Category Archives: Briefing



Donald Trump’s unexpected victory in the US presidential election has prompted much debate on the future path of US economic policy. According to American economist Joseph Stiglitz, the rules of America’s economic system have been rewritten over the past third of a century in ways that serve a few at the top, while harming the economy as a whole, especially the bottom 80%. Stiglitz says that if Trump is serious about tackling inequality, he must rewrite the rules, in a way that serves all of society, not just people like him. Stiglitz makes the following recommendations:

Investment: The item on the agenda should be to bolster investment, thereby restoring robust long-term growth. Trump should emphasise spending on infrastructure and research. Improved infrastructure would enhance the returns from private investment, which has been lagging. Ensuring greater financial access for small and medium-size enterprises would also stimulate private investment. A carbon tax would provide (i) higher growth as firms retrofit to reflect the increased costs of carbon dioxide emissions, (ii) a cleaner environment and (iii) revenue that could be used to finance infrastructure and direct efforts to narrow America’s economic divide. However, given Trump’s stance on climate change, this is unlikely to happen.

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The split was predominantly un-welcomed, with 9 out of 10 tech companies opposing Brexit. Concerns over policy, trade, regulation and funding provoked fear and apprehension, while anxieties over the impact on foreign direct investment were rife. So, how is the UK faring almost 6 months on? As a tech powerhouse, the UK has always been a leader and key player in terms of IT opportunity and success, but does the country have the economic clout, innovation and culture to see it through the rocky road ahead? London’s tech businesses are led by some of the UK’s most entrepreneurial influences, hoping to rise to the post-Brexit challenge, and advocate the capital as a global technology hub with unparalleled investment potential.

Prior to June 23rd 2016, London was undoubtedly the tech start-up capital of Europe. However, since the country’s shock exit, the capital’s power and prestige has been called into question. The UK’s decision to leave the EU left investors in Europe’s leading start-up hub shell-shocked, culminating in real fears that international companies may think twice before investing in the country. Now that the initial shock of the decision to leave is beginning to fade, the focus is directed on managing the fallout and identifying opportunities. And there is an abundance of possibilities; with just under half (40%) of Europe’s tech unicorns – young companies valued at a billion dollars – based in Britain.

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Shifting Reality


Any investment is a huge decision. If the investment is in new technology the risks are even greater due to the speed in which variables can change, and with the selloff in big tech names such as LinkedIn and Twitter, investors may think that the golden era of the Internet and mobile is a thing of the past. How wrong they’d be.

Augmented Reality (AR) and Virtual Reality (VR)  investment reached $1.1 billion in the first 2 months of 2016 and Apple has confirmed that the Pokémon Go app was downloaded more than any other app in its first week. Apple has also reported revenue of over $42.4 billion is down approximately 15% on last year, selling 40.4 million iPhones in the recent quarter, compared to 47.5 million this time last year. Even though profit is down, the company is still a huge powerhouse of sales and turnover, having just sold its billionth iPhone.

As Apple faces its biggest test in years, the mobile giant still has a few tricks up its sleeve. While the declining iPhone and iPad sales certainly continue to present a challenge, if everyone is playing the AR game and Apple continues to make more money through its App store, it won’t really matter. The Services division, which includes iTunes, the App Store and Apple Music, makes up 11%of Apple’s total revenue, compared with 8%in 2015.

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Power to the People and the Network


A lot of people in the global tech community are getting very excited about something called “the blockchain”, and see it as the real power behind the Bitcoin throne. If you don’t know what it is, you’re not alone, but know that its applications are predicted to be many and profound. In short, the blockchain is an ever-growing decentralised and permissionless public database ledger of each and every bitcoin transaction conducted since its inception.

With each computer, or “node” connected to the bitcoin network having a copy of the blockchain, it serves as permanent proof of what’s gone before it, detailing addresses and values. When a block – the current part of the chain – is completed, recording recent time-stamped batches of valid transactions, it is added in linear, chronological order (just like a chain, hence the name), after which a new block is created. Bitcoin’s star has significantly waned in recent years, and so financial and intellectual investors are increasingly looking at the engine underpinning it, namely blockchain as the real innovation story here, and the route to making big bucks.

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Brexit’s Impact on Science and Technology


Post-Brexit, the UK’s Science and Technology sector is obliged to adopt a “wait and see” approach. The United Kingdom’s science and technology sector is braced for change following the country’s recent vote in favour of Brexit. Just as for big business, it was an unwelcome outcome for the scientific community, since UK based researchers collaborate with their peers across the EU in large numbers, not only at a cognitive level, but also in having access to world-leading shared research facilities.

In addition, there is concern that a brain drain out of the UK will now hit science, with those remaining in the UK anxious that their ongoing involvement in international collaborations is now at risk. On the regulatory front, there is already talk of the European Medicines Agency (EMA), at present based in London, moving to mainland Europe. The principal worry, unsurprisingly, relates to financial provision, with the EU currently responsible for a large slice of research funding through various grant programs and fellowships.

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