January has brought a range of investment opportunities for startups in select sectors including the auto industry and sustainability. There are however concerns over how startups will fare in the UK as Brexit approaches, the impact of the uncertainty caused by the political landscape is already causing staffing issues and there are fears investment could be affected too.
Honda is shaking up startup support
The company that was one of the first major players in hybrid vehicle innovation is using its Honda Xcelerator is looking to nurture relationships with thinkers and innovators. They are planning on working with Silicon Valley startups and entrepreneurs to add to their portfolio of over 40 companies that they have collaborated with in the past. Denis Clark, the managing director of strategic venture partnerships at Honda Innovations has said “We're open for business, we're here and we're friendly.” Companies that Honda has worked with in the past include DeepMap, WayRay and SoundHound. Honda offers startups “credibility and exposure” according to the VP of Perceptive Automata and in turn, startups allow Honda to take risks more easily and gives the company access to fresh talent. It an innovative and more indirect way of collaborating with startups that could be more successful for startups and automakers than current models.
Investing in ocean-friendly startups
The Sustainable Ocean Alliance has received $1.5 million as part of its plan to fund 100 new startups by the end of 2021. The funds have been contributed by Marc and Lynne Benioff and the investment was announced at the World Economic Forum’s Annual Meeting in Davos. The Sustainable Ocean Alliance calls itself the largest coalition of under-35 leaders and it focuses on finding solutions that will protect the ocean. The Alliance is seeking further corporate sponsorship in order to achieve its goal of investing in 100 green startups, but they are already planning on investing in a further 40 startups in 2020. The investment will triple the number of startups that will be participating in the annual Ocean Solutions Accelerator Program in San Francisco later in 2019.
Fears over Brexit impact on startup investment
The threat of Brexit-related turmoil is already affecting London-based startups. Talent acquisition from European countries is drying up as uncertainty sets in, and in a sector where around half of employees working in London are originally from outside of the UK the shortage of top talent is set to impact on investment opportunities too. Accelerators have been seen to boost investment in UK startups over the past year, but Brexit is threatening that funding. Beauhurst released figures showing that companies that take part in an accelerator raise on average 44% more than those who do not. However, the most commonly listed accelerator is the European Regional Development Fund, which may no longer be accessible to UK startups after Brexit. There is a UK-specific alternative to this, but sources of funding for the scheme are unclear at the moment.