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CIV History of Venture Database – Table

#HOVTitleDateClassDescriptionImpact on venture pathwayImpact on the World
8001World War I1914EventWorld War I (WWI) was a global war centered in Europe that took place between 1914 and 1918. It involved all the major world powers in one of the deadliest conflicts in history, and had major repercussions in multiple spheres of politics, culture, and technology.WWI applied multiple novel technologies, being the first war in which tanks, telephony, radio, armored cars, tanks, and aircraft were put to use, as were chemical (gas) weapons.More than nine million combatants and seven million civilians died as a result of the war; it had a massive impact on the course of 20th century civilization. As two examples, it led to the founding of the League of Nations, precursor of the UN; and it was a catalyst for near universal suffrage in the United Kingdom and Germany.
8002Ford Model T1914OtherThe Ford Motor Company’s Model T was the first affordable automobile, and the car that opened up travel to middle-class Americans. The key to Henry Ford’s success was the development of a superbly efficient, mass production assembly line. Revolutionizing traditional manual production, it enabled, in 1914, the streamlining of the assembly process down to only 1.5 hours – a new car was produced every three minutes. That year Ford produced more cars than all the other automakers combined.The assembly line was a giant leap forward and had immense influence on manufacturing and processing across numerous products. The Model T was a major economic multiplier. Popularizing the use of cars revolutionized personal and family travel, and created a whole new market and economic boost that included steel production, improved infrastructure, more and better roads, more shops, and finally more motels as people travelled more often and farther.
8003Blood Transfusion1914InnovationBlood transfusion is the process of putting blood from one person into another’s circulation. This requires extracting the blood from a donor, optionally processing and storing it for some time, and putting it into the recipient without adverse (or lethal) effects. In 1914 sodium citrate was discovered as an anti-coagulant, allowing storage of blood for days in blood banks. A primary earlier advancement was the discovery of human blood groups (O, A, and B) by the Austrian Karl Landsteiner in 1901, without which blood transfusion could be lethal.This is a prime example of gradual advances over three centuries, gated by growing scientific understanding.The ability to store and transfuse blood was first used on a wide scale in WWI, and is credited with saving numerous lives since then in treating hematological diseases, during surgeries, and in treating accident- and battle-related injuries.
8004Investor AB1916OrganizationInvestor AB is a Swedish investment company. Its business model is based on significant ownership positions in each company it invests in, allowing it to impact key decisions. It is focused on Sweden but also on the greater Nordic area.Investor AB was created by the Wallenberg family when Swedish law changed to prohibit banks from owning shares in industrials. The company promoted Sweden’s strong industrial presence across the engineering and medical sectors. It is the pioneer of building businesses in the investment manner referred to today as private equity (and venture capital).
8005refrigerator1916InventionThe domestic electric refrigerator keeps food from spoiling by using the cooling effect of a decompressing gas to cool the thermally insulated chamber where the food is placed. This technology, which replaced ice-cooled ‘ice boxes’, was introduced in 1913 and mass-produced by Frigidaire after 1916. The introduction of Freon in 1928 expanded the refrigerator market during the 1930s and provided a safer, low-toxicity alternative to previously used refrigerants; the later discovery that CFC refrigerants harm the ozone layer caused Freon to be banned in 1994 and replaced by other gases.By allowing food to be stored for much longer without spoiling, the refrigerator has had a significant impact on lifestyles worldwide. It permits the buying of food in bulk, with attendant cost savings, and enables the consumption of cold beverages and ice cream. The freezer enables an entire industry – frozen food and usage model.
8006Insulin1921DiscoveryInsulin is a hormone produced by the pancreas. It regulates the metabolism of carbohydrates and fats, notably of glucose levels in the blood. In people with type 1 diabetes, a failure to produce insulin means they depend on ongoing insulin injections to stay alive. A method for effective insulin extraction from animal tissue was developed by Frederick Banting and Charles Best in Canada in 1921, and soon entered medical use. Later, the first genetically engineered, synthetic ‘human’ insulin was produced in 1978 at the Beckman Research Institute in California, in collaboration with Genentech.Insulin was the first drug produced by genetically modified bacteria, and given its life-saving role, this was an important milestone in the development of GM technology.Before the discovery of insulin, a type 1 diabetes diagnosis was equivalent to a death sentence. The discovery and availability of insulin made a type 1 diabetes diagnosis survivable. As of 2013, about 38 million people had type 1 diabetes worldwide.
8007Vaccines1923VentureVaccines provide active acquired immunity to specific diseases by stimulating the body’s immune system to recognize the responsible microorganism as foreign, thus priming it to destroy. The first successful vaccine, for smallpox, was developed by Edward Jenner in 1798, followed by numerous vaccines in the 19th century. The 1920s witnessed an explosion in vaccine development, for diphtheria (1923, by French and English scientists working independently); pertussis, also known as whooping cough (Denmark 1925); tuberculosis (France and Canada), and tetanus (France) in 1927.The history of vaccines goes beyond the scientific triumph to involve major cultural and legal controversies. On the one hand, various laws were passed (as early as the U.K. Vaccination Act of 1840) to either enforce or forbid certain vaccines; on the other, various groups opposed vaccination for a variety of reasons, and still do.Vaccination has led to the eradication of smallpox and a vast reduction in the incidences of many other serious diseases, such as polio.
8008Air conditioning1922InventionAir conditioning (A/C) is a system or process for controlling the temperature, and sometimes the humidity and purity, of the air in an enclosed living space. Willis Haviland Carrier built the first modern electrical A/C unit in 1902. In 1922, he patented the ‘centrifugal chiller’, the first practical method of air conditioning large space. In 1928, he developed the first residential ‘Weathermaker’, an air conditioner for private home use.By the 1950s air conditioning became one of the standards for comfortable living conditions in the Western world. Its use brought major changes in the way that industrial and commercial buildings are constructed. Its invention also provided a breakthrough in quality of life and productivity for those in hot weather regions.
8009Bell Labs1925VentureBell Labs is an R&D facility which is, at present, a subsidiary of Alcatel-Lucent. Bell Labs was formally created jointly by AT&T and the Western Electric Company in 1925. Since then it has produced numerous inventions of great importance.Bell Labs adopted a then-unique interdisciplinary approach to problem/need solving. As a monopoly, AT&T could provide ample funding and long-time horizons. This is widely seen as an ideal model whereby a corporation can engage in innovative research.Bell Labs is famous for the many critical innovations that it has produced, including the transistor, cellular telephony, the laser, communication satellites, the UNIX operating system, the C programming language, radio astronomy, and many others that have transformed the world we live in. Extending far beyond its initial remit, Bell Labs has worked on projects ranging from anti-aircraft missiles to the Apollo program.
8010Penicillin1928DiscoveryPenicillin was the first antibiotic (antibacterial) drug to enter medical use. It was discovered accidentally as a by-product of the Penicillium mold by Alexander Fleming at St Mary’s Hospital, London. Subsequently it was productized into an effective medicine that saw widespread use in WWII. By 1944 enough penicillin had been produced to treat all the wounded of the Allied Forces.Fleming’s serendipitous discovery highlights the role of accident – along with perceptive observation – as a key factor in innovation. It is worth noting that observations of mold as an antibacterial had been published a number of times since the late 19th century (e.g. by Duchesne, Gratia, and Dath), but were entirely ignored. The reason for Fleming’s different outcome merits further scrutiny.Penicillin itself saved countless lives in war and peace, and created the platform for research into further antibiotics, giving modern medicine one of its prime weapons against disease.
8011Synthetic Polymers1928InventionSynthetic polymers are human-made polymers (materials consisting of large molecules composed of many repeated subunits). They come in a wide variety of properties, and have equally varied commercial applications, causing some to call them ‘super materials’. The earliest such material was Bakelite, invented in the U.S. by Leo Baekeland in 1907. The next three decades saw an explosion of new materials, notably PVC (1928), polythene (1933), nylon (1938), and Teflon (1938).These materials are cheaper, more resistant to heat and chemical erosion, and stronger than previously used natural materials. They are now found in innumerable products.
8012Stock market crash1929EventThe Stock Market Crash of October 1929 was the most devastating stock market crash in the history of the United States, and signaled the beginning of the 10-year Great Depression that affected all Western industrialized countries. The causes of the crash are a subject of debate among economists.The impact of the Great Depression on the U.S. was severe, with the GDP falling by 50% by 1933 while unemployment rose from 3.2% to 27% at its peak. The political, social, and economic repercussions were many. The Great Depression led to the New Deal, a federal intervention program focused on what historians call the ‘3 Rs’: Relief for the unemployed and poor, Recovery of the economy to normal levels, and Reform of the financial system to prevent a repeat depression.
8013The Macmillan Committee1929OtherThe Macmillan Committee was composed mostly of economists. It was formed by the British government after the 1929 Stock Market Crash to determine the root causes of the depressed economy of the United Kingdom, and ascertain whether the banking and financial industry was a help or hindrance to industry.An important outcome was the creation in 1945 of the Industrial and Commercial Finance Corporation, a forerunner of today’s 3i, which was created to provide long-term investment funding for small- and medium-sized enterprises.The Committee's report (published in 1931) coined the phrase ‘The Macmillan gap’ to denote the different relationship between banking and industry in the U.K. as compared to those in the U.S. and Germany.
8014Electrification1930VentureElectrification refers to the conversion of large areas to the use of electrical power, as opposed to earlier sources such as steam. This involved building central generation plants and distribution grids, and the attendant development and implementation of electrical lighting and power end point equipment in homes and industrial plants. The many required technologies were developed in the late 19th century by Edison and many others; actual electrification proceeded in the early 20th century, starting with major cities and extending rather slowly to rural areas, under various government programs such as the Rural Electrification Administration in the U.S.By 1930, 70% of houses in the U.S. had electricity. This created a market for electrical devices to be used purely in the home, such as radio sets and Hoovers, spurring the development of consumer electronics. By the early 2010s close to 20% of the world’s population still didn’t have access to electricity, which is both a human problem and a business opportunity.
8015The 1933 Banking Act1933FactorThe Banking Act of 1933 (enacted 16 June 1933) was a statute enacted by the United States Congress that established the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) and imposed various other banking reforms. The Act was made in the wake of the 1929 Stock Market Crash and the subsequent Great Depression, with a view to restore stability and confidence to the banking system and reduce the chances of a recurrence.The Act restored the banking system but created a gap for venture capital as commercial lending needed to de-risk.
8016Synthesis of Vitamin C1933InventionVitamin C, an essential nutrient for humans, was the first vitamin to be produced artificially. Processes for synthesis were discovered independently in 1933­­—1934 by the British chemists W.N. Haworth and Sir Edmund Hirst, and by the Polish-born Swiss chemist T. Reichstein. Reichstein’s process was suited to cheap mass production, and in 1934 Hoffmann-La Roche bought his patent and became the first pharmaceutical company to mass-produce and market synthetic vitamin C.It is interesting to note that whereas the Nobel Prize was awarded to Haworth, it is Reichstein’s independently discovered process that came into commercial use because of its lower cost and manufacturability.Humans need vitamin C in their diet as they cannot synthesize it; its availability as a manufactured food additive freed people from the exclusive dependence on natural sources such as citrus fruits.
8017Third Reich dismissal of Jewish scientists1933FactorOn Hitler’s rise to power, over 1,000 non-Aryan academics lost their university jobs under the new race laws. The subsequent exodus of German and Austrian Jewish scientists caused critical damage to Germany’s scientific output which brought invaluable gains to the Allied Forces.The scientists who left included Albert Einstein, Leo Szilard, Niels Bohr, Edward Teller, Otto Robert Frisch, Rudolf Peierls, and Felix Bloch. After the war they formed the backbone of science at leading U.S. and U.K. universities. Some of these played a key role in the Atomic Bomb program, and after the war they formed the backbone of science at leading U.S. and U.K. universities. Fifteen went on to win the Nobel Prize.Hitler's expulsion of Jewish scientists, who left in droves to be welcomed by the U.K. and the U.S., resulted in a huge setback to German science, which had previously been in a global leadership position.
8018tape recorder1935InventionA tape recorder is a storage device that records and plays back signals representing sounds or other data, using a magnetic tape for storage. The modern tape recorder was developed in Germany during the 1930s at BASF (then part of IG Farben) and AEG in cooperation with the RRG (German National Broadcasting Corporation) using the magnetic tape invented by Fritz Pfleumer in 1928. The first practical tape recorder from AEG was the Magnetophon K1, demonstrated in Germany in 1935.The tape recorder transformed the music industry, first at the studio level and then – by evolving into the ubiquitous cassette recorder – as an important consumer technology. A further development was the Sony Walkman, the first personal music device. Radio broadcasting was also transformed (as early as during WWII, in Germany) by eliminating the constraint of live transmission.
8019405-line public television broadcasting1936InventionThe 405-line monochrome analogue television broadcasting system was the first fully electronic television system to be used in regular broadcasting. It was introduced with the BBC Television Service in 1936, and remained in operation in the U.K. until 1985. The 405-line technology was developed in 1934 by the EMI Research Team led by Sir Isaac Shoenberg in the U.K.The impact of television on humanity cannot be overstressed. It has been responsible for the diffusion of knowledge, culture, and entertainment; for revolutionizing marketing; and for transforming the political process in both democratic and totalitarian regimes. After WWII consumer ownership increased dramatically, and within 10 years, half of all U.S. households had a set; today ownership in the developed world is universal. After the initial invention, scientists globally worked on improving the quality of TV broadcasting as well as the TV set itself, and the original 405-line system was superseded by higher quality ones, culminating in digital HDTV.
8020PROTEIN STRUCTURE ANALYSIS BY X-RAY CRYSTALLOGRAPHY1937InnovationX-ray crystallography is a technique for determining the spatial structure of atoms in crystals by diffracting X-rays through them. The technique has been in use since the 1920s for analyzing inorganic materials. British biochemist Dorothy Crowfoot Hodgkin pioneered its extension to analyze the far more complex structures of biomolecules. Hodgkin deciphered the structure of cholesterol in 1937, followed by penicillin in 1945, vitamin B12 in 1954, and insulin in 1969.X-ray crystallography went on to become a widely used tool, critical in determining the structures of many biological molecules where knowledge of structure is critical to an understanding of function. For example, without such composition knowledge statins could not have been developed in 1978.
8021birth of the computer1936Invention‘The computer’ here is taken to mean a fully programmable, Turing-complete computer – the kind we all use today. The theoretical framework for the computer, known as the Turing Machine, was developed by British mathematician Alan Turing in 1936. The 1940s saw a number of contenders for the title of ‘the first computer’. The first realization of a Turing-complete computer was built by the German engineer Konrad Zuse, as his Z3 computer, in 1941. Independent efforts took place in the U.K. (Pilot ACE, based on Turing's design, in 1950) and in the U.S. (ENIAC, by Mauchly and Eckert, in 1946). All these were inspired by earlier machines that came short of the above definition: Zuse's Z1 of 1938 (not Turing-complete); the Bletchley Park Colossus (not Turing-complete and with limited programmability, 1943), and Atanassoff and Berry's ABC (not programmable, 1942).It is interesting to note that the different computer projects involved different venture models: private investment (Zuse), government (Pilot ACE), academic (Atanasoff-Berry), military (Colossus) and, academia-military collaboration (ENIAC). The story of the chance encounter between Herman Goldstine, of the ENIAC team, with John von Neumann, of the Manhattan Project, which resulted in mutual assistance with far-reaching outcomes, carries a powerful lesson of the importance of free idea flow to innovative ventures.WWII was both an impetus and a hindrance to computer development. The Colossus, the ENIAC, and to some extent the Z3 were funded and directed by the military in their respective countries; on the other hand, the war and the attendant secrecy limited the flow of ideas among different inventors and projects. The impact of the computer on humanity goes without saying.
8022World War II1939EventWorld War II (WWII) was a global war which took place between 1939 and 1945. It involved the vast majority of the world’s nations, including all of the great powers. It was the deadliest conflict in world history, and changed the political and social structures of the world in many profound ways.WWII applied significant innovations in strategy, weaponry, and communications, and was the first war to mobilize large collaborative groups of scientists and mathematicians empowered with significant national funding in the U.S. (the Manhattan Project) and in Britain (Bletchley Park). Inventions developed during the war, for example jet-powered aviation and computers, set the foundation for the next two decades, as applications were turned to civilian consumption and peacetime development. A notable example is the space program and the moon landing, enabled by technology and personnel transferred from Germany to the U.S.
8023RADAR (Radio Detection And Ranging)1935InventionRadar uses the reflection of radio waves to determine the range, altitude, direction, or speed of objects, notably aircraft, missiles, and ships. Early radar technology was developed independently in numerous countries both before and during WWII. Full radar evolved as a pulsed system, which was deployed successfully by the U.K. as an air defense system in time for WWII. This was developed from 1935 by a British Air Ministry team led by Robert Watson-Watt. Significant development came with the improvement of the cavity magnetron (by John Randall and Henry Boot, U.K.) in early 1940, which emitted microwaves that could detect smaller objects. This technology was given to the U.S. in 1940 in return for the U.K.’s use of U.S. R&D and production facilities. To this end the Radiation Lab (Rad Lab) at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) was established in 1940 to develop various types of radar using the magnetron.Of note is the wartime cooperation of the U.K. and U.S., where a U.K.-developed magnetron was productized in the U.S. for use by both countries. With the need for miniaturization and reliability, the engineering know-how innovated for radar was later deployed in consumer electronics.Radar is a prime example of military technology that led to civilian use. During the war the system provided the vital advance information that helped the Royal Air Force win the Battle of Britain. Today radar is in wide use in both weapons systems and in civil air and naval use.
8024Jet propulsion1939InventionA turbojet engine is an aircraft engine that produces forward thrust by ejecting a jet of combustion products. It uses atmospheric air from a turbine-driven compressor. The jet engine was first patented in 1930 by Frank Whittle of the Royal Air Force, and in Germany, Hans von Ohain patented a similar engine in 1935. The first aircraft to fly under jet power was the German Heinkel He 178 in 1939, but practical use of jet fighters began in 1944 with the German Messerschmidt Me 262 and the British Gloster Meteor.Although they entered WWII too late to have a major impact, after the war jet engines transformed both civil and military aviation.
8025Wartime medical advances of WWII1939InnovationThe new weaponry in WWII led to rapid advances in the development and productization of medical and surgical methods. New developments included blood separation and storage methods (developed by Charles Drew in the U.S. in 1940), improved wound dressing and skin grafting, tetanus immunization, new malaria treatments, and methods for better dosing and drug delivery in combat (Squibb’s morphine syrette, 1939, being an early example). On the production front, the war put medicine manufacturing on an emergency footing, which encouraged the development of new methods of mass production for vital medicines (e.g. penicillin and sulphonamides).Drew’s work on blood storage was the model for today’s blood banks and volunteer blood donation programs.These advances contributed significantly to survival rates of the war's numerous casualties, and continue to save lives to this day.
8026Hewlett Packard (HP)1939OrganizationHewlett Packard (HP) is one of the earliest Silicon Valley startups. It was founded in 1939 by Bill Hewlett and Dave Packard, two electrical engineers from Stanford. HP initially focused on electronic test equipment (its first product being a precision audio oscillator with innovative circuitry). The company incorporated in 1947 and went public ten years later, becoming one of the world’s largest computer makers.HP is widely considered the archetype of the Silicon Valley ‘Garage startup’, and was in fact founded in Packard’s garage in Palo Alto, California. Bill Hewlett and Dave Packard were encouraged by their Stanford mentor, Professor Fred Terman. This crossover from academic influencer to innovative ventures was typical of Terman, who encouraged his students to form their own companies and personally invested in many of them, resulting in firms such as Litton Industries, Varian Associates, and Hewlett-Packard.HP was responsible for much of today’s hi-tech work culture, values, and aspirations:
- management by objective
- set values to guide, autonomy to execute
- fostered innovation by employees
- open factory floor (never lock the room)
- focus beyond profit on responsibilities to employees and society
- enjoy your work frame of mind.
Casual social activities for employees.
8027Kidney dialysis machine1943InventionDialysis is the process of filtering harmful wastes from the blood of a patient suffering from renal failure. The first dialysis machine (‘artificial kidney’) was developed in 1943 by Willem Kolff in the Netherlands, although it was not successful at treating kidney failure until 1945.The dialysis machine led Kolff to the concept of developing other artificial organs. He subsequently worked on a heart and lung machine used in cardiac surgery and was involved in developing the first artificial heart.Dialysis machines keep countless patients alive, and enable many to survive until a donor kidney becomes available for transplant.
8028Reduction of Capital Gains Tax (CGT) rate in the U.S.1942FactorWhilst Capital Gains Tax (CGT) had been levied at rates lower than federal income tax, the gap widened dramatically in 1942 with a maximum CGT of 25% against the upper income tax rate of 88%. Furthermore, the threshold on which highest rate income tax applied was slashed significantly, whereas 50% of all capital gains could be excluded on assets held for more than six months. The rationale of reducing the CGT rate was to encourage risk-taking in investment and reduce the cost of capital, thus spurring venture.Preferential tax rates for capital gains may increase the proportion of higher-risk investment such as in startup or venture capital businesses.Increased early-stage investment capital available for venture activities.
8029Schumpeter's theory of ‘Creative Destruction’ and Innovation1942OtherThe theory of Creative Destruction views Innovation as the mechanism for economic change and growth, with the entrepreneur as its agent. The theory, also known as ‘Schumpeter's gale’, is described in the second of Joseph Schumpeter's major works, ‘Capitalism, Socialism and Democracy’. In it Schumpeter argued that technological innovation often creates temporary monopolies, allowing abnormal profits that would soon be competed away by rivals and imitators. He said that these temporary monopolies were necessary to provide the incentive necessary for firms to develop new products and processes.Schumpeter’s theory played a pioneering role in the development of theories of innovation and entrepreneurship.
8030Ballistic missiles1944InventionA ballistic missile is a military rocket that follows a ballistic flightpath to its target; that is, except for a relatively brief period after launch, its trajectory is largely unpowered and governed by gravity. The first ballistic missile was the German V-2, developed by Wernher von Braun during WWII. It applied advanced technologies such as liquid fuel engines, supersonic aerodynamics, gyroscopic guidance, and rudders in jet control. With a range of over 200 miles and a Mach 4 speed it was virtually unstoppable.Many of the scientists who had worked on the V-2 were repatriated after the war’s end to the U.S. or Russia, and put to work on their space programs. Von Braun played a leading role in the U.S. space program and architected the Saturn V rocket that was used to send men to the moon. The American move to integrate the German scientists into its own space venture is a fine example of wise management of innovative human capital.Over 3,000 V-2 were fired at Allied targets, resulting in 9,000 deaths. While the V-2 had no effect on the outcome of the war, its value was in its ingenuity and technological daring, which set the stage for the next 50 years of rocketry, culminating in the intercontinental ballistic missiles of the Cold War and the beginnings of modern space exploration.
8031Bretton Woods agreement1944FactorThe Bretton Woods agreement (named after the New Hampshire location of the international conference that negotiated it) was a system of monetary management that established the rules for commercial and financial relations among the world’s major industrial states in the mid-20th century. Major outcomes of the Bretton Woods conference included the formation of the International Monetary Fund and the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development, and the proposed introduction of an adjustable pegged foreign exchange rate system. The U.S dollar became an international reserve currency that was linked to the price of gold.The U.S. asserted its political and financial leverage, and the developed economies’ focus shifted to international trade away from inter-war isolationist policies to stimulate growth.
8032The Manhattan Project1942VentureThe Manhattan Project was a secret R&D project in the U.S. that produced the first atomic bombs during WWII. It took place between 1942 and 1945. The project required a massive effort. It employed more than 130,000 people and cost nearly US$2 billion (the equivalent of about US$26 billion in 2015). Research and production took place at more than 30 sites across the U.S., U.K., and Canada.The project involved the cooperation of science and the military at an unprecedented scale, using a management model that successfully accelerated massive innovation. Of interest is the fact that the project was instigated by the U.S. scientific community (Szilard, Einstein et al), who convinced the political echelon to get it underway; the U.S. army then led the execution and supervised the scientists.The Manhattan Project’s primary result was the nuclear destruction of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, which at once kicked off the nuclear arms race and horrified the world into never putting it to the test. The project also spurred the development of nuclear energy generation, the use of nuclear energy to power navy vessels, and medical research into radiology for cancer diagnosis and treatment.
8033American Research and Development Corporation (ARDC)1946OrganizationThe American Research and Development Corporation (ARDC) was a pioneering venture capital and private equity firm founded in 1946 to encourage private sector investments in businesses run by WWII veterans. It formalized the model of due diligence and post-investment monitoring. It is considered the first institutional venture capital firm. It was founded by Georges Doriot, the former Dean of Harvard Business School and the ‘father of venture capitalism’, with Ralph Flanders and Karl Compton (former president of MIT).ARDC was the first public venture capital firm that did not depend on wealthy individuals for capital. It is credited with the first major venture capital success story for its funding of the Digital Equipment Corporation (DEC) in 1957. This success probably secured the Boston area for minicomputer development as well as spurring many others to create VC firms. Former employees of ARDC have gone on to found several prominent venture capital firms, including Greylock Partners (founded in 1965 by Charlie Waite and Bill Elfers), and Morgan, Holland Ventures, the predecessor of Flagship Ventures (founded in 1982 by James Morgan).
8034J.H. Whitney & Company1946OrganizationJ.H. Whitney & Company is a U.S. venture capital firm founded in 1946 by John Hay Whitney and Benno Schmidt. Its goal was to finance entrepreneurs who could not get banks to finance their plans, by claiming that ‘Our business is the adventure’. It was the first venture capital investment firm in the U.S.Benno Schmidt is credited with coining the phrase ‘venture capital’, an abbreviation of ‘private adventure capital’.
8035Post-WWII baby boom1946FactorThe baby boom that followed the end of WWII was a rise in births in the U.S. and other countries following the return of soldiers to their homes. In 1946, U.S. births increased by 20% to 3.4 million, more than any time before. High birth rates continued until 1964, by which time there were 76.4 million ‘baby boomers’ in the U.S., comprising 40% of the population.This baby boom significantly affected the demographics and culture in the West. The phenomenon is not limited to the U.S.; with advancements in radio and TV broadcasting, boomers in each country were connected to create a global cultural mindset. Their numbers made them an obvious market for all businesses: new products, new needs, plus production scalability. Culturally, boomers are often associated with counterculture, the civil rights movement, and the feminist cause of the 1970s. The concurrent arrival of baby boomers to retirement age, which is ongoing, has many economic and societal implications.
8036Random-access memory (RAM)1946InventionRandom-access memory (RAM) is a form of computer data storage device that allows data items to be read and written in roughly the same amount of time, regardless of the order in which data items are accessed. The first RAM device was the Williams Tube, invented by Frederic Williams and Tom Kilburn in the U.K. in 1946. It was superseded in the 1950s by magnetic core memory, which enabled far larger memory capacity, and this in turn was replaced with silicon RAM chips in the 1970s.The Williams Tube was used in some of the early electronic computers in the 1940s and 1950s, in the U.K., U.S. and U.S.S.R., until magnetic core memory took over.Today silicon DRAM chips are a vital component in every computer.
8037Silicon Valley1951OtherSilicon Valley is a nickname for the southern portion of the San Francisco Bay Area. It is home to many of the world’s largest hi-tech corporations, as well as thousands of tech startup companies. The term ‘Father of Silicon Valley’ is applied to Fred Terman, Dean of Stanford’s School of Engineering, together with William Shockley, co-inventor of the transistor. Terman spearheaded the creation in 1951 of Stanford Industrial Park by leasing land to attract companies such as Varian, HP, Eastman Kodak, GE, and Lockheed; Shockley opened Shockley Semiconductor Laboratory in Mountain View in 1956. In 1954 Stanford established its Honors Cooperative Program, which allowed engineers to combine work with their graduate studies.Stanford’s influence led to the creation of the university–government–industry partnership model and made the peninsula a hotbed of innovation. In 1957, eight leading scientists left Shockley Semiconductor Laboratory and formed Fairchild Semiconductor. Engineers from Fairchild subsequently started Intel and many other companies in Silicon Valley. This model, where a supportive ecosystem enables the growth of ever more hi-tech companies, is now common in hi-tech hubs (e.g. Israel).
8038Polio vaccine1952InventionThe polio vaccine protects against poliomyelitis, a crippling and at times lethal disease. Two polio vaccines are used throughout the world. The first was developed by Jonas Salk and first tested in 1952; it consists of an injected dose of inactivated (dead) poliovirus. The second is an oral vaccine developed by Albert Sabin and tested in 1957, using attenuated poliovirus.Poliomyelitis (polio) was a major health threat worldwide, crippling and killing large numbers of people, especially children. The vaccine enabled a global effort to eradicate polio, launched in 1988 by the World Health Organization, UNICEF, and The Rotary Foundation. These efforts have reduced the number of annual diagnosed cases by 99% – from an estimated 350,000 cases in 1988 to 223 cases in 2012.
8039Silicones1940InventionSilicones are polymers that include any inert, synthetic compound made up of repeating units of siloxane. Silicone rubbers are non-reactive, resistant to extreme conditions and temperatures, and have a proliferation of applications across all industrial sectors. Frederic Stanley Kipping was the first to achieve extensive synthesis of silicone compounds in 1940, and coined the name ‘silicones’. Dow Corning started mass production of silicone-based materials in 1943, followed by GE in 1947, with Shin-Etsu Chemical in Japan perfecting mass production in 1953.Silicones are used in countless applications: the insulation of wiring and other parts in computer and electronic appliances; in medical devices; to alter the texture of fabrics and other materials; in detergents, personal hygiene, and cosmetics; automotive lubricants, and coating buildings and cars.
8040Determination of the structure of DNA1953DiscoveryThe double helix structure of DNA, the molecule that encodes genetic information in all living organisms, was discovered by James Watson and Francis Crick in their lab at the University of Cambridge in 1953, using experimental data collected by Rosalind Franklin and Maurice Wilkins.Understanding the structure of DNA is crucial to understanding the mechanisms underlying cell functionality, and therefore life itself. This discovery was the catalyst for the development of molecular biology, which in turn revolutionized many areas of biology and medicine.
8041Korean War1950EventThe Korean War was a war between North and South Korea, in which a U.N. force led by the U.S. fought for the South, and China fought for the North, assisted by the Soviet Union. The war arose from the division of Korea at the end of WWII and from the global tensions of the Cold War that developed immediately afterwards.The Korean War gave a boost to the U.S. electronics and aerospace industries. The lucrative government contracts spurred many companies’ growth, such as IBM and Raytheon.
8042Solar cells1954InventionA solar cell, or photovoltaic cell, is an electrical device that converts the energy of light directly into electricity. The first practical solar cell was developed in 1954 at Bell Laboratories by Daryl Chapin, Calvin Souther Fuller, and Gerald Pearson.Solar cells provide ready power in off-the-grid applications, notably space vehicles and remote installations on Earth. They are also used in solar panels as a green energy alternative to fossil fuels, although they have not yet become an economic competitor to the latter.
8043Kidney transplant1954InnovationKidney transplantation is the organ transplant of a kidney into a patient with end-stage renal disease. The first kidney transplants, carried out in the early 1950s in the U.S., had limited success because of tissue rejection. The first truly successful transplant was conducted in 1954 by Joseph Murray on identical twins to circumvent this problem. The introduction of immunosuppressive drugs in 1964 enabled transplants from unrelated donors.The kidney was the first successful organ to be transplanted. It encouraged further work into organ transplant and research on drugs to counter rejection. The next decade witnessed the first liver, lung, and heart (1967) transplants.Today kidney transplant is a common procedure that extends life by 10–15 years more than what can be achieved with dialysis.
8044Sputnik satellite launch1957EventSputnik 1 was the first artificial Earth satellite, launched by the U.S.S.R. in October 1957. It was designed by Sergei Korolev.U.S. public reaction led to the creation of the Advanced Research Projects Agency (later renamed the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency or DARPA), NASA, and an increase in U.S. government spending on scientific research and education.Sputnik 1 provided scientists with important scientific data on the atmosphere. More importantly, it initiated the Space Race by jolting the U.S. into action upon realizing that Russia was winning the battle for supremacy in spaceflight.
8045Fairchild Semiconductor1957OrganizationFairchild Semiconductor International, Inc. is an American semiconductor company based in San Jose, California. The company was founded in 1957 by the ‘Traitorous Eight’, key employees of the Shockley Semiconductor Laboratory who resigned together. Among them were key figures in the history of semiconductors, and their new company, Fairchild Semiconductor, was responsible for the major progress of the industry in the following decade.Fairchild Semiconductor co-invented and manufactured the first commercial integrated circuit. It recruited talented employees, many of whom went on to have leading roles in the semiconductor and venture capital industries. Companies like Intel, AMD, Intersil, and others were founded by Fairchild veterans, and are in fact sometimes referred to as ‘Fairchildren’.An interesting lesson in management: Shockley’s harsh management practices cost him his best employees, and ultimately led to his company’s failure.
8046Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA)1958VentureThe Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) is an agency of the U.S. Department of Defense and responsible for the development of new technologies for use by the military. DARPA began as the Advanced Research Projects Agency (ARPA), created in 1958 by President Eisenhower. It was started in response to the Sputnik launch by the U.S.S.R.DARPA has been responsible for funding the development of many technologies which have had a major effect on the world, including computer networking and the early internet, as well as NLS, which was both the first hypertext system, and an important precursor to the contemporary ubiquitous graphical user interface.
8047Small Business Investment Company (SBIC)1958OrganizationA Small Business Investment Company (SBIC) is a privately-owned company in the U.S. that is licensed by the Small Business Administration (SBA). SBICs supply small entrepreneurial businesses with financing, providing a viable alternative to venture capital firms. This government-sponsored program was defined in the Small Business Investment Act of 1958: the government would lend, i.e. provide debt finance, to privately owned investment companies who, in turn, would provide capital to new and emerging companies.In fiscal year 2013 US$3.5 billion in financing dollars were invested in 1,068 small businesses
8048Implantable cardiac pacemaker1958InventionA cardiac pacemaker is a medical device that uses electrical impulses, delivered by electrodes contracting the heart muscles, to regulate the beating of the heart. The first successfully implanted pacemaker was designed by Rune Elmqvist in Sweden in 1958.The development of the silicon transistor and its first commercial availability in 1956 was the pivotal event which led to the rapid development of practical cardiac pacemaking.Approximately one million people in the U.S. have pacemakers.
8049credit card1958InventionA credit card is a payment card issued to users as a system of payment. Whilst charge cards, led by Diners, were available earlier, Bank of America issued the first general purpose credit card, the ‘BankAmericard’, in 1958. Together with its overseas affiliates, this product eventually evolved into the Visa system. Barclays Group launched the first credit card outside the U.S. (in the U.K.) in 1966.Credit cards were essential to the ease of transfering money electronically in B2C transactions, a key enabler of countless online businesses and startup products.Credit cards not only spurred consumption, but accelerated the evolution of cashless transactions and developed a new payment system.
8050integrated circuit1958InventionAn integrated circuit (also referred to as an IC, a chip, or a microchip) is a set of electronic circuits on one small plate (‘chip’) of semiconductor material, normally silicon. The first IC was developed by Jack Kilby at Texas Instruments in 1958. Six months after Kilby, Robert Noyce at Fairchild Semiconductor independently developed a version that solved many of the practical problems that Kilby’s had not. The patent rights were eventually shared by both companies.It is worth noting that the ‘canonical’ story of Kilby and Noyce as the inventors is a great simplification: there were many others involved.Integrated circuits are used in virtually all electronic equipment today and have revolutionized the world of electronics and computing. Their continuing miniaturization (governed by Moore’s Law) ensures the exponential growth of computing power at ever-falling prices.
8051In vitro fertilization (IVF)1978InnovationIn vitro fertilization (IVF) is a process by which an egg is fertilized by sperm outside the body. Min Chueh Chang, at the Worcester Foundation in the U.S., proved in 1959 that IVF was capable of proceeding to the birth of a live rabbit, a seminal discovery. His work on the conditions necessary for successful IVF led to the first human IVF-conceived birth in 1978 in the U.K.By 2013 the number of babies born as a result of IVF and related reproduction technologies had reached an estimated total of 5 million. The availability of IVF technology has raised a number of new ethical, religious, and psychological issues, which are still being debated.
8052Float glass process1957InnovationFloat glass is a sheet of glass made by floating molten glass on a bed of molten metal, typically tin. This method gives the sheet uniform thickness and very flat surfaces. The process was invented by Sir Alastair Pilkington and Kenneth Bickerstaff in the U.K. between 1953 and 1957, and was commercialized in 1960.Taken for granted now, this process revolutionized glass manufacturing, allowing the cost-effective production of large sheets of glass for windows and other uses. It is also more efficient in terms of energy used and on account of continuous production.
8053High-strength carbon fiber1963InventionCarbon fiber is a material consisting of fibers about 5–10 ?m in diameter and composed mostly of carbon atoms. Their properties, such as high tensile strength, low weight, and chemical resistance, make them a valuable material in many demanding applications. High-strength carbon fiber was first developed by Dr Akio Shindo in Japan and then perfected by scientists at the Royal Aircraft Establishment in the U.K.; it was patented in 1963 by the U.K. Ministry of Defence.With its high initial strength-to-weight ratio, this composite polymer has varied applications in the aerospace, automotive, aviation, sports, civil engineering, and military domains. However, it is relatively expensive when compared to similar fibers, such as glass fibers or plastic fibers.
8054laser1960InventionA laser is a device that emits coherent, monochromatic light through a process of optical amplification, based on the stimulated emission of electromagnetic radiation. Einstein established the theoretical grounding for the laser in 1917. Charles Townes produced in 1953 the first maser, a microwave amplifier based on similar principles as the laser. Independently, Basov and Prokhorov in the U.S.S.R. suggested in 1955 optical pumping of a multi-level system, later a main method of laser pumping. On 16 May 1960, Theodore Maiman operated the first functioning laser at Hughes Research Laboratories in the U.S. In 1962 Robert N. Hall demonstrated the first semiconductor laser diode device. Their development spurred the take-off of fiber-optic communications.The now-ubiquitous laser is a good example of science enabling a core technology that was entirely unimaginable until recently. In fact, Townes reported that several eminent physicists – among them Niels Bohr, John von Neumann, and Isidor Rabi – argued that the maser violated Heisenberg’s Uncertainty Principle and therefore could not work, and tried to dissuade him from continuing his work!The laser was immediately integrated into daily use for scanning, heating, and cutting in an array of consumer products, manufacturing, scientific instrumentation, and medical surgery. In its solid state form it is at the heart of all optical disc devices (the CD, DVD, etc.).
8055Davis and Rock partnership1961OrganizationDavis and Rock, founded by Arthur Rock and Tommy Davis in 1961, played a key role in funding the earlier Silicon Valley startups, notably Intel, Apple Computer, Scientific Data Systems, and Teledyne.By funding Apple Computer and Intel in their early days, Davis and Rock played a seminal role in the success of companies whose impact on the personal computer revolution cannot be overstressed.
8056Liquid-crystal display (LCD)1964InventionA liquid-crystal display (LCD) is a display screen or device that uses the light-modulating properties of liquid crystals. The first working LCD was developed in 1964 by George Heilmeier at the RCA Laboratories in the U.S. The Dynamic Scattering Mode (DSM) technology he used was too power-consuming, but the problem was solved in 1971, when James Fergason invented the twisted nematic effect (TN-effect). Patented in Switzerland in 1970, this required both lower operating voltage and power consumption. TN-LCDs soon replaced the DSM type.LCDs became a ubiquitous display technology, appearing in a wide range of applications – TV screens, clocks, watches, appliances of almost every kind, gym equipment, and more.
8057Drip irrigation1959InventionDrip irrigation irrigates plants by allowing water to drip slowly to their roots through a network of valves, tubing, and emitters. Simcha Blass and his son (Yeshayahu) created in Israel the first irrigation system that used friction and water pressure loss to release water through larger passageways – thus overcoming the blocking by small particles that affects tiny holes. Blass then partnered in 1965 with Kibbutz Hatzerim to create Netafim, where he developed and patented the first practical surface drip irrigation emitter, which they proceeded to produce on a large scale.Drip irrigation transformed agriculture under varied topographic and climatic conditions throughout the world. Because it is extremely efficient in conserving water – 30% to 50% less water is required relative to sprinkling – it can make it affordable to convert unused land into arable land in arid areas.
8058Business outsourcing1962InnovationOutsourcing is the strategic use of outside resources to perform activities traditionally handled by internal staff and resources. While its roots go back to the 19th century, it was vastly advanced when Ross Perot founded Electronic Data Systems (EDS) in 1962 to outsource customer software for mainframe programming beyond geographical boundaries. Strategic outsourcing took off further in the 1980s and 1990s, when advances in computing and communications made it practical to outsource IT services and business processes. In the early 2000s it was extended offshore to low-cost, English speaking-countries, especially for managing billing, ticketing, claims, customer support and accounting, and for writing programming code.One outcome of outsourcing, and the remote work models it furthered, is that startup and tech companies can tap the excellent technical workforce – especially computer programmers – in remote countries, thereby gaining talent and reducing costs.The advent of outsourcing, especially to offshore locations, had a vast impact on the workforce in both the source and target countries, affecting tens of millions of white-collar employees.
8059Portable electronic calculator1970InventionA portable electronic calculator is a small, untethered device used to perform mathematical operations. The first portable (i.e. battery-operated) calculator was the four-function Sharp QT-8B ‘Micro Compet’, introduced in 1970. By 1971 Busicom introduced the model LE-120A, the first truly pocketable calculator. In 1972 HP released the HP-35, the world’s first scientific pocket calculator.The HP-35 dealt a deadly blow to the slide rule, which had been a standard engineering tool since at least the 18th century. This is a canonical example of the rapid destruction of an industry by a radical innovation.Pocket calculators have become so ubiquitous that many people no longer retain the ability to do arithmetic calculations either by hand or in their heads.
8060First-generation desktop computers1964InventionA desktop computer is a non-portable personal (single-user) computer. The first desktop computer was the Programma 101, invented by the Italian engineer Pier Giorgio Perotto at Olivetti. It was launched at the 1964 New York World’s Fair, attracting major interest.The Programma 101 played a seminal role in the arrival of the desktop machines; it inspired some features in the Hewlett-Packard 9100A, introduced in 1968 (for which HP was ordered to pay royalties to Olivetti).These early machines were at the borderline between calculators and general purpose computers; they are best described as programmable calculators. The first true personal computers arrived in 1977 (with the Apple II and Commodore PET). In 1981, IBM launched its Personal Computer and with it the paradigm of personal computing as we know it today.
8062the Kauffman Foundation1966OrganizationThe Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation was founded as a U.S. non-profit investment vehicle and to support programs focusing on entrepreneurship and the education of children and youth.The foundation has become a recognized think tank on entrepreneurship, innovation, and the venture capital model, as well as an enabler for young entrepreneurs.The foundation has, as of 2013, made US$6 billion in venture capital investments, sparking growth in hundreds of new enterprises, and is credited for US$15 billion in annually recurring revenues, and the creation of 50,000 jobs.
8063hippie movement1967OtherThe hippie movement was originally a youth movement which began in the U.S. in the mid-1960s before spreading to other countries around the world. It emerged from a mistrust of politicians, opposition to the Vietnam War, and to the old order in general. The movement was characterized by rebellious experiments in lifestyle, sexual freedom, dress, music, drug use, and religious and cultural diversity.The hippie subculture enforced the Silicon Valley spirit of individuals working as entrepreneurs, or in small groups, rather than large corporations. The hippie attitude to the environment and the mistrust of corporations’ relationship with it is still felt today, and impacts attitudes to ‘green’ ventures.Hippie fashion and values had a major effect on culture, influencing popular music, television, film, literature, and the arts. Since the 1960s, many aspects of hippie culture have been assimilated by mainstream society: the religious and cultural diversity espoused by the hippies has gained widespread acceptance, and Eastern philosophy and spiritual concepts have reached a larger audience.
8064Automated Teller Machine (ATM)1967InventionAn Automated Teller Machine (ATM) is an electronic device that enables the customers of a financial institution to perform transactions without the need for a human cashier. The first successful ATM was developed in the U.K. by Barclays Bank in 1967; it was invented by John Shepherd-Barron of printing firm De La Rue. The first machines used tokens or special cheques; later, a magnetic card came into general use for identification. The concept of a built-in PIN number was patented by Scottish inventor James Goodfellow in 1966.The ATM changed the way many people around the world withdraw cash from their accounts.
8065Intel Corporation1968OrganizationIntel Corporation is an American multinational semiconductor chip maker, and is one of the leading corporations in its industry. Intel was founded by Robert Noyce, Gordon Moore, and Andy Grove – who left Fairchild Semiconductor in 1968 – with help from venture capitalist Arthur Rock. The original intent was to focus on making semiconductor memory using polysilicon gate technology; however, the company’s main focus and growth engine soon changed to building microprocessors (which the company invented).Intel Capital, the company’s corporate venture arm, started in 1991. Since then US$11 billion has been invested in over 1,339 companies in 55 countries. In that timeframe, 206 portfolio companies have gone public on various exchanges around the world, and 344 were acquired or participated in a merger.Intel played a key role in enabling the personal computer revolution, having invented in its first four years the first practical, solid state SRAM and DRAM chips, the EPROM, and the Microprocessor.
8066Moon landing1969EventThe first landing of humans on Earth’s moon was carried out by the U.S. in the Apollo 11 mission, at the end of an intense race with the U.S.S.R. The mission was defined by John F. Kennedy’s commitment in 1961 to the goal of sending an American safely to the moon before the end of the decade.The Apollo program’s achievements were a resounding tribute to U.S. science and engineering, and to the mobilization of innovation by inspired leadership from the political echelon (fuelled, as it was, by the fear of Russia’s perceived technological supremacy).The pinnacle of the U.S. space program, Apollo had numerous spin-offs in both the civilian and military spheres. Arguably, the images of the Earth from space played an important role in humanity’s realization of the fragility of our planet, leading to the environmentalist world view.
8067Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers (KPCB)1972OrganizationKleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers (KPCB) is a venture capital firm located in Menlo Park in Silicon Valley. It is considered one of the Valley’s top venture capital providers. KPCB was founded in 1972 by Eugene Kleiner, a founder of Fairchild Semiconductor, and Tom Perkins, from Hewlett-Packard’s computer hardware division. The firm specializes in investments in incubation and early-stage hi-tech companies.KPCB is typical of a new wave of independent investment firms that appeared in the 1970s in Silicon Valley. Since its founding, KPCB has backed many entrepreneurs in over 600 ventures, including AOL, Amazon.com, Citrix, Compaq Computer, Genentech, Google, Intuit, Lotus, Netscape, and Sun Microsystems.KPCB portfolio companies employ more than 250,000 people and more than 150 of the firm’s portfolio companies have gone public.
8069Palo Alto Research Center (PARC)1970OrganizationPARC (Palo Alto Research Center Incorporated), formerly Xerox PARC, is a research and development company in Palo Alto, California. It is renowned for having originated numerous breakthroughs in computer technology, including the graphical user interface (GUI), the laser printer, the Ethernet standard, and object-oriented programming. PARC was founded in 1970 as a division of Xerox Corporation, when its Chief Scientist Jack Goldman hired physicist George Pake to set it up. The new lab had the hiring advantage of being close to Stanford, SRI, and NASA.It is interesting that Xerox itself failed to commercialize many of PARC’s ideas, such as the GUI (though other inventions, e.g. laser printing, were brought to market). This failure is often ascribed to the lab’s 2,000-mile distance from Xerox's East Coast headquarters. This very distance, however, was instrumental in giving PARC’s researchers great freedom in pursuing their work.PARC’s work transformed computing. Apple, Microsoft, CISCO, and HP all used and benefited from PARC innovations; a key example is the use of the GUI by Apple Computer for its Macintosh, which was later mimicked by Microsoft for its Windows OS.
8070Optical fibers1970InventionAn optical fiber is a flexible, transparent fiber made of extruded glass or plastic that can function as a waveguide to transmit light between its two ends. Optical fibers were invented in 1970 by Robert Maurer, Peter Schultz, and Donald Keck at Corning Glass. Their fibers had sufficiently low losses to allow use for data communication, ushering in the era of fiber optics. The currently used system, using glass-sheathed fibers, was developed by Gerhard Bernsee of Schott Glass in Germany in 1973.Optical fibers have facilitated the extraordinary growth in world-wide communications, which is crucial to today’s technology and venture ecosystem.Optical fibers play a key role in modern communications.
8071Nixon Shock1971EventThe Nixon Shock was a series of economic measures undertaken by U.S. President Richard Nixon in 1971, which effectively brought the Bretton Woods system of 1944 to an end. The most significant measure was the unilateral cancellation of the direct convertibility of the U.S. dollar to gold. President Nixon resorted to this move because the dollar was severely overvalued and the U.S. faced a balance of payments crisis. The stock market had lost a third of its value in the preceding two years.While Nixon publicly stated his intention to resume direct convertibility of the dollar, after reforms to the Bretton Woods system had been implemented, all attempts at reform proved unsuccessful. By 1973, the Bretton Woods system was replaced de facto by a regime based on freely floating fiat currencies that remains in place to the present day. With Bretton Woods broken, the dollar devalued. The stock market rose and peaked at over 1051 at the end of 1972. The devaluation of the dollar was one cause of the 1973 oil crisis.
8072Japanese venture capital1972OtherThe Japanese VC ecosystem took off in the early 1970s. Kyoto Enterprise Development was funded in 1972 by 43 Kyoto companies but dissolved in 1979. At the same time Nippon Enterprise Development began in Tokyo. In 1973 Nomura Securities, together with 15 shareholders, established Japan Godo Finance, a forerunner to JAFCO – Japan Associated Finance Co. Other banks and security firms followed.The 1973 oil crisis recession, combined with the difficulties caused by the lack of a market for unlisted securities, ended the first expansion phase of VC in Japan: the number of investments declined and the industry stagnated. Nevertheless, of the eight firms formed in that period, six still survive to this day.
8073Electronic mail (email)1971InventionThe first email message, in the accepted sense of messaging across a computer network, was sent in 1971 between two PDP-10 minicomputers at Bolt Beranek and Newman (BBN), using software developed by Ray Tomlinson. The two machines were in the same room, but their only connection was through ARPANET, the early precursor of the internet.The wide use and misuse of email opened an opportunity to develop numerous software products to improve email and help with email overload.Email communication is widely used in almost every aspect of business and personal lives. In fact, despite the proliferation of newer protocols (social media, instant messaging, etc.), simple email remains the most common standard of person-to-person communication. An unexpected byproduct of email is email overload, the leading cause of information overload and a source of severe harm to productivity and work/life balance among knowledge workers and managers worldwide.
8074Atari1972OrganizationAtari, Inc. was a pioneer in arcade games, home video game consoles, and home computers. The company was founded in 1972 by Nolan Bushnell and Ted Dabney. Since then the company has been split and acquired a number of times.Atari was a pioneer in arcade games, home video game consoles, and home computers, and helped define the electronic entertainment industry from the 1970s to the mid-1980s.
8076Handheld cellular phone1973InventionThe first handheld mobile cell phone was demonstrated by Motorola in 1973, when Martin Cooper called his rival at Bell Labs. It was made on a Dyna T-A-C Portable Radio Telephone System, made possible by the government releasing part of the radio frequency spectrum. The first commercial automated cellular network was launched in Japan by NTT in 1979. Several other countries then followed in the early- to mid-1980s.Cellular telephony has evolved to the point that it is no longer just a mechanism for communication: today it provides entertainment, transfers cash, and is a mobile portal to the vast resources of the World Wide Web.
8077Medical tomography1971InventionTomography is the technique of imaging a solid body by sections (slices), through the use of any kind of penetrating wave. Common instances used in medicine are CT scans (using X-rays), MRI (using radio frequency waves), and PET (using electron-positron annihilation). The first commercially viable computerized tomography (CT) scanner was invented in the U.K. at EMI’s research laboratory in 1971. Scottish professor John Mallard demonstrated the first full-body MRI scanner at the University of Aberdeen in 1980.Tomographic techniques, especially X-ray CT and MRI, are widely used in hospitals for medical diagnosis, staging of disease, and follow-up.
8078Black–Scholes model1973OtherThe Black–Scholes model is a mathematical model for calculating the price of European-style options. It was developed in 1973 in the U.S. by economists Fischer Black, Robert Merton, and Myron Scholes.Option pricing and stochastic calculus led the way to financial engineeringThe Black–Scholes model is one of the most important concepts in modern financial theory, and is widely employed in practice. Its use led to a mathematical pricing in financial markets. It enabled hedging strategies, the creation of synthetic securities, algo trading, volatility strategies, and overall much more efficient and complete capital markets. Despite its usefulness, it is not perfect. Its use led to some spectacular financial market disasters, in particular the 1987 collapse of LOR (portfolio insurance) and of Long-Term Capital Management (LTCM) in 1998.
8079Temasek Holdings1974OrganizationTemasek Holdings is an investment company owned by the Government of Singapore. Temasek’s purpose was to manage the government’s assets acquired in the 10 years following Singapore’s independence and to contribute to the country’s economic development, industrialization, and financial diversification by nurturing effective and commercially driven strategic investments in and around Singapore.Temasek exemplifies further development in Asian investment companies in different countries.
8080Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA)1974FactorThe Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (ERISA) is a U.S. federal law that establishes minimum standards for pension plans in private industry. ERISA was enacted to protect the interests of employee benefit plan participants and their beneficiaries, and regulated the investments made by pension funds to reduce risk taking.In 1979, the Department of Labor re-interpreted the ‘prudent man’ clause of the law to allow pension fund managers to invest 10% of the fund assets in venture capital. This created an increase in available venture investments.
8081Fortran1957InventionFortran (previously FORTRAN, from Formula Translating System) is a general-purpose compiled programming language that is especially suited to numeric computation and scientific computing. Fortran was developed by John Backus at IBM. Its major breakthrough was that it could generate code with a performance comparable to that of hand-coded assembly language.Fortran was the first high-level programming language that compiled into code comparable in speed to (much more labor-intensive) assembly language programming. It gave the impetus to further development of high-level languages.Fortran was rapidly adopted by the scientific community. IBM and other mainframe computer makers released it for their machines, and by 1963 over 40 Fortran compilers existed.
8082Microsoft1975OrganizationMicrosoft is an American multinational corporation that makes computer software, consumer electronics, and personal computers and services. It is the world’s largest software maker, measured by revenues, and is particularly well known for the Windows family of operating systems and the Microsoft Office productivity suite. Microsoft was founded in 1975 by Paul Allen and Bill Gates, and has expanded to over 120,000 employees and US$86 billion revenue in 2014.Microsoft’s seminal moment was the deal with IBM in 1980 to provide the MS-DOS operating system for the IBM Personal Computer, a daring move considering there was no operating system to sell at that point in time. MS-DOS, and later Windows, gave Microsoft a practical monopoly on IBM PC operating systems, catapulting the company into a dominance it capitalized on with a vengeance, making it a household name.Microsoft’s products brought analytics, reporting, and presentation tools and power to the individual at a fraction of the cost, whilst increasing productivity.
8083Public-Key Cryptography1976InventionPublic-key cryptography, also known as asymmetric cryptography, is a class of cryptographic algorithms which requires two separate keys, one of which is secret (or private), and one of which is public. The public key is used to encrypt plaintext or to verify a digital signature, whereas the private key is used to decrypt ciphertext or to create a digital signature. The first published asymmetric-key cryptosystem was described in 1976 by American cryptographers Whitfield Diffie and Martin Hellman. The first practical public-key system was published in 1978 by Ron Rivest, Adi Shamir, and Leonard Adleman at MIT; the system is known as RSA, after the three inventors. It is widely used to this day.A British mathematician, Clifford Cocks, working at the U.K.’s Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ), also discovered the RSA method in 1973, but was not recognized as this remained classified until 1997. Such situations are not infrequent in the world of cryptography.The essential benefit of public-key cryptography is that the sender and recipient don’t need to meet in advance in order to securely exchange the encryption key. This allows computers to exchange data securely on the internet, and is at the heart of today’s exuberant online commerce and global banking.
8084Apple Inc.1976OrganizationApple Inc. is an American multinational corporation that makes consumer electronics, computer software, and personal computers and services. Its best known product lines are the Mac computer, the iPod media player, the iPhone smartphone, and the iPad tablet computer. Apple was founded in 1976 by Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak to sell then- revolutionary home computers. It was funded by angel investor Mike Markkula, who brought financing and management expertise as CEO until 1983, and then as Apple’s Chairman until 1997. The Macintosh computer launched in 1984 and led the company to global success.Apple has become identified with outstanding innovation of a kind rarely seen in a large corporation. Over its history it has repeatedly introduced novel paradigms, from the first home computer kit in 1976, to the GUI-based Macintosh in 1984, to the iPhone in 2007. This innovation, and the impeccable design execution, has placed the company at the forefront of changing consumer attitudes to digital platforms.The impact of the iPhone, with its multi-touch UI, is especially significant, having launched a new era of ubiquitous, fun-to-use handheld usage that was not attained by the earlier BlackBerry form factor.
8085Genentech1976OrganizationGenentech Inc. is a biotechnology corporation which became a subsidiary of Roche in 2009. Genentech was founded in 1976 by venture capitalist Robert Swanson and biochemist Dr Herbert Boyer. Its activity is focused on recombinant DNA technology and Genentech’s first product was synthetic human insulin in 1982. Since then the company has developed many products treating with cystic fibrosis and various cancers, and is working on products to combat Alzheimer’s.Genentech is a pioneer and leader in the GM-based biomedical industry.
8086DNA sequencing1977InventionDNA sequencing is the process of determining the precise order of nucleotides within a DNA molecule. In 1977 Fred Sanger devised, in the U.K., a method for sequencing DNA rapidly and accurately. His ‘dideoxy’ chain determination method, also known as the Sanger method, was eventually used to sequence the entire human genome (completed in 2003).The ability to rapidly sequence DNA was essential to the Human Genome Project, which brought the understanding of human biology and health to a completely new level, with multiple practical impacts on medicine and other spheres of life.
80871G cellular telephone network1979Invention1G (or 1-G) refers to the first generation of wireless telephone technology. The first 1G network was deployed by Nippon Telegraph & Telephone (NTT) in 1979, initially in the metropolitan area of Tokyo. Within five years, the NTT network had been expanded to cover the whole population of Japan, making it the first nationwide 1G network.NTT’s 1G network was the first, and other nations followed suit. In 1981, Nordic Mobile Telephone (NMT) launched its system in Nordic areas, whereas the first 1G network launched in the United States was Chicago-based Ameritech in 1983.
8088WordPerfect1979InventionWordPerfect is a word processing application for personal computers. Currently the program is owned and sold by Corel. It was originally developed in 1979 under contract at Brigham Young University for use on a Data General minicomputer. The authors retained the rights to the program, forming Satellite Systems International (SSI) to sell it under the name WordPerfect in 1980. A port to DOS followed in 1982.WordPerfect's downfall was that it was slow in producing a reliable version for Windows, and then Microsoft Office launched in 1990 and took over.The application’s feature list was considerably more advanced than contemporary DOS applications like WordStar, and it rapidly displaced most other systems, especially after the 4.2 release in 1986. At the height of its popularity, in the late-1980s, it was a dominant player in the word processor market, partly because of extensive, no-cost support.
8089Generation Y (Millennials)1980FactorGeneration Y (also known as Millennials) are the demographic cohort following Generation X, with birth years ranging roughly from the early 1980s to the early 2000s. It is a large cohort, being the offspring of the mid to late baby boomers. They are technologically savvy and demanding, with high expectations of themselves and their roles. They want jobs that are meaningful with obvious progression but flexible hours. Their lives are lived in the digital connected spotlight.This is the current generation of entrepreneurs, starting companies where their strong digital background can be leveraged.Inevitably, Gen Y people will inherit the world at a critical time in its history. It remains to be seen how they will handle the challenges involved.
8090Small Business Investment Incentive Act1980FactorThis was a U.S. law that amended the federal securities laws to provide a new statutory framework to streamline legal structures and encourage venture capital firms to invest in small businesses. It reduced the regulation imposed by a 1940 act which ruled that venture capital firms had to register as an investment advisor on reaching a certain size, which increased the bureaucracy or prohibited certain transactions between the venture capital firm and its portfolio companies.Venture capital firms were redefined as business development firms, eliminating the need for registration and hence monitoring. The outcome is an easier process for investing in new ventures.
8091Bayh–Dole Act1980FactorThe Bayh–Dole Act, or Patent and Trademark Law Amendments Act, is U.S. legislation dealing with intellectual property (IP) arising from federal government-funded research. Essentially it gave U.S. universities, small businesses, and non-profits IP control of their inventions that resulted from such funding. They could sell patents or grant exclusive licenses to others. Sponsored by two senators, Birch Bayh of Indiana and Bob Dole of Kansas, the Act was adopted in 1980.This act is generally considered very positive for research and the U.S. economy. Since 1980, American universities have spun off more than 4,000 companies. In fiscal year 2012 alone, US$36.8 billion of net product sales were generated, and startup companies created by 70 academic institutions employed 15,741 full-time employees. Some concerns do exist that the Act might be slowing effective product evolution and inhibiting further university studies with patents on early-stage biomedical research.
8092Apax Partners1977OrganizationApax Partners LLP is a U.K.-based private equity and venture capital firm. The company was formed as a merger of two entities and three key people: Alan Patricof, who founded his venture capital firm in 1969, and Sir Ronald Cohen and Maurice Tchenio, who were co-founders of Multinational Management Group in 1972.Apax is considered to be the first private European venture capital firm. It is one of the oldest and largest private equity firms operating on an international basis.
8093Sun Microsystems1982OrganizationSun Microsystems is an American multinational corporation that makes computer software and hardware, and sells information technology services. The company was founded by Vinod Khosla, Andy Bechtolsheim, and Scott McNealy (all Stanford graduate students), and Bill Joy of Berkeley. Sun Microsystems was sold to Oracle in 2010 for US$7.4 billion.Sun delivered significant innovations in computing. It created the Java programming language and the Network File System (NFS), and significantly evolved key technologies including Unix, RISC processors, thin client computing, and virtualized computing. Andy Bechtolsheim became a successful angel investor and is renowned for having made the first investment in Google at its inception.
8094electronic spreadsheet1979InventionA spreadsheet is an interactive computer application for the organization, analysis, and storage of data in tabular form. VisiCalc, invented by Dan Bricklin in 1979, was the first spreadsheet program for personal computers. Its market dominance ended with the 1983 launch of Lotus Development Corporation’s Lotus 1-2-3 for the IBM PC, written by a former VisiCalc employee.VisiCalc was the first spreadsheet program for personal computers and the killer application for the Apple II; it transformed the personal computer from a hobby item into a serious business appliance. Lotus 1-2-3’s approach to dethroning VisiCalc is of interest. Unlike the PC version of VisiCalc, 1-2-3 was written to take full advantage of the PC’s increased memory, screen, and performance; yet it deliberately attempted to remain as compatible as possible with VisiCalc to allow VisiCalc users to easily migrate to 1-2-3.The spreadsheet is one of the all-time killer apps, and modern business users would be lost without its capabilities.
8095Seavi Advent1984OrganizationSouth East Asia Venture Investment (SEAVI) Advent was the first venture capital firm established in the South East Asia region. It is the Asian affiliate of Advent International Corporation, based in Boston, U.S. It was founded in 1984 by Peter A. Brooke, Chairman of Advent International.Since its founding, SEAVI Advent has invested over US$650 million into more than 115 companies in Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, Indonesia, the Philippines, Hong Kong, and China, from early to late stage, as well as buyout and control transaction.
8096Oracle1977OrganizationOracle is an American multinational corporation that specializes in developing and marketing computer hardware systems and enterprise software products. It was founded in 1977 by Larry Ellison, together with Bob Miner and Ed Oates, initially under the name Software Development Laboratories (SDL).Strategy lesson for market penetration: part of Oracle’s early success arose from using the C programming language to implement its products. This eased porting to different operating systems (most of which support C).
8097Removable digital storage media1971InventionRemovable media store digital information in an easily transportable form. The floppy disk was introduced by IBM in 1971, in 8-inch size. Subsequent generations were of 5.25 and 3.5 inches. The compact disc (CD) was invented by James T. Russell and introduced by Philips and Sony in 1982 for recorded music. The CD-ROM, a version for digital data storage, was launched in 1984. The 2000s saw Flash memory technology gradually replacing these earlier media.Removable storage played a major role in software distribution and data backup prior to the rise of the World Wide Web and its cloud storage. Flash devices are still in use for mobile devices, notably digital cameras.
8098Computer viruses and malware1971InventionMalware (‘malicious software’) is software that is specifically designed to gain access to, or damage, a computer without the knowledge of its owner. Types of malware include viruses, worms, and trojans. The first virus was ‘Creeper’, an experimental self-replicating program written by Bob Thomas at BBN in 1971, which infected ARPANET. The first personal computer viruses were ‘Elk Cloner’ for the Apple II in 1981 and ‘Brain’ for the IBM PC and compatibles in 1986 (both spread by floppy disk).Malware involves the extreme application of innovative software design. The source of such innovation has changed in nature over time. The drivers for the first viruses were hackers and pranksters, but today we see sophisticated malware produced by government agencies for purposes of war and security.Malware can and does cause tremendous damage, given the connectivity of the internet. This is true in the personal, business, and military domains. A notable example is the Stuxnet computer worm that reportedly ruined almost one-fifth of Iran’s nuclear centrifuges. The advent of malware spawned an entire industry of antivirus and firewall software.
8099DNA fingerprinting1986InnovationDNA fingerprinting (or DNA profiling) is a technique employed by forensic scientists to identify individuals by characteristics of their DNA. The technique was first reported in 1986 by Sir Alec Jeffreys at the University of Leicester in the U.K., and is now the basis of several national DNA databases.The availability of this technique opened various practical and ethical concerns, especially as pertains to establishing paternity.DNA fingerprinting has revolutionized forensic science, enabling positive identification and subsequent conviction of criminals based on previously inaccessible evidence. Another major impact area is establishing paternity in a variety of contexts.
8100Cisco Systems1984OrganizationCisco Systems is an American multinational corporation that makes digital networking equipment. It was founded in 1984 by the husband and wife team of Len Bosack and Sandy Lerner, both from Stanford.CISCO currently ranks as one of the top 40 U.S. companies and retains its leading network provider position as more items become internet connected.
81013D printing1984Invention3D printing, or additive manufacturing (AM), is a process used to make a three-dimensional object, in which successive layers of material are laid down under computer control. The first working 3D printer was created in 1984 by Chuck Hull of 3D Systems Corp.The availability of 3D printing (and at rapidly dropping system cost) can allow small companies to affordably prototype and refine ideas for hardware devices, lowering the barrier to entry that has previously kept them in the software domain.Since the start of the 21st century there has been a large growth in the sales of these machines, and their price has dropped substantially. Advocates of AM predict that this arc of technological development will counter globalization, as end users will do much of their own manufacturing rather than engage in trade to buy products from other people and corporations.
8102Buckminsterfullerene1985DiscoveryBuckminsterfullerene (or bucky-ball) is a spherical molecule with the formula C60. It has a cage-like structure which resembles a soccer ball. The molecule was discovered in 1985 by Harold Kroto of the University of Sussex in the U.K. and Robert Curl and Richard Smalley of Rice University in the U.S.Theoretical predictions of bucky-ball molecules were made in the late 1960s and early 1970s but they went largely unnoticed at the time.The discovery has led to a new field of carbon chemistry. It is possible to enclose metals and noble gases in bucky-balls, to form new superconducting materials with them, and to create new organic compounds and polymeric matter. These so-called fullerenes are useful as building blocks in nanotechnology.
8103Humanized monoclonal antibodies1986InventionHumanized monoclonal antibodies are antibodies from non-human species that have been modified to increase their similarity to those produced naturally in humans, thus making their use in humans safe. Sir Gregory Winter, a British biochemist, invented the technique in 1986 to reduce the side-effects of non-human antibodies.These techniques are utilized in over 60% of the antibody drugs manufactured, which allows the treatment of a wide range of diseases.
8104Coronary stent1986InventionA coronary stent is a tube-shaped device placed in the coronary arteries that supply blood to the heart. It keeps the arteries open in the treatment of coronary heart disease. The first coronary stent was inserted into a patient in 1986 by Jacques Puel and Ulrich Sigwart in France. The first expanding stent was designed by Argentinian Julio Palmaz, working with Richard Schatz in Texas, and was approved for coronary use in 1994. Johnson & Johnson licensed the technology, then bought the patent and captured 90% of the market.Stents reduce chest pain and have been shown to improve survivability in the event of an acute myocardial infarction. By 1999, stents were used in 84% of percutaneous coronary interventions (i.e. those done via a catheter, and not by open-chest surgery).
8105ARCH Development Corporation1986OrganizationARCH Development Corporation was founded in 1986 by the University of Chicago and the Argonne National Laboratory as a not-for-profit organization to commercialize its technology transfers. It was headed by Steven Lazarus. With the creation of ARCH venture partners in 1992 (keeping the University as a limited partner), it replicated its model with other universities and laboratories to become one of the largest early-stage technology venture firms.In essence, ARCH Development Corporation was the first bespoke university venture capital platform.
8106Statins1987DiscoveryStatins are a class of drugs used to lower cholesterol levels. Much of the early research in identifying an enzyme inhibitor to reduce the production of cholesterol was done in the early 1970s by Akira Endo, a Japanese biochemist working for Sankyo. Merck & Co. followed up on Endo’s research to develop another drug from fungus growth that had less harmful side-effects. This was first marketed in 1987.Statins are the all-time, best-selling pharmaceutical.
8107World Wide Web1989InventionThe World Wide Web (WWW) is an information system of interlinked hypertext documents that are accessed via the internet. Tim Berners-Lee, an English computer scientist, developed the World Wide Web in 1989 while working at the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN). By 1991, people outside of CERN joined the new Web community, starting it on the path to global acceptance.A key factor in the growth of the Web was the decision by CERN, announced in April 1993, to release World Wide Web technology to the world on a royalty-free basis.The Web has become the primary use model of the internet, a major business, political, and social conduit, and part of the daily life of billions of people.
8108collapse of Communism1989EventThe collapse of Communism in Central and Eastern Europe came about through a series of revolutions, most of them non-violent, in 1989. This led to the dissolution of the U.S.S.R and its power bloc and redrew the political map of the ‘former Soviet Union’ area. The Soviet Union was struggling with the war in Afghanistan, which began in 1979. In 1985, Gorbachev withdrew and began Strategic Arms reduction talks with America. He initiated competition in business and more freedom. Because of Gorbachev’s relaxation, Eastern European countries pushed for independence. In 1989 free elections were held in Poland. Revolutions in other Eastern European countries followed. The Soviet Union had no money and little desire to crush the revolutions. In November 1989 the Berlin Wall was pulled down. In 1991 Gorbachev fell from power, and the U.S.S.R. was dissolved.Some claim that one factor in the fall of the U.S.S.R was Reagan’s Strategic Defense Initiative (‘Star Wars’), an innovative arms race that would overtax the Soviet economy. On the economic side, these events opened the Eastern Bloc to investment and private industry. Eastern European programmers became a source of cheap, competent manpower for the global software industry. The opening of borders spurred mass migration. The influx of nearly a million people from Russia to Israel, bringing a high level of education in science and technology, was a significant factor in aiding the entrepreneurial developments in the ‘startup nation’.The dissolution of the Warsaw Pact in 1991 ended the Cold War, while the redrawn borders completely transformed the political, social, and economic realities of Europe and the world.
8109Shanghai Stock Exchange1990OrganizationThe Shanghai Stock Exchange (SSE) is one of two stock exchanges operating independently in the People’s Republic of China. Earlier versions launched in the 1920s but were shut down upon the Communist Revolution. After the Cultural Revolution ended and Deng Xiaoping rose to power in 1978, China gradually re-opened to the outside world. Its securities market evolved in parallel and on 26 November 1990, the Shanghai Stock Exchange was re-established.Shanghai Stock Exchange is the world’s sixth largest stock market by market capitalization at US$2.3 trillion as of December 2011.
8110ARM Holdings1990OrganizationARM Holdings plc (ARM) is a British multinational semiconductor and software design company. Arguably the best-known Cambridge (U.K).-based ‘Silicon Fen’ company, it has developed a dominant position in smart chips for mobile and tablets. ARM was founded in 1990 as Advanced RISC Machines Ltd and structured as a joint venture between Acorn Computers, Apple Computer, and VLSI Technology. It traces its roots to the development of Acorn’s first RISC chip in 1983.ARM chips are an integral component to the members of the ‘Open Compute Project’, the industry group created by Facebook Inc. to create more efficient ways to store data online.The company has a 95% market share of smartphone chips, and is now branching out into servers and wearable technology. Its ARM RISC architecture was also licensed out and is now embodied in the Intel/Marvell XScale architecture.
8111Hubble Space Telescope1990OtherThe Hubble Space Telescope (HST) was launched into space telescope that was launched into low Earth orbit in 1990. HST was launched by NASA, which conceptualized it in the 1960s. It took almost three decades of technological bespoke engineering, cost overruns, and program slippages before it became a reality. Even then, a fault in part of its mirror meant the first images were not as defined as needed, a problem corrected during in-space maintenance by the Space Shuttle.The story of the fault in the HST’s mirror is instructive: on the one hand, it resulted from a series of manufacturing and testing errors which demonstrated Murphy’s law with a vengeance; on the other, it was corrected with a retrofitted solution in the best spirit of ingenuity and resourcefulness in the engineering profession.Besides being a phenomenal feat of engineering, Hubble has demonstrated the existence of dark matter and accelerating expansion of the Universe. It is fundamental to our increasing understanding of cosmology.
8112Lithium-ion battery1991InventionA lithium-ion (Li-ion) battery is a rechargeable battery in which lithium ions move from the negative electrode to the positive electrode during discharge and back when charging. These batteries are in wide use in consumer electronics, with increasing applications in the military, electric cars, and aerospace. In 1991 Sony and Asahi Kasei released the first commercial lithium-ion battery. However, considerable improvements have been made since, with work carried out by John B. Goodenough from the U.S., Rachid Yazami from Morocco. and Akira Yoshino from Japan.Li-ion batteries provide superb energy density, enabling lightweight power sources for electric vehicles. Demand is likely to increase substantially – hence Tesla’s 2014 announcement that it plans to build a gigafactory to supply its batteries.
8113Open-source software1991OtherOpen-source software (OSS) is computer software with its source code made available under a license, giving anybody the right to study, change, and distribute the software to anyone and for any purpose. The OSS movement started in the U.S. in the 1980s, led by Richard Stallman who created the GNU project and the Free Software Foundation. In 1991 Linus Torvalds in Finland released the first version of Linux, an OSS Unix replacement operating system and one of the most recognized examples of successful open source code.Open-source software has unique attributes of community, ideologically driven cooperation, a search for excellence, and opposition to ‘big business’ corporations. The outcome is the harnessing of large numbers of the best programmers to develop outstanding, cost-effective software solutions.OSS operating systems play a major role in computing. Over 90% of the world’s fastest super computers run a variant of Linux. Widely used, a derivative Android (founded in the United States in 2003) was developed for mobile phones. Other examples of open source include the Wiki software underlying Wikipedia.
8114Yozma program1993FactorYozma was a government program to encourage venture capital investments in Israel. It was founded in 1993 by Finance Minister Avraham Shochat and Chief Scientist Yigal Erlich, and implemented in 1993 to 1998. The government invested US$100 million in 10 early-stage funds, and matched private investments on favorable terms.Yozma is considered to be one of the most successful government interventions in venture. Its format, dubbed the ‘Israeli model’, was the inspiration for national projects in other countries, such as Canada, Ireland, and Hungary.The program gave a significant boost to the venture capital industry in Israel and created a climate that encourages investment in high-tech. There is little doubt that Israel would not enjoy its prominent position today without this program’s effects.
8115Gulf War1990EventThe Gulf War (2 August 1990 to 28 February 1991), codenamed Operation Desert Shield and Operation Desert Storm, was a war waged by a coalition led by the United States against Iraq after Iraq’s invasion of Kuwait.The war provided a testing ground for innovative U.S. military technology – especially in avionics, tracking GPS, and guided missiles.
81162G cellular telephone network1991Invention2G (or 2-G) refers to the second generation of wireless telephone technology. Three primary benefits of 2G networks over their predecessors were: encryption of conversations; significantly more efficient spectrum usage, allowing for far greater mobile phone penetration levels, and support of data services for mobile, starting with SMS text messages. The first 2G network was commercially launched on the GSM standard in Finland by Radiolinja (now part of Elisa Oyj) in 1991. The first SMS message was sent over the Vodafone GSM network in the United Kingdom in 1992.As of 2014, GSM has become the default global standard for mobile communications – with over 90% market share, operating in over 219 countries and territories. The SMS standard has had a serious impact on how people communicate.
8117Genetically modified food1994InventionGM foods are produced from organisms whose DNA has been modified through genetic engineering. These techniques are primarily intended to improve resistance to pathogens and herbicides and to better nutrient profiles. Although the first genetically modified plant was produced in 1983, using an antibiotic-resistant tobacco plant, the commercial sale of GM foods began in 1994, when Calgene in the United States first marketed its Flavr Savr delayed ripening tomato.As of 2013, over 85% of corn, soybeans, and cotton produced in the U.S. are genetically modified. Monsanto, a U.S. company, dominates the world’s GM food market with a share of over 80%.
8118Chinese economic reform1991FactorThe Chinese economic reform refers to the program of economic reforms called ‘Socialism with Chinese characteristics’ in the People’s Republic of China (PRC). Prior to 1979, China, under the leadership of Chairman Mao Zedong, maintained a centrally planned, or command, economy. From 1979, led by Deng Xiaoping, it embarked on economic reforms which transformed the country’s economy and global position. In 1996 China’s State Council (the highest executive organ of state power) issued a document titled The National Medium- and Long-Term Program (MLP) for Science and Technology Development (2006-2020). The MLP represents an ambitious plan to modernize the structure of China’s economy by transforming it from a global center of low-tech manufacturing to a major center of innovation (by the year 2020) and a global innovation leader by 2050.As some observers describe it, with its MLP China wants to go from a model of ‘made in China’ to ‘innovated in China’. It also seeks to sharply reduce the country’s dependence on foreign technology. This focus on homegrown innovation as a national goal is transforming China and will make it a world leader in innovation; the centralized government model is able to bring to this move resources and priorities that are not possible in other technological nations.Since 1991, China’s economy has grown and it is now the world’s largest manufacturer, overtaking Japan (2006) and the United States in 2010. Additionally economic reforms and trade and investment liberalization have helped to transform China into a major trading power. Chinese merchandise exports rose from US$14 billion in 1979 to US$2.2 trillion in 2013, while merchandise imports grew from US$18 billion to US$1.9 trillion. From 1990 to 2013, the annual growth of China’s exports and imports averaged 18.5% and 17.3%, respectively. Consequently, China's trade surplus has been consistently positive since 1990 and was US$261 billion in 2013.
8119Sony PlayStation1994OtherPlayStation (PS) is a series of video game consoles created and developed by Sony Computer Entertainment. Derived from a brief collaboration with competitor Nintendo in 1988, the brand was first introduced in 1994 in Japan with the launch of the original PlayStation console. With the PlayStation, Sony stressed the 3D aspect to gaming and adopted a CD-ROM gaming model versus Nintendo’s more costly cartridge-based games. Progressive models added capabilities, like online game play, high definition, and motion sensors.PlayStation is considered an innovative and revolutionary gaming brand; with it Sony has changed gaming, distribution, sales, image, and technology. Sony has also developed a complete infrastructure including cloud streaming and an app to allow gaming on other hardware platforms.PlayStation remains a market leader in gaming. The PS2, launched in 2000, is the best-selling gaming console unit ever with 155 million sales to the end of 2012.
8120Amazon1995InnovationAmazon.com, Inc. is an American electronic commerce company. It was founded by Jeff Bezos in 1994, and the site went online in 1995. Initially it only sold books, but it has diversified to sell many other products, and also makes and sells the Kindle electronic reader and is a major provider of cloud computing services.Amazon revolutionized online shopping, creating digital access to a global consumer market: it has been a catalyst for internet shopping, not just for books. The company introduced multiple innovations, such as customer reviews, an affiliate program, and a self-publishing platform for Kindle e-books. Amazon’s IPO alongside AOL, eBay, Yahoo, and Priceline marked the zenith of the dotcom era.Amazon is the largest internet-based retailer in the United States. As of 2014 it employed 154,100 people, had revenue of US$89 billion, and served customers around the world. Amazon has been responsible for other companies that have taken advantage of the digital platform in the retailing sector, such as Priceline (for travel) in 1998 and more recently Airbnb for room booking in privately owned accommodations.
8121Cisco Investments1995OrganizationCisco Investments is the VC arm of Cisco Systems, an American multinational corporation that makes networking equipment. Housed within the firm’s Corporate Development group, the ventures it supports are selected to help drive Cisco’s growth strategy. Some help the company learn about new markets; some help Cisco influence the direction of new and potentially disruptive technologies, while others are focused on building partnerships.Cisco Investments currently has an active portfolio of US$2 billion with over 80 direct investments around the world, and also holds Limited Partner positions in over 35 funds globally.
8122eBay1995OrganizationeBay Inc. is an American multinational corporation and e-commerce company founded by Pierre Omidyar. It provides consumer-to-consumer and business-to-consumer sales services via the internet. Its original and main business model is based on online auctions, although it also supports many other purchase modes. eBay was started in 1995, as AuctionWeb, by Pierre Omidyar and changed to its current name in 1997. In 2002 eBay acquired PayPal, thus streamlining the purchase and delivery process.It is noteworthy that Omidyar started AuctionWeb as a hobby, hosting it on his personal website. The success of the service was such that he had to start charging users in order to cover his growing hosting costs. A major achievement of eBay, supported by a suite of sophisticated mechanisms, was the creation of trust among total strangers doing business with each other.eBay launched a worldwide phenomenon of person-to-person (and small business retail) selling of almost everything under the sun – millions of transactions take place daily. An entirely new online ‘secondary’ retail experience was thus created.
8123Dolly the sheep1996OtherDolly, a female domestic sheep, was the first animal to be cloned from an adult somatic cell, using the process of nuclear transfer. Dolly was cloned by Ian Wilmut, Keith Campbell, and colleagues at the Roslin Institute – part of the University of Edinburgh – and the biotechnology company PPL Therapeutics, based near Edinburgh.Dolly was the first clone produced from a cell taken from an adult mammal.After cloning was successfully demonstrated through the production of Dolly, many other large mammals were cloned, including pigs, deer, horses, and bulls. However, the process is considered too inefficient for widespread use. Cloning may have uses in preserving endangered species and could become a viable tool for reviving extinct species.
8124Google1998OrganizationGoogle is an American multinational corporation specializing in internet-related services and products, and famous for its web search innovations. Google was founded in 1998 by Larry Page and Sergey Brin when they were PhD students at Stanford. Their ‘Page Rank’ search algorithm was far superior to previous search tools, and allowed them to gain a dominant position in the web search engine space. Google’s business model was based on simple text ads with an auction price for key words.Google is a major startup success story: it began literally in a Silicon Valley garage, and grew to be in the top three largest U.S. companies by market cap in March 2014. Google applies endless innovation to extend and augment its manifold services. Its company culture is optimized to encourage the creation and implementation of innovative ideas by employees (for example, through the ‘20% rule’, which allows employees up to one day a week of exploratory, self-initiated work).Google’s services engage billions of users, and have a profound impact on how people interact with information and with each other in the 21st century. From a search engine, it has developed a suite of apps to challenge Microsoft, as well as new platforms and digital products including mobile and wearable technology.
8125Stem cell therapy1998InnovationStem cell therapy is the use of stem cells to treat or prevent a disease or condition. Stem cells are pluripotent, i.e. they can differentiate into any cell type in the body. James Thomson, an American development biologist, derived the first human embryonic stem cell line in 1998. This technique involves the destruction of human embryos, a fact surrounded by controversy. In 2006 Shinya Yamanaka, from Japan, and John Gurdon, from the U.K., demonstrated that mature cells can be reprogrammed to become pluripotent, thus circumventing the ethical issue.The ability to generate stem cell lines, whether embryonic or induced, opens entire vistas of medical technologies and cures, from basic research on the function of the human body, to drug discovery and testing, and as a source of cells and tissues for transplantation and regenerative medicine.
8126Shenzhen Capital Group (SCG)1999OrganizationShenzhen Capital Group (SCG), formerly known as Shenzhen Venture Capital, is a state-controlled Chinese private equity firm. Founded in 1999, SCG is a dominant state-controlled venture capital private equity firm in China. Shareholders include the State-owned Assets Supervision and Administration Commission (SASAC) and several other state-owned firms. Geographically, Shenzhen Capital Group invests 30% in Shenzhen and Guangdong and 70% around the rest of China.In 2013 Forbes named SCG as the number one venture capital firm in China, and its Chairman, Jin Haitao, as China’s best venture capitalist.Since it started SCG has raised 40 government-backed funds totaling in excess of US$1 billion. Additionally it manages foreign cooperation funds (Singapore, Japan, Israel) and has set up over 20 partnership funds.
8127PayPal1998OrganizationPayPal is an American, international digital wallet service that allows payments and money transfers to be made through the internet. PayPal was created (as Confinity) in 1998 by Ken Howery, Max Levchin, Luke Nosek, and Peter Thiel. In 2000 it merged with Elon Musk’s X.com and was renamed PayPal. The business expanded rapidly because of its use on eBay, and was acquired by eBay for US$1.5 billion in 2002.PayPal has ‘seeded’ many other hi-tech ventures: the entrepreneurs behind PayPal have been dubbed the PayPal Mafia, having gone on to develop new ventures (including Tesla Motors, LinkedIn, SpaceX, YouTube, Yelp, and Yammer), while staying connected through joint investments or employment. They are sometimes credited with inspiring the re-emergence of consumer-focused internet companies after the dotcom bust of 2001.PayPal’s secure payment model has greatly facilitated consumer confidence in online payments, boosting business on eBay and many other sites.
8128Human Genome Project2003VentureThe Human Genome Project (HGP) is an international scientific research project undertaken to sequence human DNA, and to identify and map all of the genes of the human genome from both a physical and functional standpoint. The US$3 billion project was formally founded in 1990 by the U.S. Department of Energy and the National Institutes of Health. In addition to the United States, the International Human Genome Sequencing Consortium comprised geneticists in the U.K., France, Australia, Japan, and other countries. The mapping of the human genome was completed in 2003.The size and complexity of this project relied on successful international cooperation on a large scale. It remains the world’s largest collaborative biological project.Mapping the entire human genome brought the understanding of human biology and health to a completely new level. In addition to extending scientific knowledge and enabling life-saving medical applications, it has profound philosophical implications. The ethical ramifications are just as far-reaching. To appreciate the degree to which the HGP has revised our knowledge, consider that it has revealed that there are probably about 20,500 human genes, contrary to previous estimates of 50,000 to 140,000.
8129dotcom bubble1997EventThe dotcom bubble was an historic speculative bubble covering roughly 1997 to 2000, involving a rapid rise in equity markets fueled by investments in internet-based companies. The value of equity markets grew exponentially, with the technology-dominated NASDAQ index rising from under 1,000 to 5,000 between 1995 and 2000. The bubble peaked in March 2000 with the NASDAQ at 5,408.60. The bubble was fuelled by low interest rates and significant IT investment driven by falling prices for IT goods and services. Added to this, rapid technological advances increased the obsolescence rate, necessitating earlier replacement. Firms also faced Y2K, the supposed Millennium bug. The unrealistic expectations from technology investment and internet startups led to the painful bursting of the bubble in 2000 to 2001, with the collapse of numerous dotcoms and considerable losses for investors.At the peak of the bubble in 1999, there were 457 IPOs, most of which were internet- and technology-related. Of those 457 IPOs, 117 doubled in price on the first day of trading. Once the crash hit the NASDAQ composite lost 78% of its value as it fell from 5046 in 2000 to 1114 in 2002.
81319/11 impact on cybersecurity growth2001FactorThe 9/11 attacks led to the growth of the cybersecurity sector. Following the attack, new areas of investment arose significantly around cybersecurity, including ensuring the security of key utilities, e.g. energy supply. The resources dedicated to security increased in multiple domains, including vulnerability to hacking, computer protection, access control, and backup. Further developments in cyber warfare have accentuated this trend in later years.The worldwide security technology and services market was forecast to reach US$67.2 billion in 2013.
8132iPod portable media player2001InnovationThe iPod is a line of portable digital media players designed and marketed by Apple Inc. The first portable digital music player was the FlashPAC from AT&T in 1996. The first iPod was released on 23 October 2001. Typical of Apple’s closed system, it was only Mac compatible, but by their third generation iPods worked on other personal computers. Complementing the iPod, Apple’s iTunes online store launched in 2003 and enabled users to buy and store music on their iPod. Videos and films were added in 2005.The iPod/iTunes combination instantly revolutionized how music was sold and consumed; iTunes sold a million songs one week after its release. Apple rapidly became the market leader in hardware and digital music retail.
8133Wikipedia2001InnovationWikipedia is a free-access, free-content internet encyclopedia, supported and hosted by the non-profit Wikimedia Foundation. It uses the Wiki paradigm, and is communally crowd-edited with some central supervision. Wikipedia was launched by Jimmy Wales and Larry Sanger in 2001. It is funded by donations; its fund raising in 2012 generated US$25 million from 1.2 million donors.Wikipedia’s impressive growth makes it the most comprehensive knowledge store on Earth, having expanded from 20,000 articles in the English version on its first anniversary to over 4.7 million in February 2015, at which time there were also 287 non-English versions, 52 of them with over 100,000 articles. The Encyclopedia Britannica, by contrast, has 66,000 articles. The fact that Wikipedia has been proven to be equal to the Encyclopedia Britannica in accuracy is a major win for the concept of ‘The Wisdom of Crowds’.One of the most visited sites on the web, Wikipedia has become central to humanity’s access to knowledge of every kind, including in remote domains that used to be practically impossible to find without a serious research project. Wikipedia’s total worldwide monthly readership is approximately 495 million, 85 million of them in the U.S. (a good omen for its global reach).
8134Bridges Ventures2002OrganizationBridges Ventures is an innovative sustainable growth investor in the U.K. that delivers both financial returns and social and environmental benefits. Bridges Ventures was co-founded by Sir Ronald Cohen in 2002. It started with a £40 million fund which was invested in businesses in some of the most deprived areas of the country. This fund generated an IRR (Internal Rate of Return) of between 15 to 20%. The company has since raised six successful funds, each with a different focus to address a funding gap or a societal issue. In addition to growth funds, Bridges has established a property and a social entrepreneur fund.The company's model of ‘Impact Investing’ is a new model for dealing with social and environmental issues, combining social impact with a financial return.
8135Skype2003InnovationSkype is a telecommunications application and service that provides video chat and voice calls between computers and mobile devices via the internet, using a freemium business model. Skype was founded in 2003 by Janus Friis, of Denmark, and Niklas Zennstr?m, of Sweden, in cooperation with three programmers from Estonia. In 2007 it was acquired by eBay before being partially (65%) sold to a group of venture firms in 2009. In 2011 Microsoft acquired Skype for US$8.5 billion.Skype revolutionized telephony by providing a free basic service for audio and video communication across the globe.As of 2012, Skype had 34% market share of international calls. Though it initially catered to calls among family and friends, Skype has been increasingly adopted by businesses.
8136YouTube2005OrganizationYouTube is a video-sharing website headquartered in the U.S. The site allows users to upload, view, and share video content. YouTube was founded in 2005 by Chad Hurley, Steve Chen, and Jawed Karim, who were all early employees of PayPal. It began as a venture-funded technology startup, primarily from a US$11.5 million investment by Sequoia Capital. In October 2006, Google acquired YouTube for US$1.65 billion in Google stock.YouTube has had a major impact on how (and how much) people consume and publish video content. It transformed video from something a handful of people would show their families to a medium that practically anyone with a smartphone can shoot and exchange globally.The ability to share video widely and freely has had a significant impact on the flow of information. It has transformed journalism, activism, politics, and business, putting the power to influence others with this most effective medium in the hands of the masses.
8137Facebook2004OrganizationFacebook is an online social networking service headquartered in the U.S. The site’s basic concept allows users to share content and media with their friends, to ‘Like’ and comment on friends’ content, and to propagate such content by sharing it. Other functionality expands what can be done and enables a variety of business activities like targeted advertising. It was launched in 2004 by Mark Zuckerberg with his fellow Harvard University students Eduardo Saverin, Andrew McCollum, Dustin Moskovitz, and Chris Hughes. Initially limited to Harvard students, it expanded gradually to other universities and finally to general worldwide use.Facebook’s history is an iconic startup story with many lessons, having started as a fun student activity and grown into a worldwide phenomenon with a market capitalization value of US$172 billion (2014). Facebook’s stroke of genius was the realization that people care about what’s related to their friends; this led to decisions such as encouraging tagging in photos, and using one’s social graph to determine what others could – and couldn’t – see on their page.Facebook has spawned the development of many social media sites and changed the way individuals interact and how companies communicate with customers. With 1.3 billion active users in June 2014, it has a significant economic and opinion leverage, and has become a force to be reckoned with by corporations, governments, and other power wielders.
8138Graphene2004DiscoveryGraphene is a form of carbon structured as a one-atom-thick layer of carbon atoms that are tightly packed into a 2D honeycomb lattice. High-quality graphene is strong, light, nearly transparent, and an excellent conductor of heat and electricity. Graphene was isolated for the first time in 2004 by Andre Geim and Kostya Novoselov at the University of Manchester in the U.K.Graphene is one of the newest advanced materials discovered, and the search for practical applications – e.g. semiconductors, electronics, and battery energy – is lively and exciting. Researchers are looking at many areas, including electronics, biological engineering, filtration, lightweight/strong composite materials, photovoltaics, and energy storage.
8139Seed accelerator Y Combinator2005OrganizationY Combinator was the first seed accelerator. A seed accelerator is a company that holds short programs – typically three months – where a cohort of startup ventures receive intense mentoring, some seed funding, space, and networking support. In return the accelerator receives some equity in the ventures. Y Combinator was started in 2005 in Cambridge, Massachusetts, by Paul Graham, with co-founders Robert Morris, Trevor Blackwell, and Jessica Livingston. Its current location and focus is Silicon Valley. Y Combinator provides seed money, advice, and connections at two three-month programs per year. In exchange, they take an average of about 6% of the startup’s equity.Y combinator’s model set the trend which other seeders have followed to support entrepreneurs in the U.S. Additionally the concept has been developed in Europe, with the top-rated accelerator programs, such as Seedcamp, based in London. The success of this model led to the creation of over 150 accelerators by 2013. In 2013, Y Combinator began accepting nonprofit organizations for acceleration, an interesting new concept in the venture scene.At a conference in 2013 Paul Graham stated that 511 companies had passed through its program and that 306 have the combined value of US$13.7 billion. Notable portfolio companies include Reddit, Dropbox, and Airbnb.
8140Cloud computing2006InnovationCloud computing is the practice of using a network of remote servers hosted on the internet to store, manage, and process data, rather than a local server or a personal computer. Computer scientist John McCarthy conceived the notion that ‘computation may someday be organized as a public utility’ in 1961, and the concept has been discussed in various labs in the following years. However, the lack of internet bandwidth for the masses at the time impeded the need for its development from concept to blueprint and commercial interest. In 2006 Amazon launched its Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2) as a commercial web service that allowed small companies and individuals to rent computers on which to run their own computer applications. Many other cloud services followed, including Dropbox (2007), Microsoft’s Azure platform (2008), Google Docs (2009), and Apple’s iCloud (2011).Cloud computing is still in active development mode. The major cloud technology developers continue to invest billions a year in cloud R&D. In 2011 Microsoft, for example, committed 90% of its US$9.6 billion R&D budget to cloud.The development of the cloud allowed companies to significantly reduce the cost of IT hardware and software expenditure, as well as storage costs.
8141Lehman Brothers collapse2008EventFinancial services firm Lehman Brothers filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection on 15 September 2008. The filing remains the largest bankruptcy filing in U.S. history, with Lehman holding over US$600 billion in assets.According to the National Venture Capital Association, capital under management in U.S. venture fell in 2008 by 20% to US$206 billion as financial institutions and corporations divested their holdings. It has since fallen further and, despite some positive signs, remained in 2012 at below 2008 levels. The number of venture capital firms actively investing fell from 627 in 2007 to 462 at the end of 2009. Whilst venture contracted, the impact of Lehman’s collapse was felt more harshly by Private Equity. However, a lack of resources forced many governments and businesses to focus on innovation to counter recessionary trends.The domino effect on many other financial institutions, and the subsequent bailouts by their respective nations, transferred the leverage to create an almost global macro-economic crisis. Banks were forced to de-risk and many were nationalized. Interest rates collapsed and liquidity was pumped in to the financial markets to compensate for austere fiscal measures.
8142ChiNext2009OrganizationChiNext is a NASDAQ-type exchange for high-growth, hi-tech startups launched in China in 2009 by the Shenzhen Stock Exchange.Many Chinese tech firms are choosing to list instead in the United States for several reasons, one being that ChiNext demands that firms are profitable before they list. Furthermore, the queue of firms waiting to list is long and the selection process of priority is not transparent and is subjective and aligned to China’s policy of wanting to develop a domestic venture capital market. Thus, foreign-backed companies tend to look to American exchanges.Since its launch the exchange has attracted more than 350 firms. As of June 2014, the Total Market Capitalization Value of all companies was 95 billion RMB (approximately US$15 billion).
8143Fair Value Accounting (IFRS 13)2011OtherFair Value (or mark-to-market) Accounting refers to accounting for the ‘fair value’ of an asset or liability based on the current market price, or for similar assets and liabilities, or based on another objectively assessed ‘fair’ value. It has been a part of Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP) in the United States since the early 1990s. IFRS 13, an International Financial Reporting Standard for Fair Value Measurement, was adopted by the International Accounting Standards Board on 12 May 2011.Fair Value Accounting moves away from historic cost accounting to the notion of an ‘exit’ price on an active market and incorporates a value based on the ‘highest and best use’ concept. These valuation techniques are deemed more favorable for R&D projects and so may encourage additional venture and long-term investments.
8144Regenerative medicine2013InnovationRegenerative medicine is the process of creating living, functional tissues to repair, or replace, tissue or organ function lost due to age, disease, damage, or congenital defects. This can be done by stimulating the body to regenerate tissue, by lab-grown engineered tissue, by cellular therapies, and through artificial organs. This area of research is in a phase of major progress, and various labs are engineering implantable tissues and organs. For example, in 2013 Harald Ott and his team (U.S.) grew a rat kidney in a laboratory that functioned when transplanted back into a rat, and Takanori Takebe and his team (Japan) grew human liver tissue from stem cells that functioned when transplanted into a mouse.Regenerative medicine is showing breakthroughs at the bleeding edge of biomedical research, which will open completely new domains for exploitation by future venture.Given the potential to cure a large range of organ failures, including those affecting the growing cohort of the elderly in the First World, regenerative medicine is poised to cause major changes. Quality and length of life will be improved, and healthcare models – with the attendant financial burdens – will change dramatically.
8145Seed Enterprise Investment Scheme (SEIS)2012FactorThe Seed Enterprise Investment Scheme (SEIS) was launched by the U.K. government in April 2012 as an aggressive incentive scheme to tackle the lack of available funding for start-ups SEIS is designed to encourage investors to finance startups by providing tax breaks for backing projects they may otherwise view as too risky. Aimed at retail investors, it enables them to attract significant income and capital gains tax reliefs on equity investments in qualifying companies.With a 50% tax relief against ordinary income and no capital gains tax, this program significantly boosts the U.K. attractiveness of investing in innovative ventures.
8146Jumpstart our Business Startups (Jobs) Act2012FactorThe Jumpstart Our Business Startups Act, or JOBS Act, is a law intended to encourage funding of United States small businesses by easing various securities regulations. Enacted 5 April 2012, it is aimed at companies with gross revenues of under US$1 billion. The act includes a new exemption from the requirement to register public offerings with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), for certain types of small offerings. It would allow use of the internet ‘funding portals’ registered with the government. One of the conditions of this exemption is a yearly aggregate limit on the amount each person may invest in offerings of this type, tiered by the person’s net worth or yearly income. This exemption is intended to allow a form of crowd funding.It is interesting to see a law addressing the crowdfunding model, favored by many small ventures, explicitly.JOBS has had a major impact on the number of Initial Public Offerings (IPOs) coming from emerging growth companies, especially biotech.
8147Big Data2012InnovationBig data is a broad term for the analysis of data sets so large and complex that traditional data processing applications are inadequate. This data often arises from the digital footprints we all leave as internet connectivity expands in terms of usage and applications; suitable analysis can extract extremely valuable insights and predictions from such data. In 2012, the Obama administration announced the Big Data Research and Development Initiative, to explore how big data could be used to address important problems faced by the government.The abilities demonstrated by big data research – notably regarding predicting future trends and events in the financial, political, and natural domains – make this new field highly attractive to scientists and entrepreneurs alike.Many of the traditional technology companies are investing heavily in new organizations that are developing an ability to capture, store, or synthesize this data and derive new businesses and applications.
8148Tesla Roadster2008InnovationThe Tesla Roadster is a battery electric sports car produced by Tesla Motors in the U.S. between 2008 and 2012. The Roadster was the first highway-capable, all-electric vehicle in serial production for sale in the United States in recent times, and the first electric vehicle to have a range greater than 200 miles between charging.Tesla is promoting the progress of electric cars in general: CEO Elon Musk announced in 2014 that the company will allow its technology patents to be used by anyone in good faith.Some of the key components developed by Tesla, such as the pioneering lithium ion batteries, are sold to other automakers with the aim to increase the numbers of electric vehicles (EVs) globally. Should this succeed, the potential environmental impact is obvious.
8149birth control pill1960InventionThe combined oral contraceptive pill (COCP), often referred to as ‘the Pill’, is a birth control method that inhibits female fertility by the daily ingestion of an estrogen (estradiol) and/or a progestogen (progestin). The chemical basis for the Pill was discovered by Carl Djerassi in Mexico in 1951. The Pill itself was developed by Gregory Pincus and John Rock in the U.S. and commercialized by Searle as Enovid. FDA approval for contraceptive use was granted in 1960.The work of Pincus and Rock was encouraged by Margaret Sanger, and funded by Katharine McCormick; both were crusaders in the feminist movement. This is a rare case of representatives of the end beneficiaries of a scientific development practically contracting the work needed to achieve it.The rapid spread of the Pill in the 1960s had a major societal impact. It was a key player in forming women’s modern economic role, in that they could choose to delay the age at which they had children – allowing them to invest in education and other forms of human capital, as well as generally becoming more career-oriented.
8152Alibaba Group1999OrganizationAlibaba Group Holding Ltd. is a Chinese e-commerce company that provides consumer-to-consumer, business-to-consumer, and business-to-business sales services via web portals, as well as electronic payment services, a shopping search engine, and data-centric cloud computing services. The group began in 1999 when Jack Ma founded the website Alibaba.com, a business-to-business portal to connect Chinese manufacturers with overseas buyers. Its IPO in 2014 ranks as the world’s biggest, at US$25 billion.Alibaba is investing heavily in American start-ups focused on mobile and e-commerce.Alibaba.com, the primary company of Alibaba, is the world’s largest online business-to-business trading platform for small businesses.
8153SpaceX2002OrganizationSpace Exploration Technologies Corporation (SpaceX) is an American space transport services company. SpaceX was founded in 2002 by former PayPal entrepreneur and Tesla Motors CEO Elon Musk with the goal of reducing space transportation costs to enable the colonization of Mars. Its achievements on the way include the first privately-funded, liquid-fueled rocket to reach orbit (2008), the first privately-funded company to successfully launch, orbit, and recover a spacecraft (2010), and the first private company to send a spacecraft to the International Space Station (ISS) in 2012.This is certainly one of the most daring ventures ever, in terms of sheer scope of vision and challenge: witness the company's ‘ultimate goal of enabling people to live on other planets’.SpaceX intends to become a serious alternative to government-run space launches. Its effort to develop reusable rockets, if successful, will greatly reduce space mission costs, which could make viable activities that are currently prohibitively expensive. At present SpaceX is already providing NASA with unmanned resupply missions to the ISS.
8156transistor1947InventionA transistor is a semiconductor device used to amplify and switch electronic signals and electrical power. It is the basic building block of both discrete electronics and integrated circuits. The bipolar transistor was invented in the U.S. in 1947 by William Shockley, John Bardeen, and Walter Brattain at Bell Labs. (As a matter of fact Shockley, the team’s manager, did not take part in this invention, and his getting the credit caused the other two to leave the team. Shockley went on to invent, by himself, the improved junction transistor).The advent of the transistor revolutionized electronic circuitry, driving first the step from large, power-guzzling vacuum tubes to compact solid state electronics – and then the even greater move to integrated circuits subject to Moore’s Law of exponential miniaturization. The resultant progress in ever-smaller, more powerful computers paved the way to endless innovations in software and hardware.The transistor (first in its discrete form and then as part of an integrated circuit) has been the key building block of the entire electronics and computer industry since the 1960s.
8157Cold War1947FactorThe Cold War was a state of political and military tension after WWII between powers in the Western Bloc (the U.S., its NATO allies, and others), and powers in the Eastern Bloc (the Soviet Union and its allies in the Warsaw Pact). It is commonly taken to have lasted from 1947 to 1991.The Cold War was arguably a driver of innovation, both in direct military and intelligence R&D, and indirectly through encouraging the Space Race in the 1960s, culminating in the U.S. moon landing.The Cold War and its events had a deep effect on much of the world, and have left a significant legacy. It led the U.S. and the U.S.S.R. to massively stockpile strategic nuclear weapons; the ensuing threat of nuclear warfare gave rise to sometimes bizarre concepts like that of mutually assured destruction (MAD). The Cold War also left its mark on popular culture, especially in media, featuring themes of espionage (such as the internationally successful James Bond films).
8158NASA1958OrganizationThe National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) is the U.S. government agency responsible for the civilian space program as well as aeronautics and aerospace research. NASA was established by President Dwight D. Eisenhower in 1958 with a distinctly civilian (rather than military) orientation, encouraging peaceful applications in space science.The space program, being at the forefront of human technology, spurred, funded, and proliferated numerous innovative technologies with many spin-offs in other domains.Most U.S. space exploration efforts have been led by NASA, including the Apollo moon-landing missions, the Skylab space station, and later the Space Shuttle.
8159The laptop computer1981InventionA laptop, or a notebook, is a portable personal computer with a clamshell form factor, typically used in a mobile usage model. The earliest laptop was probably the Dulmont Magnum, launched by Dulmison Pty Ltd in Australia around 1981.The arrival of laptops paved the road for the gradual move, completed in the 1990s, to true mobile, ‘anywhere/ anytime’ computing in the workplace. Later they entered the education and personal entertainment segments and became ubiquitous after the Millennium.
8161NASDAQ1971OtherThe NASDAQ Stock Market, commonly known as the NASDAQ, is an American stock exchange. The term NASDAQ is also used to refer to the NASDAQ Composite, an index of more than 3,000 stocks listed on the NASDAQ exchange that includes the world’s foremost technology and biotech giants. NASDAQ was founded in 1971 by the National Association of Securities Dealers (NASD), which divested itself of NASDAQ in a series of sales in 2000 and 2001. NASDAQ is now owned and operated by the NASDAQ OMX Group.Historically, NASDAQ has been the stock market by far preferred by tech stocks, a supreme catalyst for enhanced monetization and liquidity to venture investmentNASDAQ was the world’s first electronic stock market, and the first stock market in the U.S. to start trading online.
8163Korea Technology Advancement Corporation (KTAC)1974OrganizationKorea Technology Advancement Corporation (KTAC) was a venture capital firm created in 1974 by the Korean government to help commercialize R&D results from the Korean Institute of Science and Technology (KIST).KTAC was the first venture capital firm in Korea.
8164barcode1973InventionA barcode is an optical machine-readable representation of data relating to the object to which it is attached. The barcode was invented in the U.S. in 1949 by Norman Woodland and Bernard Silver, who patented it in 1952. It was not until 1973 that the UPC (Universal Product Code) system developed by IBM was selected as a standard, enabling the adoption of barcodes on a wide scale.The history of the barcode is a good example of an excellent idea being delayed until suitable conditions matured for its adoption. The 1950s lacked the computer technology that would allow barcode use in retail, and it took until the 1970s for UPC to be accepted and for manufacturers to mark their products with it.Variations of barcode technology have become ubiquitous in retail, industry, postal services, and more, facilitating efficiency and productivity in handling physical goods and printed information.
8165Shenzhen Stock Exchange1990OrganizationThe Shenzhen Stock Exchange (SZSE) is one of China’s three stock exchanges, alongside the Shanghai Stock Exchange and Hong Kong Stock Exchange. Many of the companies within this market are subsidiaries of companies in which the Chinese government maintains controlling interest. It was founded in 1990 under the ownership of the Shenzhen Securities Clearing Corporation (SSCC).The SZSE opened the ChiNext Board, a NASDAQ-type exchange for high-growth, hi-tech start-ups, in 2009.
8168Expanded Genetic Code2014OtherExpanded Genetic Code refers to the development of artificially modified genetic codes that use additional base pairs beyond the two found in nature (AT and GC), and can encode amino acids beyond the 20 used in natural protein synthesis. In 2012, a group of American scientists led by Floyd Romesberg at the Scripps Research Institute succeeded in producing an Unnatural Base Pair (UBP). In 2014 the same team succeeded in inserting this artificial base pair into a bacterium and incorporating it in its cell replication mechanism. This is the first known example of a living organism passing along an expanded genetic code to subsequent generations.The creation of artificial life processes is an area of research at the frontier of biology. Research in this field will certainly expand scientific knowledge about life on Earth and alternative options for extraterrestrial life.Expanded genetic encoding sets the stage for biosynthetic engineering and expanded protein diversity. Practical applications could include new possibilities for drug synthesis and improved medical techniques.
8171Garbage collection1938InnovationThe first refuse compacting vehicle, the Garwood Load Packer, was introduced in the U.S. in 1938. It was a significant development in waste collection, as it was one of the first vehicles to utilize a compactor. This led the way to further automation of waste management.One of the very early engineering pathways to facilitate recycling technologies and waste management.Given the growth of urban populations, the move to evermore advanced collection and compacting methods is crucial to our way of life, and compacting methods are crucial for efficient waste management and environmental sustainability.
8172BASIC programming language1964InventionBASIC (Beginner’s All-purpose Symbolic Instruction Code) is a family of general-purpose, high-level programming languages whose design philosophy emphasizes ease of use. BASIC was originally invented In 1964 by John G. Kemeny and Thomas E. Kurtz, at Dartmouth College in the U.S., in order to make programming accessible to students.BASIC’s simplicity of use led it to play a key role in the popularization of computer programming outside of technical circles.Versions of BASIC became widespread on microcomputers in the mid-1970s and 1980s and the language is still widely used, especially in the form of Microsoft Visual Basic.
81731997 Kyoto Protocol1997FactorThe Kyoto Protocol is an international treaty which binds countries to reduce greenhouse gas emissions as a way of reducing global warming. Recognizing that developed countries are principally responsible for the current high levels of greenhouse gas emissions in the atmosphere, the Protocol places a heavier obligation to reduce emissions in such countries. The Protocol extends the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) of 1992.The Kyoto Protocol resulted in a boost to R&D into alternative energy technologies. Various countries adopted aggressive environmental targets (e.g. the 20-20-20 targets in the EU, or the Chinese goal of attaining Grid Parity for solar energy by 2021). In order to meet such goals, governments were forced to provide subsidies for green energy R&D: the EU will spend 35% of its €70 billion R&D budget for 2014 to 2020 on meeting its climate and energy goals.The impact of the Kyoto Protocol on the global warming problem, and especially the question of its sufficiency or otherwise, is hotly debated. However, it has at a minimum raised the subject of greenhouse gas emissions to become formally recognized by the international community.
8174Enigma cipher machine1918InventionThe Enigma was an electro-mechanical, rotor-based cipher machine used for enciphering and deciphering secret messages. It is famous due to its widespread use by the German armed forces in WWII and to its successful cracking by the British cryptanalysts at Bletchley Park. Enigma was invented by the German engineer Arthur Scherbius in 1918, and was sold for commercial use before being improved and adopted by the German military.The need to crack the Enigma drove the establishment of the cryptanalysis program at Bletchley Park, one of the first large-scale collaborative scientific groups of its kind, and triggered the development of a sequence of computing algorithms and hardware that was instrumental in the invention of the modern computer.The German belief in Enigma's infallibility, coupled with their unawareness of the British success in deciphering its transmissions, gave the Allies an advantage that is said to have shortened WWII by some two years.