Wednesday, June 13, 2018

OpenLearning raises $8.5m Series A from Malaysian investors




 A Muru-D graduate, OpenLearning has raised $8.5 million in Series A funding bringing total investment raised to $13.7m.


OpenLearning was designed to allow for social learning, through “reflecting, sharing and discussing ideas”, with a broad goal of improving access to high-quality online learning for higher education.


This latest funding is led by Malaysian Prestariang Berhad, a technology training provider, and Paramount Corporation Berhad, an investment company focused on education and property development. Brimo says both have interests aligned with OpenLearning, and will facilitate expansion into Malaysia.


Malaysia was the first country in the world to launch a national massive open online courses (MOOC) program, using the OpenLearning platform, and has national targets for blended and online learning.


OpenLearning is is researching “things like artificial intelligence and how that can have an impact on education”. Says Brimo


Challenges have been many - including getting people from different countries working together but one .


With persistence and determination, the team  is confident of success! 

Sunday, June 10, 2018

Marijuana lights up in Canada

The Bob Pritchard Column

 
A lot has happened with the marijuana industry. Up until recently, it was a drug that was considered harmful. People lost their jobs or couldn’t even get a job because of the drug. It was life changing, but mostly because of the stigma behind it.
 
However, a lot has changed in the past two years. Some really big examples can be seen with government legislation and the medical industry. Canada’s public health agency, Health Canada, reported that the number of people in the nation who were registered to use medical marijuana reached 235,621 by the end of September 2017. That’s a 40% increase from just six months earlier.  That means 0.6% of the country’s population of almost 37 million were using marijuana for medical reasons.  Its not a lot, but it is rapidly growing.
 
 
In 1995, a year before California became the first U.S. state to legalize medical cannabis, a Gallup poll recorded that only 25% of Americans supported the idea of making weed legal.  This past October, Gallup showed over 66% were in favor of full legalization.
 
The U.S. Congress continues to make it exceptionally hard for legalization in America. It’s still illegal and has no recognized medical benefits.  The U.S. is missing out on a lucrative opportunity because of its stubbornness when it comes to legalizing cannabis.
 
However, Canada isn't wasting any time. It legalized medical marijuana in 2001 and has Health Canada oversee licensing and regulation with the substance.   Now it looks like Canada could be the first developed country in the world to approve recreational use of marijuana in August or September of this year.
 
Investors and companies have begun to see the incredible potential and opportunity associated with cannabis.  The Canadian developments have had four of the largest publicly traded firms surging — investors want in. The combined market value of the four largest publicly traded firms has reached more than $USD 780 million. Together, all marijuana companies on Canadian exchanges have a combined market value of about $USD 25 billion.
 
If and when full legalization happens in Canada, it’s going to bring a huge increase to the market’s capital potential.   There are going to be a lot of companies that want to be a part of this booming industry.
 
With the demand for marijuana steadily increasing, there are 20 major companies that began in the mining or oil and gas sectors and have now shifted towards Canada’s marijuana industry.  These companies realize it would be more profitable to be part of the marijuana industry rather than spend a lot of money on mining and not actually earn a profit from that particular resource.
 
Using mining companies as a way to publicly trade makes it easier and faster to list on the public exchange. Companies don’t have to undergo a full securities commission review or file a prospectus, which is what they would have to do for a traditional initial public offering.  Canadian exchanges demand that companies present a viable plan to sustain operations and also submit to a review.
 
The potential is obvious.
 
 
If the whole world smoked a joint at the same time, there would be world peace for at least two hours. Followed by a global food shortage
 

Wednesday, June 06, 2018

Where will Cryptos be in 2019?

The Bob Pritchard Column 

Cryptocurrency is worth around $500 billion and projected to be in the trillions by the end of 2018.  There are a few events taking place that set crypto up for long-term growth and help highlight where the industry will be by the end of the year.
 
One of the best ways to gauge the growth of the digital currency market is by looking at the exchanges and investment channels.  

After 2017, Bitcoin transitioned from being an investment for nerds to 90% of Americans knowing what Bitcoin is. Exchanges and investment channels are changing to meet the needs of these new retail investors.
 
 
At the start of 2017, investors had to go through crypto-to-crypto exchanges for many altcoins and this could pose security risks for the traditional retail investor. To address this issue, fiat-to-cryptocurrency wallets like Coinbase began to offer more tokens and there were more mainstream ways for investors to access crypto.
 
In the last year, over a hundred hedge funds have been launched for crypto.  The main exchanges and software wallets have upped their game. Soon Coinbase will offer more ERC20 tokens, tokens built on the Ethereum platform, on its platform. These include VeChain, OmiseGo, Golem, Storj, EOS, Tron, and Binance Coin. New tokens on Coinbase will attract more investors and encourage demand. It will also boost market liquidity. This indicates that the digital currency space is going to grow significantly.
 
But the question is: will big governments allow digital currencies to succeed?   The answer may surprise you. Many governments are running full tilt at blockchain.  In China, President Xi Jinping praised blockchain technology as a “breakthrough.” China is considering blockchain technology as one of its priorities alongside AI, the Internet of Things, artificial intelligence, and mobile communication. South Korea is using blockchain technology to track packages, and in neighboring Japan, massive gaming company Gumi launched a $30 million global blockchain investment fund.
 
In the United States, multiple government officials and states support blockchain technology. Former U.S. Treasury Secretary Larry Summer stated, “blockchain will change a great deal of financial practice and exchange.” Governments are opening up to blockchain technology,  but what about the cryptocurrencies blockchain supports?
 
To many governments, digital currencies are still high risk, posing a risk to retail investors because of volatility. he Securities and Exchange Commission in the US is holding initial coin offerings (or ICOs) to the same standards as other forms of venture capitalism. This will help protect investors, while still empowering small companies to take advantage of coin offerings, which have dozens of benefits.
 
Since the start of 2018, regulators are making crypto safer for the retail investor. Some cities, like Hong Kong, are embracing their own digital currencies.
 
So where will things be in 2019?
Based on increased adoption, more tools, and a general increase in interest, blockchain technology is gearing up to end 2018 strongly:
  • Security tokens will become more common as companies opt to use regulated initial coin offerings. Security tokens present a unique opportunity for investors and will allow them to participate in early-stage companies.
  • More tokens will come onto the fiat-to-crypto exchanges. We've come a long way since the early days of Bitcoin, and now digital assets are becoming mainstream use and adoption.
If you don’t have digital assets already, now is the time to start.

There is a school of thought that says Cryptos will come into its own when Qantum  computing  gets nailed - and that he says is imminent! 

Tuesday, June 05, 2018

Microsoft goes back to its roots and has agreed to buy Github for $7.5b!




Microsoft goes back to its roots and has agreed to  buy Github  for $7.5b! 

GitHub  lost $66 million over three quarters in 2016, with revenue of $98 million. In 2015 Github was purportedly worth $2b in 2015!

Bill Gates and Paul Allen founded Microsoft to give hobbyists a way to program a new micro-computer kit, the MITS Altair, and it now seems to be going back to its core! 

GitHub is a code repository and a social network of sorts for 27 million software developers, hosting on around 80 million repositories of code. Many corporations, including Microsoft and Alphabet Inc.’s Google, use it to store their corporate code and to collaborate and communicate with each other. 

Microsoft used to be obsessed with everything being on the Microsoft platform, being totally against open source. Open-source software allows developers to tinker with, improve upon and share code -- an approach that threatened Microsoft’s business model and the Windows Operating System.

Under the leadership of  CEO Satya Nadella, Microsoft have done an 180 degree turn. Microsoft is now supporting Linux, and has used open-source models on many of its products  - moving away from the Windows Operating System, finding the power of collaboration  and being able to connect with the broader developer community the natural way to do business 

The players at Github-  In August, GitHub announced that it was looking for a CEO to replace Chris Wanstrath, one of the company’s co-founders. At the time GitHub’s Chief Business Officer Julio Avalos joined the company’s board of directors and took over much of the day-to-day leadership of the company.

 

Friday, June 01, 2018

Tencent’s 60,000% Runup Leads to One of the Biggest VC Payoffs Ever




South African media company Naspers Ltd. is cashing in a sliver of one of the greatest venture-capital investments ever.

The Cape Town-based company is selling $10.6 billion of shares in Tencent Holdings Ltd., equal to 2 percent of the stock in the Chinese operator of the WeChat messaging service, it said in a statement Thursday. 

The stake Naspers bought for just $32 million in 2001 -- when Tencent was an obscure Web firm in a nation where few people used the Internet -- is now worth $175 billion.

Who would have thought? 


Thursday, May 31, 2018

THESE FIVE BILLIONAIRES MADE THEIR FORTUNES AFTER 40

  • LATE BLOOMERS
    NOT EVERYONE IS A ZUCKERBERG. THESE FIVE BILLIONAIRES MADE THEIR FORTUNES AFTER 40.
    • SHELDON
      ADELSON, 84
      NET WORTH: $43.3 BIL
      The gambling kingpin didn’t get his start in casinos until 55, when he bought the Sands Hotel & Casino on the Las Vegas strip for $128 million. He was no stranger to Sin City, though: Earlier, he had organized and run a computer trade show there.
    • DAVID
      DUFFIELD, 77
      NET WORTH: $8.9 BIL
      The former IBM employee started two business software companies after turning 40. At 47 he started PeopleSoft, which he sold to larger rival Oracle nearly two decades later for $10.3 billion. Soon after the sale, he started Workday, the HR and financial management software company.
    • DIETRICH
      MATESCHITZ, 74
      NET WORTH: $24.7 BIL
      After marketing goods like shampoo and toothpaste as a corporate shill, he cofounded Red Bull at 42. The master salesman pitched the energy drink as fuel for accomplishing daring feats (famous tagline: “Red Bull gives you wings”) and emblazoned the brand on skydivers, motorcyclists and big-mountain skiers.
    • JAMES
      DYSON, 71
      NET WORTH: $5.5 BIL
      When his family’s refurbished hoover vacuum gave him grief (it seemed to just push the dirt around), Dyson set about creating a better vacuum. Fifteen years and 5,127 prototypes later, at age 46, he brought the world’s first bagless vacuum to market. Now he has more than 60 products—from hair driers to fans.
    • DAVID
      CHERITON, 67
      NET WORTH: $6 BIL
      In 1998, the 47-year-old Stanford professor wrote a $100,000 check to two Ph.D. students named Larry and Sergey who came to his house and pitched him on a company called Google. Cheriton also cofounded three technology companies after his 40th birthday that were sold or taken public.

Tuesday, May 29, 2018

Venture Capital in Australia: What does Anthony , Frank, Richard, GIna, Mike an...

Venture Capital in Australia: What does Anthony , Frank, Richard, GIna, Mike an...: The number one spot was recycling magnate Anthony Pratt ($12.6b) ,  with Meriton’s founder Harry Triguboff coming in a close second with a personal fortune of $11.45 billion. The Lowy’s who built  Westfield ($8.26B) , Glencore Mining’s, Ivan Glasenberg ($6.85B)  and Gina Rinehart’s Resources ($10.41B) made the top 10. Scott Farquhar and Mike Cannon-Brookes of Atlassian are up there as well with $5B each.

What does Anthony , Frank, Richard, GIna, Mike and Scott have in common? - They are all in the 2018 top 100 Rich List

The number one spot was recycling magnate Anthony Pratt ($12.6b) , with Meriton’s founder Harry Triguboff coming in a close second with a personal fortune of $11.45 billion.

The Lowy’s who built  Westfield ($8.26B) ,

Glencore Mining’s, Ivan Glasenberg ($6.85B)  and

Gina Rinehart’s Resources ($10.41B) made the top 10.

Scott Farquhar and Mike Cannon-Brookes of Atlassian are up there as well with $5B each.

There are 12 technology Richlisters and Ruslan Kogan aged 35, who grew up in a Housing Commission Home in Melbourne,  is back on the list after a 3 year break.


There have been interesting characters that have coloured the pages of the Rich List
Kerry Packer was a regular contender with the West’s 80’s entrepreneurs such as Alan Bond (of America’s Cup fame) and Robert Holmes a Court who  built and lost their fortunes.

The Rich List includes immigrants.  men and women, young and old, self-made millionaires, , and those born with a silver spoon in their mouths; both the  educated and uneducated.

Becoming rich can be a reality for anyone in Australia.

So, looking at the lists these are 8 gems that we can learn from them 


1. PROPERTY IS STILL THE NUMBER ONE SOURCE OF WEALTH


2. TIME AND LEVERAGE COMPOUNDS WEALTH 

They understand the power of compounding
Time and regular investing  grows their asset base.

The rich concentrate on building their balance sheets even more than they do on their profit and loss accounts, usually leveraging with other people’s money (which is why property is such a good thing)

The average age of this year’s Rich List is Stan Perron aged 95, is the oldest member of the list coming in at #15 and is showing no signs of slowing down.
ANYONE CAN DO IT

3. FOCUS ON YOUR KNITTING 

One core trait that successful entrepreneurs share is the ability to take a good idea and repeat it over and over again.
You become an expert by doing one thing one hundred times, rather than doing one hundred things once.

4. TEAM

Surround yourself with a good team because if you are the smartest person in the room you are in trouble.

5. VISION - PLAN - ACTION 

Have a vision , formulate a plan - write it down  and take action .

IN SUMMARY 

Invest your money and time into wealth-producing assets and a Vision you believe in. Have strong Values, a long-term Plan, and never lose sight of where you want to end up.

One of my mentors from Durban , John Moshal, said he likens himself to a farmer with a plough -  With rough and arid land in front, with the farmer ploughing the land , so that those following have the opportunity to farm on fertile ground!