TO a fascinating lunch on Friday at Lombard Odier with Paul Marson, its chief investment officer. He believes that sovereign debt levels will force European welfare states to downsize. Is this a good thing? Martin Varsawsky, founder of FON, one of Europe’s largest Wifi communities, and a serial entrepreneur, is proud of the fact that Europe has “the world’s richest poor people”.
I am also interested in social justice, but I am always amazed at what the human spirit can achieve when you remove the soft bigotry of low expectations. Instead of assuming that we need a massive social welfare net, why not engineer a society where most people exceed expectations of what they can or should achieve.
This past week saw the departure of my good friend, Richard Titus, who had been chief executive of Associated Northcliffe Digital (AND) within the Daily Mail and General Trust (DMGT) empire. I introduced Richard to DMGT chairman Lord Rothermere at a lunch in September 2008. And sometime later Titus was selected to energise the Associated digital business.
Titus is an interesting animal. An expat American, like myself, he has sold businesses to WPP, built firms in the media tech space, and worked at the BBC where he was part of the senior team and a key driver of the iPlayer.
Monitise Americas join prestigious list of innovative technology companies
Monitise Americas announced today it has been selected as aWinner of Red Herring's North America 100 award, a prestigious list honoring the year’s most promising private technology ventures from the North American business region. The award, whose past winners include Google, Yahoo!, Facebook, Twitter and Salesforce.com, is given to companies demonstrating the ability to disrupt an industry or create an entirely new industry via an innovative business model.
Funding will help development of smart energy solutions to cut costs and carbon
Intamac Systems Limited, market leader in internet accessed monitoring and control services, today announced it has received a £4 million investment from a syndicate of leading London based investors including Carbon Trust Investments, Chandos Capital Ventures and Seraphim Capital.
The company has already deployed its web-based platform to support the launch of broadband and mobile home monitoring solutions for home security, home automation, energy management, video and telecare for corporate partners in Europe, North America and Australia.The new funding investment will be used to support international growth and the deployment of new products and services for consumers in the Smart Energy space.
Dambisa Moyo, author of Dead Aid: Why Aid is Not Working and How There is a Better Way For Africa, and I met for breakfast recently. Dead Aid argues that aid to Africa is hurting Africa and should be phased out. It became a New York Times bestseller. She reminded me of one of the best things that George Bush said in his quote: “the soft bigotry of low expectations” – to refer to society’s view that disadvantaged people can never pull themselves out of their situation.
KashFlow announced today that it has released a versatile, new iPhone app for the award winning online accounting software that will allow its 5,000 small business users fast access to data on the move. Real-time financial and operational data delivered directly to the iPhone will help drive efficiency by ensuring quality and transparent information is available when decisions need to be made quickly. In addition, the new app supports mobile business by allowing receipts to be photographed with the iPhone as soon as they are received, they are then uploaded to the app and safely stored in KashFlow, freeing the user from the worry of forgetting to enter expenses.
People who come from poorer backgrounds with little money have a huge advantage in creating something of value: the only way is up. That was the assessment of John O’Connell, the founder of Britain’s Staffware and one of Ariadne Capital's founding shareholders, when he spoke at a Fredericks Foundation conference recently.
Ten years ago in late May 2000, boo.com, one of the earliest fashion retailers, which went through an obscene amount of money, was shut down. From March 2000, when lastminute.com went public, through the summer, when some IPOs still got away, was hit and miss. I sold my business First Tuesday in July 2000 to an Israeli private equity firm where the downturn hadn’t hit yet.
There's a saying that goes something like this: “Anyone who wasn’t left wing in their youth, doesn’t have a heart; but anyone who isn’t a conservative as an adult doesn’t have a brain.”
The process of taking on responsibilities forces one to realise that accountability, a small government, freedom, and more decision-making left in the hands of individuals leads to the greater social good.
Last Friday night, I spent the evening in Hatfield House – one of my favourite UK historical sites as Queen Elizabeth I is my hero – with the top entrepreneurs of the University of Hertfordshire, which was shortlisted for the Times Higher Education “Entrepreneurial University of 2009” award.
The university, whose chancellor is the Tory peer Lord Salisbury, hosts an annual entrepreneurial competition called Flare which secures a couple of hundred entrants, and gives away £25,000 in prize money.