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Future Human kicks off with honest discussions about the future

Audiences both in person and online got to hear from a wide variety of experts on Web3, the future of work and the metaverse.

After two years at the hands of the Covid-19 pandemic, Future Human came back with a bang for its hybrid event, with attendees both in person at the state-of-the-art Trinity Business School and joining online from around the world.

The energy from the audience was palpable in the morning as long-time fans and first-time attendees were eager to participate in the conversation.

Future Human

Future Human curator and Silicon Republic CEO Ann O’Dea opened the event with a whistle-stop tour of how the event came to be and the journey that brought it to 2022.

Then the audience was given a quiet few moments of mindfulness with a gorgeous musical performance from Ukrainian pianist Yaroslav Bilous who then spoke to O’Dea briefly about his experience coming to Ireland given the current crisis.

Next, Aon’s chief innovation officer Jillian Slyfield came to the stage to discuss how businesses need to come up with new solutions to the challenges that are coming down the line. In particular, she said we should be reframing the great resignation as the great reassessment.

She also kicked off her talk with some important advice for students. “You don’t need to know what you want to be when you grow up,” she said. “Think about who you are.”

She also brought the in-person audience into the conversation, fielding questions about the metaverse and allowing them to share their experiences.

Her talk was followed by a no-holds-barred fireside chat between O’Dea and Intercom co-founder Des Traynor.

His brutal honesty around what he really thinks about the metaverse drew several chuckles from the audience, while his straight-talking nuggets of advice for start-ups and entrepreneurs were treated like gold dust.

From left: Ann O’Dea and Des Traynor. Image: Conor McCabe

One great analogy he highlighted was how solutions are a lot like Velcro in that they’re often seen as useless until a problem is there to make it stick.

“People won’t buy a solution until they’ve bought a problem.”

Next, the first of several hybrid panels took place to discuss the future of Ukraine with Neill Dunwoody, co-founder, TechLinkUkraine, Konstantin Vasyuk of the IT Ukraine Association, Yuliya Garycha, digital adviser to Ukrainian Government and Ukrainian student Yura Kovalchuk.

The discussion highlighted a lot of important work being done in Ireland to help recently arrived Ukrainians, with Dunwoody in particular drawing attention to the TechLinkUkraine website for any employers who might have roles available to offer.

Right before lunch, Future Human continued its tradition of including the arts in the discussions around science and tech by introducing the audience to writer Chandrika Narayanan-Mohan, who shared her experience as an immigrant along with some gorgeous poetry and a premiere of her poetic installation about space weather research.

After lunch, the future of the climate was the main topic as anthropologist Prof Alice Roberts took us through the history of our relationship with the natural world, farming and the domestication of crops. This was followed by a fascinating fireside chat between SiliconRepublic.com editor Elaine Burke and Trinity Centre for Social Innovation’s Siobhan McQuaid.

“We need to bring economic policymakers together with environmental policymakers,” said McQuaid.

Silicon Republic editor Elaine Burke sitting with Siobhan McQuaid, principal investigator of the Connecting Nature project. Both are on stage at Future Human 2022.

From left: Elaine Burke and Siobhan McQuaid. Image: Conor McCabe

We then moved into a new realm – figuratively speaking – with a host of expert speakers to breakdown the world of Web3, NFTs and crypto art. To begin, Time Digital president and TimePieces co-founder Bharat Khrish dialled in to give an insight into his NFT art initiative and shared a unique collection of artistic video NFTs – a collaboration between TimePieces, Timberland and 14 other artists.

Khrish then returned as part of an in-depth panel discussion chaired by Launchpool Web3 Techstars Accelerator managing director Pete Townsend. They were joined online by GamiFi’s Laura Walsh and crypto artist Kevin Abosch for an upfront and honest discussion about the Web3 world.

Abosch’s sentiment that Web3 isn’t going to fix the systemic problems from the Web2 world was met with nods from the rest of the panel and he summed up the topic incredibly succinctly, saying: “The future can be bright, we just have to be vigilant.”

This was followed by a mainstay of Silicon Republic events – a panel on the future of work. This has never been timelier than in the last few years, when the pandemic led to remote working en masse.

Once again, O’Dea chaired the panel, which included Boundless co-founder Dee Coakley, Aon chief people officer Lisa Stevens and Hatch Analytics founder Monica Parker.

They talked about the ongoing battle for talent, the need to create a positive work culture instead of focusing on the box-ticking side of wellbeing, and the ongoing challenges around remote working.

As the day drew to a close, the conversation around the future of work continued with the final speaker of the day, Rand Fishkin, co-founder and CEO of audience research software start-up SparkToro.

His short but engaging talk examined the concept of ‘chill work’ and how it compares to the much more common hustle culture of doing as much work as possible and giving it your all.

He began by saying: “Life is about more than just work,” and after a brief explanation of how the chill work concept is applied in SparkToro, he closed the session by showing a wholesome collage of family and friends having fun and living their best lives.

“We have very full lives,” which, he said, is achieved by creating a work culture that allows for that. A strong sentiment with which to leave a buzzing audience – and it’s only day one.

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Culture

Top 10 Florida Cities Dominate The Business Startup Landscape In The U.S.

Top 10 Florida Cities And Business Startup Landscape In The U.S.

The Voice Of EU | Florida emerges as a hub for entrepreneurial endeavors, with its vibrant business landscape and conducive environment for startups. Renowned for its low corporate tax rates and a high concentration of investors, the Sunshine State beckons aspiring entrepreneurs seeking fertile grounds to launch and grow their businesses.

In a recent report by WalletHub, Florida cities dominate the list of the top 10 best destinations for business startups, showcasing their resilience and economic vitality amidst challenging times.

From Orlando’s thriving market to Miami’s dynamic ecosystem, each city offers unique advantages and opportunities for entrepreneurial success. Let’s delve into the chronologically listed cities that exemplify Florida’s prominence in the business startup arena.

1. Orlando Leads the Way: Orlando emerges as the most attractive market in the U.S. for business startups, with a remarkable surge in small business establishments. WalletHub’s latest report highlights Orlando’s robust ecosystem, fostering the survival and growth of startups, buoyed by a high concentration of investors per capita.

2. Tampa Takes Second Place: Securing the second spot among large cities for business startups, Tampa boasts a favorable business environment attributed to its low corporate tax rates. The city’s ample investor presence further fortifies startups, providing essential resources for navigating the initial years of business operations.

3. Charlotte’s Diverse Industries: Claiming the third position, Charlotte stands out for its diverse industrial landscape and exceptionally low corporate taxes, enticing companies to reinvest capital. This conducive environment propels entrepreneurial endeavors, contributing to sustained economic growth.

4. Jacksonville’s Rising Profile: Jacksonville emerges as a promising destination for startups, bolstered by its favorable business climate. The city’s strategic positioning fosters entrepreneurial ventures, attracting aspiring business owners seeking growth opportunities.

5. Miami’s Entrepreneurial Hub: Miami solidifies its position as a thriving entrepreneurial hub, attracting businesses with its dynamic ecosystem and strategic location. The city’s vibrant startup culture and supportive infrastructure make it an appealing destination for ventures of all sizes.

6. Atlanta’s Economic Momentum: Atlanta’s ascent in the business startup landscape underscores its economic momentum and favorable business conditions. The city’s strategic advantages and conducive policies provide a fertile ground for entrepreneurial ventures to flourish.

7. Fort Worth’s Business-Friendly Environment: Fort Worth emerges as a prime destination for startups, offering a business-friendly environment characterized by low corporate taxes. The city’s supportive ecosystem and strategic initiatives facilitate the growth and success of new ventures.

8. Austin’s Innovation Hub: Austin cements its status as an innovation hub, attracting startups with its vibrant entrepreneurial community and progressive policies. The city’s robust infrastructure and access to capital foster a conducive environment for business growth and innovation.

9. Durham’s Emerging Entrepreneurship Scene: Durham’s burgeoning entrepreneurship scene positions it as a promising destination for startups, fueled by its supportive ecosystem and strategic initiatives. The city’s collaborative culture and access to resources contribute to the success of new ventures.

10. St. Petersburg’s Thriving Business Community: St. Petersburg rounds off the top 10 with its thriving business community and supportive ecosystem for startups. The city’s strategic advantages and favorable business climate make it an attractive destination for entrepreneurial endeavors.

Despite unprecedented challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic, the Great Resignation, and high inflation, these top Florida cities remain resilient and well-equipped to overcome obstacles, offering promising opportunities for business owners and entrepreneurs alike.


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European Startup Ecosystems Awash With Gulf Investment – Here Are Some Of The Top Investors

European Startup Ecosystem Getting Flooded With Gulf Investments

The Voice Of EU | In recent years, European entrepreneurs seeking capital infusion have widened their horizons beyond the traditional American investors, increasingly turning their gaze towards the lucrative investment landscape of the Gulf region. With substantial capital reservoirs nestled within sovereign wealth funds and corporate venture capital entities, Gulf nations have emerged as compelling investors for European startups and scaleups.

According to comprehensive data from Dealroom, the influx of investment from Gulf countries into European startups soared to a staggering $3 billion in 2023, marking a remarkable 5x surge from the $627 million recorded in 2018.

This substantial injection of capital, accounting for approximately 5% of the total funding raised in the region, underscores the growing prominence of Gulf investors in European markets.

Particularly noteworthy is the significant support extended to growth-stage companies, with over two-thirds of Gulf investments in 2023 being directed towards funding rounds exceeding $100 million. This influx of capital provides a welcome boost to European companies grappling with the challenge of securing well-capitalized investors locally.

Delving deeper into the landscape, Sifted has identified the most active Gulf investors in European startups over the past two years.

Leading the pack is Aramco Ventures, headquartered in Dhahran, Saudi Arabia. Bolstered by a substantial commitment, Aramco Ventures boasts a $1.5 billion sustainability fund, alongside an additional $4 billion allocated to its venture capital arm, positioning it as a formidable player with a total investment capacity of $7 billion by 2027. With a notable presence in 17 funding rounds, Aramco Ventures has strategically invested in ventures such as Carbon Clean Solutions and ANYbotics, aligning with its focus on businesses that offer strategic value.

Following closely is Mubadala Capital, headquartered in Abu Dhabi, UAE, with an impressive tally of 13 investments in European startups over the past two years. Backed by the sovereign wealth fund Mubadala Investment Company, Mubadala Capital’s diverse investment portfolio spans private equity, venture capital, and alternative solutions. Notable investments include Klarna, TIER, and Juni, reflecting its global investment strategy across various sectors.

Ventura Capital, based in Dubai, UAE, secured its position as a key player with nine investments in European startups. With a presence in Dubai, London, and Tokyo, Ventura Capital boasts an international network of limited partners and a sector-agnostic investment approach, contributing to its noteworthy investments in companies such as Coursera and Spotify.

Qatar Investment Authority, headquartered in Doha, Qatar, has made significant inroads into the European startup ecosystem with six notable investments. As the sovereign wealth fund of Qatar, QIA’s diversified portfolio spans private and public equity, infrastructure, and real estate, with strategic investments in tech startups across healthcare, consumer, and industrial sectors.

MetaVision Dubai, a newcomer to the scene, has swiftly garnered attention with six investments in European startups. Focusing on seed to Series A startups in the metaverse and Web3 space, MetaVision raised an undisclosed fund in 2022, affirming its commitment to emerging technologies and innovative ventures.

Investcorp, headquartered in Manama, Bahrain, has solidified its presence with six investments in European startups. With a focus on mid-sized B2B businesses, Investcorp’s diverse investment strategies encompass private equity, real estate, infrastructure, and credit management, contributing to its notable investments in companies such as Terra Quantum and TruKKer.

Chimera Capital, based in Abu Dhabi, UAE, rounds off the list with four strategic investments in European startups. As part of a prominent business conglomerate, Chimera Capital leverages its global reach and sector-agnostic approach to drive investments in ventures such as CMR Surgical and Neat Burger.

In conclusion, the burgeoning influx of capital from Gulf investors into European startups underscores the region’s growing appeal as a vibrant hub for innovation and entrepreneurship. With key players such as Aramco Ventures, Mubadala Capital, and Ventura Capital leading the charge, European startups are poised to benefit from the strategic investments and partnerships forged with Gulf investors, propelling them towards sustained growth and success in the global market landscape.


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China Reveals Lunar Mission: Sending ‘Taikonauts’ To The Moon From 2030 Onwards

China Reveals Lunar Mission

The Voice Of EU | In a bold stride towards lunar exploration, the Chinese Space Agency has unveiled its ambitious plans for a moon landing set to unfold in the 2030s. While exact timelines remain uncertain, this endeavor signals a potential resurgence of the historic space race reminiscent of the 1960s rivalry between the United States and the USSR.

China’s recent strides in lunar exploration include the deployment of three devices on the moon’s surface, coupled with the successful launch of the Queqiao-2 satellite. This satellite serves as a crucial communication link, bolstering connectivity between Earth and forthcoming missions to the moon’s far side and south pole.

Unlike the secretive approach of the Soviet Union in the past, China’s strategy leans towards transparency, albeit with a hint of mystery surrounding the finer details. Recent revelations showcase the naming and models of lunar spacecraft, steeped in cultural significance. The Mengzhou, translating to “dream ship,” will ferry three astronauts to and from the moon, while the Lanyue, meaning “embrace the moon,” will descend to the lunar surface.

Drawing inspiration from both Russian and American precedents, China’s lunar endeavor presents a novel approach. Unlike its predecessors, China will employ separate launches for the manned module and lunar lander due to the absence of colossal space shuttles. This modular approach bears semblance to SpaceX’s Falcon Heavy, reflecting a contemporary adaptation of past achievements.

Upon reaching lunar orbit, astronauts, known as “taikonauts” in Chinese, will rendezvous with the lunar lander, reminiscent of the Apollo program’s maneuvers. However, distinct engineering choices mark China’s departure from traditional lunar landing methods.

The Chinese lunar lander, while reminiscent of the Apollo Lunar Module, introduces novel features such as a single set of engines and potential reusability and advance technology. Unlike past missions where lunar modules were discarded, China’s design hints at the possibility of refueling and reuse, opening avenues for sustained lunar exploration.

China Reveals Lunar Mission: Sending 'Taikonauts' To The Moon From 2030 Onwards
A re-creation of the two Chinese spacecraft that will put ‘taikonauts’ on the moon.CSM

Despite these advancements, experts have flagged potential weaknesses, particularly regarding engine protection during landing. Nevertheless, China’s lunar aspirations remain steadfast, with plans for extensive testing and site selection underway.

Beyond planting flags and collecting rocks, China envisions establishing a permanent lunar base, the International Lunar Research Station (ILRS), ushering in a new era of international collaboration in space exploration.

While the Artemis agreements spearheaded by NASA have garnered global support, China’s lunar ambitions stand as a formidable contender in shaping the future of space exploration. In conclusion, China’s unveiling of its lunar ambitions not only marks a significant milestone in space exploration but also sets the stage for a new chapter in the ongoing saga of humanity’s quest for the cosmos. As nations vie for supremacy in space, collaboration and innovation emerge as the cornerstones of future lunar endeavors.


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