In my previous article, I mentioned that I’m developing a new ecosystem to better utilize capital, skills, know-how and network to increase success rates of start-ups and innovators. Let me elaborate on this.
While writing this blog, we are in the middle of many elections. Brexit and Trump were major recent events. It looks like the outcome of the elections in Holland stopped the negative downward spiral of populism, but let’s see what the outcome will be of the upcoming elections in France and Germany. Will protectionism win over our open economies? Communism is nearly over, will social democracy survive? Is capitalism on its way back or dead? We are not even sure whether democracy in its current form will survive. Is it time for new political ideas and systems to find our way to a “New Democracy”?
The same applies for doing business. The business ecosystem is so rapidly changing that many businesses will not survive. New exponential business models will strongly compete with, take over or even destroy ‘old economy’ businesses, which until recently seemed everlasting. Disruption has already occurred in an exponential way:
- Airbnb: the worlds largest accommodation provider owns no real estate.
- Skype, WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, Viber: a few of the largest communication companies own no infrastructure.
- Alibaba: the worlds most valuable retailer has no inventory.
- Facebook: the most popular media platform creates no content.
- Uber: the worlds largest taxi company owns no taxis.
- Fintechs like Apple-pay (e-wallets), Kickstarter (crowdfunding), SocietyPay, Zopa, FundingCircle (peer-to-peer lending): the fastest-growing “banks” actually have no money.
- Netflix: the worlds largest movie house owns no cinemas or broadcasters.
- Khan Academy: One man, one computer and more than 10 million students are reinventing education.
Innovations, the Internet, new-technology, new start-ups and new talents are changing or taking over the old economy rapidly. Traditional large companies are struggling to change and keep up. Some old market leaders have died or diminished (for example Kodak, Blockbuster, Syms & Filene’s Basement, Borders Books & Music) and even more ‘new’ market leaders like Palm, Nokia, Blackberry, Yahoo and Ashton Tate, are struggling or have died.
However, the idea that old-economy companies can’t change or are too big to move fast is wrong. Right now, we’re seeing old-economy companies move much faster than we thought they ever could. Some may even survive. New business models are being tested, implemented or killed each day.
My biggest misread over the last 20 years was the idea that business fundamentals had changed, that the traditional way of doing business did not matter or work anymore. The Internet bubble proved me (us) wrong. Although I have always been a great believer in letting OLD and NEW work hand-in-hand, it has taken me quite a while to realise that this could and should be a solution to building companies with impact and continuity.
Okay, where am I heading with all this, before you get bored!
Do we really want to look at new business models that last? Do we really want to change and impact global challenges in the long-term?
I am not a politician and never will be – I am a hardcore serial entrepreneur and venture capitalist. However, I do hope politicians realise that they have to find new ways to keep democracy alive and promote open economies and free trade.
As an entrepreneur and venture capitalist I do invest time solving how old and new can work better together, finding new ways to sustainable innovation, and positively impact entrepreneurship, start-ups and talent development. Can we create a real, new sustainable way of funding start-ups and innovation? Can we really combine capital, skills, know-how and network in a sustainable way?
I think we can and I’m trying find new ways to do so. As such, we have founded “The Paperclip Community” with a group of likeminded people (entrepreneurs, professionals, corporates, universities, students). We’re developing a new movement, a new global business community. Our objective:
“The Paperclip Community enables more start-ups, innovators & students to impact global challenges by providing a circular sharing model of capital, skills, know-how and/or network.”
The basic idea is that we are ALL willing to be “sharing a share” to build a better working and sustainable ecosystem for start-ups and innovators. What does it mean, “sharing a share”? It means to give away a small part of your business or your income to create a better business ecosystem to fund and further fuel innovators, start-ups and talents. @Paperclip Community, we believe by sharing a small part of our business, our income, our knowledge and our network with start-ups, innovators and talent that we will have a more successful ecosystem to impact global challenges.
This is an invitation to further discuss this new way of thinking. Feel free to comment or contact me for further information.