Nakiso Maodza and Mike Grandinetti discuss what Innovation is and more importantly what Disruptive Innovation is. Using examples from a variety of sources, they talk about who’s doing it right and who’s about to get disrupted!
Episode 23: MIT Solve Interview On The Gaps Between Ingenuity & Opportunity Worldwide
Mike had the great privilege of interviewing Hala Hanna for the latest episode of the Disruptive Innovation podcast series. A graduate of the Harvard Kennedy School of Government, who previously worked for the World Economic Forum in Geneva, she's currently the Managing Director of Community at Solve - MIT. Between these two roles, she served as co-founder of Huloul, a social impact startup based in Lebanon, where she was born and raised during the devastating 15 year civil war. The social venture was launched to fill the void of accurate journalism during the early days of the Arab Spring.
Solve at MIT is doing a brilliant job harnessing the collective sense of purpose, good will, energy & skills of impact #entrepreneurs & social #innovators from around the world to address our planet's most critical & challenging problems. Given the unprecedented times that we currently find ourselves in, I believe that this powerful Massachusetts Institute of Technology initiative will inspire our many listeners to act on behalf of humanity during this challenging time.
Solve at MIT is supported by General Motors, Nike, Starbucks, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and many others.
To learn more about Solve at MIT after listening to this podcast, and to take action, please note:
June 18, 2020 - deadline to apply for the 5 open challenges: https://lnkd.in/eZUjUni
including the timely Health Security & Pandemics challenge: https://lnkd.in/eKn7tcZ
Learn more about joining Solve as a Member here: https://lnkd.in/eKA4aGb
Episode 22: Why The FinTech Sandbox Is A Critical Piece of The FinTech Startup Playbook, Part 2 of 2
In this episode, the second of a multi-part miniseries on FinTech, I have an
illuminating discussion with two of the leading FinTech thought leaders, practitioners & connectors in the US today. Joining us are David Jegen, Managing Partner of F-Prime Capital and Sarah Biller, Managing Partner of VantageVentures. David is an active early stage investor in Fintech. Sarah, formerly Chief Innovation Officer at State Street, is a serial FinTech entrepreneur.
Both David and Sarah are also co-founders and board members of the FinTech Sandbox. The FinTech Sandbox is a Boston-based nonprofit that is the place for all things data. They started the group after recognizing that the high cost and/or inaccessibility of data posed a consistent challenge to FinTech startups. Backed by some of the world’s leading financial institutions, data providers and venture capitalists, the Sandbox is united in its goal to help FinTech entrepreneurs build great products.
Sponsors include Fidelity Investments, Franklin Templeton, State Street, Ernst and Young, AWS & F-Prime.
Accelerator partners include Techstars, 500 Startups, IDEO Co-Lab, MassChallenge startupbootcamp, and the Fintech Innovation Lab.
The Fintech Sandbox offers financial data feeds and APIs for development purposes. They provide a robust set of market, banking, investment and corporate fundamentals data. The Sandbox has assembled an impressive array of data partners. These include Dow Jones, Dun & Bradstreet, Experian, FACTSET, Moody’s, Morningstar, S&P and Transunion. Their Data Partners have accelerated approval for FinTech Sandbox program participants, allowing for a fast and streamlined licensing process.
As a result, the Sandbox has grown from an idea to a robust & engaged community of 4500+ FinTech professionals under their leadership.
Venture Capitalists continue to invest heavily in FinTech startups. Cumulatively, they invested $24B USD in the first three quarters of 2019. Globally, there were 60 FinTech funding rounds above $100M. The FinTech Revolution is already having a huge impact on our daily personal and professional lives. The FinTech Sandbox is here to help the next wave of startups succeed.
Episode 21: We Ask Some FinTech Thought Leaders, What’s Happening in FinTech Today? - Part 1 of 2
In this episode, the first of a multi-part miniseries on FinTech, I have an
illuminating discussion with two of the leading FinTech thought leaders, practitioners & connectors in the US today. Joining us are David Jegen, Managing Partner of F-Prime Capital and Sarah Biller, Managing Partner of VantageVentures. David is an active early stage investor in Fintech. Sarah, formerly Chief Innovation officer at State Street, is a serial FinTech entrepreneur. Both David and Sarah are also co-founders and board members of the FinTech Sandbox. The Sandbox grew from an idea to a robust & engaged community of 4500+ FinTech professionals under their leadership.
Venture Capitalists continue to invest heavily in FinTech startups. Cumulatively, they invested $24B USD in the first three quarters of 2019. Globally, there were 60 FinTech funding rounds above $100M. As David and Sarah are quick to point out, they take a far more expansive view of how FinTech is defined and believe the numbers grossly underestimate how big this market really is. Listen to the podcast to get their fascinating perspective.
Working with more a traditional definition of Fintech, Revolut, the rapidly growing British financial payments upstarts, announced 24 February, raised $500M at a $5.5B USD valuation. They provide app -based currency accounts, currency exchange services and money transfers and have ambitions to build a global bank. Over the past year, they’ve doubled their number of customers to 10M. They will soon launch in the US.
In China, AntFinancial has achieved 50% of the market valuation of Citgroup in just 5 short years. Apps like WeChat and Alipay have totally disrupted Chinese mobile commerce, making the country an almost entirely cash free society.
The FinTech Revolution is already having a huge impact on our daily personal and professional lives in the US. Some examples:
Apps like Venmo, Square’s Cash App, Zelle, and Transferwise are enabling far easier cash transfers with no fees.
Affirm, led by Paypal Co-Founder Max Levchin, provides millions of shoppers alternatives to credit cards at the point of sale, enabling simple monthly payments.
Trading apps like Robinhood are being used by countless millennials to trade stocks in ways not previously imaginable.
The Brex card has transformed startups financial, expense & credit management.
Not to be left out, major financial service industry players are very much in the game, Plaid offers the ability to consolidate banking data, making it far easier for Fintech and Banking Industry application developers to delivers a digitally enabled financial system. Plaid was recently acquired by Visa for $5.3B Marcus, from Goldman Sachs, offers fixed rate no fee personal loans
Next week- we’ll do a deep dive on the FinTech Sandbox.
Episode 20: A New Type of VC With Impact Has It’s Eye On Funding 1000 Women & Minority Entrepreneurs
In this episode, we speak with Jarrid Tingle, Managing Partner of Harlem Capital Partners. For entrepreneurs raising money, the world of venture capital can feel insular and opaque. It’s as much or more about who you are and who you know than what you’re building. For founders from under-represented groups, the numbers tell the story. Simply stated, the startup industry has a diversity problem. Of the thousands of VC partners practicing today, only 18% are female, and of the VC-backed founders out there, only 9% are female. And when you look at the statistics by race, the picture gets even more grim. Only 1 percent of venture-backed founders are black and 2% are Latino.
Raised by a single mom & grandparents who placed a premium on education, Jarrid’s a graduate of 3 prestigious institutions - the Peddie School ( elite private high school/ boarding school), The Wharton School (undergrad) & Harvard University Business School ( #MBA) where he was named a BakerScholar. He’s also a Forbes 30 under 30 & an Inc. Magazine 30 under 30 designee. He spent the early years of his career in the world of private equity, where this “gap” became glaringly obvious to him and his co-founder and former HBS classmate Henri Pierre-Jacques. Now he’s using his network, his knowledge & his experience to give back. HCP is taking a different approach, aiming to fund a much wider group of founders, including African Americans, Latinos & women. HCP’s stated goal: to invest in 1,000 “diverse” founders over the next 20 years.
“We fundamentally believe we are a venture fund with impact, not an impact fund,” according to Henri Pierre-Jacques. “The way we generate impact is to give women and minority entrepreneurs ownership.”
Harlem Capital, first founded in 2015, upgraded from it’s original approach as the facilitator of angel syndicate to a full-fledged, industry-agnostic seed and Series A stage venture capital fund. They closed their debut effort on an oversubscribed $40.3 million.
With its first fund close, Harlem Capital becomes one of the largest venture capital funds with a diversity mandate. Its already made numerous investments out of this fund. It’s a very inspirational story worth hearing.
Episode 19: How The USAF Used Innovation Research Programs Like TechStars To Influence Unique Military Funding Approaches To Drive Profound Disruption
In this episode, Mike has a compelling conversation about how Innovation Research Programs Like The New Small Business Grant Programs Are Transforming Military Funding Approaches & The Result Is Profound Disruption To How We Solve Problems.
Geopolitical tensions abound. Asia. The Middle East. Eastern Europe. Africa. For the US military, business as usual is no longer adequate. Dramatic improvements in agility, speed, costs, etc are vital based on today’s global realities. Programs like the US Airforce AFWERX program drive open collaboration across a global ecosystem to enable #innovation at speeds once unimaginable
This episode focuses on the story of 4 young United States Air Force captains, including US Airforce Academy graduate Captain Steven Lauver, active duty U28A pilot & AFWERX accelerator manager, working closely with Warren Katz, Techstars #USAF program Managing Director, to profoundly disrupt how this branch innovates. Steve & Warren share the impressive results of the 1st two cohorts & preview what to expect from their impressive 3rd cohort, now in session. Results from this ground-breaking “experiment” include: -Incorporating a truly global world view of innovation potential and capacity, with participating #startups from Canada , the UK, Poland, Singapore & the US. This is historically unprecedented for military technology sourcing programs
-100% of the 20 startups that have graduated from the program to date remain active. This is unprecedented as deep tech startups fail at alarmingly high rates
-A newly designed, non-dilutive Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) grant program was significantly improved to minimize bureaucracy and enable funding - approval turnaround times at startup speed. It has seen a 200% increase in applications just two years. Previously, only 10% of TechStars startups applied for the prior version of SBIR grants
-As proof of the efficacy of the improved program $20M in SBIR funding has been secured by the first two 20 startups that have “graduated” from the 2018 & 2019 programs.
-New #VentureCapital investors have joined the ecosystem to support these graduates
- The #USAF culture itself is being transformed, with more service members taking on the growth mindset of "Airmen - #Entrepreneurs" , infused with a sense of ownership of solving problems by leveraging open innovation from Techstars & many other sources. An early breakout success, #VitaInclinata, solved a problem that went unfixed for 75 years. Under the traditional approach, this innovation would never have been identified. Today, they're growing exponentially just one year after graduating from the program. Founder, #CalebCarr, is a Forbes #30under30 designee
- A significant increase in high potential global applicants to this highly selective program
-The early success of this program is now being piloted by other branches of the US military
Stay tuned, next week, when Nakiso is back in the studio to continue the take aways from this episode and build on an exciting discussion with a VC firm that's focused on advancing innovation in a compelling way.
Episode 18: How Reebok Is Using Signals From Other Industries To Innovate & Transform It’s Products
Karen Korellis Reuther, is VP Creative Design & Futures at Reebok . A woman pioneer in the male-dominated world of industrial design, she spent the formative years of her career working in the Boston high tech sector with early disrupters Digital Equipment Corp & Wang Labs, where she was the first woman to ever be awarded a design patent. After a successful stint as an entrepreneur consulting for clients including Blaupunkt, Braun, Miehle & other iconic European design-centric brands, she spent 12 years as Creative Designer at Nike, and after an interim career step, joined Reebok 19 months ago.
The Reebok brand has a history of innovation. It’s predecessor company, JW Foster, was founded by a British teenager. He literally created the first spiked running shoe, which was used by the British Olympics team‘s 100 meter world champion sprinter Harold Abrahams to win the gold medal at the 1924 Paris Olympics. This moment was immortalized in the Academy Award winning film, “Chariots of Fire”. The Reebok Freestyle, introduced in 1982, was the first athletic shoe designed specifically for woman. It symbolized the huge aerobics craze, becoming one of the most successful athletic shoes of all time. The Reebok Pump was another noteworthy Reebok innovation when introduced in 1989. Over 100 professional athletes wore the shoe at its peak. Curently, Reebok is the official footwear and apparel sponsor for CrossFit, and the Spartan Race. It’s also increased its presence in yoga and dance in recent years.
Today, in addition to its long-standing focus on superior athletic performance, the brand is also heavily focused on sustainability. Their first breakthrough product, the “Cotton+Corn” lifestyle shoe, remains a major seller 4 years after launch, a rarity in the lifestyle category. It also won an award from PETA. Recently, Reebok introduced the Floatride Forever GROW performance athletic shoe. 6 years in development, working closely with partners to create new materials, the shoe is made of 75% plant-based material. The company is highly committed to producing 100% biodegradable shoes. They’re also committed to climate friendly apparel materials.
Very Informative, Challenges Your Thinking
Great podcast on disruption and real innovation. Topics discussed are more strategic, world-view rather than talking about “what’s a hot trend”. The podcast is structured to assist your strategic mind rather than short term, tactical thinking. Can’t wait to hear more episodes!
That’s what innovation is about
- Very clear
- On the point
- Connecting the dots to venture capitalism
- Great positive and negative examples (Netflix, blockbuster, Kodak, disruptive startups, ..)
- International scope (US, Israel, China, ..)