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Entrepreneurs & Politicos: Who Was A Winner, Who Had A Stinker in 2016?

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Our all-too-brief yet nicely concise breakdown of who “did a Leicester City” and who “had a Hilary” in 2017. And yes, we are truly sorry we had to use that last phrase. And the first, come to think of it.

Snap It While Its Hot!

From a social media start-ups perspective, everything Evan Spiegel is touching is turning to big shiny yellow gold – his company even released a successful piece of wearable technology for goodness sakes – something that proved completely beyond the world’s largest company just a couple of years ago.

Snapchat’s marketing is the key to its success – from sunglasses dispensers in Central Park, to the secretive, almost cult-like insider company culture – this company ticks all the cool start-up boxes.

Keep an eye on the IPO in 2017, which is expected to value the company at around $25 billion.

Who had a stinker?

Well, remember POWA technologies – one of the UK’s first, and most celebrated “Unicorn” start-ups – they did.

Business Insider did a pretty tasty exclusive on some of the things that went wrong at the firm, and the blame, apparently, rests firmly with the “charismatic” founder.

The company went bankrupt in February after it burnt through $200 million of investors cash, and threw “wild Christmas parties with bottomless champagne and topless dancers”, according to BI, and worse still, the CEO, Dan Wagner, “surrounded himself with ‘yes men’ and allegedly wouldn’t listen to criticism.”

Why has nobody invited Mr Wagner to take over at British Homestores? Surely he’d be the perfect fit.

One More From Across The Pond – Theranos

Elizabeth Holmes – Forbes youngest billionaire list – founder of a blood sampling health-tech start-up that was going to change the way we tested for illness – forever.

Well, that didn’t last long. Holmes’ net worth fell from $4.5bn to, erm, nothing at all after Theranos found itself  beset by problems, mainly created by journalists accusing the firm of using its signature technology in less than 15 of the 240 tests the company offers, and the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services, who said the blood tests “pose immediate jeopardy to patient health and safety”. The company has sacked half of its staff and started developing a completely new product. Now that’s a pivot.

And you thought you had a bad year. Well, you did too, don’t feel left out.

Bobblin’ Boris

Boy was 2016 a stinker, but one man who bobbled along happily as the waves of euphoria were followed by waves of nausea and wails of despair, was Boris Johnson.

First he was a zero, backing Brexit and completely misjudging the mood of a nation, who, for the first time in his political career, strangely decided to believe what he said.

Then he fancied a crack at being PM, so he got his friend Michael Gove to back him – but Michael decided (boys will be boys) he rather fancied a go himself. Boris was out. But then he was back in again, picked to be Minister of Foreign Affairs by Theresa May.

Minister for Foreign Affairs? Well, at least we know our new PM has sound judgement.

Oh well Boris, you’ll be welcome over at Tech City and the Silicon Roundabout in a heartbeat. After all, you helped to launch the entire thing with your friend Dave (remember him?) back in 2010.

Our Man Of The Year?

We’re rather afraid, Boris, that our man of the year has to be your replacement, Sadiq Khan. First he fought off scaremongering Zac Goldsmith to win the right to be Mayor of London.

No sooner had he done that, Brexit happened – and London decided it was time to declare itself an independent state. Ouch!

Like the born and bred Londoner he is, (Tooting, to be precise), Khan did not flinch, but ran 2016’s most successful PR campaign, London is Open, and reminded Europe and the rest of the world what our capital is all about, before jetting off to New York City with some of the biggest names in British tech to pitch for business.

See, Sadiq Khan has the get-up-and-go attitude London, and its start-up eco-system, needs. Boris? Perhaps its time to, ahem, get up and go?

Has there ever been a happier New Year?


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