TECH THURSDAY: Mobile Man

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EDITOR’S NOTE: BizVoice® has featured technology/innovation stories throughout its 18-year history. Look for these flashbacks each Thursday. Here is a 2013 favorite. And it’s most appropriate considering yesterday’s news from Bluebridge in which the company announced a new platform, more funding and its plans to add more jobs. 

Santiago Jaramillo, now 23, initially landed in Indiana without any personal connections. Oh, how that has changed in a short period of time.

Having flourished on a full scholarship he’d earned at a prestigious private high school – American Heritage School in Plantation, Fla. – where Miami Heat basketball players often send their children, he could have attended almost any university he wanted.

Yet when he walked onto the campus of Indiana Wesleyan University in Marion following a visit to Chicago, he decided to commit to the school. “I walked in and said, ‘I don’t know why I should go here – but I think it’s right,’ ” Jaramillo recalls. “I didn’t know anybody in Indiana; I’d never been here before.”

That decision would ultimately open many doors for him after he graduated with a 4.0 GPA and valedictorian status at the university. But it certainly wasn’t the first time a fortuitous instinct paid dividends for him. He remembers a fateful day as a child in his native Cali, Colombia.

Read the full story online.

And learn more about the Indiana Chamber’s new Technology & Innovation Council. Want to participate? Contact Mark Lawrance at mlawrance(at)indianachamber.com.

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Talent is Everything

cSignificant numbers of talented people, not to mention entrepreneurs, in the STEM fields come from international backgrounds. Home countries are trying to entice these men and women to return, while U.S. policy makes it difficult for them to stay here, apply the lessons they have learned and be meaningful economic contributors.

The Kauffman Foundation has more:

The United States stands to lose valuable economic contributors unless it removes immigration barriers to international STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) students who earn advanced degrees here, according to a study released by the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation.

International Ph.D. students in the United States on temporary visas accounted for nearly two-fifths (39 percent) of all Ph.D.s in STEM fields in 2013 – a proportion that has doubled over the past three decades. If the trend continues, the majority of STEM Ph.D.s from U.S. universities will go to international students by 2020.

The report, “Will They Stay or Will They Go? International STEM Students Are Up for Grabs,” conducted by Richard Appelbaum and Xueying Han at the University of California, Santa Barbara, shows that nearly two out of five international STEM students are undecided about whether to stay in America or return to their home countries after graduation. More than a third of them are aware of programs designed to lure them back to their countries of origin, at the same time U.S. immigration policy makes it difficult for them to remain here.

The ability to retain international STEM graduates has implications for U.S. entrepreneurship, innovation and economic growth. In 2014, 29 percent of all new U.S. startups were founded by immigrant entrepreneurs, reflecting a startup rate nearly twice as high as that of U.S.-born adults.

“Innovation is one of America’s strongest assets, but other nations are gaining on us,” said Yasuyuki Motoyama, director in Research and Policy at the Kauffman Foundation. “These students represent talented scientists and engineers. If we want to maintain our edge amid intensifying global competition, then our immigration policies must be modified to make it easier for international STEM students to make America their permanent home.”

The Kauffman report draws from 2,322 responses to an email survey of domestic and international graduate students enrolled in STEM programs at the 10 U.S. universities with the largest number of international students. Thirty-four percent of the respondents were international students holding temporary visas.

The report recommends that Congress take action to open the immigration door wider to international STEM students, including:

  • Adopt the Immigration Innovation Act (or the I-Squared Act), which would increase the H-1B visa annual cap from 65,000 to between 115,000 and 195,000, depending on demand and market conditions.
  • Adopt the Stopping Trained in America Ph.D.s from Leaving the Economy Act of 2015 (or the STAPLE Act), which would allow international students who earn STEM Ph.D.s from U.S universities and receive job offers from U.S. employers to be admitted for permanent resident status and exempted from H-1B visa limitations.
  • Amend the H-1B visa system to allow all individuals to switch employers/jobs.

The Kauffman researchers recommended that Congress avoid lumping illegal immigration with legal immigration in one bill, cautioning that “politics should play no role in an issue so critical to the future of U.S. competitiveness.”

And learn more about the Indiana Chamber’s new Technology & Innovation Council. Want to participate? Contact Mark Lawrance at mlawrance(at)indianachamber.com.

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TECH THURSDAY: Mickey’s Mantra

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EDITOR’S NOTE: BizVoice® has featured technology/innovation stories throughout its 18-year history. Look for these flashbacks each Thursday. Here is a 2011 favorite.

Michael S. “Mickey” Maurer says a common piece of advice for entrepreneurs is “find something you do well, you like, and do that forever.”

But all entrepreneurs do not fit into a nice, neat, one-size-fits-all package. The definition of the term, after all, typically includes the words “initiative” and “risk.”

Maurer follows his initial comment with this self-description. “I just don’t seem to follow that good advice. I have a short attention span, a big curiosity and I like to do things I’ve never done before. What I try to do is find something I’ve never done, do that and learn all I can, and then move on and do something else I’ve never done. And that makes every deal fascinating … and it makes every deal fraught with risks if you’re doing everything for the first time.”

Maurer’s business career has included cable television, racquetball facilities, film production, radio broadcasting, newspaper publishing, banking and much more. He served in the early days of the Daniels administration, making deals for the state as leader of the Indiana Economic Development Corporation.

In one 30-minute conversation, Maurer offers these recollections and pieces of advice.

Read the full story online.

And learn more about the Indiana Chamber’s new Technology & Innovation Council. Want to participate? Contact Mark Lawrance at mlawrance(at)indianachamber.com.

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Angels Prove to be More Selective in 2015

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The angel investor market in 2015 had a slight increase in investment dollars and in deal size according to a new report from the Center for Venture Research (CVR) at the University of New Hampshire.

The State Science & Technology Institute provides the following analysis:

In The Angel Investor Market in 2015: A Buyers Market, CVR reports that total angel investments in 2015 were $24.6 billion – an increase of 1.9% over 2014. CVR also reported that the total number of entrepreneurial ventures that received angel funding in 2015 declined by 3.1% from 2014 – in total 71,110 start-ups received funding. The result of these two trends was larger deal sizes for 2015 – an increase of 5.1% from 2014. CVR concluded that these findings, combined with yield rates and valuations data, indicate that angels were selective in their investment behavior in 2015.

While CVR contends that the angel market was robust in 2015 – approximately $24.6 billion in investments – they also believe that the selectivity of angels and decrease in valuations over the last three years indicates a continuing market correction in valuations. Other findings include:

  • Software maintained its top sector position with 18% of total angel investments in 2015
  • Other key industries include Healthcare Services/Medical Devices and Equipment (16%), Biotech (13%), Industrial/Energy (11%), Retail (10.6%), and Media (9%)
  • Angel investments contributed to the creation of 270,2000 new jobs in the U.S. – 3.8 jobs per angel investment
  • The average angel deal size was $345,390
  • The average equity received was 14.89% with a deal valuation of $2.3 million
  • Angel investment in the seed and start-up stage (28% of deals) was largely unchanged from 2014 (25% of deals)
  • Fort-five percent of all angel deals were early stage investments (46% in 2014)
  • Expansion and late stage investments also remained consistent with regard to percentage of total deals

Interested in the health of Indiana’s tech community? Get involved in the new Indiana Technology and Innovation Council. First open discussion is August 9! Contact Mark Lawrance at mlawrance(at)indianachamber.com to learn more. 

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Jasper’s Matrix Integration Earns National Recognition

Matrix-Integration-logoMatrix Integration, an Indiana Chamber member based in Jasper, illustrates just some of the tech innovation found throughout the state. Today, the company celebrates five national awards. (And if you’re interested in enhancing the tech climate and are affiliated with an Indiana tech company, consider participating in the Indiana Technology & Innovation Council. The first open discussion is August 9.)

A press release has more on Matrix Integration:

Matrix Integration LLC, expert technology advisors based in Jasper, Indiana with locations in Fishers, Indiana and Louisville, Kentucky, wins multiple national awards including making the Diversity Business Top Business for 2016, the Top 30 Women of the Channel List from CRN- a leading magazine in the business-to-business computer industry – and Matrix was also named to CRN’s Tech Elite 250, the Elite 150 of CRN’s 2016 Managed Service Provider 500 (MSP500) list, and Solution Provider 500 (SP500) list.

“It is always a huge honor that we’ve won several of these awards year over year,” said Brenda Stallings, co-founder and CEO of Matrix Integration. “We pride ourselves on our highly trained, innovative workforce that builds lasting relationships, while we design and implement technology solutions that give our customers an edge, and the industry has recognized that.”

The awards recognize various aspects of Matrix Integration’s business.

  • As one of Diversity Business “Top Business for 2016” Matrix Integration represents a growing class of innovators and visionaries that continue to go beyond expectations in producing products and services that transform the way we live. Contributions also have created an important cycle of reinvigorating the nation’s and global economic vitality. www.diversitybusiness.com.
  • CRN’s 2016 Women of the Channel list honors 340 female executives who are making their mark in the technology industry with Matrix Integration’s co-founder and CEO, Brenda Stallings, ranking in the Top 30 List.
  • Companies on the CRN 2016 Tech Elite 250 list represent an elite group of North American IT solution providers that have invested in the training and education needed to earn the most advanced technical certifications in the IT Channel for data center or cloud.
  • The Elite 150 of CRN’s 2016 Managed Service Provider 500 (MSP500) list. The MSP500 is an annual list which recognizes the top technology providers and consultants in North America whose cutting-edge approach to managed services puts end-user customers in the best position to improve efficiencies, cut costs and speed time to market for their own products and services.
  • Awarded by The Channel Company and CRN for placing #294 on the 2016 CRN Solution Provider 500 (SP500) list. CRN’s staple SP500 list recognizes the top channel partners in North America each year since 1995. This acclaimed annual ranking is an industry-recognized guide to the most accomplished partners in the channel.

Tech Thursday: Don’t Worry; Just Be Successful

EDITOR’S NOTE: BizVoice® has featured technology/innovation stories throughout its 18-year history. Look for these flashbacks each Thursday. Here is a 2015 favorite.

Max Yoder talks – a lot. He is the first to admit that. But the 27-year-old CEO of Lesson.ly (the 2015 Mira Award winner as Tech Startup of the Year) has a great deal to say. And many people are paying very close attention to his words.

In the first five minutes of a 55-minute conversation, Yoder says he is a worrier. When asked to explain that seeming contradiction with leading an entrepreneurial venture, he clarifies:

“When I say I’m a worrier, that doesn’t necessarily mean I worry about everything. I don’t worry about my abilities. I often worry about things I can’t control; there are a lot of them,” he shares.

Read the full story online.

And learn more about the Indiana Chamber’s new Technology and Innovation Council. Want to participate? Contact Mark Lawrance at mlawrance(at)indianachamber.com and look for the #TIC4TECH hashtag.

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New Addition: Indiana Technology & Innovation Council

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Technology companies are relocating to and growing in portions of Indiana. The mission of the Indiana Chamber’s new Indiana Technology & Innovation Council is to support and expand those efforts.

The Chamber will utilize its policy, political affairs, event planning, research, communications and financial resources in collaboration with tech company leaders and organizations. The Indiana Technology & Innovation Council opens the door statewide to those wanting to join Chamber members, who will receive these expanded benefits as part of their current Chamber dues investment.

Chamber members can participate in upcoming open discussions on policy and programming priorities. Two committees – Tech Policy, and Program and Trends – comprised of representatives of member companies will develop a specific policy agenda and programming that supports existing efforts.

Full details are available in this press release. Mark Lawrance (mlawrance@indianachamber.com), who recently returned to the Chamber as Vice President of Engagement and Innovation Policy, will be the lead staff person.

“We’re excited to partner with tech companies and their leaders,” states Lawrance, “while offering a statewide platform to expand Indiana’s growing tech success story.”

Elon Musk: We Are Most Definitely Living a Simulation Exercise

Elon Musk had an interesting answer when asked if we are living in someone else’s simulation: “The odds are one in billions that we are in base reality.” Sooooooo, yeah.

Here’s the full interview with the always-intriguing Musk at the 2016 Code Conference in California this week (click “PLAY ALL” in the image):

Telemedicine a Potentially Healthy Benefit of Broadband Access

Virtual doctor measures blood pressure

For the upcoming July/August edition of BizVoice, I spoke with Smithville Fiber Executive Vice President Cullen McCarty about developments in broadband — both in Indiana and around the globe.

One aspect he mentioned was the significant impact on health broadband access could play for Americans living in rural areas as telemedicine capabilities increase.

“The importance is having the ability to stay at home and talk with your doctor from there, whether it’s through FaceTime or some type of interactive technology,” McCarty says. “You can have a doctor’s visit without a stethoscope. You can take blood pressure over a device and have that information shot back to the doctor.”

Fitbits and Apple Watches may also be able to transfer diagnostics to doctors as well, he adds, noting aging Hoosiers will need to take advantage of all avenues to increase medical efficiency.

“In Southern Indiana, a lot of hospitals and clinics are a far drive for some in rural areas, like Orange and Greene Counties,” McCarty offers. “It takes a lot of gas and money, so I think that’s where telemedicine will take off. Plus, you have specialists who read X-rays. An example we were given several years ago is that there are people in other parts of the country and the world who read X-rays, and they send it back to the doctor.”

He relays an example of someone getting an X-ray in Bloomington and having it sent to a radiologist who lives on a golf course in Texas.

“There are many different applications for telemedicine,” McCarty points out. “I think it’s a big driver in getting broadband into people’s homes who don’t see the value yet.”

Take Part in the Innovation Showcase: Deadline to Enter is May 30

innovator picParticipate in the 8th Annual Innovation Showcase, where each entrepreneur will have the opportunity to pitch to an investor panel for a chance to win cash and tangible services. (Note: Applications are due May 30!)

Featuring three competitive tracks:

  • University
  • Start-Up
  • and Scale-Up

Exhibiting companies will also get exposure to more than 30 venture capital funds from around the country, and be selected by them for one-on-one meetings. See what representatives from the 2015 winner, Pi Labs Inc. (aka Edwin the Duck), are saying about the importance of the showcase in this video.

Other key dates:

  • First round pitch and selection: June 24
  • Final pitch competition and winners announced: July 14