Attention Startups: Apply Now for US-China Innovation/Investment Summit

  • WHAT: US-China Innovation/Investment Summit
  • WHEN: May 16-17 in Houston (May 18th in Austin, Dallas and Houston)
  • WHY: This Summit helps U.S. companies connect with investors and partners from China for investment, manufacturing capabilities and market access.
  • WHERE: OMNI Hotel, Houston, Texas

Are you raising next round of capital?

Are you looking for affordable manufacturing with faster output and better service?

Have you thought of licensing your technology overseas?

Are you interested in the China market, which is the largest market in the world by population?

If you answered “Yes” to any one of these questions, this Summit is for you.

G51 Amplify is proud partner with UCIS and provide the following opportunities:

UCIS B2B Matchmaking Meeting (pre-matchmaking: Now to May, Meeting: May 17th (3:30pm – 6pm): Prior to the summit, the Summit committee will match projects with appropriate investors or corporations from China based on mutual interest. Matched companies and investors will have the opportunity to have one-on-one in-depth conversation on May 17th. If you are interested in this opportunity:

  1. Fill out the quick survey here  and
  2. Send your company’s executive summary and slide deck to (name your email subject “matchmaking submission_your company name”).

Note: We don’t require summit registration to submit matchmaking request. Once you decide to attend the event, you can register at the Summit website .

Exhibition (May 17th: 8:00 am – 6:00 pm)

UCIS provides a limited number of showcase tables for technology companies to showcase their products and companies. For more information, please visit the exhibition link here.

What is UCIS?

[Source: UCIS 2016]

[Source: UCIS]

UCIS is an international business conference hosted by US China Innovation Alliance (UCIA) in partnership with Houston Technology Center (HTC), Greater Houston Partnership (GHP), the University of Texas at Austin (UT Austin), Texas Medical Center (TMC), and a few other organizations in U.S. and China. The goal of UCIS is to facilitate U.S. Technology companies (including start-ups) in connecting with partners from China. In the past decade, business exchanges between the U.S. and China has grown many folds and demand for such exchange continues to surge among small and medium enterprises. By facilitating easy communication and valuable contact with Chinese counterparts, UCIS provides a platform for U.S. Companies looking for Chinese investment and market access. UCIS also works with Chinese investors and identify investment opportunities among the latest technologies and product developments in the U.S.

Who will come?

More than 150 Chinese investors, leading companies and incubators/accelerators from China and estimated more than 200 technology firms from the U.S. will be attending the 2016 U.S. China Innovation and Investment Summit.

How to get involved?

For more information, please visit the US-China Innovation/Investment Summit site 

To register, click here.

To submit your project, click here.


For more Information about how to submit your investor pitch deck to G51 to leverage our Global Network (free for startups), visit our Entrepreneurs page.


Contact information:

Accommodation: Summit Hotel, Omni Houston Hotel provides discounted rate for all summit attendees. Please book through this link:


Top 3 Innovation Insights (ww6): Innovation Gap, Hackathons & South Korea

The following articles are the Top 3 Innovation Insights this week with a brief snapshot summary of their strategic importance to your firm.

How to Close the Gap on Innovation (Oracle)

Snapshot: The biggest challenge to filling a business funnel with innovations is finding those that are achievable and align with strategic objectives. So every company has a gap that needs to be filled between the corporate strategy set by executives and the teams responsible for identifying, developing and executing new innovations. By utilizing a process to fail fast and seeking ways to develop a ROI on innovation, companies can develop collaborative ways that will close the innovation gap and avoid banking on the wrong ideas.

Strategic Impact: According to Gartner, growth is the number one priority for innovation. Only 50% of companies are satisfied with their innovation investment. Furthermore, 84% of companies don’t know if they’re investing in the right things (source: Kalypso/Oracle). Since competition is moving at an ever increasing rate, cloud-based technologies can help close the innovation gap in several ways. Here are is a 3-step process to close the gap:

  1. Map out your current innovation process and define your vision of the process to align current and new investments to business strategies and retain visibility to react when investments don’t execute to plan.
  2. Identify areas of greatest need and provide key stakeholders the essential information they need to fill the innovation pipeline with a steady stream of high yielding ideas.
  3. Evaluate whether a cloud-based Innovation Management solution could help your business.

For more information about closing the innovation gap, you can read the full article here.


Five Reasons Why Hackathons Don’t Foster Innovation (TechVibes)

hackathonSnapshot: Hackathons have become popular for major healthcare and financial companies in an attempt to foster innovation and business growth. They are poised to grow for other vertical markets. A recent study shows, however, that only 5-10% of hackathon winners ever see fruition to meeting end user needs.


Strategic Impact: The greatest challenge is not finding good ideas, but fostering a corporate culture where innovations can be nurtured to grow and succeed. The full article points out an alternative to hackathons (read here). The article does not imply that hackathons are not useful, yet it also acknowledges the five reasons why hackathons (in and of themselves) don’t foster innovation:

  1. They don’t provide access to customers
  2. They don’t embrace failure.
  3. They get stuck in organizational silos.
  4. They can’t navigate politics
  5. They don’t work within budget constraints.


Why Innovation is King in South Korea (DW)

[Source: AP]

[Source: AP]

Snapshot: In a span of one generation, Korea has transformed from a poor agricultural society to one of the world’s top innovators. Yet can it keep up the pace? According to OECD (Org. for Economic Cooperation and Development), Korea spends the highest percentage of its GDP (4.29%) on R&D than any other advanced economy. Yet there are sociodemographic factors that may challenge their growth rate of innovation.



Strategic Impact: No matter how far or fast a country or company has innovated, it’s important to constantly to adapt to changing times. Competition and societal factors such as an aging population and perceived inequalities in the workforce are two factors affecting economic uncertainty. One of the key challenges that all corporations are faced with is: how can leaders close the gap between mismatched skills taught in schools and those needed in the labor market? The article shares more about the challenges here.

Are there other articles you’ve read recently that you would consider highlighting? Let us know via

If you’re interested in how to provide innovation training and/or foster an entrepreneurial mindset in your company, contact us by clicking here.

[Ed Valdez is Vice President of Global Business Strategy at G51.]

Top 3 Innovation Insights (ww 5): Uber, Mindsets & Micro-Innovation

The following articles are the Top 3 Innovation Insights this week (ww5) with a brief snapshot summary of their strategic importance to your firm.

Don’t Rush Innovation: What to Learn from the Uber Business Model (CBR)

Snapshot: New companies now aspire to be the “Uber of _____” (fill in the blank) because this unicorn leader has blazed a trail with a disruptive business model. Neil Sholay, Head of Digital at Oracle, discusses what the challenges are for tech companies and non-tech companies to innovate.

Strategic Impact: Given the rapid pace of innovation, well-established companies and emerging ones need to determine what it would take to accelerate digital transformation: how “an organization starts to use digital technologies – not for technology’s sake – but to incorporate them into their strategy and build new business models enabled by these technologies.” Companies need to balance R&D investment with the need to prove the market value to their customers. Click here to read the full article.


[Source: Forbes]

[Source: Forbes]

4 Mindsets for Thinking About Innovation in –and Competition from – China (Forbes)

Snapshot: Although China is behind the USA in certain technologies (SaaS, AR/VR and healthcare), there are areas that US companies can learn from and learn about China: mobile payments, travel and O2O (online to offline commerce). DJI and WeChat are only two examples of China- based companies that are leading their industries in their respective domains (drones and social networks).

Strategic Impact: Connie Chan, partner at Andreessen Horowitz, cites 4 mindsets that can help US companies innovate and compete with China-based companies worldwide:

  1. Rethink the definition of “innovation.”
  2. Rethink “scale” and “scaling.”
  3. Rethink the nature of competition.
  4. Rethink what “local” advantage means.

The complete article is available here.


[Source: (STAN HONDA/AFP/Getty Images)]

[Source: (STAN HONDA/AFP/Getty Images)]

Why Micro-Innovations Should be at the Core of Your Digital Transformation (Forbes)

Snapshot: The biggest innovations often start out small. Micro-innovations take less time, less R&D and can quickly glean market feedback to iterate toward success. This approach also allows large companies to diversity across different technologies and/or markets without putting all the eggs in one basket. However, improving collaboration is the key to micro-innovation.

Strategic Impact: There are several ways which your team can pursue micro-innovations to develop a sustained competitive advantage:

  • Facilitate brainstorming across departments.
  • Invest in employee training that aligns with strategic objectives.
  • Encourage everyone to speak up to develop ideas.

To read about other ways to spark micro-innovations through collaboration, click here.

Are there other articles you’ve read recently that you would consider highlighting? Let us know via

If you’re interested in how to provide innovation training and/or foster an entrepreneurial mindset in your company, contact us.

[Ed Valdez is Vice President of Global Business Strategy at G51.]





Top 3 Innovation Insights (ww 4): Wright Bros., Innovation Labs & 6 Strategies

The following articles are the Top 3 Innovation Insights this week with a brief snapshot summary of their strategic importance to your firm.

Six Lessons on Innovation from the Wright Brothers (Forbes)

Snapshot: Imagination creates the future. Without the Wright Brothers incessant experimentation and belief in themselves, the world would have been a different place without the airline industry. The Wrights’ tenacity showed that it wasn’t luck that enabled them to succeed; it was hard work, common sense and flexibility. Some of the lessons learned include:

  • “Don’t worry about failure,”
  • “Don’t expect instant success,” and
  • “Keep going no matter what.”

You can read the full article here (with all six lessons) on Forbes.

Strategic Impact: Too often companies invest in innovation teams and expect instant results. Testing ideas, testing designs, test marketing and other means of checkpoints along the way are vital to any mission critical success. Theories must be proved in order to help leaders, investors and customers understand the value in new inventions, processes and services. It’s not just about creativity, it’s about practicality too.


[Source: Sephora]

[Source: Sephora]

Inside Three Retail Innovation Labs (Retail Dive)

Snapshot: At least three retailers work on applying Silicon Valley startup strategies in order to create a sustained competitive advantage: Sephora, Kohl’s and Sears. The one company that has the most to benefit from is Sears – founded in 1886. It is one of the few 100+ year-old companies in the US. Yet all three are seeking to:

  • create new apps,
  • engage customer experiences,
  • improve online shopping and
  • collaborate with startups to diversify their products and services to enhance their financial growth.

For more on this article, click here to read via Retail Dive.

Strategic Impact: Any company seeking to integrate digital technology within brick and mortar locations would benefit from establishing an Innovation Lab – a place to experiment while testing the waters for real world interactions. Collaborating with startups also minimizes the risk, cost and time it would take if each retailer were to create new IP in-house. Collaborating with other startups is the stepping stone for accelerating innovation.


Six Strategies for Putting Innovation to Work in Your Organizations (B2C)

Snapshot: Sparking corporate innovation not only takes the right mindset, but also takes the right strategies. Dr. Alvind Mahotra, the lead professor of Strategy & Innovation at UNC’s online MBA program articulates six strategies to put innovation to work within teams. The first three are:

1) Nurture collaboration;

2) Question and discard, if needed and

3) Embrace “What if?”

To read all six strategies, click here for the B2C Community article.

Strategic Impact: The underlying value of corporate innovation is to increase stakeholder value (profitability) and sustain a long-term competitive advantage. Applying these six strategies (and others) would provide a catalyst for generating new innovations from a bottoms-up and top-down approach. Companies can continue to learn more about how to innovate in new and different ways by applying new strategies being developed by MBA entrepreneurship programs across the country.

Are there other articles you’ve read recently that you would consider highlighting? Let us know via

If you’re interested in how to provide innovation training and/or foster an entrepreneurial mindset in your company, contact us.

[Ed Valdez is Vice President of Global Business Strategy at G51.]




Top 3 Innovation Insights (ww1): CES Awards, Tomorrow’s Leaders & Entrepreneurship Education

[Smartbulb: Bulb+Stereo Speaker - Source: ]

[Smartbulb: Bulb+Stereo Speaker by Sengled]

The following articles are the Top 3 Innovation Insights this week (ww1) with a brief snapshot summary of their strategic importance to your firm.

1) Meet the 2016 CES Innovation Award Winners (USA Today)

Snapshot: No January would be complete without mentioning the most innovative products/services which are announced annually at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. Camera-drones, smartbulbs,, 3D glasses and other innovations were displayed in the CES 2016 showcase. Click here for a comprehensive list of winners. Or read the full article here on USA Today.

Strategic Impact: Fortune 500 companies and startups can benefit from reviewing the list of CES Innovation Award winners to get a glimpse of trends in mobile technology, Internet of Things and wearable tech – among many other fast-moving industry sectors. Equally important is that companies can ensure that whatever may be on their roadmap will present a competitive advantage to those innovations already announced.


exec shadow2) Prepare Tomorrow’s Leaders Today

Snapshot: The only thing constant is change. So what would it take to train company leaders and employees how to improve the quality and speed of innovation? As the Association for Talent Development cites, the next 10 years will bring more change than the last 10,000 years. There are four areas that businesses need to teach workers how to improve: spotting and reacting to new trends, bringing creativity and innovation to life, dealing with disruption and identifying tomorrow’s leaders (change agents). Click here to read the full article.

Strategic Impact: Although companies routinely set strategic agendas and tactical implementation plans, most companies have not defined or launched an Innovation Strategy. This article cites the need for urgency and advises every company to set up a plan to become futurists in order to embrace curiosity, act courageously, be adaptive, connect the dots and work on future proofing your business.




3) Why Entrepreneurship Education Matters:

Snapshot: Business scenarios are full of risks and uncertainties because business models are being disrupted and traditional mindsets need to evolve to newer mindsets for innovation. Improving Entrepreneurship Education at undergraduate and graduate schools is a significant and cost-effective way of investing in the future to foster economic growth and competitiveness. Businesses need to partner with universities to help prepare and equip a new generation of innovative thinkers and problem solvers with an entrepreneurial mindset. Click here to read the full article.

Strategic Impact: While the article is written from a European perspective, the premise that business, academia, startup communities and local governments should be sitting at the same table to create entrepreneurial education programs pertains to the USA as well. By working together, such coalitions can redefine how to improve the pipeline for success from K-12 schools through PhD programs in the USA and stimulate economic growth in existing businesses as well as improve employability and generate new startups at a faster pace.

Are there other articles you’ve read recently that you would consider highlighting? Let us know via

If you’re interested in how to provide innovation training and/or foster an entrepreneurial mindset in your company, contact us.

[Ed Valdez is Vice President of Global Business Strategy at G51.]

Top 3 Innovation Insights (ww51): Cisco’s 5 Pillars, Creativity Research & Patents

The following articles are the Top 3 Innovation Insights this week with a brief snapshot summary of their strategic importance to your firm:

1) Demystifying Cisco’s Five Pillar Innovation Strategy (Forbes)

Snapshot: In one of the most brilliant summaries about how a Fortune 500 company can defy the momentum of digital Darwinism, Cisco originally published an Innovation Blog in October that graphically illustrates a systematic strategy to innovate. The 5 Pillars of Cisco’s New Innovation Engine are: Build, Buy, Partner, Invest and Co-Develop. Read the full article here on Forbes.

Strategic Impact: Whether your team is just launching an innovation strategy or seeking to improve upon your existing roadmap, the 5 Pillars present a blueprint that any team can use to chart a course for innovation.

[Source: Cisco Innovation blog, Oct. 2015]

[Source: Cisco Innovation blog, Oct. 2015]

2) What Research Tells Us About Creativity and Innovation (Harvard Business Review)

[Source: HBR]

[Source: HBR]

Snapshot: Innovation is a 2-stage process. Creativity is the first stage (idea generation). Implementing the ideas is the second stage and often the most difficult. Despite the number of years spent on researching both areas, there is no fail-safe formula for success that leaders can follow. What researchers have made clear is that focusing too much on creativity can hinder innovation and vice versa. Individual skills and team structures differ for each. Researchers have confirmed a handful of factors that do contribute to an innovative culture such as a compelling vision, a cohesive team and a few other factors. Read the full article here on Harvard Business Review.

Strategic Impact:  Leaders need to make a distinction between creativity and innovation when seeking to foster an innovative culture across all levels of an organization. Professionals are not necessarily born with either or both attributes. By carefully architecting a balance of individual core competencies with an optimized team structure, a leader can foster either creativity or innovation, yet not both at the same time.


3) Patents: The Mother of All Innovation Challenges (Forbes)

Snapshot: Many entrepreneurs and innovators are not aware that the very nature and livelihood of American innovation is affected by how the patent system works. Research has shown that patented intellectual property garners a premium for gross margin and market share – as much as 50% higher. The author presents 3 strategies for innovating in a way that can optimize the ROI of your patents. Read the full article here on Forbes.

[Source: ipCreate]

[Source: Peter Holden, ipCreate]

Strategic Impact: Many companies struggle to innovate new products and services in a regular cadence to foster business growth. According to PWC, half of all firms are “marginally effective” at idea generation and commercialization. Peter Holden, President of ipCreate, presents 3 strategies for innovating in a way that will optimize the ROI of the intellectual property that your company is seeking to patent. Following his process will allow your company to develop innovations that will a) fit your business strategy and market focus; b) create higher value products and services and c) enable you to develop an intellectual property strategy for the future.

Are there other articles you’ve read recently that you would consider highlighting?

Let us know via

[Ed Valdez is Vice President of Global Business Strategy at G51.]


How to Accelerate Innovation and Entrepreneurship

The # 1 challenge facing CEOs today is the rapid pace of technological innovation.* Change is happening at such a rapid rate that:

  • The average S&P 500 company lifespan is 15 years and
  • 32% of public corporations won’t be around in 5 years.**

Jim Clifton, CEO and Chairman of Gallup, and bestselling author of “The Coming Jobs War” notes that two out of the three key energy sources for job creation in America are the country’s Top 100 cities and Top 100 universities. Since SMBs (Small- & Medium-Sized Businesses) comprise 99% of all businesses within the US, most jobs are created when entrepreneurs start companies. I referred to this resource in my Boston College commencement speech and have used the top cities and universities as a founding principle for our innovation research and services with global clients.


G51 Amplify ProcessToday we are launching G51 Amplify services. G51 is focused on accelerating innovation and entrepreneurship by connecting corporate and private equity capital with high-potential companies and entrepreneurial university ecosystems. The high-potential companies can range from the Seed stage, A and B series funding to growth stage firms and Exit Planning. See diagram to the right.

Our proprietary process of curating startup deal flow and applying a rigorous method of research will help:

  • Corporations augment their global business growth and enhance their competitive advantage and
  • Family Offices diversify their investment portfolio with high-potential startups that align with their strategic objectives.


Venn Metcalfe's LawThis enables us to leverage what Bob Metcalfe, G51 Advisor and founder of the Ethernet, has coined as the Network Effect: the value of the network is directly proportional to the square of the number of users.


We offer a glimpse of the road ahead for emerging and disruptive technologies through a portfolio of G51 Amplify services. More importantly, we help streamline the corporate innovation process through an Outcome-Driven Innovation tool.


Each week we will feature blog posts that will highlight:

  1. A key insight about innovation that stems from our market research, emerging vertical market trends and our Venture Scholar program and/or
  2. A quick snapshot of the Top 3 articles about innovation that made headlines in the prior week with a brief commentary about why each is strategically important.

Stay tuned for future blog articles that can help you keep a finger on the pulse of innovation, emerging technologies and high-potential startups that can provide the tipping point for your business and investments. You can subscribe to our blog by clicking here. To keep updated on a daily basis follow us on Twitter and/or like us on Facebook.


[Rudy Garza is Founder and Partner of G51 Amplify]

*Fortune 500 Survey (June 2015)

** The Innovation Game, Cap Gemini (July 2015)