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When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro.

Weird times… with positive and negative impacts in our individual and collective lives. Personally, I have learned a lot in these last months… to value simple things, to better grasp that sometimes we tend to waste time in matters that simply do not matter, to learn more about the virtues of patience and keeping calm. I lost a bit of weight and also increasingly fitter for the first time in several years, and I  got closer to friends and family, oddly enough, because of the imposed social distance. 

Professionally, we have proven that working together remotely works quite well - we can be highly productive and efficient, getting more done due to a better management of time... but, all of this takes a toll after a long period of time. We start to miss personal interactions and the intense back to back routine of endless calls starts to sink in. To maintain company culture and build on top of the long last relationships that we want to explore with our stakeholders, we will need to mix remote with physical contact. 

Weird times… indeed. Full of personal and professional challenges to overcome and opportunities to explore to our benefit.

Tech will save us all

This new pandemic brought us the same old perspectives about a crisis – we could learn from the previous crisis and protect our portfolio’s companies and also look into new opportunities in growing industries –, but it also brought some new behaviours as well – from investors to companies and workers –, that can be interesting to explore.

Until a few weeks ago, stock markets and the major economies in the world were evolving in opposite directions. Financial markets have been driven by central banks, with the FED playing a pivotal role through its asset purchase program. But there was also another relevant aspect to consider: the closer we are to a possible vaccine against the virus, people (and investors) are getting a sense of trust and the confidence to invest and take a risk.

And the companies that were usually the cornerstones of any economic crisis – the oldest, more mature and consolidated – were now replaced in their survival role by recently founded companies – that showed the ability to rapidly grow.

From companies to homes

Covid-19 sent everyone home and, three months later, not everyone has returned. In the US, before the pandemic, already 4.7 million or 3,4% of the population worked from home, and the number is increasing - according to the U.S. Census Bureau, nearly one-third of the U.S. workforce, and half of all “information workers”, are able to work from home.

Now that everyone is experimenting with the benefits of working remotely, the will to return to the offices is vanishing, with 98% of people saying they would like to have the option to work remotely for the rest of their careers. The same respondents praise the flexible schedule (32%), the possibility to work from anywhere (26%) and not having to commute (21%).

Just on a side-note, not having to commute has a very positive impact on the environment too: Xerox estimated that it saved 92 million miles of driving by allowing its remote workers to avoid commuting, thereby reducing carbon emissions by almost 41,000 metric tons.

This opens up new opportunities for collaboration tools companies, as we have seen in past newsletters – is now the time when virtual reality and augmented reality will enter our daily lives? The expectations are high. Also, it gives companies new chances to re-evaluate their cost structure. Yeah, you read well.

Remote working allows companies to avoid some basic costs such as internet, work computer/phone, or food allowance. In an inquiry done with US workers that worked remotely, 80% of the respondents said the company did not pay for home internet; 72% did not get their phones paid; 87% didn’t receive for costs related to drinks/foods in coffee shops. This is something very small – you already pay for the internet and for your phone –, but there isn’t a good principle behind it.

So why should they keep their high cost offices in Silicon Valley if their workers prefer to work from home? And if they can work from home, then why can’t they be anywhere in the world? Twitter closed its offices until September and Facebook is planning not to open them in the long-term. If companies don’t have a physical space, they can hire people from anywhere in the world and we all know that some countries/locations offer higher wages than others.

Events without sales and networking

Tech events are a big opportunity to generate new leads, which is now more relevant than ever, considering that startups’ survival depends on their sales - 50% of them said they had 6 months or less of runway and 72% saw their revenue drop since the beginning of the crisis with the average startup experiencing a decline of 32%. When all these events are being canceled, postponed or done virtually, how can entrepreneurs do business? Experts say: organize your own event, bet on content marketing, be popular on social media and work on your marketplace.

If new companies are the new cornerstones of the economy, let’s help them

New companies, tech companies, can save the economies from a complete breakdown, so shouldn’t all governments take some time to think about how to help them? As Startup Genome recently posted in its annual report, continuing to invest in local ecosystems will reinsure its growth and, consequently, will produce more value.

And since this is all about innovation, BCG shared its annual list of the world’s most innovative companies - led by the three A’s: Apple, Alphabet and Amazon - and Sifted shared some lessons about what we can learn from them.

Although none of these companies are European-based, the old continent is becoming more competitive when it comes to innovation - on the one hand, the EU continues to have a better performance than the United States, China, Brazil, Russia, South Africa, and India; and on the other, Europe has more ecosystems in the Emerging Entrepreneurial Ecosystems list than the other continents. And there are people who strongly believe that Europe is better positioned than ever before to lead the way from now on.

Bright Teasers
Startup Genome 2020 report

Startup Genome 2020 report is out and a great read that you cannot miss! Their mission is to accelerate startup success and ecosystem performance everywhere, working together with global thought leaders to define and execute robust policies and programs that drive lasting change. Their impact is rooted in over a decade of independent research with data on over a million companies across 150 cities.

Open Call for BlockStart

We’re preparing the launch of the 2nd call for the European Blockchain acceleration program. We’re looking for DLT-based fintechs, retail and IT projects and the best ones will have the opportunity to develop and implement a prototype in a SMB.

DMS has chosen the 50 startups

DMS Accelerator has received 206 applications from European startups and SMEs. Over 6 months, 50 selected startups will receive training in key topics such as GDPR, IP, investment matchmaking & fundraising, legal training, and more.

Bright Writers:

This newsletter is written each month by a different person from Bright Pixel or a special guest that we will invite to collaborate with us. We also believe in ghost writers ;)

This month we had the contribution of Alexandre Nunes Teixeira dos Santos, also known as Alex or ANTS. He is one of Bright Pixel’s co-founders and currently head of investments. More info at his linkedin profile

Bright Pixel

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