Google's self-driving car business may outpace rivals | Incubators help military veterans' startups prosper | Southeast Asian tech firms slow to attract VC funding
May 26, 2017
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The Lead
Google's self-driving car business may outpace rivals
Morgan Stanley analysts say Waymo, the self-driving car unit developed by Google's parent company, Alphabet, has the potential to reach an ultimate enterprise value as high as $140 billion, far outstripping direct competitors such as Uber and Tesla as well as traditional automakers. Waymo's recent deal with Lyft has fueled analysts' enthusiasm.
Fortune (5/23) 
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Capital Call
Incubators help military veterans' startups prosper
Incubators and accelerators including Bunker Labs and Vet-Tech are helping US military veterans launch and expand startup enterprises. Bunker Labs says it has aided 370 diverse projects across the US, supported by major institutions including Comcast and JPMorgan Chase.
Fast Company online (5/26) 
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Southeast Asian tech firms slow to attract VC funding
Southeast Asian tech firms are winning venture capital investment at half the rate of their counterparts in China and India, according to data from CB Insights. While China and India have secured an average of 98 and 96 such VC deals respectively per quarter since the start of 2016, Southeast Asia has averaged only 47 per quarter.
DealStreetAsia (Singapore) (5/25) 
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Inside the Beltway
Tech industry points to flaws in US patent system
Representatives of leading tech firms told a meeting at the Capitol on US patent law reform that the current system has significant shortcomings and outmoded principles, particularly on the issue of intellectual property. Manny Schecter, chief patent counsel for IBM, said uncertainty over intellectual property ownership is discouraging potential investors.
IPWatchdog (5/24) 
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View from Abroad
Saudi Telecom tech fund looks to make first deal
Saudi Telecom's newly launched $500 million venture capital fund expects to have its first deal in place by the end of this year, according to the fund's chief executive, Abdulrahman Tarabzouni. The fund, which will operate independently of its parent company, is assessing possible investments in artificial intelligence, virtual reality, banking services, logistics and digital health services.
Reuters (5/25) 
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Corporate Venture Capital
Vertex plans new funds worth $300M in Israel, US
Vertex Holdings, the venture capital arm of Singapore's state-owned Temasek Holdings, plans to launch new funds in Israel and the US next year, each with a target value of around $150 million. The Israel fund will seek investments in cybersecurity development, while the US fund will focus on enterprise- and infrastructure-related software, which will complement Vertex's major presence in China, India and Southeast Asia.
Reuters (5/26) 
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BearingPoint, Elixirr VC arms pick out 2 promising startups
The venture capital units of consulting firms BearingPoint and Elixirr have each made recent investments in startups. Elixirr has chosen to back we:bo, a personal training app, while BearingPoint has aimed at the financial-technology sector with its support for Tribe, the developer of an IT insurance platform.
Consultancy.uk (U.K.) (5/26) 
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Sector Spotlight: Tech
Founder Institute shoots for 500 space startups
Business incubator The Founder Institute is seeking applications from entrepreneurs in the field of space and space exploration, with the stated ambition of creating 500 startups in the sector by 2025. Successful applicants will be able to participate in the institute's training curriculum at no charge, with the promise of mentorship from industry leaders.
SpaceNews (5/24) 
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Rise of initial coin offerings sparks concerns
Storj Labs' offer of digital coins to raise $30 million in early-stage financing reflects the rapidly growing use of blockchain-based initial coin offerings in the tech sector. Unlike traditional venture capital investments, the coins confer no claim on Storj equity or future profits, and some observers worry that enthusiasm for such offerings could create a bubble.
Bloomberg (5/25) 
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Venture Capital Culture
Survey finds preponderance of men in UK VC firms
A survey of venture capital firms in the UK, conducted by the Diversity VC initiative, has found that 48% of them have no women on their investment teams and only 13% of people with decision-making responsibilities are female. The findings are described as a wake-up call.
Business Insider (5/22) 
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In observance of Memorial Day in the US, SmartBrief will not publish Monday. Publication will resume Tuesday.
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