Today our journey in Silicon Valley revolved around the entities that represent the future of Silicon Valley: the startups. We followed the full cycle of these organizations – birth, adolescence and eventually the emergence of a new company – while visiting an incubator and speaking with an investor.
Startups are also trendsetters within the industry. The larger and more affluent organizations within Silicon Valley look at startups as inputs to their strategy because the small size of young firms gives them the agility to change rapidly and adapt to market changes.
The incubator we visited, YouNoodle, had a team of 18 people from 10 countries, speaking 18 different languages. Together, they have an understanding of the various cultures and regulations within several regions around the globe.
This incubator is a bootstrapped organization. Investors and advisors volunteer their time to support and encourage competitions. The reward for startups to participate and succeed in these competitions more often than not is the value of feedback, although cash is also available as a reward from time to time.
We’ve also learned the importance of angel investors as a critical source of funding for early stage startups, as well as the impact of so-called “Super Angels” – informal networks specializing in a particular industry with special skill of picking winnersfrom the multitude of startups seeking funding.
Four technologies stood out as hotinvestments and represent a major shift or change in the current method of how we work:
- The Internet of things;
- Enterprise software-as-a-service;
- “Wearables,” or clothing and accessories that incorporate computer and advanced electronic technologies;
- Security authentication.
Our final key take away from today’s sessions is that Silicon Valley favours people with passion, personality, focus, a strong value proposition and those who are willing to take risks. This is why Silicon Valley is a hotbed for entrepreneurs that ultimately create jobs and wealth for the economy.
– By Qasim Chaudry and Arelis Medina-Recio
This article is the fourth in a series this week on the University of Ottawa's Telfer School of Management Executive MBA class trip to the Silicon Valley. The trip is part of the EMBA curriculum on "Innovation and Entrepreneurship."