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Only disruptors need apply

The technology industry is abuzz these days with stories of companies raising money at ever higher valuations and the number of technology-focused companies getting huge amounts of capital and even higher valuations. This year alone, 107 companies have completed fundraising rounds with venture capital investors of $100 million or more, according to a report from CB Insights and KPMG. Of these companies, 35 have entered the ‘unicorn club’ (VC-backed companies with $1 billion valuations).

One area where fundraising from venture capital is rare is in the Islamic economy overall and the Islamic digital economy in particular. In their Digital Islamic Services Report, Deloitte reports “no VC funds in the Middle East […] specifically targeted at Islamic needs and Digital Islamic Services”.  The dearth of venture capital interest in the Islamic digital economy does not mean there is a lack of a market. Muslim consumers represent an estimated 8% of the global digital economy according to an ongoing Thomson Reuters study on the Islamic Digital Economy that we had an exclusive look at and the aggregate value of Muslim consumers within the digital economy is expected to grow 20% annually through 2020, outpacing the rest of the global digital economy.

innovation 4 impactThe growth rate of the Islamic digital economy, and its potential to outpace the (still rapidly growing) digital economy is entirely understandable with a large Muslim population that is younger on average than the global population. In some markets, such as Pakistan, the digital economy is just becoming enabled with the recent launch of 4G mobile networks that make it possible for many apps (particularly those relying on GPS technology to customize content based on specific location).

Progress, such as the introduction of 4G in Pakistan, will create a massive opportunity in similar markets where the cost has been too high and the mobile networks not ready to support the demand for capacity from widespread diffusion of smartphones.  This is particularly likely to be the case in markets where the population is younger, which will support rising demand for mobile technology from Quran apps to Halal Travel Apps, online Islamic education websites and location-services software to locate the nearest Halal restaurant. The Islamic digital economy has woven into the lives of many Muslims worldwide and has become part of their day to day lifestyle.

With the backdrop of venture capital funds seeking out the latest ‘hot’ digital economy company and the dearth of Islamic digital economy companies being a part of this ‘unicorn economy’, there is a big opportunity for tech entrepreneurs if they can get noticed. One way to get noticed is through the first #Innovation4Impact competition that will be a feature at the Global Islamic Economy Summit in Dubai, UAE from 5-6 October 2015.

Innovation 4 Impact, which is organized by the Dubai Silicon Oasis Authority and Thomson Reuters, in collaboration with the American Muslim Consumer Consortium, is looking for innovative entrepreneurs across the globe whose solutions will disrupt the status quo across the digital sphere. The competition aims to support start-ups and businesses in the Islamic digital economy and serve will as an incubator for SMEs across the world.

The Innovation 4 Impact competition is open to any company or entrepreneur with a potentially groundbreaking idea or business venture. Applicant’s ideas will be judged on different aspects including: innovation, economic and social impact as well as the scalability across markets and regions. Visit the website for details on how to submit your idea and to enterThe deadline is August 10, 2015!

Weekly Investment Banking Scorecard

IB Scorecard

Fast facts:

  • Cross-Border M&A activity totals $913.5 billion, up 23% compared to YTD 2014 levels
  • United States ECM activity totals $169.0 billion, a 7% increase compared to a year ago
  • European DCM hits $1.2 trillion so far in 2015, down 24% compared to last year
  • Pharma M&A hits $187.0 billion this year, up 78% compared to year-ago levels
  • Global ECM Follow-On Offerings total $409.4 billion for YTD 2015, up 20% from 2014
  • Bank DCM down 12% compared to 2014 with $525.2 billion raised this year

For more info, download the full Investment Banking Scorecard.

Follow @dealintel on Twitter and register here.

Thomson Reuters Deals Intelligence delivers IB content including quarterly reviews showing trends in M&A and Capital Markets.

Philippines infrastructure spending – Graphic of the day

The Aquino administration’s public-private partnership scheme for infrastructure is showing signs of acrimony, revealing how a reform program can falter as interests diverge between crusading bureaucracies and profit-driven businesses. Today’s graphic highlights the PPP projects to build toll roads, airports, ports and railways in the Philippines.


Would you like infographics like this on your website, blog or other social media? Contact us and visit our Reuters Agency blog for insights and discussions on the changing media industry.

Judge rejects bid for factory video inspection in surgical stapler case

From Westlaw Journal Medical Devices:

A plaintiff’s request to conduct a videotaped inspection of Ethicon Endo-Surgery’s surgical stapler factory was properly denied because it would be of “minimal value,” a Minnesota federal judge has decided.

Chief U.S. District Judge John R. Tunheim of the District of Minnesota issued the decision in the case of Susan Webb, who says she sustained permanent brain injuries because an Ethicon surgical stapler failed to fire during her 2009 esophageal surgery.

(Westlaw users: Click here for the 10 most recent stories from Westlaw Journals.) (more…)

When the spies came in from the cold

Regular readers of my blog will know that, from time to time, I like to highlight the careers of women who – in a culture very different from today – bucked the trend, ignored barriers and created for themselves a place in Reuters history. Annette von Broecker, who retired in 1994 as Reuters editor in Germany, was one of those women.

Five years ago, Reuters Security Correspondent, William Maclean (today Gulf Bureau Chief), looked back at von Broecker’s first scoop – in 1962 – during the height of the Cold War era. Annette von Broecker was, in her own words, a 19-year-old blonde when Reuters hired her as an editorial assistant in West Berlin in October 1959.

Annette von Broecker

Annette von Broecker at work in the Reuters Berlin office with bureau chief Alfred Kluehs (L) a few weeks after her 1962 scoop.

She would probably never have become a journalist had it not been for a story that unfolded before her eyes at a time when history was being made; “and, of course, because my mother desperately wanted to get me out of the house,” she recounted later. There was drama aplenty in the Berlin spy swap which she witnessed one chilly February morning in 1962, amid a wind that “seemed to blow straight from the North Pole.”

In a Reuters publication, Frontlines: snapshots of history (2001), von Broecker credited her scoop to a lucky guess. After Berlin bureau chief Alfred Kluehs had sent two correspondents to Checkpoint Charlie to staff both sides of the border crossing between the divided city, she stared at a big map that was hanging on the wall behind the boss’s desk.

“He sat with his back to it. My eyes wandered about. I looked at all the coloured pins that Alfred had stuck on the map to mark important sites, such as border crossings. They stopped suddenly, in the southwest corner of Berlin. There was a border. There was a bridge. It spanned the River Havel and connected the American sector of Berlin with the East German town of Potsdam. That was where the Western allies used to have their military liaison missions, which were attached to the Soviet headquarters in East Germany. Only Allied military personnel were allowed to cross the Glienicker Bridge, an elegant iron structure in two sets of concave bows across the Havel, some 150 yards wide. (more…)

Journalist spotlight: Clare Baldwin on revealing special report


Last week, a Reuters Special Report detailed how Sony sanitized the new Adam Sandler movie “Pixels” to please Chinese censors. The Hollywood studio changed the film for global audiences by removing an attack on the Great Wall as well as other politically sensitive plot points, internal emails show. The goal: increase the film’s chances of being shown in the huge China market. The story, by Hong Kong correspondent Clare Baldwin and enterprise reporter Kristina Cooke, was widely cited by press, including Time.com, Gawker, Gizmodo, Chinatopix, Shanghaiist, among many others. In a Reuters Best: Journalist Spotlight Q&A, Clare offers a look at the reporting behind the story.

Q. How did you and Kristina get started on the story?

A. We are constantly looking for new ways to tell the China story. Movies are a good lens through which to look at it, as they are such a big part of popular culture.

Q. What types of reporting/sourcing were involved? (more…)

Foreign labor in Subaru’s supply chain – Graphic of the day

Around 260 companies supply parts for popular Subaru vehicles like the Forester pictured below. Many of these companies use asylum seekers and foreign trainees at their plants in Japan. Subaru has won over U.S. drivers with its socially responsible image. But another key to its success is a supply chain that relies on hundreds of migrant workers who are far cheaper to employ than Japanese laborers. Read the full Reuters Investigates special report and check out the labor breakdown in today’s graphic.


Would you like infographics like this on your website, blog or other social media? Contact us and visit our Reuters Agency blog for insights and discussions on the changing media industry.

What is diversity?

Chang Wang

This post is by Chang Wang, Chief Research and Academic Officer at Thomson Reuters. He was recently recognized as a 2015 Diversity in Business honoree by the Minneapolis/St. Paul Business Journal.

From my heavy accent people can surely tell that I was originally from an exotic part of the world: I was born and raised in Beijing where I spent the first 28 years of my life: from K-12 to college, work, and graduate school at Peking University. I was confident I had an identity and – that identity had little to do with diversity. That identity evaporated when I became a graduate student at the University of Illinois and later a law student at the University of Minnesota Law School, where I became the member of a minority group and was forced to write, reason, and argue in another language.

“In which language do you dream?” A Swiss law student at the University of Bern asked me. She speaks four languages, so does every student in the class I teach at the University, some even more. “Don’t kill insects. They might be your relatives in the past lives.” a Tibetan monk told me. Buddhists believe in reincarnation. Therefore, you should demonstrate a reverence for all sentient beings.

Not until the second year of law school did I begin to dream in English… and swear in English; not until I began to listen to Mozart did I realize that some people hear musical notes, rather than words; not until I saw Kandinsky did I discover that fine artists “think” in colour and shapes. Not until I had my own first dog did I truly share the joy, sadness, and pain an animal experienced emotionally; and not until I settled in Minnesota did I realized that we all live in parallel universes – separated by language, history, time, and space – and yet we are all so similar. Diversity to me is seeing commonalities among different races, genders; and classes, and seeing differences and divergence among same race, gender, and class.


Introducing Innovation Magazine


We’re pleased to announce the latest addition to our Know 360 stable of thought-leadership publications – Thomson Reuters Innovation – a new twice-yearly magazine for science professionals.

Innovation is at the heart of the global economy. It is rooted in our desire to know more about the world, discover its infinite possibilities and find better ways of doing things. The inaugural issue of Thomson Reuters Innovation magazine provides unique insights to compare industries and companies based on patent, scientific and financial information.

This issue takes inspiration from the concept of multiple viewpoints – a new and completely fresh perspective, it crowd-sources through experiences and points of view from across the global science community.

Explore: (more…)