Bold Business Logo

U.S. has a VC Money Challenger

When people think of advanced technology, they usually have one name in mind: Silicon Valley. The region located at the south of the San Francisco Bay Area is famous the world over for being the center of innovation, bold ideas, venture capital for tech startups (VC), high technology, and even social media.

Silicon Valley (SV) is composed of various cities, including San Jose, Santa Clara, Palo Alto, Sunnyvale, and Mountain View. The tech hub got its name from the large number of silicon chip manufacturers and innovators from the area, but the place is now home to some of the world’s biggest names including 39 companies listed in the Fortune 1000, as well as plenty of startups. However, there’s something else giving Silicon Valley a run for their money, and it’s not who you expect.

A Surprise Contender

There are many challengers to Silicon Valley’s dominance in high tech revolution. With the area serving as the home to big names such as Apple, Google, and Facebook, sunny California’s SV has established itself as an amazing place to create and grow bold, disruptive ideas that are worth millions.

There are many high tech areas that also prove to be just as hip and innovative as SV, including: the Greater Seattle Area (Microsoft, Amazon); Texas (Dell, Texas Instruments); and Boston (TripAdvisor, Akamai). Areas like Denver Tech Center in Colorado, Silicon Alley in New York, Research Triangle of North Carolina, and the Golden Corridor in Chicago, are all blooming when it comes to thriving businesses.

Internationally, there are interesting non-American locations with promising futures. Berlin, Germany; Toronto, Canada; Singapore; Paris, France; Sao Paulo, Brazil; Bangalore, India; Sydney, Australia; Tel Aviv, Israel; London, England; and Moscow, Russia. However, there is a surprise contender that is shocking and disrupting businesses worldwide: China.

A new report by VentureSource reveals that China, one of the biggest and most populous countries in the world, is closing in on the United States as the largest backer of startups. The report shows how the Asian country owns about a third (about 33 percent) of total startup financing in 2017, closing in on the US’s 47 percent.

China-based investors also now lead about a quarter of total investments, compared to America’s 44 percent, further showing China’s steady climb in both VC and high technology. In addition, Sequoia Capital established itself as one of the leading VC names, especially as their investor Neil Shen was put in the Forbes Midas list – the list of top 100 dealmakers in tech and lifestyle VCs.

The China Question

China did not become a threat to Silicon Valley overnight. What exactly happened? The shift to China includes an upsurge in spending for research and development (R&D), patent applications, scientific research, and even engineering graduates.

China’s R&D spending is currently at $409 billion, alarmingly close to America’s $497 billion. Spending is also increasing at 18 percent a year, versus only 4 percent for the US.

China’s patent applications in 2017 increased 13.4 percent (48,882 applicants) – 20 percent of the total number of applicants worldwide. Meanwhile, the US claims a whopping 29 percent (56, 624 applicants) that same year.

As far as scientific research goes, China accounts for 18.6 percent globally, while the US still has a respectable but overshadowed 17.8 percent.

China also boasts having 22 percent of the world’s bachelor degrees in science and engineering. The US is at 10 percent for the US. It’s slightly different for doctoral degrees, though China is still a contender at 34,000 compared to the US which has 40,000.

While China is starting to become a truly disruptive threat to other tech hubs found all over the world, people should not see it in a negative light – if anything, this bold impact can be something worth spending positive energy on, allowing brilliant minds from within and outside of Silicon Valley to challenge themselves to become even better than they already are.

On Military Invisible Technology: Can Technology Really Make US Soldiers Invisible?

Harry Potter, The Invisible Woman, and Martian Manhunter are just three of many fictional characters who have a special ability to turn invisible. Aside from the ability to fly, most people would choose invisibility when asked what power they would want—it may be safe to say that the same goes for the military sector. The sector believes that soldiers need more than just body strength and firepower to defeat the enemy. Thus, Bold Business delves into the discussion on military invisible technology.

The United States Armed Forces do great things for the country by defending Americans around the world and working well with allies. But more importantly, they want to empower their armies. With this in mind, a network of organizations developed the bold idea of creating material that can make soldiers invisible to the naked eye—a sort of military invisible technology.

The University of California, Irvine (UCI) is a public research university in the U.S. that recently made a breakthrough for an invisibility material when engineers were able to construct prototypes. Materials used for the proposed military invisibility technology include aluminum, plastic and sticky tape. Engineers at UCI built the technology using capacitors, which reports say are comprised of reflective infrared coating, dielectric elastomer and proton electrodes.

Iridocyte, a rare squid skin cell, is the inspiration for developing the invisible material. The unusual cell has sheets of platelets, which is composed of a protein known as reflectin. UCI engineers then came up with small swatches that completes the invisible material.

The said component has allowed the material to have an incredible feature of modifying its temperature based on the location. It could also make the user invisible to infrared night vision cameras.

a GIF of the word "invisibility" and eight additional soldiers appearing alongside five static soldiers amid the rise of military invisible technology
The reality of military invisible technology is not impossible!

On the Inspiration for Military Invisible Technology

According to Alon Gorodetsky—an engineering professor at UCI and Chengyi Xu, as well as a doctoral student at UCI—, the archetype that they developed reflects heat by varying the exterior of its structure when activated. The invisibility material will not just help soldiers with their camouflaging tactics but it can also be used as a storage container and an emergency cover for their aircraft and tanks. Once the swatches attached to the material reflect the heat from their surroundings, the invisibility material will transform from dull and wrinkled to shiny and smooth.

Gorodetsky said, “We were inspired both by science fiction and science fact—seeing dinosaurs disappear and reappear under an infrared camera in ‘Jurassic World’ and seeing squid filmed underwater do similar things. So, we decided to merge those concepts to design a really unique technology.”

HyperStealth Biotechnology Corporation 

Because the U.S. military is supporting all advancements in camouflaging and invisibility materials, companies are jumping on board. HyperStealth Biotechnology is just one of them. The Maple Ridge-based company is involved in engineering and distributing modified military uniforms. With an estimated revenue of $8.8 million, the company can surely come up with a military invisible technology that will help the defense forces.

HyperStealth Biotechnology invented a camouflaging material called ‘Quantum Stealth’. Reports have suggested that the Canadian company did not disclose the way they processed the Quantum Stealth. However, they did mention that the technology allows the user to be invisible by means of deflecting light waves. Quantum Stealth also has the capability to fool night vision goggles, which are mostly used by law enforcement and military agencies.

According to HyperStealth Biotechnology CEO Guy Cramer, “Two separate command groups within the U.S. Military and two separate Canadian Military groups as well as Federal Emergency Response Team (Counter Terrorism), have seen the actual material so they could verify that I was not just manipulating video or photo results.” Cramer said that Quantum Stealth would be vital for soldiers, especially for pilots accidentally ejected behind enemy lines. Special Forces would also benefit from the said military invisible technology as they can execute raids in broad daylight. When it comes to aircraft and submarines—both could be concealed and avoid radar detections.

Allowing the military sector to utilize the technology of invisibility materials would definitely change the face of the world. It will not only make soldiers more reliable, but it could also make them safer in their missions. These invisibility devices are still on the nascent stage, but with the continuous support from both the companies and the authorities, the military invisible technology will surely reach its prime in no time.

Blockchain Technology: Medium To Help A City In California

As one of the major elements of the well-known cryptocurrency, Blockchain, the technology behind Bitcoin has really evolved tremendously. It is starting to be integrated into almost everything — from the banking sector to the industry of healthcare. Now, the technological prowess of blockchain will be tested in the complicated domains of real estate and public sector – the Berkeley blockchain.

This year, the U.S. housing sector saw a slight hiccup in their real estate plans as its budget was reduced. The housing sector dilemma is currently impacting Berkeley, a city in Northern California on the east side of San Francisco Bay. It’s home to the University of California, Berkeley, birthplace of the 1960’s Free Speech Movement. However, instead of backing down, its city officials have decided to stand tall and help the society move forward.

Ben Bartlett, a city council member in Berkeley, has come up with a bold idea of integrating the blockchain technology into their housing sector dilemma. He and the Mayor of Berkeley, Jesse Arreguin wanted their city to have its very own cryptocurrency for buying municipal bonds.

According to Business Insider, in order to support the city’s planned cryptocurrency, Bartlett and Arreguin have initiated to launch an ICO. The ICO is expected to raise funds by means of selling digital coins that will be supported by the government municipal bonds.

And Instead of calling it ‘initial coin offering’, they made it their own with a new term, ‘Initial Community Offering’.

The two city officials are also supported by Neighborly, a financial technology platform that lets municipal finance professionals create investments in civic-natured missions, and the UC Berkeley Blockchain Lab.

According to Bartlett, “This is not your typical ICO, but rather an initial community offering. We decide to explore new forms of finance in response to the cuts from DC and corporate tax cuts that took away our ability to fund affordable housing. There are more than one-thousand homeless people living in Berkeley, which is projected to increase by a factor of five in the coming years. Many cities, just like Berkeley, are under a funding assault – we have to think outside of the box in order to solve this problem. We did this a decade ago with PACE financing and now it’s time to do it again.”

If deemed successful, Berkeley will come down in history as the first United States city to utilize cryptocurrency for political purposes. The authorities plan to launch the ICO and cryptocurrency in May 2018.

The funding and budget for the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development received a massive cut from the current government and in a city like Berkeley, there is now a threatening municipal bond problem caused by the housing sector dilemma.

Bartlett mentioned that there is a discrepancy when it comes to distributing municipal bonds because of the intermediaries who constantly add costs or sometimes delay the process. He believes that using a blockchain technology can somewhat remove the complications they face.

Barlett said, “Essentially, we would like to explore some new ways of financing because we have terrific needs. And we are concerned about our ability to fulfill our moral and legal obligations for our residents here.”

Municipal bonds are important for the growth of a society. Without its presence, a specific city would not be able to fund the development of different infrastructure facilities such as new schools, hospitals, an update of sewers, improvement of roads, and the creation of more housing projects.

Berkeley Not The First Place To Embrace Blockchain Technology

Venezuela is considered as an eminent country on the northern coast of South America because it recently presented its first state-backed cryptocurrency, Petro. Petromoneda or more commonly known as Petro was introduced to the public in February of this year and caters to mineral reserves and oil.

It was reported that Petro has produced a substantial amount of $735 million in its first day of sale. Nicolas Maduro, the President of Venezuela, said: “Today, a cryptocurrency is being born that can take on Superman.”

Aside from Venezuela, Estonia, a country in Europe, is also venturing into the cryptocurrency craze. Estonia still plans to create their own cryptocurrency, despite the doubts from the European Central Bank, one of the most powerful organizations in Europe.

Blockchain continues to create a bold impact on businesses and corporations around the globe. Now, the technological phenomenon is on its way to positively disrupt public sector issues.



Shipping Natural Gas Overseas — Tellurian CEO Has $24-Billion Solution!

American companies are trying to figure out how to sell more natural gas to the rest of the world. Meg Gentle, Tellurian’s chief executive officer (CEO), has a bold idea that may just be the answer the U.S. is looking for on the topic of shipping natural gas overseas.

On the topic of shipping natural gas overseas: In order to ship liquefied natural gas across the country and elsewhere around the world, companies throughout the United States are constructing terminals that allow gas to be chilled and loaded into tankers. Tellurian, a Houston-based company, is one of those companies in the business of shipping natural gas overseas. However, its ambition to produce natural gas sets them apart and may make them the leader in creating a bold impact on green energy.

A $24 Billion Bold Idea for Shipping Natural Gas Overseas

Tellurian’s plans are estimated to cost about $24 billion. As such, Gentle needs to convince potential buyers to purchase equity interests. What do they get in exchange? The get a future where gas is actually affordable. Indeed, liquefied natural gas is a game-changer because of its flexibility and potentially lower cost, albeit it’s still an experimental phase in what could be the future of energy worldwide.

In a strange twist, stock investors are still adamantly hesitant toward Gentle’s idea. The stock fell about 10 percent already this year—thus creating a market value of only $2 billion, a generally large amount but still not enough to fund the other $22 billion needed. However, there is still plenty of hope, as a number of major energy companies have at least expressed interest in backing Tellurian.

The young, 2-year-old startup is counting on funding from both General Electric Co. and French oil company Total SA. In addition, Tellurian has also had several talks with Aramco—also known as Saudi Arabian Oil Co.—about a potential investment as the Arabian company is looking for deals in the U.S.

What’s more, Tellurian’s senior vice president (SVP) Amos Hochstein publicly stated that the U.S. may need to invest about $150 billion in infrastructure in order to support the growing production of natural gas. It should be noted that some producers have been shutting down lately as they try to increase output. Hochstein explained that as oil prices rise, producers of shale oil—oil produced from shale rock—need to increase their output and also produce other gases to keep up with the demand. Unfortunately, there is not enough pipeline to reach such demand.

What’s Needed in Producing Gas And Shipping Natural Gas Overseas

“We need well over $150 billion worth of investment in infrastructure in the United States to support the gas production that is coming online,” Hochstein says.

Gentle affirmed it may even be $170 billion, as such a network of pipelines, export terminals, compressor stations, and other much-needed infrastructure are required for this bold idea to come to fruition. In truth, there has been little to no support when it comes to export terminals for liquefied natural gas (LNG). Additionally, U.S. infrastructure currently has trouble supporting shale oil and shale gas—the infrastructure was built for traditional energy sources and have not yet been updated for greener resources. “One threat to the U.S. being able to export LNG and expand its export capability is the overall commitment to invest in infrastructure to move natural gas,” Gentle explains.

As early as two years ago, Total invested $207 million in Tellurian—acquiring 23 percent of shares at $5.85 per share at the time. “Total’s investment materially strengthens Tellurian’s position as a large infrastructure development company and is an important milestone in the growth of Tellurian’s LNG business, including the Driftwood LNG project in Calcasieu Parish, Louisiana,” Gentle stated at that time. Only recently, Tellurian’s subsidiary Permian Global Access Pipeline announced their search for shippers that could back a $3.7 billion interstate pipeline connecting the Permian Basin in Texas to southwest Louisiana. Stretching a length of approximately 625 miles, the pipeline will transport gas from Pecos County, Texas to Jefferson Davis Parish, Louisiana. They expect its operation to start by 2022, with a capacity of transporting as much as 2 billion cubic feet of gas daily.

On the Future of Shipping Natural Gas Overseas

While the U.S. has already established the ability to import and export LNG, the shale gas revolution is still something its proponents need to continuously work on. At the moment, the country is better off becoming an exporter. Indeed, the abundance of gas supplies allows for cheap production and exporting—which the country needs to take advantage of if they want to establish themselves as a leading name in sustainable energy.