Connect with us

Business

The Future is more Predictable than we think

Published

on

b logo

The week of the Facebook IPO offers a useful reminder that many of the longer-term forces changing the face of business are driven by or at least inspired by technology. Having already transformed communications and entertainment, the internet and related technologies are changing beyond all recognition the way that much of business operates.b logo

This is a behavioural revolution that has probably had its equivalent in history’s previous economic transformations. In terms of the adoption of technology, we could be at a similar stage to those early industrialists in the British Midlands who developed all kinds of machines in the wake of the invention of steam power. They were not household names and their businesses hardly made the history books but they powered the Industrial Revolution.

In the same way, large numbers of companies have appeared on the back of the development of the Internet. They may not be as well known or as exciting as the likes of Google, Amazon, Apple or indeed Facebook, but they play crucial roles in powering and exploiting the technology – as well as enabling businesses of all sorts to operate.

Not all of these businesses will survive. However, it is more predictable that the activities they represent will endure because they align with embedded long-term business trends. This makes them worth watching, not just as potential Facebooks of the future, but because they provide illustrations of what a future business world might be like.

To depict this landscape of the future, the business intelligence network Index B has assembled a shortlist of 25 companies from around the globe who are ‘Ones to Watch’. Each company is an exemplar of a bigger and broader business trend yet collectively they also mirror the true business landscape of today. This is a world in which smaller companies are the more dominant species.

So what sort of firms made the final cut and what types of trend do they illustrate?

1.    THE INTERNET GROWS UP
Much has been written about the transition in use of the internet from serving communication and entertainment needs to now tackling more functional, less sexy areas. Three of the firms in ‘Ones to Watch’ demonstrate this admirably. Evernote offers an ingenious way of capturing fragmented scraps of information that might otherwise escape our memory, Dropbox has simplified the business of accessing the things we keep online, whilst Groupspaces makes the core tasks of organising work and leisure activities less of a chore.

2.    COMMERCE GOES MOBILE
With the Smartphone set to become the most iconic device of the second decade of the 21st Century, companies involved in mobile applications might be expected to feature. Proxama is one of many firms involved in turning mobiles into payment devices, yet recognises this involves multiple customisable solutions rather than one killer app. Elsewhere, Metaio is a pioneer and leader in the game-changing technology of augmented reality, which allows mobile users to access, understand and enjoy digital content overlaid on the physical world.

3.    SUSTAINABILITY IS LONGER LASTING
Will anxiety about recession push anxieties about our environment to the back of the class? Maybe carbon emissions seem less important when debt and currency crises stalk the globe. Fortunately, the ideas and economics of sustainability are more entrenched than they once were. Closed Loop Recycling has repurposed 20% of the UK’s plastic bottles and turned them into food-grade plastics; Whipcar has become the world’s fastest growing car club in the space of 18 months, enabling car owners to share vehicles with neighbours when they’re not in use, and Sequana Medical has designed a way to combat liver disease that cuts out chunks of unnecessary clinical time.

4.    RE-ENGINEERING CAPITALISM
Whether the challenge is finding ways to combine profitability with business principles (LRN), develop more equitable banks (BankSimple), simpler ways of funding entrepreneurs (CrowdCube) or simply businesses with better stakeholder terms (Mitie), it is clear that rethinking the way companies make and use money is now a trend rather than a series of isolated instances. As a lack of faith in the financial establishment becomes more widespread, we can expect to see further types of innovation in the ways that companies access and use money – invariably using greater transparency as part of the process. Such developments will shape new types of financial services.

5.    ONE-MAN EMPIRES STRIKE BACK
In years gone by one-man businesses were often derided for not being serious ventures. Yet there are now more entrepreneurs with multiple businesses and technology is helping them cast far longer shadows to extend their reach and influence. As a result, the tools they use become more sophisticated. Witness the personal CRM software of CubeSocial, which helps individuals manage their professional relationships more adroitly than many corporations. At the same time, technology is becoming easier than ever to deploy. See Basekit’s software, which has slashed the cost and time involved in creating websites, making them affordable and practical for the smallest of small companies.

6.    COMMUNITY GAINS PURPOSE
Finally the C word.  Whilst over-use of the idea of community has become a trend in its own right, the business models that exemplify online communities are planting deeper roots. At the more rarefied end of this spectrum companies like Kaggle provide a platform for data miners and researchers to collaborate on solutions to scientific challenges. At the more prosaic end, there are firms like Songkick, which enable music lovers to keep track of live events and extend their audience participation. All of them benefit from the increasing influence of social networks on the way we live and work yet equally they extend the functionality of online communities and by definition their commercial impact.

The complete report is available as a download from www.myindexb.com. Companies featured within the report are also periodically covered by Index B’s weekly guide to the trends of the forthcoming business decade, www.futureofbusinessblog.com.

John Owrid is CEO of Index B, one of the first business research companies to use crowd sourcing approaches to generate business information and intelligence, and Roger Trapp is a leading business commentator and journalist who has covered management and enterprise for many years.

Business

Australia’s Macquarie raises guidance after U.S. winter freeze

Published

on

Australia's Macquarie raises guidance after U.S. winter freeze 1

By Paulina Duran and Jonathan Barrett

SYDNEY (Reuters) – Macquarie Group lifted its profit guidance on Monday, sending shares to 12-month highs, as its large North American energy business profits from the winter storms sweeping across Texas and other states.

Macquarie said it expects its fiscal 2021 profit to jump by as much as 10%, after warning just two weeks ago that earnings would be “slightly down”.

The energy business unit, designed to move large quantities of gas to meet unexpected demand, has single-handedly increased the overall profit forecast of the investment bank by about A$400 million, analysts said.

“Extreme winter weather conditions in North America have significantly increased short-term client demand for Macquarie’s capabilities in maintaining critical physical supply across the commodity complex,” the company said in a statement.

Macquarie is the second biggest gas marketer in North America, behind oil major BP. It purchases natural gas and moves it along pipelines and grids, typically from an area where usage is low to high-demand markets.

The deadly winter storm that crippled infrastructure and left millions of Texans without power meant electricity generators had to compete for natural gas supplies, pushing up prices sharply in the deregulated market.

The urgent supply situation has provided Macquarie with an unexpected windfall

“Macquarie appears to be capitalising well on volatility and financial market dislocation,” Bank of America Securities analysts said in a note, as it increased its earnings forecasts for the Sydney-headquartered company.

Macquarie’s performance hurt last year by the pandemic, with subdued deal-making and deteriorating economic conditions leading to a rise in impairment charges.

But a strong initial public offering of its majority-owned data analytics software business, Nuix, late last year and a fillip in the energy business have helped push its share price back to pre-pandemic levels.

The company, which also operates Australia’s largest asset manager and investment banking business, is set for extra boost from a rebound in local M&A activity this year.

Macquarie’s shares were 4.31% higher at A$148.39 early on Monday, the highest level in a year, outperforming a broader market that was flat. The share price eased slightly in afternoon trading.

Earlier this month, the Sydney-based financial conglomerate had forecast full-year earnings for the group to be “slightly” lower than in fiscal 2020.

Macquarie’s Commodities and Global Markets division contributes close to 40% of its group earnings. Analysts had previously raised concerns that the pandemic could erode profits from the division if high energy-use industries shuttered.

(Reporting by Paulina Duran and Jonathan Barrett; Additional reporting by Shriya Ramakrishnan; Editing by Peter Cooney, Jane Wardell & Shri Navaratnam)

Continue Reading

Business

Baidu-Geely EV venture names Mobike co-founder as chief

Published

on

Baidu-Geely EV venture names Mobike co-founder as chief 2

BEIJING/SHANGHAI (Reuters) – China’s Baidu Inc and automaker Geely hired Mobike co-founder and former chief technology officer Xia Yiping as chief executive of their new electric vehicle venture, the search engine giant said on Monday.

Baidu last month had announced it would set up a company with Zhejiang Geely Holding Group to leverage its intelligent driving capabilities and Geely’s car manufacturing expertise.

“Xia has extensive management experience in the field of smart cars and mobility services,” Baidu said in a statement. “We welcome Xia Yiping to join Baidu’s auto company and look forward to his contribution to Baidu and the automobile industry.”

Reuters reported Xia’s appointment last week, citing people familiar with the matter.

Xia served as Mobike’s chief technology officer until the company was acquired by food delivery giant Meituan in 2018. Prior to Mobike, he worked at Ford Motor and Fiat Chrysler.

(Reporting by Yingzhi Yang, Yilei Sun and Brenda Goh, Editing by Sherry Jacob-Phillips)

Continue Reading

Business

UK firms report strongest hiring intentions in a year – CIPD

Published

on

UK firms report strongest hiring intentions in a year - CIPD 3

LONDON (Reuters) – British businesses have the strongest hiring intentions in a year and fewer are planning to make redundancies as the economic outlook has brightened over the past three months, a human resources industry body said on Monday.

The Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development said 56% of businesses planned to increase staff numbers in the coming months, up from 53% in late 2020 but below the 66% planning to hire staff a year ago before the pandemic.

The proportion of firms planning redundancies dropped sharply to 20% from 30% in the last quarter.

However the CIPD said unemployment was likely to rise sharply if finance minister Rishi Sunak does not extend jobs support for businesses at his March 3 budget.

“It is far too soon to rule out further significant private sector redundancies later in the year if the government does not extend the furlough scheme to the end of June or if the economy suffers any additional unexpected shocks,” said Gerwyn Davies, a senior labour market advisor to the CIPD.

A costly furlough programme that is supporting around one in five private-sector employees during the current lockdown is due to end on April 30.

The British Chambers of Commerce warned last week that one in four of its members planned to make job cuts if the support ended while they were still feeling the impact of the pandemic.

The CIPD said hiring plans were strongest in healthcare, finance, education and IT, and weakest in the hospitality sector which is bearing the brunt of the current lockdown.

The survey, run jointly with recruiters Adecco, covered 2,000 employers between Jan. 5 and Jan. 30.

(Reporting by David Milliken; Editing by William Schomberg)

Continue Reading
Editorial & Advertiser disclosureOur website provides you with information, news, press releases, Opinion and advertorials on various financial products and services. This is not to be considered as financial advice and should be considered only for information purposes. We cannot guarantee the accuracy or applicability of any information provided with respect to your individual or personal circumstances. Please seek Professional advice from a qualified professional before making any financial decisions. We link to various third party websites, affiliate sales networks, and may link to our advertising partners websites. Though we are tied up with various advertising and affiliate networks, this does not affect our analysis or opinion. When you view or click on certain links available on our articles, our partners may compensate us for displaying the content to you, or make a purchase or fill a form. This will not incur any additional charges to you. To make things simpler for you to identity or distinguish sponsored articles or links, you may consider all articles or links hosted on our site as a partner endorsed link.

Call For Entries

Global Banking and Finance Review Awards Nominations 2021
2021 Awards now open. Click Here to Nominate

Latest Articles

OPEC, U.S. oil firms expect subdued shale rebound even as crude prices rise 4 OPEC, U.S. oil firms expect subdued shale rebound even as crude prices rise 5
Top Stories54 mins ago

OPEC, U.S. oil firms expect subdued shale rebound even as crude prices rise

By Alex Lawler and Jennifer Hiller LONDON/HOUSTON (Reuters) – OPEC and U.S. oil companies see a limited rebound in shale...

Australia's Macquarie raises guidance after U.S. winter freeze 6 Australia's Macquarie raises guidance after U.S. winter freeze 7
Business2 hours ago

Australia’s Macquarie raises guidance after U.S. winter freeze

By Paulina Duran and Jonathan Barrett SYDNEY (Reuters) – Macquarie Group lifted its profit guidance on Monday, sending shares to...

Baidu-Geely EV venture names Mobike co-founder as chief 8 Baidu-Geely EV venture names Mobike co-founder as chief 9
Business2 hours ago

Baidu-Geely EV venture names Mobike co-founder as chief

BEIJING/SHANGHAI (Reuters) – China’s Baidu Inc and automaker Geely hired Mobike co-founder and former chief technology officer Xia Yiping as...

SoftBank Vision Fund set for new portfolio champion with Coupang IPO 10 SoftBank Vision Fund set for new portfolio champion with Coupang IPO 11
Banking3 hours ago

SoftBank Vision Fund set for new portfolio champion with Coupang IPO

By Sam Nussey and Joyce Lee TOKYO/SEOUL (Reuters) – SoftBank’s $100 billion Vision Fund is poised to have a new...

Five things to look out for in HSBC strategy update 12 Five things to look out for in HSBC strategy update 13
Banking3 hours ago

Five things to look out for in HSBC strategy update

By Alun John HONG KONG (Reuters) – HSBC Holdings PLC will update its “transformation” plan announced a year ago on...

Boeing recommends airlines suspend use of some 777s after United incident 14 Boeing recommends airlines suspend use of some 777s after United incident 15
Top Stories3 hours ago

Boeing recommends airlines suspend use of some 777s after United incident

By Jamie Freed and David Shepardson (Reuters) – Boeing Co said it recommended suspending the use of 777 jets with...

Shares turn cautious as bond yields, commodities surge 16 Shares turn cautious as bond yields, commodities surge 17
Trading3 hours ago

Shares turn cautious as bond yields, commodities surge

By Wayne Cole SYDNEY (Reuters) – Asian shares turned mixed on Monday as expectations for faster economic growth and inflation...

Oil gains as U.S. production slowly returns after freeze 18 Oil gains as U.S. production slowly returns after freeze 19
Top Stories3 hours ago

Oil gains as U.S. production slowly returns after freeze

TOKYO (Reuters) – Oil prices rose on Monday as the slow return of U.S. crude output that was cut by...

Global dividend payouts forecast to revive in 2021 20 Global dividend payouts forecast to revive in 2021 21
Finance3 hours ago

Global dividend payouts forecast to revive in 2021

By Joice Alves LONDON (Reuters) – Global dividend payments could rebound by as much as 5% this year, a new...

UK firms report strongest hiring intentions in a year - CIPD 23 UK firms report strongest hiring intentions in a year - CIPD 24
Business3 hours ago

UK firms report strongest hiring intentions in a year – CIPD

LONDON (Reuters) – British businesses have the strongest hiring intentions in a year and fewer are planning to make redundancies...

Newsletters with Secrets & Analysis. Subscribe Now