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TechCrunch Disrupt, infographic mania and the world’s top SME sites

Thursday, 26 May 2011 | By Oliver Milman

Weekend ReadsNot for the first time, Weekend Reads has been left green with envy at the backing given to entrepreneurs overseas, while Australian start-ups are left pressing their noses up against their bank managers’ windows, akin to a huddle of penniless street urchins.


Imagine a $4 billion fund that you could access if you struggled to find finance for your start-up. Well, this fantasy is now a reality. But only in the UK. Damn.


The US’ Kickstarter program is nothing to be sniffed at either. The crowdsourced seed fund has just marked its $60 million investment mark, having backed more than 24,000 start-ups since 2009. Hooray to them.


This week has also seen the kick-off of TechCrunch Disrupt, a large-scale orgy of technology, investors’ cash and, er, gnomes. This interesting article explains what start-ups at the event have in common.


A total of 29 start-ups launched at the event with GetAround named as the winner.


Not content with hosting one of the world’s leading tech fests, Tech Crunch has also taken time out to bag out London as a nirvana for start-ups, comparing it unfavourably with Berlin.


So, Berlin is now the place to be, is it? Well, not necessarily, according to Sydney-based seed fund Pollenizer, which has named the top 20 start-ups in India.


Concluding the whistle-stop tour of the globe, we return to the US to take a peek at the latest innovation to emerge from the fevered mind of Jack Dorsey, co-founder of Twitter and now Square pusher.


Who doesn’t love infographics? Well? That’s right – no one. Weekend Reads has spotted plenty of eye-catching efforts this week, including a visual representation of the recent Sony hack, the world’s easiest and hardest languages to learn, who is responsible for the US’ massive debt (you may be surprised at the answer) and about 45 other infographics.


Do you need a social media expert? According to this, the answer is a resounding no.


Want definitive proof that leaving work early can actually benefit your business? You’re in luck.


Elsewhere, here are six small business websites you can learn a thing or two from and here are the 10 things that investors are looking for when they eye up your business.


Finally, do you spend all of your day on Twitter or, even worse, sites such as this? If so, maybe you need this brutally effective app.


Just make sure you don’t block Weekend Reads. That would just be silly.