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Innovate Finance Goes to Silicon Valley

September 22nd, 2016 / / Featured Insights

Part 1: European Innovation Day, Computer History Museum, Mountain View

The San Fran/Valley conference whirlwind began at Mind the Bridge’sEuropean Innovation Day at the Computer History Museum, Mountain View. The conference showcased the best of European technology and innovation, and included a hot lineup of speakers from Uber, European Commission Intel, Dell, US Department of Commerce, and super connector Burton Lee from Stanford University, to name a few. The key to Silicon Valley’s success is acquisition; buying a startup is one of the fastest ways for companies to embrace disruption and keep innovation.

Alberto Onetti, Chairman Mind the Bridge

Hugely interesting was the investment landscape between Europe and US which was reflected in the Mind The Bridge’s Startup Transatlantic M&Areport including these top stats:

  • 3 out of 4 startups are acquired by US Companies
  • 6,000 startups exited between US and UK since 2012
  • $ 625 billion invested
  • US buys prevalently domestic companies and 68% of European startups acquisitions happen domestically
  • US startups are more expensive than their European counterparts(32% of the acquisitions absorbed 59% of the overall amount paid)
  • US and Silicon Valley Run the M&A Show — The top 15 acquirers in the transatlantic ranking are all US companies. 11 out of the top 15 are from the Silicon Valley. The first European one — Germany’s SAP — ranks 33rd.
  • On average, the top 15 US-based companies acquire 6 times more startups than the top European companies. Altogether, the 15 most active European companies have acquired approximately the same number of startups that Google bought in the same period.

Skills: The Top 20 skills for the intra-EU tech migrants (below) including:

1. Database management and software

2. Web programming

3. Software engineering management and requirements gathering

4. Infrastructure and systems managing

Part 2: SF Corporate Tour with Mind the Bridge

As part of the support for the week, Mind the Bridge invited the group to a corporate tour across town. I was joined by Jessica Butcher, CEO of London unicorn Blippar and Innovate Finance Ambassador and super-connectorBindi Karia. In addition to getting together at all the best parties and European Connections, these two came out to the valley as female mentors.

My personal favourite was Pinterest (office decorated by the staff, inspired by their own personal Pinterest boards.

Part 3: TechCrunch Disrupt, Pier 48

TechCrunch hosted its hugely popular TechDisrupt San Francisco event with Incredible lineup of speakers at Pier 48 — a venue perched on the waterfront with views of the Bay Bridge and San Francisco’s iconic AT&T baseball stadium.

Highlights from the conference included:

Incredibly impressive was the pitches at the Startup Battlefield. The venture judge list was the ‘who’s who’ of innovation drivers (think AOL’s Tim Armstrong; former Gilt Group CEO and BBG founder Susan Lyne, and CEO of YouTube, Susan Wojcick).

Innovate Finance hung out at startup alley and mingled with robots and driverless cars, and even virtually learned to dance. However, no innovation could compete with the flat-white coffee served at the BrainTree van by a barista singing our favourite 80’s classic song.

Part 4: Banking Disrupted

Banking Disrupted: A Disruptive Leadership Summit, September 14–15, 2016

Innovate Finance also caught up with speaker Anju Patwardhan, Venture Partner and Fulbright Scholar at Stanford and Innovate Finance’s Valley Ambassador, Mike Sigal of 500 Startups. Also, great to see Innovate Finance members: Garett Smith of Opportunity Network and Patrick Penzo ofOnFido. Other highlights including talks on the following topics:

  • The New Wave of FinTech and the End of Banking?
  • The unbundling of the bank, the latest trends with First Data Corporations.
  • Millennials as customers: In Tech We Trust?
  • Regulation Technology (RegTec): A New Hot Topic
  • Beyond Bitcoin: New Blockchain Technologies for Banking
  • The “Uber Moment” for Banks: Adapt or Disrupt?

Startups that most impressed me:

Abra, founded by Eric Rosenthal, aims to be the WhatsApp of Money. It is available in 200 countries and enables a consumer to send money from any phone number to another phone number, anywhere in the world. To make this happen Abra has built the first global, peer-to-peer, digital cash, money transfer app.

Align Commerce, founded by Marwan Forzley is a next generation Payment Service Provider (PSP) for global commerce. It enables businesses and payment platforms to send and receive payments in local currency via a simple, friction-less and inexpensive manner by using the block chain as a new settlement rail.

Lendup, founded by Sasha Orloff is a data-driven company. We are building the most innovative credit models in the world to extend credit as aggressively as possible, while assessing who is a likely candidate for the path we offer out of the payday loan trap and into prime credit.

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