The low down on six founder-related stories that might have passed you by this week, including London retaining its place on a global list, forward thinking from ad legend John Hegarty and an unexpected legacy left by Sir Clive Sinclair
1. London retains joint-second place in global ranking
There was good news this week on the strength of the UK entrepreneurial economy. Just using the words “good news” and “UK economy” in the same sentence makes a nice change. The news came in the form of the Startup Genome’s Global Startup Ecosystem Report 2021, which rated the UK’s capital joint second its global list of entrepreneurial ecosystems, tied with New York and beaten only by Silicon Valley. This is the same ranking as last year and maintaining joint second feels like a win after 12 months that included Covid and the final throes of Brexit. The report’s authors suggest that, contrary to the expected exodus of capital and talent following Brexit, the UK’s final exit from the EU has added some certainty. At $15bn, VC investment in Britain, for example, was the third highest in the world after the US and China. Other numbers for London are equally impressive, with local start-ups in the capital valued at $47bn, median seed round funding was $653,000 (compared to a global average $494,000), while median series A funding was $4m ($2.7m). Fintech companies alone raised £2.7bn of investment in 2020. Club members can read a more detailed post here.
2. John Hegarty: A future-gazing mad man
If the Covid hasn’t killed the start-up economy, it has transformed the working environment. Offices will never be the same. While preparing for an event this week about how to remain agile while you grow an agency (Supper Club members can watch a recording of the session led by Miles Welch of Milestone Advisory here), I dipped again into the always-excellent Hegarty on Advertising, and found this prescient quote: “Maybe we should rethink the whole organizational structure of an office and think of it as a club? A club is a place people enjoy going to and spending time in. A club is a rewarding, engaging and stimulating place to be. So why don’t we think of the office as a club and learn from the way a club is run rather than an office?” Hats off to the wisdom of ad legend John Hegarty.
3. More future thinking from two Supper Club members
If Hegarty predicted aspects of the future office, Supper Club member Walter Craven is putting his money on there being a need for more flexible space. This week he used London Design Week to launch a new concept in bookable work pods. His Make.Work.Space. pods look the part and come equipped with all required conveniences. Elsewhere, Manchester-based drinks entrepreneur, and Supper Club member, Tom Bell and his firm DrinkWell announced the launch of a new bottled water using a fully compostable bottle. Good luck to both ventures.
4. China's property bubble just got scarier
If Supper Club members are shaping the future, some people in property finance seem intent on not learning from the past. In particular, the dangers of a property-fuelled financial bubble. Hello Lehman Brothers, meet your much bigger successor, Evergrande. The FT Long Reads team did an outstanding job of unpicking the origins and nature of this new crisis. The article revels in some shocking stats. One consultant estimates there are sufficient empty properties in China to house 90 million people. Yes, 90 million. That's more than the populations of five of the G7 (only the US and Japan have populations over 90 million). The crash, when it comes, is going to hurt.
5. The long-lasting legacy of Sir Clive Sinclair
A long-time guilty pleasure of mine are the hilarious, scandalous emails from celebrity gossip site Popbitch. This week the team ran an excellent story about an unexpected legacy from computing legend Sir Clive Sinclair, who died recently. His computers were manufactured at the Timex factory in Dundee where, thanks to some allegedly light-fingered staff, not all finished products made it out the door marked “official channels”. The result was that the city was awash with grey market Spectrums, leading first to a boom in home game coding, and ultimately to the city’s status as a centre of excellence for the games industry. As the Popbitch team also revealed, the real kicker is that one of the games developed in Dundee was Grand Theft Auto.
6. Do I love you? Indeed I don't
Regardless of your views on Sir Clive, and he’s received better press since his death than he got while alive, it’s hard to have strong negative feelings for his brands. But creating a strong emotional reaction is what good brands do. But what if that reaction is negative, and can we find out where consumers have such reactions?
Rave Reviews has answered both these questions by putting together an excellent map of the world’s most hated brands. While people in Finland really don't like Ferrari, Tesla is despised in Serbia, Spain, Portugal, Poland and Taiwan. And as for the UK, we are one of several countries to have fallen out of love with Uber. But why do Italians so dislike Hyundai?