Venture Capital Survey Shows Renewed Optimism

December 23, 2010

The National Venture Capital Association and DJ Venture Source announced their annual survey results on the state of venture capital.  This is a survery of 330 venture capitalists and 180 CEO’s of venture backed companies.  A few learnings:

  1. Investments are expected to rise (by a 2 to 1 margin, responders predicted an increase)
  2. Information Technology, Digital Media, Mobile/Telecom,  will be more active segments Read the rest of this entry »

5 Open Innovation Predictions for 2011

December 20, 2010

It’s hard to believe the yet2 team; Tim, Phil and I have worked have worked with Emma (head of yet2Europe) and Fujii-san (head of yet2Asia) for 1o years.  Hardly a day goes by when I don’t talk to either of them.  The past 10 years has been quite a ride, through it all we have worked together as a team. Extraordinary.'s Trends Discussion, in Needham in December 2010


As a team, we are in a unique vantage point to see some trends (more on this later), and make a few predictions.  I thought I’d share some predictions for 2011.

  1. Open Innovation is ubiquitous.  There is no longer a debate on this.  Almost every large technology company, and a growing number of small ones, have embraced OI as a key strategy. Some might not view this as much of a prediction, but when I look back to 1999, when we founded – it is a cosmic collision – so I had to mention it. In 2011, OI will be more embraced by business units and not just staff functions.
  2. Patents will be a key part of Open Innovation.  The IP counsel, and the OI leads rarely talked in the past.  In 2011, they will work together more closely, as patents become a key OI component.
  3. Venture capital will start to embrace Open Innovation.  This one prediction we have seen coming, which is why we raised a fund and now have yet2Ventures.  Other funds will do the same.  Well managed start-ups will have a OI strategy. Read the rest of this entry »

Sledding with the Swedish Air-force

December 19, 2010

I’m pretty sure my Mom told me not to do this.   But it also reminded me of venture investing – fun for a few people, but there is a some chance you could get killed.


3 Learnings from Mike Henson

December 17, 2010

Mike Henson is likely to most successful medical device investor and entrepreneur in the US.

I had the pleasure of spending a day with Mike and meeting with a number of his portfolio companies at his MedFocus fund.  To say that I was impressed would be an understatement.  I thought I’d share some of my learnings.

First Some Background

Mike has founded or served as CEO and Chairman/Board Member for eighteen successful emerging healthcare (medical device or biotechnology) firms.  Seven of these firms IPOed.  Ten of the companies have been acquired.

An example?  Micrus Endovascular, founded by Mike, was acquired by J&J for $500 million in September 2010.

Mike has built an impressive campus of startups focusing on minimally invasive and low cost treatments of vascular and orthopedic diseases.  I had the pleaseure of spending a day with Mike and meeting the leadership teams of 5 of his current crop of portfolio companies – Ellipse Technologies, Interventional Spine, Onset Medical, MiCardia and Reverse Medical.

What did I learn?

Read the rest of this entry »

Growth in Life Expectancy vs. Income by Country

December 16, 2010

This is a great video that shows the progression of  life expectancy plotted against average income (by country).  Professor Has Rosling narrates this four-minute clip, which plots 200 countries, over 200 years, using 120,000 numbers.

A key message here is the growth of the global middle class.  This will have a number of interesting ramifications.  First huge new markets will be created and demand for raw materials will go up dramatically.  Second, the US will need to be comfortable living in a world where the emerging markets are increasingly peers – Ben

Here is a New York Times article that mentions the video:

After you read this column, go to YouTube and search “Hans Rosling and 200 countries.” You’ll see a Swedish professor describe the growth of global wealth and well-being over the past 200 years.

He presents an animated time-lapse chart. It starts in 1810, when the nations of the world were clumped on the bottom left-hand side of the chart because they had low income and low life expectancy. Then the industrial revolution kicks in and the nations of the West surge upward and to the right as they get richer and healthier. By 1948, it’s like a race, with the United States out front and the other nations of the world stretched in a long tail behind.

Read the rest of this entry »

$3 Million Open Innovation Prize for an Algorithm

December 14, 2010

This is a very interesting prize, and a great example of Open Innovation at work – Ben.  Reprint from here:

More than 71 Million individuals in the United States are admitted to hospitals each year, according to the latest survey from the American Hospital Association.  Studies have concluded that in 2006 well over $30 billion was spent on unnecessary hospital admissions.  How many of those hospital admissions could have been avoided if only we had real-time information as to which patients were at risk for future hospitalization?  This is more than just an academic question:  every unnecessary admission to the hospital places the patient at risk and uses scarce medical resources unwisely.

The Heritage Provider Network (HPN) launched the $3 million Heritage Health Prize with one goal in mind: to develop a breakthrough algorithm that uses available patient data, including health records and claims data, to predict and prevent unnecessary hospitalizations.  Heritage believes that incentivized competition – one that includes the involvement of those with passionate minds that don’t know what can’t be done – is the best way to achieve the radical breakthroughs and innovations necessary to reform our health care system.  Sponsoring this prize is simply one way that Heritage believes it can help solve a societal problem.

Read the rest of this entry » Helps Governments Find Technology

December 10, 2010

reprint from a article on published here:

Governments are key drivers of product innovation. Funding from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA), for instance, is helping governments try out innovative products on infrastructure projects, such as advanced materials for pavement rehabilitation and improved sensors for smart electric grids, reports Popular Mechanics.

Boston-based, a company that operates an online technology marketplace and provides intellectual property consulting and licensing services, has assisted governments in finding innovative products.

Photo of Tim Bernstein,'s chief operating officerTim Bernstein

“We’ve done several searches on behalf of government organizations — everything from anti-graffiti technologies for municipal transportation departments to fairly advanced military applications for the federal military,” says Tim Bernstein,’s chief operating officer. Read the rest of this entry »

25 iPhone Apps I Love

December 8, 2010
A colleague at asked me, what are the iPhone apps I use.  I thought I’d share the list more broadly.
  1. News – I love, WSJ, NYT, Bloomberg, and The Drudge Report.  Of all, Bloomberg is best.
  2. Twitter – I’m not sure what it is, but I feed the beast.
  3. Open Table – The fastest way to get a table at Brasserie in NY.  Only good restaurants use Open Table, so it replaces for me it replaces Zagots.
  4. ScanR – Take photo of a business card, receipts or a signed contract and ScanR, PDFs it to anyone, via FAX or email.  It’s neat.
  5. Flight Track Pro – This the best way to know if your flight is on time as you are rushing to the airport.
  6. Chess – Caissa chess and Chess online allow me to play 5 minute games with other people in real time.  Neat.  I get beat by Japanese school kids.  How do you say ‘your toast’ in Japanese?
  7. iNetwork Test – I can test the spead of my WiFi internet connection speed, making sure Comcast delivers. Read the rest of this entry »

yet2Ventures Portfolio Company, A-Cube, Signs Drug Discovery Deal with Wakunaga Pharmaceuticals

December 7, 2010

A-CUBE Inc. and Wakunaga Pharmaceutical Co., Ltd. Announce Agreement on a Monoclonal Therapeutic Antibody

BELMONT, Calif., Dec. 7, 2010 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — A-CUBE Inc. (“A-CUBE”) today announced that it has signed a Material Transfer Agreement (MTA) and Exclusive Option Agreement for two groups of therapeutic monoclonals to the oncogene c-MET for treating cancer with Wakunaga Pharmaceutical Co., Ltd. (“WAKUNAGA”) of Osaka, Japan. Under the agreement, A-CUBE will supply lead candidate monoclonal antibodies that were predicted by Rational In Silico Algorithm on c-MET to WAKUNAGA.

WAKUNAGA will develop and validate animal models of various cancers using standard-of-care treatments, as well as develop and validate bioanalytical assays. At this point, the in vivo therapeutic potential of the two sets of monoclonals will be evaluated by WAKUNAGA. WAKUNAGA has the exclusive rights to conduct this evaluation in cancer models, and to negotiate for, and enter into exclusive collaborative research agreement with A-CUBE during a six month period following the experimental evaluation. Financial terms of the agreement were not disclosed.

“We are very pleased with this agreement with WAKUNAGA who have state-of-the art R&D facilities and expertise,” said Nobu Ota PhD, Founder and President of A-CUBE. “c-MET is a strong molecular target for cancer treatment.” Dr. Ota added, “WAKUNAGA is an excellent partner for these studies, and we have developed a strong relationship between our teams.”

Read the rest of this entry »

Capital Flows

December 7, 2010

The motion of capital is fundamental to our economy.

Over the past couple years the market has been becoming more risk adverse. This is nothing new, especially in the wake of the 2008 crash. What is very interesting to me is the flow of capital.

Since 2006 there has been a decrease in the amount of capital going into equity mutual funds. The amount of money going in went negative in 2009 and has stayed there.

Since 2006 there has been an increase in the amount of capital going into bonds mutual funds.

Are we about to see a Bond bubble burst?

Will that capital move to equities and rally the market?

My predication is capital will start moving back to equities, and when it happens – hang on – we’re in for quite a ride. In 2-3 years when the developed worlds economies are growing at normal rates, and the developing world is growing at its current rates, we will see a spectacular rally in the equity markets.


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