Tag: startups

German tech industry dragged into the 21st century

Hartmann_Maschinenhalle_1868_(01)Germany, whose industry has been relying on things to run the same way as they did before those World Wars, has suddenly woken up in the digital age and is a little worried about it.

According to Reuters big German companies have started teaming up with start-ups to shake up their conservative business culture and keep pace with a world increasingly dominated by nimble tech giants.

Most of the German blue-chips run along 19th century lines with only the youngest — SAP, founded less than 43 years ago.

In other Western countries the top 30 companies on the Nasdaq were set up in the 1980s or later and the fourth-biggest firm, Facebook, was established about a decade ago.

German government officials and company executives fear they could fall far behind if they cannot swiftly identify and adopt innovations in web and smartphone technology that have driven the success of Google, Apple and Amazon.

Metro, Bayer, Evonik, Merck KGaA and Deutsche Telekom are now investing in start-ups – seeking to gain digital expertise, as well as to embrace newcomers whose innovations could represent threats to their own businesses.

They have a long way to go, Investment in German start-ups more than doubled to $1.74 billion last year, this was less than the amount raised by Uber. US-based start-ups drew $49.39 billion.

Fewer than half of Germany’s top 500 companies have a comprehensive digital strategy, according to a study by Accenture.Only 11 percent use social media and only six percent cloud computing, the European Commission’s Digital Economy Index published at the end of February showed.

Healthcare firms Bayer, Merck and Boehringer Ingelheim, Deutsche Telekom and chemicals group Evonik, meanwhile, have all set up multi-million euro in-house venture funds. Deutsche Telekom has pledged to invest $542 million in Germany’s start-up scene over the next five years.

The German government has announced plans to try to promote startups. They include a pre-market web platform to connect young companies with investors.

However most say that there needs to be more venture capital investment in Germany and the scene needs to be more attractive in terms of taxation.

The other problem is that the Germans do not like investing in something which might go tits up.


Startups target for hacks

wargames-hackerHacking attacks are becoming a rite of passage for startups.

Slack, the communications start-up and witch, the hugely popular video streaming service both said that they had been hacked within days of each other.

But they are the latest in a long line of start-ups to get hacked. Apparently the moment a start-up starts to get momentum with users they are being hit by hackers.

Most of the time the hackers are hackers looking to steal, and monetize, the vast personal information they store on users, like email addresses and passwords. The idea is that the start-ups don’t have the security that bigger outfits have.

Slack and Twitch have the user base and the cash to beef up their security. Once Slack had surpassed 200 million messages a month, it attracted $180 million in venture funding. Once Twitch surpassed 55 million users, Amazon scooped it up for nearly $1 billion.

Both companies said they had put measures in place to keep hackers from easily exploiting their users’ information.

At Slack, the company said hackers were able to access a database containing usernames, email addresses, phone numbers, Skype IDs and passwords. The company noted that those passwords were encrypted using a process known as hashing and salting, which makes it much harder, though not impossible, for hackers to crack them. Last month, Slack had half a million daily users.

Twitch also said it encrypted passwords, but warned that hackers might have been able to capture passwords in the clear as users were logging on.

White Bull readies startup show

White BullWhite Bull Summits, which runs an annual conference aimed at connecting startups and funds each year, said it is looking for nominations for 13 awards for people that have made a difference in the field.

It has 13 new categories which it will award at its Barcelona conference next month, including best male entrepreneur, best female entrepreneur, best law firm, best in communications and PR, best angel, best corporate VC, best executive search and others.

The nominations can be made until September 15th by going to this link.

The firm will announce its 60 “Bully Award” finalists and nominees on September 15th, with winners receiving awards at Pathways 2014 on October 6th to the 8th.

Farley Duvall, co-founder of White Bull Summits, said the conference represents its fifth anniversary and will bring VCs, startups, equity companies and angels together under the same roof.

TechEye will be attending the conference.