Startup Watch: Overfunding kills, cybersecurity smartphones, and Toyota’s AI fund

The world of entrepreneurship news is a complex one, with people ever ready to give their two cents on how you should be running your business, pitching your business and what’s trending.

Here’s what we read on picking the right language to pitch, overfunding that can kill your company, gurus funding tech, and new breeds of smartphones.

Vancouver anyone? If you’re a startup and looking for an adequate geography to kick off your business, PeoplePerHour study, a UK-based freelance marketplace business, leads you to Vancouver. Various factors contribute to this ranking, including the quality of life, the cost of living, the ease of starting a business and the cost of office space. Among the 25 overviewed cities, Rome fell last as the worst area to start a new venture, mainly because of the high cost of living. You might be the capital of fashion Rome, but not of startups.

Jaw-broken-bone? Sad but true, the Jawbone story is nothing but an evidence that money is not the sole component of a venture’s success. One of the leading wearable technology companies that managed to raise $900 million, is currently suffering from money flooding, or overfunding. It started liquidating its business last month, following a failing fitness tracking device.

A new breed of smartphones. Silicon Valley-based company Macate launched a new cybersecurity smartphone called Genio, which will debut in the UK this year. This new device guarantees the epitome of security levels, comes with a decent camera feature, operates without a SIM card and has a pre-installed NetMe app, which is Macate’s secured communication channel. Adios Blackberries.


Wamda of the week: pitching in Arabic vs. English An argument that has been triggering many: Which language is more likely to get you better rates when pitching. While some believe that startups should stick to Arabic as it’s the mother tongue and will deliver the message more passionately, others assure that English is unquestionably the business language. An other party of stakeholders advocate using both languages: Arabic to explain, and English for technical terminologies.  

The yogurt man’s incubator With the Turkish entrepreneurship ecosystem growing more dynamic on a daily basis, we will be hearing a lot more stories from this corner of the world. Hamdi Ulukaya, the Turkish-American billionaire behind the yogurt company Chobani, is investing $5 million on an incubation initiative known as HUG in Turkish, to train 24 Turkish entrepreneurs in its first round.

Toyota goes beyond car making. It seems to be a global wave, where all major holding companies and business gurus are altering their sights and portfolio interests towards technology. Hot on the shelf is Toyota’s latest announcement about a new $100 million VC called Toyota AI Ventures, aiming at supporting AI and robotics. Complementing the carmaker’s R&D department with practical and tangible solutions, Toyota also aims at benefiting from new talents to offer the right products to the right market. So far, the fund has invested in three startups.

Iran, a regional tech hub in the making. The Iranian capital hosted last week the first round of Tehran Game Convention. The event attracted 120 startups in addition to established businesses all showcasing their computer game talents. The event highlighted the cooperation of several stakeholders, including Microsoft, the Iran Computer and Video Game Foundation, and France’s Game Connection among others, all joining operations to turn Iran into a regional technological hub in the gaming sector.

Who needs to sleep anyway. According to a recent study by HSBC, Middle Eastern entrepreneurs dedicate very little of their time to play around, while focus more on work and production. The average working day for one of these entrepreneurs is a whopping 12 hours and 30 minutes, with only five hours and 12 minutes to spend on themselves. However, the vast majority admits leading a healthy work-life balance. On the other hand, European entrepreneurs seem to dedicate a lot of their time to personal activities. They even have a tighter relationship with their blankets and beds.


Feature image via Stockvault.

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