- Network Society VenturesManaging Partner, 2016 - present
- University of MilanPhysics, 1987 - 1990
- University of PaduaPhysics, 1984 - 1987
At we address the world’s greatest challenges, through the application of exponential technologies, spreading knowledge through conferences, educating through our courses, and creating, accelerating and funding startups.
Accelerating technology implemented through an increasing understanding of the world is at the basis of our effort to address the greatest challenges humanity faces. In a series of events and meetings at the end of August in San Francisco, Singularity University shared its view on tools and approaches to achieve significant positive global impact.
One of the emotionally most meaningful events of the year, recurring for the past eight years, is the closing ceremony of the Global Solutions Program at Singularity University. This ten week summer course has 80 students from all over the world, learning about exponential technologies, forming teams around ideas and rapidly prototyping concrete solutions and applications. Entering the program with great expectations, their almost universal assessment is that these are exceeded by the knowledge acquired, the stimulating lectures, the environment, and most importantly the connections they make with faculty, and their fellow students.
For the first time, a select group of teams has been invited to stay on campus for an additional eight week Launchpad program, that refines their prototypes, develops an initial approach in searching for product market fit, teaches them how to formulate and analyze the components, and allows a proper startup to form, ready to seek funding at the end of the process, following mid-November.
Both Italian participants from this year’s attendees have been selected for Launchpad. Marta Ghiglioni with an application of blockchain to privacy and government services, and Francesco Spina with an innovative method of magnetic induction to use robots and 3d printing with regolith to build space habitats on the Lunar surface.
At the Community Leadership day we discussed the details of SingularityU Global, the expansion program that saw the birth in a year of almost fifty chapters around the world, and the first physical location outside of the Silicon Valley headquarters in the Netherlands through the Exponential Regional Partnership program. The goal is to double the number of chapters in the next 12 months and to open other ERPs around the world.
For the first time in the US, the Singularity University Global Summit was packed for three days of presentations, panels, workshops and discussions around exponential technologies. The next SingularityU Summit events are in New Zealand in November, and in Germany in May 2017.
Both as an investor in the SU Labs Accelerator Seed Fund with Network Society Ventures and as an SU Company with Network Society Research, I also participated in the founding meeting of the SU Innovator Network, where startups meet enterprises to share challenges and solutions.
We built interconnected platforms that span the globe – of communications, trade, culture and language. Millions of people already use them to develop and test solutions to problems about which they are passionate. There are unbounded opportunities. Soon there will be billions empowered by these tools and emancipated to deploy them for the betterment of their communities. The startup model, brought to a high art in Silicon Valley, is inspiring personal initiative and entrepreneurship everywhere.
As I travel to speak at conferences in Europe, Asia, North and South America (yeah, still have to go to Africa and Australia), I always revel in the opportunity to meet with local entrepreneurs, incubators, accelerators. There is a richness in ideas that is hard to measure, stemming from deep knowledge of local issues. These are now more and more frequently implemented through the agile Silicon Valley startup model that encourages rapid testing and iteration, measuring the results and then scaling the venture based on success. The growth of the resulting enterprises is further fueled through progressively larger investments of venture capital.
While still concentrated largely in the US, this model has spread in the last twenty years in Europe, Asia and nearly everywhere else on the globe. It is rapidly replacing traditional routes to lifelong employment, which are getting increasingly scarce even in those countries where they have long been part of the social contract. Not everybody starting a new company or corner store should define themselves as a “startupper” for sure. Not every idea can scale to the level where it can attract venture capital investment. But those that can are found everywhere now. It is important to scout them alertly, vet them diligently, understand their value and help them grow – in search of the grand solutions that can scale globally.
Those who ask that question are often thinking at a more comfortable time interval, an addition of a few decades maybe. How will it be to live to 120 years? Instead, I think of a different question. What if you lived a billion years?
There were about 13 billion years in which the atoms of the universe did not compose you. There are going to be perhaps hundreds of billions that will not involve you. Between these two time intervals immeasurably larger than the length of your life, living 50 (if tomorrow I go under the bus), 100, 1000 or one million years, in the end, makes no difference.
The stunning wonder of living in a world where, at some point, matter wakes up and opens its eyes to the world, to be its witness and protagonist … This basic human condition already transcends any possible further metaphysical consideration.
That is why the time is now – to think, to do, to be.
Originally published on davidorban.com
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