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Series F - Issue #14: The Future of Venture Capital

👋🏻 Well, hello there! This week was a hard one for me, as I realised that I really need to get a life

Series F

June 18 · Issue #14 · View online
The Future of Venture Capital

👋🏻 Well, hello there! This week was a hard one for me, as I realised that I really need to get a life after feeling a genuine sense of excitement when Amazon bought Whole Foods… 😬
By the way, if any of you made the “Alexa accidentally bought Whole Foods” joke after the first hour of this news breaking, please unsubscribe now 😜
If you’re still here (I mean, seriously, is there anyone who didn’t actually make that joke??) then you are in for a treat this week, as this issue is a strong one, let’s get to it… 💪🏻

Upsetting the Apple Cart 🍎
Entrepreneur First (EF), a company that builds and invests in startups, has launched a graduate scheme in London. EF said that its £28,000-a-year graduate scheme, described in detail here, will expose university graduates to: “How EF builds companies” “How EF is going about investing £53 million in startups” and “How EF pulls in founders that have the potential to go on and build successful tech companies” ~> Entrepreneur First has launched a grad scheme
This week saw the world’s biggest startup demo day ever, but it didn’t happen in Silicon Valley. It happened all over the world as 1,584 companies completed Y Combinator’s online Startup School Founders Track programme. 797 of them have posted demo videos anyone can watch ~> 1500+ startups graduate Y Combinator’s first online Startup School
Israel’s Mossad spy agency is putting the finishing touches on an investment fund that will invest in local startups starting at the end of this month, bankers told TheMarker, Haaretz’s financial newspaper ~> Israeli Mossad Forms Startup Investment Fund to Get Access to Newest Tech
A few years ago, Goldman Sachs Group Inc.’s leaders took a hard look at how the bank carries out initial public offerings. They mapped 127 steps in every deal, then set out to see how many could be done by computers instead of people. The answer so far: about half ~> Goldman Set Out to Automate IPOs and It Has Come Far, Really Fast
New Funds and Models 💸
A pan-European seed fund formed by Brent Hoberman, co-founder of, has raised $60m to invest in technology start-ups across the region. Firstminute Capital is being backed by 23 founders of leading technology companies as well as an anchor investment from Atomico, the London-based venture capital fund run by Niklas Zennström, the co-founder of Skype ~> Seed fund raises $60m to back European tech start-ups
Point Nine Capital has raised a new €75M fund ~> Good morning! We’ve raised a new fund!
Orange Digital Ventures, the early stage investment fund of French telco giant Orange, is launching a new €50 million Africa-focused investment program for startups. The investment division, which will be led by a team in Dakar to be set up in September, is dedicated to verticals like fintech, IoT, energy, and e-health. It will invest in both Africa-based startups and startups that are tackling issues in Africa ~> France’s Orange Digital Ventures launches €50 million fund to invest in Africa
How should Micro-VCs reduce risk while at the same time enjoying those wonderful gross returns and IRR? Well, M25 Group argue that if you take a step back from what’s already the norm (i.e. traditional or later stage VC) and think through building up the ideal strategy, it’s unlikely that the same strategies will pan out consistently for Micro-VCs ~> Smaller, Earlier VCs Should Invest Differently
Softbank’s Vision Fund has an unconventional structure that is raising eyebrows among seasoned investment professionals. They warn that its reliance on leverage adds to the challenge facing Mr Son, who must find worthy — and sizeable — investments in a sector already awash with capital. While almost all venture capital and buyout funds raise capital in the form of equity, the Vision Fund has asked its outside investors to contribute a big slug of debt along with their equity cheques ~> SoftBank’s Son uses rare structure for $93bn tech fund
LDJ Productions, the agency producers of WME/IMG New York Fashion Week, unveiled plans for a new startup accelerator ~> The producers behind New York Fashion Week are launching a startup accelerator
Vertically Speaking 📈
Google’s interest in healthcare is not new, and the company has invested in dozens of healthcare startups in the past. Now, the tech giant appears to be laying the groundwork for a future in pharmaceuticals. It’s attacking this industry from two directions, including direct investments and internal development of pharma-targeted efforts ~> Google Is Ramping Up Pharma Activity
Investment in artificial intelligence is at an all-time high but corporate adoption of the technology remains limited, according to a new study by McKinsey Global Institute ~> Sluggish AI Adoption Lags Corporate and VC Investments
Emerging Markets 🌏
Lan Xuezhao takes quarterly weekend trips to China to stay in the loop of the tech scene there. It’s substantially different every time she visits ~> The Sharing Economy + AI Assistants in China — my short trip in May, 2017
France’s corporate startup scene is gaining traction against the backdrop of booming investments by venture capital funds and high expectations for a business-friendly government under new President Emmanuel Macron ~> France’s startup scene gains traction led by state bank, Macron factor
Ireland has a lot of unfair advantages. As the only English speaking country in the European union (post-Brexit), widely considered one of the best countries for business in the world, its no surprise that world leading technology companies like Apple, Google, Microsoft and Amazon have tens of thousands of employees in Ireland ~> Startups & VC in Ireland
Crypto-Crazy 🤑
Using Blockchain technology to disrupt the existing lending or borrowing systems within the financial sector is an innovation that merits attention ~> Blockchain-Based Loans Could Rescue SMEs Without Other Funding Options
Stefano Bernardi explains that In order to have a successful ICO and, most importantly, a smooth and successful development of the project, protocol, token or dapp, the needs and incentives of many different stakeholders must be carefully balanced ~> Aligning incentives in ICOs and token economies
Excellent post from Yannick Roux on how traditional equity valuation methods come up short in crypto ~> On Tokens Value
Compelling Visions 🔮
Brad Feld: “Differentiation is bullshit at this point – the only thing that matters is strategy and returns. And many of these funds/GPs have no realised returns, so all that really matters is strategy” ~> Does VC Fund Differentiation Matter? Hunter Walk certainly thinks so ~> VC Fund Differentiation *Should* Matter
Tom Tunguz looks at SaaS Fundraising In 2017
Aaron Harris of Y Combinator explains What founder friendly actually means
Precious few investors or entrepreneurs are looking to what might be the greatest unicorn opportunity yet: the elder boom ~> Who will find the first silver unicorn?
Last week Outcome Health raised their first round of funding—$500M at a $5B valuation—from Goldman Sachs and Google, yet there was practical no coverage on it, which begs the question of ‘How many billion dollar startups are out there, under the radar?’ ~> Invisible Unicorns: The Billion Dollar Tech Co’s No One Talks About
Sweden’s largest national pension fund, AP7, has sold its investments in six companies that it says violate the Paris climate agreement, a decision environmentalists believe is the first of its kind ~> Swedish pension fund sells out of six firms it says breach Paris climate deal
WSJ ranks 25 emerging leaders in hot corners of the technology industry. A data analysis assessed companies’ founders, investors, funding, growth and buzz ~> Top 25 Tech Companies to Watch
The tentacles of a handful of tech giants are reaching into industries no one ever expected them to, reshaping our world in their image ~> Amazon Is Leading Tech’s Takeover of America
There is one Uber investor who stands out for how she decided to speak up. It was not very Silicon Valley-like of her, but Freada Kapor Klein wanted to turn the crisis into a teachable moment. And while this week’s events could lead her to say “I told you so,” she has a different takeaway ~> The Investor Who Took On Uber, And Silicon Valley
Always Be Closing ☕️
A reminder that I am still looking for recommendations of books and podcasts in the fields of Energy, Blockchain/Crypto, Food/AgTech and BioTech.
These (and feedback) is gladly received here: or here: @neilswmurray 
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