Early Stage Funding for Startups Falls by 41% globally in Q1, Risking Job Recovery.

Early-stage startups have been hit the hardest in the first quarter of 2020, with early-stage funding rounds dropping by a massive 41% globally as compared to Q1 of 2019, according to a study by HexGn, startup research and consulting firm. Echoing the sentiment, the number of deals for early-stage funding has dropped to 2000 in the last quarter, from 3600 in Q1 of 2019.

At the global level, the impact of COVID-19 will be seen from this quarter onwards. Things don’t look bright for 2020, in Q1 itself, the number of startup deals globally has fallen by over 56%, signalling a deep slide ahead. Prelim data points that the number of transactions globally in the first quarter has fallen from 6500 levels to 4100, indicating gloomy sentiment, says HexGn study. Global startup funding has dropped by 15 percent to $60 billion in the first quarter of 2020 as compared to the first quarter of last year.

2020 04 29 074133These numbers are early guidance, and there could be slight changes as more companies make announcements on funds received. We are anticipating delays in sharing of such information amid the coronavirus outbreak that has disrupted businesses worldwide.
At the global level, the impact of COVID-19 will be seen from this quarter onwards. Things don’t look bright for 2020, in Q1 itself, the number of startup deals globally has fallen by over 56%, signalling a deep slide ahead. Prelim data points that the number of transactions globally in the first quarter has fallen from 6500 levels to 4100, indicating gloomy sentiment, says HexGn study.

On the global front, the bad news continues to pour in for China, where funding in Q1 dropped by a massive 45 per cent from the previous year. The drop is even steeper when compared to the first quarter of 2018, dipping by 63 per cent.  Asia has seen a massive dip, from $21 billion to $14 billion, mainly due to a drop in China’s numbers. European Startup investments have dipped from $10.8 billion to $9 billion in the said quarter. Even the global powerhouse, North America, saw its tech startup funding dip by 10 per cent last quarter, from $38 billion in Q1 of 2019.
All is not lost, there is some good news too for early stage entrepreneurs, Oceania, South America and Africa have seen a spurt in investments in the first quarter. Though the numbers remain small; it signals that investors are looking at other geographies for value investments. Africa has moved from $102 million in 2019 to $240 million, South America from $237 million to $434 million, Oceanic from $311 million to $511 million in the first quarter of this year as compared to the first quarter of 2019. Early stage entrepreneurs from mature markets could work across these newer markets and get access to startup funding.
With increased layoffs and a record number of unemployed in most countries, many jobless could take recourse to entrepreneurship and aid in economic recovery; however, the lack of investor appetite for idea-stage startups will derail the process. At this stage governments, large corporates and VC funds must support by providing, access to funds, grants and online acceleration programs to increase investor readiness of these startups. Now is not the time to sit on a high pedestal and reject funding decks, its about taking everybody together to restore dignity in people’s life by restoring work.

About HexGn
HexGn, through its global research, industry events, and online programs, equips individuals and businesses to tap into new opportunities and future proof themselves.


Engineers Learn from Home, Strengthen Skills for Current and Post-COVID-19 Pandemic Workplace

ASME brings flexible, affordable and applicable virtual training solutions to engineers everywhere

Lifelong learning for engineers doesn’t stop, even under quarantine during the COVID-19 pandemic. According to a recent survey of approximately 3,000 engineers conducted by the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME), eight in 10 engineers anticipate a change in operations due to COVID-19 and reduction of business overall. This escalation of change in an already evolving industry landscape has prompted ASME to offer even more flexible, affordable, and applicable virtual training solutions to help engineers strengthen their skills for the current and post-pandemic workplace.

2020 04 29 073744“The COVID-19 pandemic has had a profound impact on lives and livelihoods. The engineering work landscape has been rapidly evolving, and the pandemic has accelerated and changed the landscape in ways we are only beginning to understand,” says ASME Executive Director/CEO Tom Costabile. “Engineers are applying technologies including artificial intelligence, robotics and 3D printing to help respond to the public health crisis, and also to adapt processes in many industrial sectors and transform supply chains for the future.”

ASME Director of Learning and Development Arin Ceglia adds, “A significant number of engineers graduate with powerful textbook knowledge of fundamentals and theory, but lack the skills needed to apply that knowledge in their day-to-day work. Even experienced engineers might become siloed and not have the ability and awareness to keep pace with the rapidly evolving technical field.”

These two factors have combined to create a skills gap that worries industry leaders and educators. In manufacturing, for example, a 2018 (pre-pandemic) Deloitte study had estimated 2.4 million jobs would remain unfilled between 2018 and 2028, with an estimated economic impact of $2.5 trillion.

“Addressing this skills gap is critical, and it informs how those of us working in engineering learning and development approach everything from course design to education technology,” says Ceglia.

Many courses featured in ASME’s current training portfolio are based on the application of ASME codes and standards—from boilers and pressure vessels and gas turbines to piping and pipelines and design and materials. Others include opportunities for advancing engineering technology, including additive manufacturing, cell manufacturing and industrial automation. These courses fulfill a need to deliver this information faster, smarter, and in a more convenient way, and are now available with significantly discounted pricing.

ASME courses are built as part of a competency framework, or a learning architecture, so they also contribute to completing a stronger picture of a learner’s knowledge capabilities, indicating levels achieved in a set of core competencies, along with skills. Employers can track their employees’ progress in these competencies or skills, identifying areas of progress as well as where improvement (and targeted investment) is needed.

Visit for a list of current course offerings and more information.

About ASME

ASME helps the global engineering community develop solutions to real-world challenges. Founded in 1880 as the American Society of Mechanical Engineers, ASME is a not-for-profit professional organization that enables collaboration, knowledge sharing and skill development across all engineering disciplines, while promoting the vital role of the engineer in society. ASME codes and standards, publications, conferences, continuing education and professional development programs provide a foundation for advancing technical knowledge and a safer world. For more information visit


Earth Day Network announces shift to global digital mobilizations for 50th anniversary of Earth Day

Amid the recent coronavirus (COVID-19) global pandemic, Earth Day Network, the global organizer of Earth Day, will mark the 50th anniversary of Earth Day with the first Digital Earth Day, a global digital mobilization on April 22 to address the most urgent threats to people and the planet. 

“At Earth Day Network, the health and safety of volunteers and participants in Earth Day events is our top concern. Amid the recent outbreak, we encourage people to rise up but to do so safely and responsibly — in many cases, that means using our voices to drive action online rather than in person,” said Kathleen Rogers, President of Earth Day Network.

 2020 03 25 094741The pandemic will affect regions and countries differently, and some individuals and communities may decide to still hold in-person events. Earth Day Network urges everyone to assess their situation individually, take precautions and follow the recommendations and advice from the World Health Organization and the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and from local authorities from your city and country. 

“Whether it be coronavirus or our global climate crisis, we cannot shut down,” said Rogers.“ Instead, we must shift our energies and efforts to new ways to mobilize the world to action.”

Earth Day’s updated digital-first strategy will leverage the global power of some of the world’s most innovative digital media platforms to mobilize millions in a collective call for transformative action for our planet. The coordination will deliver an Earth Day unlike any other in history as the movement marks its 50th anniversary. 

The global conversation will be unified and tracked by the shared hashtags #EarthDay2020 and #EARTHRISE. Earth Day Network will provide live coverage of the global digital mobilizations from its social media accounts (@earthdaynetwork). Plans are also underway to develop a major global event, coordinated across digital platforms to mark the 50th anniversary of Earth Day on April 22. 

Other digital events will include virtual protests, social media campaigns, online teach-ins and more. A full scope of digital actions will be available at

Whether online or in person, the goal of Earth Day remains unchanged: to unite hundreds of millions of people around the world to pressure world leaders to act on environmental degradation and climate change. 

“When 20 million Americans participated in the first Earth Day, they believed the warnings of scientists, as did the U.S. Congress,” said Denis Hayes, Board Chair Emeritus of Earth Day Network and the principal national organizer of the first Earth Day in 1970.  “In a decade of bipartisan support for science, Congress passed a set of forward-thinking laws that protected human health, species and the planet.” 

“Our current pandemic demonstrates that governments must embrace science early. As we see now, many governments were slow to respond or even indifferent about the science of the coronavirus pandemic,” said Rogers. “But the last few weeks have also demonstrated that our society, even at the international level, is capable of mass shifts across all sectors to meet a crisis head-on. We must apply the same scale and urgency of our response to climate change.”

“We hope you will stand with us as we fight for a safer, healthier and more just future for all,” added Rogers. “Together, we can build an Earth Day unlike any other — an Earth Day that defines us as a global community, united by our challenges yet unshrinking from the bold, urgent action needed to overcome them."

Earth Day Network is also postponing its live 50th anniversary of Earth Day event on the National Mall, originally scheduled for April 25, 2020, moving the live global event to October 24-25, 2020 to mark the half birthday of Earth Day.

For more information go to


Alfa Laval to launch a cost reduction program to address the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic

The first quarter of 2020 has started in line with Alfa Laval’s expectations, with invoicing and order intake during January and February on about the same level as last year. Although the macro-economic conditions have deteriorated in March, the company believes the impact on its financial performance during the first quarter will be limited.

With the global outbreak of COVID-19 and an increasing number of countries under lock-down, negative effects are expected in the global economy going forward. In this context the company has decided to launch a cost reduction program to proactively address the expected weaker conditions in the next few quarters.

2014 08 14 093039 alfa laval“After a three-year period of major investments in our manufacturing footprint, in a new product program, and in strengthening our global service organization we are prepared to meet a more challenging business environment,” says Tom Erixon, President and CEO of the Alfa Laval Group. “Our priority at this point will be to continue to serve our customers and to protect our strong global team of employees. Our cost reduction program is designed with this focus.”

The program is expected to start having an effect from April 1 and gradually reach fixed costs savings of above SEK 1 billion on twelve months rolling basis. It includes several key components; work time reduction initiatives, aggressively reduce travel costs, other discretionary spending, and external consultants by putting initiatives on hold. As always, the company will adjust its capacity and variable production cost to prevailing market conditions.

Tom Erixon continues, “In the next quarters, several Alfa Laval employees around the world will participate in various work time reduction initiatives. Consequently, they will also experience a reduction of their compensation package during a transition period. In this context the members of Group Management have decided to implement a reduction of 10 percent of their fixed compensation during the period the cost program is in place.”

The implementation of the program is expected to be swift and largely without restructuring charges. The business situation will be monitored continuously, with a new assessment of the cost reduction program planned for the third quarter.

This is Alfa Laval 

Alfa Laval is active in the areas of Energy, Marine, and Food & Water, offering its expertise, products, and service to a wide range of industries in some 100 countries. The company is committed to optimizing processes, creating responsible growth, and driving progress – always going the extra mile to support customers in achieving their business goals and sustainability targets.

Alfa Laval’s innovative technologies are dedicated to purifying, refining, and reusing materials, promoting more responsible use of natural resources. They contribute to improved energy efficiency and heat recovery, better water treatment, and reduced emissions. Thereby, Alfa Laval is not only accelerating success for its customers, but also for people and the planet. Making the world better, every day. It’s all about Advancing better™.

Alfa Laval has 17,500 employees. Annual sales in 2019 were SEK 46.5 billion (approx. EUR 4.4 billion). The company is listed on Nasdaq OMX.


Advantech withdraws Participation to Embedded World 2020 Due to CoronaVirus Health and Safety Concerns

2020 02 24 162354In response to the current outbreak of novel coronavirus (COVID- 19), Advantech (stock code: 2395), global leader in IoT, wants to inform its customers, partners and employees that we have regretfully decided to withdraw our participation to Embedded World (February 25th -27th) and all activities scheduled for this event. For Advantech, the health of our employees, customers and partners is of the utmost importance. We would like to thank the Nürnberg Messe GmbH for its support and understanding.

About Embedded-IoT Group

As leader in the embedded market, the Advantech Embedded-IoT group not only delivers a wide range of embedded design-in services but also develops a series of integrated IoT solutions and services to minimize uncertainty and risk for customers approaching the IoT market. Advantech Integrated IoT Solutions include everything from sensor nodes, to gateways, to WISE-PaaS IoT software and much more. (

About Advantech

Advantech’s corporate vision is to enable an intelligent planet. The company is a global leader in the fields of IoT intelligent systems and embedded platforms. To embrace the trends of IoT, big data, and artificial intelligence, Advantech promotes IoT hardware and software solutions with the Edge Intelligence WISE-PaaS core to assist business partners and clients in connecting their industrial chains. Advantech is also working with business partners to co-create business ecosystems that accelerate the goal of industrial intelligence. (