Office Depot offers women scholarships to virtual startup school – Bizwomen – The Business Journals

Office Depot offers women scholarships to virtual startup school – Bizwomen  The Business Journals
“startups when:1d” – Google News

Corporate partnership group looks to attract startups to grow advanced manufacturing cluster in Michigan – Crain’s Detroit Business

Corporate partnership group looks to attract startups to grow advanced manufacturing cluster in Michigan  Crain’s Detroit Business
“startups when:1d” – Google News

Malta-based VAIOT combines AI and blockchain to digitise business processes; raises €5M in seed funding

The rise of blockchain and artificial intelligence (AI) are two of the biggest technology trends this year. For us, our requests could include understanding the weather or finding out about a song, setting up for appointments, etc. However, I’m sure you already know that it powers innovation across almost every industry, and is yet capable of so much more.

Sale of VAI Tokens

In layman’s terms, Artificial Intelligence (AI) are machines built to perform intelligent tasks that have traditionally been accomplished by humans. As for Blockchain, it is essentially a technology that allows for the encrypted storage of data on a distributed ledger.

A Valletta-based startup, VAIOT, that combines AI and blockchain to digitise business processes across industries, has raised €5M in its seed round of funding through a private sale of its VAI Tokens.

VAIOT’s seed and private sale have allocated close to 30% of the VAI Tokens to investors who support the project long-term. VAI Token is the digital currency of the VAIOT platform, set to incentivise the users to utilise the company’s solutions. VAI Tokens will initially use the Ethereum token standard and eventually be mirrored on a proprietary blockchain.

Modus Operandi

VAIOT develops purpose-built Intelligent Virtual Assistants (IVA) to help companies to move processes to AI-powered channels, as well as VAIOT-labeled IVA delivered directly to consumers. It combines AI and blockchain to create new ways of digitally accessing services and securely concluding legal agreements.

Christoph Surgowt, CEO of VAIOT says, “With this funding, we are equipped to deliver a product that can transform how businesses conduct their processes, and be of tremendous value to consumers. Putting the competency of AI into the hands of businesses and consumers will boost digital transformation across the board.”

The startup ultimately plans to take the concept of a smart personal assistant and combine it with the unique skillset and knowledge possessed by lawyers. It aims to build an AI legal assistant for consumers and enterprises, providing legal services, including digital, blockchain-based contracts.

VAIOT’s first assistant will service the car insurance industry and is projected to be presented by Q3 2020. It also aims to expand its technology into the broader market. The solution is built to be customised and adjusted to suit almost any industry and a wide set of business processes.

Image credits: TippaPat/Shutterstock

The post Malta-based VAIOT combines AI and blockchain to digitise business processes; raises €5M in seed funding appeared first on Silicon Canals .

Startups – Silicon Canals

7 Keys To Being Willing To Risk Your Neck In Business

balance-risk-courage-riskyWillingness to take a risk is the hallmark of a serious entrepreneur. That’s why one of the first questions that potential investors ask is “How much of your own money, and friends and family, have you put into the new business?” If you won’t risk yours, you won’t get investors to risk theirs.

A few years ago I was impressed with the classic book “When Turtles Fly” by Nikki Stone, an Olympic champion, which explains this well. She provides many examples of success stories from entrepreneurs to Olympians. She proclaims that if you want to be successful, you need to be soft on the inside, have a hard shell, and willing to stick your neck out (“Turtle Effect”).

She goes on to outline seven basic lessons that are key to mastering the Turtle Effect, and I believe that you need to relate to every one of these before you can dare to even call yourself an entrepreneur:

  1. Find your passion. Entrepreneurs, like Olympians, tend to put a competitive spin on anything they find a passion for, and once they are snagged, they have to win. This passion, while it is your soft inside, is probably the single most important factor in achieving business success.
  1. Make sure you are focused. This is where many entrepreneurs fail. If you try to do too many things at once, you probably won’t do any of them well. All successes are best achieved from a root focal point, one step at a time, through focus on the questions and focus on the process.
  1. Get committed. No one truly understands how much they can accomplish until they develop their hard shell of commitment to a goal you really want. The commitment has to not be one day, or someday, but today. Nothing good comes without hard work. In business, that means first put it in writing with a business plan.
  1. Overcome your adversities. Adversities are the norm, not the exception. We all face them, and a few overcome them. Today it is the economy, tomorrow it could be your health. Successful people bounce back, plan for the unexpected, stop the downward spiral, and enjoy the rewards of a comeback.
  1. Believe in yourself. Confidence is not something that we are born with. It’s something we develop. Peter T. Mcintyre said, “Confidence comes not from always being right, but from not fearing to be wrong.” Focus on your own strengths. Pick a positive future goal, and visualize success. Then go for it.
  1. Take some risks. Be willing to stick your neck out. The best entrepreneurs always believe their startups will thrive despite the odds. Don’t worry if you feel some fear. Fear is a natural emotion, and fears can actually help us to be alert. Especially, you must not fear failure. People learn more from failure than from success.
  1. Use teamwork. No one in business gets to the top alone. The real genius is in recognizing where and when you need support. Finding support is the easy part. Using someone else for support may even allow you time to turn your attention toward more important issues.

Remember that there is no business without sticking your neck out, and no approach that will eliminate risk entirely, so learn to live with it and manage it. Most experts agree that entrepreneurship is more about reducing risk and managing failures, than it is about pure willingness to take risks.

So if you want to be an entrepreneur, you need to learn the secrets of successful people who know how to stick their neck out, but maintain a hard shell. Practice the seven lessons outlined above, and enjoy rather than suffer through the entrepreneurial adventure of a lifetime.

Marty Zwilling
Startup Professionals Musings

List of places where to post your product to get feedback (let’s make a list).

We all know one of the early game rules of opening a business or building a product is “talk to your users”. Sometimes it is difficult to get feedback when we are very early in the game. Places like Reddit work, but sometimes even on Reddit it is difficult to gather 50-100 people to review your product.

Watching Y combinator videos, I often hear they talk about posting the product on Product Hunt. Besides PH, what are the places we can get feedback for our product/service? Hacker news? Please share the ones you know and let’s make a list.

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Startups – Rapid Growth and Innovation is in Our Very Nature!

3 investors discuss the state of SaaS investing in 2020

Yesterday during Disrupt 2020 I sat down with three investors who know the SaaS startup market very well, hoping to get my head around how hot things are today. Coming on the heels of the epic Snowflake IPO (more to come on that in this weekend’s newsletter), it was a great time for a chat.


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I’ve boiled our 40-minute discussion down to my favorite parts, getting you the goods in quick fashion.

What follows are notes on:

  • how fast the SaaS investing market is today
  • why Snowflake priced where it did and what that tells us about today’s market
  • how SaaS companies are seeing different growth results based on their sales motion
  • why some private-market SaaS multiples can get so high
  • which software sectors are accelerating
  • and what I learned about international SaaS.

There are more things to pull out later, like the investors’ thoughts regarding diversity in their part of the venture world and SaaS startups, but I want to give that topic its own space.

So, into today’s SaaS market with an eye on the future, guided by commentary from Canaan’s Maha Ibrahim, Andreessen Horowitz’s David Ulevitch and Bessemer’s Mary D’Onofrio.

Inside SaaS

To help us get through a good bit of the written word without slowing down, I’ll introduce an idea, share a quote and provide a little commentary. This should be good fun.

Startups – TechCrunch