Runway Incubator | The Innovation Blog

Tour Runway from the Comfort of Your Home – Courtesy of Xspaced!

Posted by Joe Vasquez on Jan 19, 2016 10:02:13 PM

We're fortunate to be surrounded by really great startups all of the time building unique products. One of these companies is Xspaced, a startup that has a goal of helping people to make a fast and right decision when looking to buy or rent real estate. They believe that "being" on a property without physically being there makes a BIG difference (Source: Crunchbase). And we agree!

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What Role Do We Play in Social Justice Matters

Posted by Joe Vasquez on Jan 18, 2016 11:10:31 AM

Today is Martin Luther King Jr day, which has been a national holiday since 1986. It’s a day when we can recognize a man who fought hard to tear down racially prejudiced laws and fight for peace through nonviolent means. And it's a good reminder for us that there's a lot more going on in our country than just building tech companies. We see racial issues on the news on a regular basis, but for the most part, we're fairly isolated from them.

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How Timing Affects Value

Posted by Joe Vasquez on Jan 12, 2016 12:01:47 PM

The holiday season is officially over, and at Runway, things are buzzing back at normal. It’s nice to see so many people working hard and having fun.

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Investing with a focus on education

Posted by Joe Vasquez on Jan 4, 2016 4:45:02 PM

I hope everyone had a happy new year! It’s been a quiet couple of weeks at Runway during the holiday season, and as people return from their holiday travels, we’re excited to see old faces.

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Asking the right questions

Posted by Runway on Dec 29, 2015 8:39:17 AM

This has been a pretty quiet week for most of us, which is a good thing. At Runway, I’m seeing some folks work through the holiday season and some folks out of the office, hopefully spending time with family and loved ones.

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Technology: Is it a positive or negative influence in our lives?

Posted by Runway on Dec 22, 2015 11:08:56 AM

I hope everyone is enjoying a wonderful holiday season. Last week I was asked by a high school student in San Jose if I could answer some questions for a report he was putting together. One of the questions that he asked me was particularly interesting. “Do you believe that the emergence of the Internet of Things or, more broadly, increased integration of technology in our daily lives, is positive or negative?”

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The Mobile App Market

Posted by Runway on Dec 15, 2015 12:13:04 PM

Last week, I read about Facebook shutting down Creative Labs. This, along with Dropbox’s recent announcement that they are shutting down Carousel and Mailbox, made me reflect on the hype that has surrounded constellation apps for the last 2 years.

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Role of foreign Corporate VCs in 2016

Posted by Runway on Dec 7, 2015 6:35:00 PM

I came back from Japan yesterday, energized and slightly jet-lagged with everything going on there. As I mentioned last week, there are a ton of corporate VCs (CVCs) looking to put money into Silicon Valley. The same is true from my trips to China earlier in the year. All of them have the same requests - they are not sure they fully understand, or have access to, the US startup market.

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Open Innovation, Corporations, and Startups

Posted by Runway on Dec 1, 2015 9:34:00 PM

I'm in Japan this week, meeting with Japanese corporations that are interested in engaging with startups as part of their open innovation initiatives. It’s been an enjoyable journey. There are hundreds of companies here in the world’s 3rd largest economy that are interested in investing in, partnering with and acquiring US startups, and we’ve been meeting with a lot of them.

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The Role of Government in Supporting Innovation

Posted by Runway on Nov 24, 2015 10:56:57 AM

  We had a group come in from Sweden  on Friday, and some of the folks were interested in talking about the role of government in supporting innovation. I’ve gotten this question a few times from government officials over the years. At the crux of every inquiry is the question of how silicon valley became “silicon valley”, the land of dreams, unicorns and awesome satirical TV shows. Believe it or not, there are a ton of people around the world thinking about this question. It affects things like jobs, policy, budgets, etc. I’ve spent a while thinking about this and keep coming back to the same conclusion. What you need is a group of smart, creative, ambitious people who have the headspace to build innovative products and services.

 

I know there are a lot of buzzwords in there so I should unpack that. I think that there’s something special that happens when you get a group of smart people together who want to build something, and you just leave them alone for a while. It seems like there is a direct correlation between high caliber educational institutions and innovation. But I don’t think the educational institutions themselves are providing the framework for building products and companies. I think it’s the loose working day (let’s face it, you’re in class for about 12 hours a week) and the fact that everyone is living and working together that gives rise to creation. And I don’t even think that what’s created needs to be commercially viable. Most great movements are started by small groups of people who are creating cool things for each other and don’t care about making money. Bitcoin, personal computing, etc.

 

So what can governments do to help? Well, I think anything that aids the above would be a step in the right direction. Which means, putting smart and ambitious people who are interested in building something together for a while and leaving them alone. And then not being overly concerned about what they’re creating. This could mean providing something similar to a Fulbright Scholarship to promising young people who could receive a minimal stipend while they work on their ideas. It could mean creating government sponsored academies that don’t have traditional curriculum and are more about working together on cool stuff. And any “classes” should be led by current or former entrepreneurs or inventors, not academics. Most important, whatever they do, they shouldn’t burden the founders with going into debt, or insist on owning IP or taking equity positions in the companies they support. The financial return any government should come in the form of increasing GDP, jobs etc. as an eventuality of success. Notice I haven’t mentioned anything about VCs investing into the ecosystem, and that’s because I think venture capital will always flow to innovation centers over time.

 

Will these ideas work? Is this enough? Is there actually anything a government can do to help promote a startup ecosystem? I don’t really know. But I like the idea of governments supporting things like what we’re doing here at Runway. And I like the fact they’re taking the time to stop by and ask.

 

Matt Walters
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