While HDS, a current Mercury startup in development, is transitioning retail grocery and general merchandise to home delivery, the restaurant industry is also rapidly transitioning. The next stage of transition for restaurants may be to a central facility - a cloud kitchen with a robotic infrastructure - that will bypass restaurants not unlike how online retail bypasses stores. This 2021 Robotics Business Review article by Louis Borders conjectures on what's possible: The Next Big On-Demand Thing - The Robotics Enabled Cloud Kitchen.


The Robot and Automation Almanac 2018, Software-defined Automation by Louis H. Borders. "The industrial automation sector is booming. And because manufacturers and integrators are enjoying record years, one might overlook the disruptive transformation underway."


Nature Biotechnology, December 2011 - New Startup Models emerge... - supports our thesis that there is a systemic problem with today's funding model for startups.  The situation is summarized well by a quote from Kevin Starr, partner at Third Rock: "the pattern of a $5 million Series a bridge to nowhere."


WSJ, August, 2011 - Why Software is Eating the World - by Marc Andreesen.  Marc takes the position that, despite all of the great successes of startups, the stage is only now set for really big new services on a global scale.  He says that a "shift" will result in "software companies taking over large swathes of the economy."  His explanation is simple and convincing - 5 billion smartphones and tablets.  What's most informative are his tightly woven industry snapshots.  His position dovetails with our strategy of large-scale startups which, in short, puts more dollars and talent (and collaboration) behind an opportunity right from the start.   


Book Recommendations


The Boulevard of Broken Dreams  Why Public Efforts to Boost Entrepreneurship and Venture Capital have Failed and What to Do about it.  Josh Lerner, 2012.

If your organization is working to nurture startups in your region or if you work in strategic investing for a large company, this book will be a great help to you.  Based on extensive research, it has detailed guidelines about what works and what doesn’t work for funding startups.  It goes into detail about the Yozma Fund which was incredibly successful in creating Israel’s startup boom.  The Yozma model is a cornerstone of Mercury's startup development approach.  Unfortunately, it is underutilized by regional development authorities.  As a result, billions of dollars are wasted on poorly structured startups, and fiascos, such as Solyndra, harm the entire startup industry.