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SSTI Digest

New research explores R&D intensity, financial performance, and implications for firm competitiveness

In the 21st century, some high-tech firms in emerging fields are valued more for their perceived innovation potential than by traditional measures of a successful business. But how does innovation influence the value of existing publicly traded firms? New research by Panteleimon Kruglov and Charles Shaw explores the relationship between R&D intensity and financial performance among S&P 500 companies over 100 quarters from 1998 to 2023 and its implications for firm competitiveness and market positioning.

Useful Stats: Female founders and VC, an overview

The measurements for success of female-founded and female-co-founded companies, while improving, remain lower than male-founded companies in number, deal count, and capital invested, according to PitchBook’s 2023 Annual US VC Valuations Report. PitchBook found that female-only-founded startups received just 2% of all venture capital (VC) dollars in 2023, while those female-co-founded reached 21% that year—a record high. SSTI analysis of PitchBook data finds that the number of VC deals to female-founded and female-cofounded companies has increased 58% over the past decade, yet despite reaching that milestone, they have been on a sharp downward trend since 2021.

Report from NGIN and RTI describes critical elements for building an inclusive cluster

“Inclusive clusters have an explicit focus on equity, have identified the precise issues that lead to economic disparities in the cluster and have targeted strategies in place to shrink those disparities,” say the authors of Developing Inclusive Clusters, a recent Insight Report from the New Growth Innovation Network (NGIN) and RTI International. They cite the high-tech industry as a high-wage industry whose benefits “tend to exclude women, people of color, and non-urban communities” and note that this type of disparity has not been “widely or systematically” studied.

STEMM Opportunity Alliance releases national strategy to diversify and expand the STEMM workforce by 2050

On Wednesday, the STEMM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics, & Medicine) Opportunity Alliance announced STEMM Equity and Excellence 2050: A National Strategy for Progress and Prosperity. In a press release, SOA also announced that its partners have collectively committed more than $2 billion to realize the vision of the national strategy, each committing to “multi-lateral, cross-sector collaboration to achieve systems-level change.”

IRS updates energy credits to comply with IRA, could unlock tax-exempt clean energy production

The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has released its final rules, as required by the Inflation Reduction Act, to make many clean energy tax credits transferable (able to be sold to a third party) or available for elective pay (a direct payment to the credit holder). Both rules may help expand investment in clean energy by providing mechanisms that get capital to the project’s developer immediately, even if the developer is a nonprofit or public entity that would never have paid any taxes on the project. Credits covered by the rules include the production tax credit, investment tax credit, advanced manufacturing credit, and the hydrogen production credit. For more information on the energy tax credits renewed or created in the Inflation Reduction Act, visit epa.gov; for the new IRS rules, visit treasury.gov.

TBED COP Webinar: How ecosystem mapping can aid your region

May 21, 2024, 3:00 p.m. ET

Recent Research: Predicting the commercial potential of science

Traditionally, a scientific discovery's commercial potential is gauged after significant R&D. However, a recent paper by Duke University researchers Roger Masclans-Armengol, Sharique Hasan, and Wesley M. Cohen (2024) proposes a new method for assessing the commercial potential of scientific research before it's fully developed. Using a large language model to analyze scientific findings, the researchers predicted the likelihood that a discovery will lead to marketable products or processes.

Rev1 Ventures reports $5.4B impact over last 10 years

Rev1 Ventures, an investor startup studio in Columbus, Ohio, that combines capital and strategic services to help startups scale and corporations innovate, recently released its 2023 Startup Impact Report. The report notes the entrepreneurs they supported last year raised $390 million in capital with 34 raising pre-seed capital, 16 seed capital, and 19 early-stage capital. The clients generated $192 million in revenue and created or retained 1,013 jobs.  Rev1 invested $6.4 million in 17 companies in 2023 and supported a variety of startups, “including enterprise SaaS technology creating efficiencies in insurance and real estate, advanced technologies in green energy and life science disruptors with novel therapeutics for genetic diseases with no current cure.” Additionally, Rev1 reports the companies it has supported over the last 10 years have surpassed $5 billion in total economic impact in Ohio.

SBA Announces 2024 Growth Accelerator Fund Competition Stage One Winners, up to $3 Million in Prizes Awarded

The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) has announced the 2024 Growth Accelerator Fund Competition (GAFC) Stage One winners. Each received $50,000 in prize awards for impactful and inclusive approaches to foster a thriving, collaborative national innovation support ecosystem to advance small business R&D. The SBA press release announcing the winners stated that “GAFC Stage One winners are organizations with ecosystem-building activities, including recruitment of new partners and strengthening existing alliances among stakeholders (including public, private, nonprofit, and academic partners), that aligned their submission with one of the following GAFC Theme Areas” of national and economic security; domestic manufacturing and production; and, sustainability and biotechnology.

Data centers projected to strain electric grid

Data center electricity consumption is expected to triple in just eight years, according to a recent report from the Boston Consulting Group. They project the tripling to occur in both the amount of electricity consumed (~130 TWh in 2022 to ~390 TWh in 2030) and its share of total U.S. electricity consumption (2.5% in 2022 to 7.5% in 2030). Of that ~260 TWh increase, BCG attributes ~70TWh to the electricity demands for generative AI. The impact of this demand is being felt in some regions of the U.S. For example, “Data centers in central Ohio are gobbling up vast amounts of electricity so fast that American Electric Power expects demand for power to double between 2018 and 2028,” according to a recent Columbus Dispatch article (subscription).

An Earth Day item on TBED financial investment strategies

Which should be more valuable for an economic development minded investment program?

  • Company A, which yields a 2x return on investment and has a technology that reduces carbon emissions and energy use,
  • Company B, which returns 12x to investors through an impressive IPO but contributes more to climate change, or
  • Company C, which returns 3x and the climate impacts of its technology and production process aren’t as easily measured so remain unknown.

The Federal Trade Commission finalizes a new rule to prohibit employers from enforcing noncompetes; the rule is expected to increase the number of startups

The Federal Trade Commission has issued a final rule to promote competition by banning noncompetes against workers nationwide. According to the FTC press release, this final rule protects the fundamental freedom of workers to change jobs, increases innovation, and fosters new business formation.The FTC estimates that the final rule banning noncompetes will lead to new business formation growing by 2.7% per year, resulting in more than 8,500 additional new businesses created each year.