Posts in Entrepreneurial Ecosystems

Clearing is Centralized, and Concentrates Risk

One of the things blockchain might be able to do better is clearing.  Clearing of swaps especially.  Under Dodd-Frank, the government mandated a lot of swaps clearing.  Logically, this made sense.  I was initially in favor of moving plain vanilla …






Trump Loses on Department of Labor Law

“With or without regulation by the federal government, the principle of ‘clients first’ is here to stay.” – Jack Bogle When I read the Department of Labor was wading into financial regulation, my first inclination was dread.  I didn’t trust …






Set A Goal For a Meeting

Humans tend to spend a lot of time in meetings. Craig Wortmann found that humans waste a ton of time in meetings. Most people only think that 5% of meetings are even productive.   I have blogged about how to …






Want To Start A Bank? You Might Have a Chance Now

We talk about how easy it is to start a software startup these days.  It’s cheap.  Two people in a garage.  Of course, academic studies have shown despite the ease, starting an entrepreneurial business is on the wane.  There are …






The Series B Investor

There are a lot of VC investors that prefer not to mess with early rounds.  They would rather initiate the investing cycle at Series B.  There are a lot of logical reasons for this.  Their funds are too large.  Spending …






The Cashless Society

Experts have said it for years but it’s never happened.  Everyone has talked about a cashless society for as long as I can remember.  We are starting to see it come true, but it’s not cryptocurrency that is leading it. …






It’s Simple To Care of Your Gluten Free Friends

This Sunday is the big game.  Super Bowl.  It’s become something of a national holiday.  Of course, I will be in Detroit, Michigan playing in Sam’s Game.  Read about it here.  But, I was thinking about how America entertains for …






Innovation in Education

Got a recent report on a company I invested in back in 2009.  It’s called Brilliant.  It is the largest social network of people solving math and science problems together.  They even have a Wikipedia for math and science.  The …






Two Big Financings In Chicago

There was some big news in Chicago this week.  Caterpillar is moving their HQ here from Peoria.  Bad for P-town, but good for Chicago.  At least they didn’t leave the state. In startup news, Brad Keywell’s Uptake raised $40M from …






Reading the Tea Leaves

Maybe the people buying volatility are right. From my friend Yra Harris blog, “The day that NAFTA began the Chines YUAN was devalued from 5.8 yuan/dollar to 8.7, a 50% devaluation. Today the YUAN is at 6.88 to the dollar. …






Thinking Bigger

Yesterday I did my normal 2.5 hours of yoga and then helped judge the Global New Venture Challenge at the Chicago Booth.  Always fun to hear a bunch of pitches that people worked hard on. As I make my way …






Challenges of Smaller Funds vs Being an Angel

As an angel investor, you can pretty much do whatever you want.  Angel returns in aggregate hover right around 27%.  VC returns are lower.  But, that too is aggregate and encompasses both funds that invest early and funds that only …






Bitcoin Trading Volume Falls Off A Cliff

The exchange space in Bitcoin has been interesting.  I have been observing it with a keen interest.  Exchanges have been interesting to me my entire life.  I was on the board of the worlds largest exchange.  Everyone thinks exchanges are …






When Government Shoots You In the Back

The Illinois tech community is doing great.  I see all kinds of really interesting businesses that are building.  I am invested in a few.  They are solving problems and creating value for customers.  Someday, they will be big.  In the …






Do You Think Like A Futurist?

It is awfully difficult to predict the future.  Macroeconomists have found it almost impossible.  In Venture Capital, you have to envision what will happen ten years from today.  Then, find a company that fits that thesis and invest in it. …






10,000 Bitcoins For a Pizza

The first transaction in bitcoin was 10,000 bitcoins for a pizza.  Hope it was Chicago style.  It reminds me of the assignment Craig Wortmann gives students.  He has them barter a pen for a few weeks to see what they …






Encryption, CyberSecurity, and Number Theory

Cyber security is front and center in the minds of everyone these days.  The DNC got hacked due to lax procedures but plenty of other organizations have been hacked as well.  Once your computer is hooked up to the internet, …






How Do We Rise Above The Violence?

Yesterday while the voters who were upset with the Trump election marched I was at the Memorial Service for Professor Paul Magelli.  It was live streamed to places as far away as China.  When the video gets produced I will …