‘National companies considering commercial drones must consider state privacy laws,’ by Zachary D. Ludens, Esq., and Matthew E. Kohen, Esq.



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Zachary Ludens

Zachary Ludens

Matthew Kohen

Matthew Kohen

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!

Exchange Magazine: The Art of Data

Exchange magazine

In the latest issue of Thomson Reuters Exchange, we’re celebrating data, the core of our business and the lifeblood of the industry. While our focus is typically on the science of data – collecting, curating, cleaning, managing and disseminating data – we know there is also an art to making data useful, powerful and insightful. Enjoy our featured articles below or download Exchange for free on your iPhone®, iPad® or Android™ tablet device.


Back to the Future

Leon Saunders Calvert, global head of Capital Markets & Advisory, and Keith Mullin, International Financing Review editor-at-large discuss the current changes and comebacks within investment banking.


Thomson Reuters hosts first girls only CoderDojo in London


Photo credit: Jamilah Knowles. View her comic strip from the day here. This post was written by Kate Williams, Senior Communications Specialist, Thomson Reuters.

Last month, CoderDojo London and Thomson Reuters held a Girls Only CoderDojo, a ground breaking initiative in the world of technology. CoderDojo is a global community of free programming clubs for young people, run all over the world on a weekly basis to give young people between the ages of 7 and 17 the opportunity to learn how to develop computer code, websites, apps, programs, games, digital media and explore technology. Attendees also build complementary skills of creativity, innovation, communication, collaboration, teamwork and leadership.

John Claffey and Thomas Attree from our Technology organization are volunteers for CoderDojo. They made a commitment at Mozfest last year to run a “Girls Only” event as part of their teach the web campaign. Thomson Reuters was extremely keen to support this initiative, as it echoes the work we do to encourage girls into STEM careers (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math). As far as we’re aware, it was the first event of its kind, and the fact that it coincided with London Technology Week made it all the more appropriate!


Man on a Mission: Is DRM stifling creativity and business?

Cory Doctorow

We’re proud to partner with Cass Business School on a series titled TechTalks@Cass, featuring speakers from successful start-ups in and around London. Here’s a recap and recording of the latest talk, featuring Cory Doctorow. This post was written by Ti Maja, Manager, Corporate Compliance.

New York Times best selling science fiction author, entrepreneur, activist, journalist, blogger and former comic store clerk, Cory Doctorow could easily rest on his laurels. Instead he has a mission to shake up the digital media landscape and tackle abuse of Digital Rights Management (DRM) laws. In a talk that ranged through many subjects from the archaic London leaseholds to grass roots activism, he laid out his goals: (more…)

Make the digital economy work for the Islamic economy


The Islamic digital economy including spending connected to halal food, travel, fashion, recreation and culture, pharmaceuticals and Islamic finance is set to grow double digits—up to 25-30% per annum—according to a recent report by Deloitte. A large part of this spending can benefit small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) which make up a large majority of the total businesses in Organisation for Islamic Cooperation (OIC) countries and a share of GDP that reaches up to one-third to one-half in countries like Malaysia and Indonesia. 

The digital economy includes technology that assists the SMEs in reaching a wider market, mobile payments to capitalize on the wider market, and ways to use cloud computing and big data. Innovation 4 Impact, organized by the Dubai Silicon Oasis Authority and Thomson Reuters is a business competition that specifically targets entrepreneurial activities for Islamic businesses. Entries for the competition open June 28 and run through August 10 and the shortlisted candidates will be showcased at one of the biggest features at the Global Islamic Economy Summit 2015 to be held from 5-6 October 2015 in Dubai, UAE.  (more…)

Learning from Data: Building Brains… and using them

A staff talks to a humanoid robot named Han developed by Hanson Robotics via a mobile phone during the Global Sources spring electronics show in Hong Kong

The fourth Data Science Insights talk, chaired by Axel Threlfall, Reuters Editor at Large, took place at the Royal Institution of Great Britain, London, and featured Steve Furber CBE. 

We like our machines to feel human, even if they don’t look it. The pulsing on and off of the power light on an Apple computer when it is ‘sleeping’ is re-assuring. Even the red light of HAL in 2001: A Space Odyssey gave an assurance that the machine was alive, rather than a faceless menace. One of the pioneers of computing, Alan Turing, was amongst the first to address the challenge of artificial intelligence and gives his name to the Turing Test for a “machine’s ability to exhibit intelligent behavior equivalent to, or indistinguishable from, that of a human.”

Learning from our mistakes makes us human. Learning is a fundamentally important part of how we make decisions, how we build things and how we create value. But learning is not limited to humans, or indeed just to animals. Since the middle of the twentieth century, machine learning has advanced to levels that would once have been thought science fiction, and is transforming whole industries. The latest advances include self-driving cars, a computer that can beat humans at Jeopardy! and real-time machine translation that doesn’t seem too far from the universal translator in Star Trek. (more…)

Innovative ideas are not solely from the big cities


It has been couple weeks since the Apps for Good Awards ceremony, and I wanted to write a few thoughts in the aftermath of a wonderful day and school term.

Nearly 23,000 kids, from 700+ academic institutions completed the Apps for Good course this year, and 18 of the very best teams were selected as finalists for the Apps for Good Awards London. Each team that was in the Awards finals experienced the same thing that a startup faces: how does one convey an idea clearly and convincingly in order to get funded, which in this case, is the funding to have your app built and put into the Google Play or iTunes store.

I don’t personally work for Apps for Good, but I feel as if this is my other “work family.” I’ve seen this grow from a small startup idea into something that has broadened my own view of the world.  And it is a great reminder of something we all need to keep in mind. The diversity of our schools and children breeds incredible diversity in ideas and teams which come to the finals. Can anyone genuinely believe that a school from Wick, Scotland has produced winners for three consecutive years? Try to get to Wick sometime from London: you fly to Inverness and drive for 2+ hours or take a flight via Edinburgh. It’s not easy. Wick is about as far away from London as you can go in the United Kingdom, in a very remote part of the country. And yet, they win. Innovative ideas are not solely from the big cities but can come from small communities like Wick. (more…)

Inspiring and celebrating women in technology

Screen Shot 2015-06-16 at 10.45.12 AM

Take a seat to take a stand! This was the call to action as part of the National Sit With Me campaign to support and promote the career development of women in technology at our recent TechVision seminar in New York City.

In partnership with TechVision, Women@Thomson Reuters and the National Center for Women & Information Technology (NCWIT), James Powell, Chief Technology Officer, hosted a panel of distinguished technology leaders. All shared insights about their career path and how to attract and develop women in technology leadership roles.

The event and our sponsorship of the NCWIT reinforces Thomson Reuters commitment to diversity and the development of future leaders.

“Getting girls involved early on in technology will feed the pipeline,” said panelist Avis Yates-Rivers, President & CEO of Technology Concepts Group International, LLC.

Reports show that while 57% of professional occupations in the 2014 U.S. workforce are held by women, only 26% of professional computing roles are held by women. The panelists agreed that there is still work to do to increase the ranks of women in information technology roles. (more…)

Disruptive FinTech: Rocking the boat on stormy seas

There are certain FinTech trends like regulation, technology, disruption, demographics and insight that are driving opportunities in the capital markets vertical. However, there are challenges as well – it is a global and complex industry while also being heavily regulated. One way FinTech firms are dealing with the challenges is by partnering with large institutions to obtain established distribution platforms. Our market leading open platform and market data platform provide a great opportunity for FinTech partnership. A managed services approach to the delivery of the Thomson Reuters platform also ensures that the partnership obtains cost efficiency and differentiation in a competitive industry.