This Startup is Using Salt to Create an Alternative to Nuclear Energy


Creating alternative energy sources is certainly an important task. But it’s not necessarily one that’s going to be popular with investors, given the experimental nature and length of time such a project is likely to take.

Transatomic Power is one company that’s working to create cleaner sources of energy. Co-founders Dr. Leslie Dewan and Mark Massie have designed a technology that uses a hot salt mixture to dissolve uranium.

This process could potentially eliminate the toxic waste that is created with the nuclear power we use today. It could also eliminate much of the risk for steam explosions.

The potential for this new technology is great. But it couldn’t be fully realized without some funding behind it. So, the company has spent the past year raising $6 million in funding for the project.

Much of the money came from Peter Thiel’s Founder’s Fund, which was a perfect fit since the organization has the ability to be patient with its investments. And Transatomic Power’s technology is likely at least 10 years away from being able to show any sort of return on investment. Dewan told Fast Company:

“They were one of the early investors in SpaceX, so when we talked with them about our time line, they said, ‘Oh that’s kind of in line with how much time it took to get the Falcon 9 off the ground.’”

The investment should enable the team at Transatomic Power to get their technology past the experimental stage and to the point where it can actually be put into action.

Currently, about 19 percent of the electricity in the U.S. is generated using nuclear power. So this cleaner version has the potential to make a huge impact. It just takes some forward thinking scientists and investors who believe in their mission.

Dewan said:

 “Basically, we’re all working together in opposition to fossil fuels. That’s the real fight.”

Image: Transatomic Power


Startup Failure Rates — The REAL Numbers

Small business failure rates over 10 years - United States - by Scott ShaneI’m writing today’s blog in the hopes of getting accurate information on new business failure rates out into cyberspace in a way that the search engines will find it quickly. There is a huge amount of misinformation on the Web about new business failure rates that gets cited and reproduced all over the place and that’s a problem for a host of reasons.

Below is Figure 6.2 (p.99) from my book Illusions of Entrepreneurship: The Costly Myths that Entrepreneurs, Investors, and Policy Makers Live By. The data come from a special tabulation by the Bureau of the Census produced for the Office of Advocacy of the U.S. Small Business Administration.

While these data look at the 1992 cohort of new single-establishment businesses, the failure rate percentages are almost identical for all the cohorts that researchers have looked at. So, these are pretty much the one through ten year survival rates of new firms.

Proportion of New Businesses Founded in 1992 Still Alive By Year.

These are the averages. There are considerable differences across industry sectors in business failure rates (see Figure 7.1 on page 113 of Illusions of Entrepreneurship), which is pretty interesting and important. But I’ll have to leave a discussion of what those are and why they exist for another blog post.

* * * * *

About the Author: Scott Shane is A. Malachi Mixon III, Professor of Entrepreneurial Studies at Case Western Reserve University. He is the author of eight books, including Illusions of Entrepreneurship: The Costly Myths that Entrepreneurs, Investors, and Policy Makers Live By; Finding Fertile Ground: Identifying Extraordinary Opportunities for New Ventures; Technology Strategy for Managers and Entrepreneurs; and From Ice Cream to the Internet: Using Franchising to Drive the Growth and Profits of Your Company.


Are Startup Failure Rates as Bad as They Used to Be?

Are Startup Failure Rates as Bad as They Used to Be?

The chances of your business surviving past the five-year mark are somewhat better than they used to be, says one economics expert.

Are Startup Failure Rates as Bad as They Used to Be? Dr. Scott Shane Weighs InAccording to research and commentary from Dr. Scott Shane, professor of economics and entrepreneurial studies at Case Western Reserve University (and long-time SBT contributor), startup failure rates have declined slightly for employer firms in recent years.

“In 2010, the odds that a business would fail were lower than in 1980,” Shane confirmed in an email to Small Business Trends,.

Shane stated that three factors govern a small business’s survival rate: age, size and industry, in that order.

“Failure rates drop dramatically as firms age,” Shane said. “This is true across all sectors of the economy, all geographic locations and all time periods.”

As to business longevity, size matters, he said. The bigger the company, the less likely it is to fail.

Finally, industry plays a significant role. Data from Shane’s reports (see below) testify that sectors such as education, healthcare, mining and manufacturing fare better than others — information technology and construction, in particular.

Small Business Survival Report Summaries

The following seven reports, the first by Small Business Trends CEO and publisher Anita Campbell, the next six by Shane all published over an 11-year period, dating from July 2005 to January 2016 paint a more complete picture of the situation. But Campbell’s initial report deals with at what age most small businesses fail.

July 2005: Business Failure Rates Highest in First Two Years

Data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics revealed that most businesses that fail do so within the first two years.

“Across sectors, 66 percent of new establishments were still in existence two years after their birth, and 44 percent were still in existence four years after,” the Bureau’s statistics showed (PDF).

These findings square with Shane’s reports, which follow — survival rates vary by industry. In this case, the education and health services sector showed the highest survival rate while the information technology sector had the lowest.

It should be noted that the report covered the period from March of 1998 to March of 2002 — the height of the dot-com boom.

April 2008: Startup Failure Rates — The REAL Numbers

In his inaugural report, which used Bureau of the Census data produced for the Office of Advocacy of the U.S. Small Business Administration from 1992 to 2002, Shane found that the survival rate for startups dropped precipitously the first year (25 percent) and then fell another 11 percent the second year. Even though it began to level off after that, each year showed further decline. After ten years, only 29 percent of businesses remained.

Shane alluded to the fact that there are “considerable differences” across industry sectors in business failure rates but did not elaborate, saying that he would do so in a later article.

May 2008: Startup Failure Rates Vary — Choosing the Right Industry Matters

Shane followed up his initial report a month later sharing data from an article by Amy Knaup in Monthly Labor Review, published by the Bureau of Labor Statisics, which looked at the 1998 cohort of new businesses.

As Shane suggested in his first report, survival rates varied based on industry. For example, the four-year survival rate in the information sector was only 38 percent while survival rate for startups in the education and health services sectors were 55 percent. (Those are the same industries that Campbell found in her report as being at the bottom and top of the scale.)

“[T]he average start-up in education and health sector is 50 percent more likely than the average start-up in the information industry to live four years,” Shane said.

He added that the industries that have lower initial survival rates tend to continue with those rates every year.

May 2012: Businesses Face High Rates of Infant Mortality

After a several year hiatus, Shane returned in May of 2012 with another report. This time, he used data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics 1994 cohort, which showed the percentage of businesses alive in a given year that failed during the subsequent year.

Shane found, for example, that the proportion of businesses started in 1994 that failed in 1995 was 20.2 percent while the percentage of those still alive in 2010 but which failed by 2011 was a mere 4.3 percent.

Shane also found that the new business failure rate for companies started in 1994 steadily declined until 2006 and then flattened out.

“While the odds of going under never disappear, they pretty much hold steady at 5 percent once the businesses reach age 12,” he said.

Sept. 2012: Small Business Failure Rates by Industry: The Real Numbers

Shane reported again in September of 2012 on data drawn from the Census Bureau Business Dynamics Statistics for the year 2005, which reinforced his assertion that survival rates vary by industry.

He compiled the data into a graph that compared survival rates among the following eight industry sectors:

  • Mining (51.3 percent)
  • Manufacturing (48.4 percent)
  • Services (47.6 percent)
  • Wholesaling and agriculture (47.4 percent)
  • Retailing (41.1 percent)
  • Finance, insurance and real estate (39.6 percent)
  • Transportation, communications and utilities (39.4 percent)
  • Construction (36.4 percent)

As you can see, mining companies had a 15-point higher rate of survival than construction firms.

Dec. 2012: Startup Failure Rates: The Definitive Numbers

At the end of 2012, Shane came back with a report that said business startup failure rates had not changed much since his inaugural assessment in 2008.

Citing data from the Census Bureau and Bureau of Labor and Statistics, Shane stated that both data sets revealed that the “typical new business started in the United States is no longer in operation five years after being founded.”

Jan. 2016: Business Failure Rates Are Declining

Shane’s most recent report — published in January of this year — brought good news: business survival rates are on the rise following the “bust” of the 2008 Great Recession, which brought a spike in business failures.

Referencing Census Bureau statistics, Shane said that business failure rates and the fraction of American employers that go under each year are in long-term decline.

He found that in 1977, 12.9 percent of U.S. companies with employees went out of business, but in 2013, that fraction was down to 9 percent.

“While recessions cause spikes in business failure rates, the long-term tendency is toward more, not fewer, small businesses surviving,” Shane said.


These startup failure rates reports conclude that the chances of your business surviving beyond five years depends on its age, size and industry sector.

While, historically, only half to less than half of companies are still in business after five years, survival rates are slightly better now than in years past, so there is a  reason for hope.

Of course, the data is empirical. It fails to take into account intangible qualities such as the entrepreneur’s passion, grit and determination to succeed. While those can’t be measured, they play a critical role nonetheless.


What is Amazon Launchpad and How Can I Use It for My Startup?

What is Amazon Launchpad and How Can I Use It for My Startup?

When it comes to eCommerce, Amazon is the undisputed king. The sprawling digital marketplace sells over 200 million products per year in America alone, and it’s consequently evolved into a crucial sales platform for businesses of all shapes and sizes.

But it can be understandably difficult for tiny startups to stand out and prosper on Amazon. That’s why last year the company decided to introduce a pioneering platform to help showcase ambitious startups and their innovative products.

Dubbed Amazon Launchpad, the service also provides a wide array of useful tools for small businesses, and pairs them with like-minded organisations in order to foster growth and collaboration. Launchpad relies upon partners like Kickstarter, Indiegogo and Y Combinator to help identify potential — and although the platform may not be right for everyone, the benefits are worth considering.

What is Amazon Launchpad?

Amazon Launchpad is a unique platform that serves two core purposes. On one hand, it’s a marketplace within a marketplace that enables customers to sift through a range of cutting-edge and innovative items produced by vetted startups. On the other hand, Launchpad is an incredibly useful service point for small businesses in need of a helping hand.

Although Amazon provides a marketplace for scores of companies, Launchpad vendors are given a bit of special treatment. Launchpad product listings are inherently more user-friendly, and allow startups to weave all-encompassing, custom narratives surrounding their products with the help of larger images, videos and more space to write. Launchpad vendors also enjoy more opportunities to get noticed through in-house advertising and a special widget on Amazon’s storefront landing page.

Elsewhere, Launchpad offers fledgling startups plenty of logistical support via its Services Hub. The hub is essentially a space for participating vendors to seek out help from colleagues and more established service providers in order to bolster productivity. Help categories range from prototyping and manufacturing to funding and sales, and all participating service providers are guaranteed to respond to startup queries within seven days.

How Can I Get Involved?

Launchpad is admittedly a little bit selective in terms of who it takes on. At present, Amazon prioritizes startups funded by crowdfunding platforms, venture capital firms and other startup accelerators that are already part of the company’s existing network — which includes names like Kickstarter, Andreesen Horowitz and Hardware Club. That said, Amazon has said it is willing to consider startups supported by companies outside the network on a case-by-case basis. Existing Amazon sellers can also apply for the program.

In order to apply for Launchpad, you must first register as an Amazon vendor and upload some basic product information onto the site. You’ll then be asked to confirm an initial order and ship an initial load of products to Amazon’s fulfillment centers. That order will essentially be used by the site to evaluate whether there’s a genuine demand for your company’s products.

If approved to join Launchpad, vendors won’t be getting a free ride. They will be expected to pay Amazon an incremental referral fee at five percent on top of the site’s standard referral fee on each item sold. That additional fee applies to all seller selections, and is charged on the total sum paid for the item by the buyer — including taxes.

Is Launchpad Right for My Business?

Amazon Launchpad provides a unique set of benefits for budding startups. Not only does the program drastically bolster a company’s visibility on the world’s best known eCommerce marketplace, but it also helps connect startups with all of the resources and service providers they’ll need in order to establish themselves. That saves small business owners a whole lot of time and hassle.

But that’s not to say the platform is without its own set of drawbacks. First and foremost, as a Launchpad vendor you’ll be expected to take part in the eCommerce giant’s ‘Fulfillment by Amazon’ service — which essentially means risking shipping all of your inventory off to Amazon wholesale before a customer has even had a chance to buy anything. That’s pretty standard practice for larger, more established companies; however, it could potentially cut a slice out of a startup’s initial profit margin.

That being said, a vast majority of startups would likely argue this is a small price to pay for the all-encompassing support that Launchpad and Amazon’s global fulfillment network provide. At the end of the day, no two businesses are alike — so you’ll have to look at the pros and cons to figure out whether Launchpad is right for your startup.


Uber Case: Karnataka High Court Questions Government on Stifling Startup Business

Uber Case: Karnataka High Court Questions Government on Stifling Startup Business

The Karnataka High Court Wednesday questioned the state government on “stifling” the startup business through regulatory norms that create an “unviable” environment while wanting to encourage startups.

“On the one hand, you (government) want to encourage startups in the state and, on the other, you want to stifle its business by framing rules like the Karnataka On-Demand Transportation Aggregators’ Rules (OTTA),” Justice Raghavendra Chouhan said during the hearing of a petition by cab aggregator Uber.

Justice Chouhan made the observations while questioning the submissions made by A S Ponnanna, Counsel for the state who defended OTTA rules.

Uber had moved the court after the transport department impounded the vehicles for not securing licences under the new norms. It also suspended operations of taxis, which led to protests by drivers.

Justice Chouhan said the rules would create an unviable environment for startups and would have repercussions for investments in the state.

“If we have such regulatory rules, it will create an unviable environment for startup business in the state.


Startup companies like Uber may pull out of business in the state, which will not be good. It will have a negative impact or repercussions on investments,” he said.

Earlier last month, Uber’s Counsel Sajan Poovayya had submitted that since taxi-hailing app Uber is a technology platform that connects drivers with passengers, it cannot be regulated under India’s Motor Vehicles Act, which governs taxis and aggregators in the country.

The hearing in the matter will continue tomorrow. Drivers have also independently filed a petition in court.

The transport department had in April increased the penalty for cab aggregators from Rs. 1,000 to Rs. 5,000, alleging they were operating without obtaining necessary licence despite its repeated warnings.

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Tags: Apps, Cabs, Startups, Uber, Uber India


Fashion Startup Provides eCommerce Platform for Sustainable Designers

091414 zady

Environmentally conscious consumers have plenty of options when it comes to things like food and household products. But what about clothing?

There are options out there for sustainable, well-made garments. But you can’t usually find them at the mall or major retail locations. So such brands haven’t always been easy for consumers to buy.

Enter Zady, a company that aims to connect consumers with sustainable, high quality fashion. Zady works with fashion and décor brands around the world to showcase products that are both ethically made and constructed with quality materials.

The company launched just over a year ago. Friends Maxine Bédat and Soraya Darabi started the platform as an alternative to today’s “fast fashion,” where consumers tend to buy a lot of cheap clothes instead of a few timeless pieces.

To accomplish its mission, the company vets designers to identify those who fit with the company’s environmental ideals. Zady currently has about 60 such designers on its site. On each product page, potential customers find details about where the product is made and what raw materials are used. There are even bios of the designers and profiles of the businesses that create each product.

In addition, Zady partners with nonprofit The Bootstrap Project to promote artisan entrepreneurs in the developing world. A portion of each purchase made on the platform goes to fund these micro-businesses.

But the next step for Zady is its own line. The company plans to start this holiday season and will be involved with every stage of the sourcing for its products. Since Zady cares so much about quality materials and construction, it makes sense that its team would want to be involved in the whole process. Bédat told CNN:

“The natural step is to get our hands dirty and figure out, ‘What does it mean to make the most sustainable brand?’”

The fashion industry today focuses so much on cheap, trendy items. Because of that, there are methods of garment making and construction that are being lost and forgotten.

Zady offers the opposite — a way to easily find the brands that use high quality materials, solid construction and sustainable methods. For consumers that care about those aspects of fashion, this platform could make shopping infinitely easier.


Startup seems to connect Breached statistics With those dealing with in all likelihood Fraud

Startup Looks to Connect Breached Data With Those Facing Likely Fraud

because the persevering with parade of mass information breaches will increase the opportunities for miscreants to apply grabbed credentials for all way of fraud, it is also riding defenders to are looking fornew methods to attach the dots and prevent secondary crimes sooner.

companies like Baltimore’s Terbium Labs have professionalized crawling the dark web, wherein criminalsexchange or sell huge quantities of stolen credit card information and maximum different conceivableclasses of private facts.

Austin-primarily based AllClear identity, formerly called Debix, is the various agencies that cross pastcredit monitoring and file additional data to customers. considered one of its offerings seems for breached records turned over to the FBI-affiliated countrywide Cyber-Forensics & training Alliance, thensignals subscribers if material about them suggests up.

starting on Monday, an Austin startup will strive a 3rd way: gathering breached data without delay from the groups that were hit, then allowing banks and other potential fraud magnets to see if their customersare worried and have bills more likely to be centered.

The concept behind what’s being dubbed the Compromised identity change is to rate the ones maximumpossibly to be hit with follow-on fraud for access to data that reduces their threat.

businesses that have been breached will now not pay whatever to hand over the records that changed into stolen, and they could feel that they have got accomplished greater than most to defend theirclients or personnel by heading off future fraud that could hurt them.

The carrier is being run by way of a enterprise known as XOR statistics exchange, which says it is able to produce beneficial information faster by listening to from the sufferers in place of trolling the darkishnet, where it could already be too overdue by the time it seems.

due to heavy safety at the records, XOR says, the gadget may additionally allow breached groups topercentage the sensitive records without changing their privateness guidelines or waiting for thehuman beings uncovered to decide in, as they need to for credit tracking.

© Thomson Reuters 2016

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Tags: AllClear id, darkish internet, facts breach, records theft, Debix, Hacking, net, Startup, XOR statisticsexchange

India investment Roundup: An Agri-Tech UAV Startup, street ride planning App, and extra

India Funding Roundup: An Agri-Tech UAV Startup, Road Trip Planning App, and More

Our present day investment roundup compiles investments in Indian startups engaged in e-trade, EdTech,online recruitment, trip making plans, and agri-tech.

Eyewear retailer Lenskart has raised Rs. four hundred crores funding from international bank arm IFC, industrialist Ratan Tata and Infosys co-founder Kris Gopalakrishnan, among others. The enterprise will use the collection D investment to strengthen its deliver chain and lens production abilities as well as forincreasing its presence to four hundred cities in 3 years.

Airwood Aerostructures
Chennai-based UAV startup Airwood Aerostructures has reportedly raised an undisclosed amount in seedinvestment from StartupXseed Ventures. The startup deploys drones for area and crop monitoring, and combines it with different exams on the floor to help enhance crop yield.

Hyderabad-based MyDentistChoice, an e-commerce portal for dental merchandise has reportedly secured $150,000 (kind of Rs. 1 crore) in its first round of funding from an US-based totally angel investor. a part of Hyderabad-primarily based startup incubator T-Hub, the startup reportedly reached its first revenuetarget of Rs. 1 crore in 2015.

Bengaluru-based totally e-trade seek and personalisation platform Unbxd has reportedly raised an undisclosed quantity of investment in series B spherical led via Nirvana venture Advisors. The sphericaladditionally noticed participation from current traders IDG Ventures, Inventus Capital, and Indian Angelcommunity. founded through Pavan Sondur and Prashant Kumar in 2011, the platform has onboarded 150companies in over forty countries.

Delhi-based totally career making plans services portal, has reportedly raised an undisclosed quantity in pre-collection A funding from media house Bennett, Coleman and organisationLtd’s ad-for-equity funding arm logo Capital. The startup reportedly plans to raise $5 million (kind of Rs. 33.2 crores) in its series A round with the aid of the quit of this 12 months to enlarge its presence in 15towns in India and the middle East.

Bengaluru-primarily based on line recruitment platform Zwayam, has reportedly raised $250,000 (aroundRs 1.7 crores) in seed funding from a gaggle of unnamed angel buyers. The startup’s monetisation versionis primarily based on a subscription model, and is reportedly utilized by 150 businesses.

road journey planning app EasyRoads has reportedly raised Rs 1.3 crores ($200,000) from 5 angel tradersin its first outside spherical of funding. The app presents a curation of places to explore, and presentlylists trips from Mumbai and Pune, with functions like roadside assistance and hire a motive force.

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Tags: Airwood Aerostructures, Apps, EasyRoads, investment, iDreamCareer, India, internet, investment, Lenskart, MyDentistChoice, Startups, Unbxd, Zwayam

Israeli Startup Bets on ‘Smart’ Satellite Antennas for Global Web Access

Israeli Startup Bets on 'Smart' Satellite Antennas for Global Web Access

Israeli startup Skyfi is looking to outflank Facebook and Google in a race to provide worldwide Internet access by developing the first self-correcting antenna that can turn mini-satellites into powerful transmitters covering the globe.

The two technology leaders are working on ways to beam Internet access from the sky to remote areas,Google with high-flying balloons and Facebook with a combination of drones and larger, more complex satellites.

But it will take an orbiting cluster of 60 miniature, or nano, satellites, each about the size of a shoe box, to provide full coverage of earth, said Raz Itzhaki Tamir, a veteran of Israel’s aerospace industry who co-founded Skyfi four years ago.

The way he hopes to do it is by using a parachute-like antenna that deploys once in space. The antenna can then mechanically adjust itself for imperfections in the transmitter’s surface, allowing a stronger signal to pass, and even alter the direction it points should broadcast needs change over the course of the satellite’s life.

That may not sound like much, but those are two major hurdles that have limited satellite operators for years.

While the company says it has a working “proof of concept”, the technology has yet to be proven in space, so don’t expect a fleet of Internet-providing nanosatellites for at least a few years. But the antenna alone could be big business in the meantime.

Thousands of new satellites will be launched into space in the coming decade and many will use technology from Israel, which has built on its military expertise to capture a sizeable chunk of the growing commercial space market, particularly in the field of miniaturization.

Skyfi raised $3 million in a round led by Jerusalem Venture Partners, one of the country’s most successful venture capital funds, and says it has signed letters of intent to sell its antennas to global players such as Lockheed Martin and Spacecom.

Spacecom, which is collaborating with Facebook to beam Internet services to Africa, said that if the new Skyfi antenna is successful, it would be in huge demand.

“This type of solution will conquer the market, because it addresses some of the most serious and bothersome issues for satellite operators,” said David Pollack, Spacecom’s chief executive.

For now, Skyfi is perfecting its system by testing a large version of the antenna in a 50-square-meter (yard) echoless chamber that simulates the conditions of space. It plans to launch its first unit in the next 18 months.

“Currently, if an antenna is not perfect, you have to live with it, with the losses,” said Tamir. “We can change that and be flexible, thus gaining more revenue from the satellite.”

© Thomson Reuters 2016

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Tags: Internet, Nanosatellites, Satellite, Science, Skyfi, Smart Satellite, Web

Startup Portal to Be Launched Next Week, Says DIPP

Startup Portal to Be Launched Next Week, Says DIPP

In order to encourage entrepreneurs and further ease doing of business in India, the government said on Friday that a web portal for startups will launched by next week, which would also begin their registration process.

“In another week’s time, we are going to start the startup portal and the process of registration of start-ups also,” Ramesh Abhishek, secretary of the Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion (DIPP), said at a post-budget interaction in New Delhi organised by the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (Ficci).

“We are also working with state governments to ensure that self-certification work in case of labour and skill development laws are put in place for start-ups,” he said.

Besides the Startup India initiative launched earlier this year, the DIPP has issued the definition of start-ups and is making it easier for them to file patent applications, Abhishek added.

The Union Budget for 2016-17, presented on Monday, proposed full tax exemption for startups for three years.

Besides, a special patent regime has been proposed with a 10 percent rate of tax on income from worldwide exploitation of patents developed and registered in India in order to promote innovations

The Startup India action plan has proposed a “Fund of Funds” to raise Rs. 2,500 crores annually for four years for financing startups.

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Tags: Digital India, DIPP, Ficci, India, Internet, Make in India, Startup India, Startups