Bloomberg Innovation Index

Billionaire venture capitalist Jim Breyer is heading to the Swiss Alps this year with an upbeat message. “This is a magical time,” says Breyer, founder and CEO of Breyer Capital and a partner at Accel Partners. “Innovation is happening in centers of excellence around the world faster than ever before.”

His optimism contrasts with the trouble-ahead warnings that business and government leaders will hear this week at the annual meeting of the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. Japan and Europe are expected to grow only about 1 percent this year, and one-time dynamos like Brazil, China, and Russia are losing speed. Read more

Israel is a hotbed of tech startups, a self-proclaimed Silicon Wadi

beershevaThere are plenty of cities in the U.S. that want to lay claim to becoming the “next” Silicon Valley, but a dusty desert town in the south of Israel called Beersheva might actually have a shot at becoming something more modest, and more focused. They want to be the first place you think about when it comes to cybersecurity research, education, and innovation. If things go right there, it may well happen.

Israel is a hotbed of tech startups, a self-proclaimed Silicon Wadi. It is ranked near the top of several recent Bloomberg innovation metrics. Particularly when it comes to cybersecurity, you almost have as many firms as there are Starbucks in Seattle – seemingly they are everywhere. In fact, Inc. magazine lists nine different Israeli security startups to watch. And that is just the tip of the iceberg. Read more

Smart phone users in Africa will rise to 360 million by 2025

VENTURES AFRICA – The Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Nigerian Channels Television, Mr. John Momoh, has predicted that internet penetration in Africa will hit 50 percent by 2025. The current level of Internet penetration on the continent is about 16 percent, a poor statistics when compared with the global average of 35 percent.

He stated this at a briefing on the topic: “Africa’s Media –The Future,” at a cocktail put together by members of KPMG Nigeria Alumni in Lagos recently. According to Momoh, the number of internet users would increase to 600 million by 2025 from 167 million. Quoting a recent global report, he also predicted that the number of smart phone users in Africa will rise to 360 million by 2025, from the current 67 million.

“The total mobile subscriptions count in Africa was 851.13 million at the end of the second quarter of 2014. Ovum forecasts that Africa’s mobile subscription will exceed one billion during 2016 and reach 1.23 billion by the end of 2019,” he added. “Africa’s mobile broadband subscription count will rise from its previous count of 26.5 million at the end of 2010 to 950 million at the end of 2019.” Read more

CIA invests in the AWS cloud despite security concerns

Despite recurring cloud security breaches, the number of government agencies and private corporations moving to the cloud is higher than ever. Jeff Kaplan discusses the CIA’s decision to move to, and invest in, the AWS cloud.

Despite lingering debate about the security of today’s cloud services, the CIA has publicly acknowledged that it is investing approximately $600 million with Amazon Web Services to meet its escalating big data and global intelligence needs.

Even as a new round of scandals surrounding the cloud has emerged with nude photos being exposed from the personal Apple iCloud accounts of various Hollywood celebrities, the number of government agencies and private sector corporations moving to the cloud continues to grow.

Even after the NSA surveillance revelations of the past few years, the CIA’s decision to make a big bet on cloud services ironically comes at a time when many corporate executives and end users are apprehensive about the government’s role in violating their privacy. Read more