WarwickTECH: Happy New Year!
Our first newsletter of 2022
Welcome to WarwickTECH's January 2022 newsletter! Hope you had a nice break and started the year on the right foot. This is our biannual newsletter, where we will be sharing our top stories — including the most relevant highlights of 2021, and covering the WarwickTECH community, innovation at Warwick and beyond.
What’s new at WarwickTECH?
Jasmine Brown took the reins of our operations effort last quarter. She runs all our student-events with the help of a few new faces. Her current focus is on organising the annual WarwickHACK. WarwickHACK is Warwick's official hackathon, hosted in part with Major League Hacking's 2022 Official Student Hackathon Season – we're one of the original European members! WarwickHACK is a great opportunity to see how, in 24 hours, ambition and passion added with a pinch of creativity can disrupt the world we live in.
What’s happening at our portfolio startups?
Superlinked is a social AI infrastructure startup that helps social platforms, networks, and communities deliver on their promise, by building engaging & relevant experiences with ease. Their first phase of the journey started by making 1 on 1 connections of members in professional communities. They launched their pilot in December and have been working closely with multiple professional communities, including Startup Grind and Young Anglo Russian Professional Network (YARPN). Since the beginning of their journey, they’ve made over 150 introductions and are working to scale that number and increase the engagement of online communities. Support our portfolio company and keep up with their updates on LinkedIn and Twitter!
Some highlights from 2021:
At the beginning of 2021 very few knew what Non-Fungible tokens were. However, this was the year of Metaverse and NFTs, putting ‘NFT’ in the list of the top 10 most used words of 2021. Last year the NFT market was worth around $41 billion! Just for comparison, the global art market was worth around $50 billion in the same year. Today we see people creating their own NFTs and buying digital artwork for $10,000 to use as their Twitter profiles pictures. The enthusiasts believe that digital tokens will become crucial to our daily lives and power e-commerce across any Metaverse.
Early-stage startups are fundraising more cash than ever before. This is especially true for the US, where we are seeing investors going for seed stage startups with ideas and skills rather than more established startups with existing revenue. In 2021 early stage startups raised $93 billion in the US, compared to $52 billion in 2020 and $30 billion in 2016. European investors are falling behind in this trend, but we are expecting to see a change in their due-diligence process too in the next couple of years. Because high risks means high returns, and who doesn’t like that?
As you already know the investment into early stage startups is on the rise. According to an estimation by the Financial Times, less than 4% of European Unicorns are university spinouts. This is because Universities make it very difficult and demotivating for academic entrepreneurs to turn their research into startups. Firstly, Universities demand 25-50% of the company shares upon founding. Secondly, there is no openly shared information regarding key spinout deal terms per university, creating information asymmetry between founders and universities. spinout.fyi is trying to solve the second issue by creating an open databased for university spinouts. Check them out and give them your support!
What’s happening at Warwick University?
The future is looking good for University of Warwick founders. The University of Warwick, with the Warwick Innovation District and Warwick Enterprise, are putting their efforts into developing the University’s (and West Midlands) startup culture. Warwick Enterprise is launching a “Start your Startup” program, aimed to help students go from an idea to a budding startup. Their program provides daily steps required to build a business and expertise to help founders develop relevant skills. The Warwick Innovation District is providing the space, the business support and the networking opportunities for early-stage startups though their Creatives Future Incubator.
The University of Warwick was among the few institutions to receive an official observer status for COP26. The University sent 17 experts to attend the conference. This was a great opportunity for the University to showcase their expertise in the fields of energy, political science, microbiology and sustainable engineering. Check out the innovating work that the University showcased in Glasgow.
Realising the rising pressure on business to digitalise, improve their efficiency and approach Net Zero goal, WMG Skills Centre is working to equip the future workforce with relevant technical skills. The new courses are aimed to decrease the technical gap in the following areas: Digital Manufacturing, Energy Systems, and Intelligent Vehicles. These are short duration courses aimed to up-skill, re-skill and new-skill the workers.