Where Angels will tread – in 2012

             Angels can look forward to working together in a new approach to the incubation of new businesses as three new ‘Accelerators’ spread their wings in the UK and several more elsewhere in the world. These short intensive innovation programmes select small groups of teams with promising ideas for new products and provide them with dramatic challenge and support (see Nesta’s The Startup Factories, 2011 (http://www.nesta.org)). 
             Ron Conway, Special Adviser to SV Angel – in the Economist’s “World in 2012” (http://www.economist.com/theworldin/2012) suggests thatthe continuing rapid growth in Facebook and the social web is seen by Angels as a good opportunity for entrepreneurs with start-ups that attract seed-stage investments. In particular the explosive growth of Smartphones offers all sorts of opportunities for providing content related to their users’ context, by offering innovative and engaging experiences for people on the move so that they can get what they want where the want it (eg the LinkedIn page of the person across the table from you; or (suggests another article) onto your glasses the name of the person to whom you are talking, together with their recent postings).
            Commerce will also benefit from this trend since more people are paying for experiences online and experiencing them offline. Merchants finally have access to the tracking and measurability that are key pieces of internet economics, enabling them to design offers that are tightly contextualised (eg that relate to their profiles of their customers.)
            Another field that is attracting the interest of Angels is peer-to-peer markets and the growth of collaborative consumption. The age of networks and mobile devices has created the opportunity to set up networks for the sharing and exchange of assets – from cars, to bikes, to skills, to spare space. Zipcar and Rentcycle are given as examples as is the Paris electric car network and a similar scheme in London into which you pitch your own car – both schemes about to be launched.


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