WarwickTECH: June 2021 Update

WarwickTECH is a student-led angel fund backing founders from Warwick University.

Welcome to WarwickTECH's June newsletter! Every month, we will be sharing our top tech stories —  including the most exciting things going on in tech, startups, and innovation at Warwick and beyond.

Curated and edited by Cyrus Ma

What’s happening at our portfolio startups?

Amica: App pre-launch!

Amica, one of our portfolio startups is set for launch on June 10th! A company which originated from an idea to develop a greater sense of confidence and solidarity within the female community. Amica is a friendship app built for women by women; it provides solo travellers who have never met before to co-ordinate activities, from local yoga workouts, to long distance backpacking across Europe. If you’re interested in trying the app out, click here to learn more!

Theme of the month: Blockchain and NFTs

The rise of blockchain technology - a decentralized mode of information storing - has produced a series of innovations in fintech, security, and much more. More interestingly, blockchain has been making more developments in the ownership space, through non-fungible tokens (NFTs) which are pieces of data which are non-replicable and can be exclusively “owned” by a particular entity. So, what’s to know about blockchain?

What is Blockchain?

What is Blockchain, and what applications can it have for the sector you are working in? This Reuters article explains, through graphics, how blockchain stores information across ledgers possessed by different individuals, and how the system can resist attempts to hack and change its contents.

NFTs - an environmental perspective

Learning about the challenges facing a particular technological innovation is just as important as learning about the benefits. Adam Greenfield in the Guardian presents a counter-opinion to blockchain technology, by claiming that NFTs do not add much value in existing applications, and that the energy-intensive processes that go into the “proof-of-work” processes of blockchain are a large waste of energy. If taken to be true, much more work needs to go into both developing an application framework for blockchain and increasing the energy efficiency of blockchain technology before it can be widely adopted.

Viral video “Charlie bit off my finger” sold as NFT

A youtube video “Charlie bit my finger” has been sold as a NFT in the past month. While NFTs have been around for a while, with tokens “Cryptokitties” having been traded since 2017, this instance marks the first high profile sale of an NFT that was not created as an NFT. Even though it has been rumoured that the video would be taken down from Youtube post-sale, the buyer has decided to leave it public (as of 30/5/ 2021). This instance demonstrates the large potential impact of NFTs on intellectual property rights, as the non-replicable nature NFTs allows for the unique identification of original tokens, and has widespread implications for data use and even property in the future.

What else did we learn this month?

From this month onwards, we’ll be devoting one section to talk about insights the WarwickTECH team found interesting during the past month. There’ll be a bit of everything, from entrepreneurship skills, bits of tech knowledge, and even productivity tips, so stay tuned!

Snapchat: how to leverage it to improve your side hustle

Snapchat is known as one of the world’s most popular social media networks - and has a large teen to young adult userbase, creating unparalleled opportunities for increasing community engagement with younger audiences. This article provides a few Snapchat-specific social media strategies, including some tips on the partnership model in Snapchat. Whether you are a person starting on their social media journey, or a startup looking to increase their footprint, this article provides some interesting insights that definitely deserves a try.

Entrepreneurship: breaking rules or breaking methods?

Much about entrepreneurship in mainstream news has been about innovation and changes to their business model - but how should that news be interpreted? Darrow provides an interesting take on what successful startups do differently - not by breaking the rules of the game, which stay the same for each and every player in the market, but by using different methods. Using analogies like Chess openings and the origins of Amazon, this successful read should have sound applications in your new ventures.

Is pressure what motivates entrepreneurs?

A characteristic one would commonly associate with leaders is the ability to perform under pressure - but is it as clear cut as it seems? By pointing to the differences in startup culture and corporate norms, Rachel Greenberg presents an alternate take - entrepreneurs don’t necessarily perform better under external pressure - rather, it is the intrinsic desire or the passion for change which motivates eventual success.

That's all for June, let us know what you thought and if we missed any stories or topics worth including going forward — see you next month!

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