTO), Daylight is announcing today that it has secured $5 million in a seed funding round. Kapor Capital and Precursor Capital co-led the round, which included participation from Anthemis Group, Clocktower and Citibank.

Daylight says its mission is to “build a more equitable financial life for LGBTQ+ folks and their chosen families.” The company’s services are targeted toward LGBTQ+ people, their families, and allies — or as Dayilght describes it, “values-based consumers who want to support the queer community.”

The startup, which was founded in 2020, plans to use its new capital mostly to expand its flagship product and lifestyle services, which are designed to improve financial equality and inclusion for the estimated 30-million-plus Americans who identify as LGBTQ+. It also plans to build out a LGBTQ+ business marketplace and a platform that offers discounts and rewards when members shop at merchants whose actions support the (Read more...)

Dear economy, creators aren’t fragile plants

Hello and welcome back to Equity, TechCrunch’s venture capital-focused podcast, where we unpack the numbers behind the headlines.

For this week’s deep dive, Alex and Natasha brought on Alexis Gay, a former operator at Patreon who now makes her living as comedian and podcast host, to talk about the creator economy — including our disdain for that horrid phrasing. You may know her from her cheeky, on point shorts about tech culture (and tech Twitter).

Gay gave us an honest look into the life of creator helper turned creator actual, admitting that her current job path wasn’t possible in 2018. Somewhere, somehow, a VC in the distance heard that admittance as an opportunity to back a creator economy startup.

Here’s what we got into:

  • Gay’s experience at Patreon, and why she left. Alex had some thoughts on the theme. It appears that growing list of creator-focused tools could increase the vapor pressure of folks who write, talk, art, and otherwise create, regarding their present-day employment.
  • Why one size doesn’t fit all when it comes to the diverse world of folks engaged in creative work. We also dipped our toes into the issue of indie creators needing to be CEOs as well as artists.
  • We chatted on Vibely, a startup that wants to make interactions with creators ~ multi-directional~ and what it says about scaling time.
  • We also got into what an average (Read more...)

Some Waves In Crypto

This post is by Jeff Carter from Points and Figures

This week, British regulators struck out at the exchange Binance and said it couldn’t operate in the UK anymore.  It was a body blow to Binance, but it won’t be fatal.  The initial trouble was figuring out how to get your money out of Binance if you were a UK investor.

Then, Deutsche-Borse said they partnered with British based TP ICAP to offer crypto derivatives trading.  Germany issued a license to Coinbase for custody the day before.

But, what I focused on was banks finally adopting blockchain technology to trade bonds.  Not Treasury bonds.  Treasury bond markets worldwide are very efficient and one of the main reasons for that is the existence of liquid futures markets.  If you have ever traded cash bond markets in corporates or munis, you know how inefficient they are.  Bid/ask spreads are wide and dealers have their own private books.  It is a license to steal.

For what it is worth, I have worked on starting a futures market for corporate bonds or muni bonds and it is impossible.  The theory works, but the practice doesn’t.  Ironically, at the University of Chicago one of the jokes is, “It works in practice but does it work in theory?” 

What I want to focus on though, is the startup crypto world and bonds.  I have seen quite a few deals in many permutations where entrepreneurs have the idea that they can tokenize a corporate bond or muni bond and trade it more efficiently.  It’s a great (Read more...)