The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) is a Data Protection Regulation that takes effect throughout the EU on May 25, 2018. It replaces the 1995 Data Protection Directive and all national privacy and security laws that previously existed within the EU with a single, comprehensive EU-wide law that governs the use, sharing, transfer and processing of any personal data that originates from the EU. Based on the Data Protection Directive, the GDPR strengthens existing laws in certain respects, including breach notification, has higher fines for non-compliance and data loss, and provides for greater individual control on how personal data is handled.
What does this mean to me as a member of the UBI Global Network?
Do I have to do anything?
Happy GDPR Day!
UBI Global Operations Team
With an aim to compete with the delivery of traditional financial institutions, products and services, the exciting business sector known as FinTech (or fintech) caught our eye recently when we were compiling data for the Case Studies 2018 report. Some of the top business incubators and accelerators in the world were experiencing explosive growth in fintech startup applications and success stories, so we set out to get the facts on the key areas to pass them on to program managers.
Fintech or financial technology is the innovative new way of banking. Using smart phones for mobile banking and investment services as well as cryptocurrency methods are examples of fintech. While there are hundreds of fintech startups, it is important to take notice of the old guard financial companies getting in on the game as well. We cannot help but think that there will be quite a few matches with startup companies and established banking giants with regard to new, innovative fintech on the market soon.
Nevertheless, banking and investments are not the only businesses under the fintech umbrella. Insurance, stock trading and risk management all fall under the fintech realm. Globally, investments in fintech increased more than 2,200%, growing from $930 million in 2008 to an excess of $22 billion in 2015.
The most newsworthy, intriguing, and, yes, confusing, part of fintech is cryptocurrency. Cryptocurrency has been taking the world by storm and creating new business opportunities as well as innovative ways to invest. Taking the bank out of banking, cryptocurrency may intimidate some people while others see it as the wave of the future.
Cryptocurrency is so named because it is a currency that uses cryptography for security, to create new units and to verify asset transfers. Cryptocurrency is used as a digital asset with a decentralized control base rather than electronic money or central banking systems.
Each cryptocurrency operates through a blockchain, which is a transaction database that is open to the public and operates like a ledger. Blockchain continuously grows, linked by secure cryptography and keeping track of all cryptocurrency records.
Bitcoin was the first cryptocurrency in 2009. Since then, many other cryptocurrencies have been created and are known as altcoins (alternative coins). Altcoins and Bitcoins are stored in cryptocurrency wallets that hold a record of addresses or keys. These keys are used to receive more units or to spend the units of currency already in the wallets. Wallets have no ties to individual people like bank accounts do; they are tied only to the keys. This keeps the owners of the bitcoins or altcoins unidentifiable.
Cryptocurrency must meet the following seven conditions in order to be classified as such:
We believe, after consulting with the top business incubators and accelerators for Case Studies 2018, that the future of fintech will increase to include cloud-based high-security technology. This security technology is where the most innovation will take place. Much like publishing, financial services consist of information rather than a physical product. Protection of the information, in this case, cryptocurrency wallets and keys, is going to be crucial.
Riding the popularity wave of blockchain, startups are forming that will compete with global banking entities. Blockchain systems dramatically reduce the transaction cost associated with brick-and-mortar banks. Sooner or later, the big banks will step in to reclaim their territory. The best way for them to do this with the least risk is to invest in a startup.
Additionally, startups without established financial institutions sponsoring them will form their own business partnerships and establish university backing, which is exactly what was reported by many of the business incubator and accelerator managers we interviewed for our Case Studies 2018 report.
Financial regulation such as the Bank Secrecy Act and the multiple laws relating to money transmissions threaten the growth of fintech by casting doubt over the longevity of the startups. The protection of customer financial data is of concern, obviously, but this is more than satisfied by new cloud technology many startups are exploring and employing.
Startups in the fintech sector need marketing on their side to educate their customers on their security and unique features. At UBI Global, we believe in connecting the best, brightest fintech startups with universities, incubation programs and corporations. Our Case Studies 2018 report can offer further examples of thriving fintech ecosystems within the global startup community.
Business incubation is growing rapidly, as you have witnessed yourself if you’ve read Case Studies 2018 recently published by UBI Global. Once primarily dependent on university or public funding, business incubators and accelerators are becoming more and more attractive to the corporate world.
What is the attraction for big business? Innovative new programs like pre-accelerators, virtual incubation, integrated co-working space and more. In this article, we will explore these new trends so you can apply them to your program.
A great majority of business incubators and accelerators in our Case Studies 2018 report do not focus on one particular sector, they diversify and with good reason. Those that do focus mostly on digital technology, a broad term that encompasses technology trends such as Internet of Things (IoT) and big data.
The following digital trends are particular poised to disrupt major traditional industries
This is an emerging digital trend involving financial technology. Originally applied to back-end consumer and trade financial institutions, the term has recently expanded to include any innovative technology related to the financial sector including education, online banking, investments and crypto-currencies. This sector has some crossover to retail as well as cyber security, another trending sector.
With the goal of improving efficiency and profitability through higher yields and lower cost, Agritech ranges from applications to services and products. Most commonly used in agriculture and horticulture, Agritech can also apply to aquaculture, viticulture and forestry. From weather analysis, pest control, air and soil temperature, Agritech companies also innovate products and services to control irrigation and solar systems as well as use drones.
Education technology was static for quite a few years, but is recently experiencing an upward spike thanks to digital entrepreneurs who have sparked an edtech revolution. These entrepreneurs are using technology to deliver a new architecture of learning. Harnessing the social reach of the internet to deliver personalized education and training that can react to the individual’s learning curve; these technologies rely on big data to be more efficient and effective.
Entrepreneurs involved in planning smart cities use hundreds of different types of sensors to collect data that is used to manage the resources of the city more efficiently. The IoT plays heavily into the smart city grid, optimizing services and connecting to citizens and their needs. Still under quite a bit of interpretation with regard to cultural norms, smart cities are seen as a more structured urban development with lower costs and better living conditions.
Throw what you thought you knew about cyber security out the window; as our social media giants have shown us in the last few months, what we thought was secure really isn’t. Designed to protect the system including the network and data from cyber attacks, cyber security applies to the organization and the individuals who use it. Entrepreneurs in cyber security are on the cutting edge of the techniques used for data protection. All the other trending digital sectors need this one.
These digital trends are directly reflective of what big corporations are investing in themselves. No wonder the business incubators and accelerators in our Case Studies 2018 report had some impressive corporate partnerships to report.
When it comes to seeking partner support, one thing all the business incubators and accelerators in our case studies report agreed upon was the importance of their partner universities’ reputation. Each incubator and accelerator has become known as an innovator. They have harnessed their partner university’s brand to create a reputation of trust and confidence for corporate investors.
Building on the learning environment they are so integrated in, the business incubators and accelerators we interviewed for Case Studies 2018 let us in on how they’ve been so successful in raising venture capital. They began with raising venture interest; merging an innovation-hungry company with an exciting entrepreneur with a great product. Getting in on the ground floor before they were even part of the program, the corporation often acted as a mentor in this pre-incubation stage.
Eventually mentorship turned to real capital investment and both the corporation and the entrepreneur were able to realize the benefit of their close relationship. And the program had another boost to its reputation.
Corporations don’t invest in entrepreneurs just because of the reputation of the incubation or acceleration program. While reputation can open the door, many things have to fall in place to secure venture capital. The business incubators and accelerators in our Case Studies 2018 report agreed that these five reasons answered the “why invest” question for their corporate partners:
Entrepreneurial mindset – large corporations, over time, become bogged down by process and status quo. They develop portfolios and work to maintain them with steady growth. In today’s world, big corporations know they must innovate and to do that, they have to have a mindset that is different from their day-to-day. A relationship with a good business incubator or accelerator program gives big corporations the connection they need to an entrepreneur spirit.
Re-branding for innovation – rebranding can be a scary concept for a big corporation. After many years of owning one brand, to shift to another can be difficult. Business incubators and accelerators are just the catalyst big corporations need to work with an entrepreneur and consider a new demographic, a new approach or to change course altogether to supply a true need.
Faster solutions, lower risk – business incubators and accelerators in our Case Studies 2018 report were quick to point out one of the top reasons big corporations invest in them. In working with a startup company for a new product or innovation, the big corporation can lower the risk to their own resources in case of failure to market. On the success side, they could bring a new product or service to market faster outside the corporate reality.
Faster expansion – most big corporations, according to the business incubators and accelerators in our Case Studies 2018 report, could never dream to expand another division with a completely new product or service offering as fast as they can by investing with their program in good, vetted startup companies.
Under strain/catalyst for innovation – let’s face it; the public sector and big corporations are under strain. Strain to out-perform and out-think the market. This is getting harder and harder every day. This strain is a driver for innovation and business incubator and accelerator programs are full of entrepreneurs who know the next big thing.
New, innovative sectors and corporate support are driving the need for non-traditional programs for most of the business incubators and accelerators that were part of our Case Studies 2018 report. Some of their successful, non-traditional programs include:
Pre-incubation – before the entrepreneur startup is even in the program, some business incubator and accelerators are giving them early support in order to foster new ideas or develop the ones they have. This pre-incubation gives the entrepreneur a running start to the intensity of working in the program environment. Support typically includes work space, networking and access to investors. Others included financial advice, demo days and special training. No capital or equity stake was on the table.
Virtual incubators – talk about IoT! Virtual incubation programs are seeing a lot of success recently due to cross-market and cross-cultural developments in technology. Among the hundreds of other things you can do online like find a mate, get a degree or advance your career, virtual incubation programs are working in the ultimate off-site arena to deliver services and programs to entrepreneurs via the internet.
Bringing together universities, incubation programs and corporations is our specialty at UBI Global and we’re always looking at the new, trending ideas of our member programs. In the world of business incubators and accelerators, innovative thinking is nothing new; we thrive on it. We believe you can learn valuable information from our publications, especially Case Studies 2018, which is available now.
For more information, please visit: https://ubi-global.lpages.co/cases-studies2018