The Rise of the Startup Neighborhood


Today’s Top Stories
 — Venture Capital Investment Heads Downtown: Firms are investing more in cities, not suburbs.
 — The Human Company Design Manifesto: Sara Holoubek introduces a management approach that creates value by investing in people.
 — Not Enough People or Not Enough Skills? A new jobs report makes some wonder where the bottleneck to growth is.
 — Cities, Serendipity, and Other “Spaces for Innovation”: Greg Lindsay on how to engineer for serendipity
 — The Special Sauce at McDonald’s: Community
 — A City-Based Visualization of Funding Flows: An analysis of 14 years of city-specific funding data

Venture Capital Investment Heads Downtown
 When you think of where venture capital firms invest, you might imagine suburban office parks. Don’t. New research from Richard Florida and Karen King finds that investment firms and the startups they fund are increasingly of the city (CityLab). In particular, they find more than half of all startup companies and VC investments located in urban zip codes. These “startup neighborhoods” tend to be more walkable and bikeable than the norm; one-third of all venture-capital investment, they find, goes into neighborhoods with more than 30 percent of workers who walk, bike, or use mass transit when commuting. Suburban “nerdistans” still exist, but there’s a clear shift to dense urban neighborhoods.

The Human Company Design Manifesto
 Sara Holoubek, CEO of Luminary Labs, writes for NewCo Shift about a management approach that creates value by investing in people and lays out the first traits that makes a company human.

Not Enough People or Not Enough Skills?
 If the robots start doing more human jobs, it might be because there aren’t enough humans to do the work. Analyzing job openings as reported from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, economist Drew Matus sees the U.S. topping out on the number of people qualified and available to fill open positions (Bloomberg). There’s a potential positive outcome: the plethora of open positions (now 5.8 million) may tempt those who have given up back into the labor force. But it may also portend, as Matus suggests, that the “well has run dry.”

Cities, Serendipity, and Other “Spaces for Innovation”
 How are companies making their workspaces more innovative? According to Greg Lindsay of the Work Futures Institute, they’re engineering for serendipity. Read his interview on NewCo Shift and learn what role cities can play in creating such vibrant spaces.

The Special Sauce at McDonald’s: Community
 What keeps communities together? McDonald’s, it turns out (Guardian). Don’t laugh. Lower-income Americans feel isolated and need access to physical social networks. Many of them get that at the U.S.’s most maligned fast-food chain. The local McDonald’s acts as local community center, with informal meals and even bible study groups from coast to coast. With reliable Wi-Fi in broadband-deprived neighborhoods, it’s also a place where people can safely get work and schoolwork done. You can argue how smart it is to eat a Big Mac every day; you can’t deny the importance of knowing there’s a place you can go.

A City-Based Visualization of Funding Flows
 Harvard’s Luke Heine writes for NewCo Shift about what you learn when you analyze 14 years of city-specific funding data. For one thing, it reveals four distinct types of funding patterns.

Photo: Alan Bloom

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