MOUNTAIN VIEW, California — For an entrepreneur watching Brexit from California, it’s hard not to notice a familiar pattern. In Silicon Valley, startups famously follow the so-called Transition Curve, cycling from “uniformed optimism” to “informed pessimism,” followed by a “crisis of meaning,” and then, almost inevitably: “crash and burn.” After growing up in a small Scottish town, then getting my start with semiconductors in the Netherlands, I have lived in Silicon Valley for nearly 25 years. What I’m seeing in my homeland looks like nothing more than the emotional rollercoaster that most entrepreneurs experience while trying to realize their vision of a startup. The question, of course, for the United Kingdom is simple. Will Brexit end up like so many Silicon Valley dreams, in disappointment and failure? Or does it have a chance of reaching the elusive alternate ending: “informed optimism,” a pivot to … [Read more...] about Move fast and break things: How Brexit is like Silicon Valley
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Silicon Valley startup Juul Labs Inc. will begin selling its e-cigarettes in the U.K. this week seeking to replicate its runaway U.S. success -- though with a smaller nicotine hit.A Juul starter kit -- including the device, a battery charger and four liquid pods -- will be available to buy online and in 250 vape stores in the U.K. this week. The company is funding international expansion with a capital increase that’s expected to reach $1.2 billion, which would value the startup at $15 billion.“There are 7.5 million adult smokers in the U.K. and they aren’t well served by the e-cigarettes that are out there,” Juul U.K. managing director Dan Thomson said Monday in an interview. “This is a huge opportunity for us.”Juul has grabbed 68 percent of the U.S. e-cigarette market in just three years, according to the Nielsen research firm. The device’s rapid rise has convinced some investors that big tobacco is increasingly vulnerable as smokers ditch … [Read more...] about $15 Billion Silicon Valley Upstart Takes on Big Tobacco in U.K.
Like most of the health fads that catch on in Silicon Valley, this one broke through thanks to word-of-mouth—and a Medium post. Entrepreneur Sumaya Kazi extolled its virtues to 650,000 readers, while venture capitalist Phil Libin and others preached about it to anyone who would listen. Their miraculous idea was in fact a very old one: eating nothing at all for long stretches of time. Monthly Google searches for “intermittent fasting,” which has become a catchall term for various forms of the practice, have risen tenfold over the past three years, to as many as 1 million. That’s about as many as “weight loss” gets, and more than “diet.” Now comes the next step, as businesses try to turn various forms of the craze into profit.The idea may sound troubling depending on your relationship with food, but paid-for fasting regimens are finding a new audience in the Valley, partly because they’re framed in terms of productivity, not only … [Read more...] about Silicon Valley Wants to Cash In on Fasting
Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman wrapped up a whirlwind tour of technology titans on Friday, part of a three-week U.S. visit focused on economic opportunities to diversify the oil-rich nation.The Saudi delegation visited several Silicon Valley corporate campuses, including Apple Inc. and Facebook Inc. But two industry players stood out on the schedule: Alphabet Inc.’s Google and Peter Thiel, the billionaire venture capitalist who advises President Donald Trump.In addition to Facebook, where Thiel sits on the board, the Saudi delegation visited data-analysis startup Palantir Technologies Inc. and a trio of investment firms created by Thiel: Clarium Capital, Valar Ventures and Founders Fund. Thiel is chairman and co-founder of Palantir."Discussions concentrated on creating an attractive environment for emerging companies with innovative products," Saudi Arabia’s embassy said in a statement. A representative for Thiel didn’t immediately respond to a request for … [Read more...] about Google, Thiel Feature in Saudi Prince’s Silicon Valley Tour
London’s tech scene is much lauded. More than seven years ago, David Cameron outlined his vision of a Silicon City, one rooted in the east of London and spawning ideas that can take on the world. Since then, there has been much talk – but what about the results? Read more: London will remain tech hub of the world Cameron’s speech aimed for London to compete with San Francisco, “the leading place in the world for hi-tech growth and innovation”. Despite some positive steps and many interesting companies, we could be doing far more. We are yet to produce a single defining, behemothic tech business. Where is London’s Google? Amazon? Snapchat? Back in 2011, we started an important process: creating a competitive, intelligent tech scene. This birthed many impressive, innovative companies, but we are yet to have one enter the tech stratosphere. London’s techies have become bogged down, narrowing ourselves to “fintech”, … [Read more...] about Dear London, where’s our Google? Time to move past fintech and take on Silicon Valley