Atmosphere Inspires Edition 007

Sam Colyer

Atmosphere Inspires is our regular curation of news and views from the digital sphere; the lead stories that are affecting you and your business. In this edition we’re taking a look at the revolutionary impact of tech startups: from those gaining traction to those causing controversy there’s always plenty to say when it comes to adopting new ideas…

Stories catching our attention

Uber: from startup to slow down

So, was anybody expecting this? Last week TfL revoked Uber’s licence in London for not being a “fit and proper” private car operator, citing concerns over safety and software issues blocking access to regulatory bodies. At the time, Uber retaliated with “London is closed to innovative companies”. It’s a strong accusation, but Uber has changed a landscape by shaping new behaviour patterns and setting expectations for 3.5 million Londoners, and there’s a petition to prove it. Along with everyone else, tech start ups will be watching this evolving situation to see just how important “playing by the rules” is.

Blockchain has had a busy year, but what about 2018?

According to global market monitor Novum Insights, investment in blockchain technology startups are to reach $3bn by the end of 2017. Around 25% of this investment has come from venture capital investors, and 75% from Initial Coin Offerings (ICOs), suggesting a strong appetite out there for ICO’s despite regulation and liquidity concerns. We’re heading towards tighter governance for ICO’s which may help to alleviate some of this unease, and if the critics can be convinced then 2018 is likely to be an even bigger year for blockchain based technology.

There’s controversy in the Bodega corner

Designed much like the humble vending machine, only bigger, better and smarter, startup Bodega is having to backtrack this week following controversial comments that their offering will replace neighbourhood corner stores. Plenty of contention on Twitter around this one: there's anger that jobs will be lost and traditions quashed. Whilst the concept is moving with the trends, implementation is key, and it will be interesting to see how CEO Paul McDonald plans his next steps amongst the backlash.

What else is happening?

Legal tech services are staying human

Justin Kan has launched a new tech platform law firm for startups: Legal Technology Services (LTS) with Atrium, a legal provider for startups, as their first customer. Whilst LTS will offer a suite of tech tools for Atrium to use, they stress that real life lawyers will very much be a part of the business. It’s a reflection of the times when businesses feel the need to highlight the inclusion of the human element - in a somewhat timely statement Justin Kan emphasises that: “we’re not trying to do the Uber of lawyers” or “lawyer AI”.

BMW supports startup programme with internal intrapreneurs

BMW has opened a second tech startup programme in the UK. The programme will look to support five new startups to address challenges brought on by disruption. To support this programme, we like how BMW has introduced support for internal staff with ideas. By looking inwards and developing these intrapreneurs BMW is utilising their employees and turning ideas into reality. A good reminder that businesses could be assessing and harnessing talent within their existing workforce to add value.

Fear of the dentist? Not sure this will help

Those with a dental phobia may wish to look away now: a Chinese robot has just performed the world’s first dental surgery. It may make you feel better to know it was pre-programmed to install the implants within a margin of error of 0.2-0.3 mm (which currently matches industry standard) - or it might not. Technology developments in health care are really exciting: further progress will only lead to a whole host of benefits for the patient including improved accuracy, smaller incisions and faster healing times.

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