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Updated: 2017-12-11T23:07:02+00:00

 



SEC head Jay Clayton weighs in on cryptocurrency mania [Silicon Alley Insider]

2017-12-11T15:07:02-08:00

SEC chairman Jay Clayton weighed in on the crypto-mania sweeping Wall Street in a statement Monday. Clayton warned investors about threats associated with cryptocurrencies and ICOs, a crypto-based fundraising method. Jay Clayton, the chairman of the US Securities and Exchange Committee, weighed in on the crypto-mania sweeping Wall Street in a statement Monday. "The world's social media platforms and financial markets are abuzz about cryptocurrencies and initial coin offerings," Clayton said. "There are tales of fortunes made and dreamed to be made." The market for cryptocurrencies has reached new heights in 2017, with bitcoin appreciating over $1,500% and gaining its own futures market. Initial coin offerings, a cryptocurrency-based twist on the initial public offering fundraising process, have raised more than $3 billion by some estimates. And Wall Street and Main Street are in a frenzy. But Clayton wants investors to take off the rose-tinted glasses and approach the highly unregulated space with great caution. He emphasized that not a single initial coin offering has registered with the SEC. Here's Clayton (emphasis his own): "Investors should understand that to date no initial coin offerings have been registered with the SEC.  The SEC also has not to date approved for listing and trading any exchange-traded products (such as ETFs) holding cryptocurrencies or other assets related to cryptocurrencies. If any person today tells you otherwise, be especially wary." Many companies have shied away from the ICO designation, opting instead for "utility ICO" or "token generation event" as to distance themselves from the regulated world of securities. Clayton said games with semantics won't fly with the SEC. "Many of these assertions appear to elevate form over substance," he said. "Merely calling a token a “utility” token or structuring it to provide some utility does not prevent the token from being a security." The international nature of cryptocurrencies can also pose a threat to investors, Clayton said: "Please also recognize that these markets span national borders and that significant trading may occur on systems and platforms outside the United States. Your invested funds may quickly travel overseas without your knowledge. As a result, risks can be amplified, including the risk that market regulators, such as the SEC, may not be able to effectively pursue bad actors or recover funds." Still, Clayton recognizes the revolutionary potential of cryptocurrencies and blockchain. "The technology on which cryptocurrencies and ICOs are based may prove to be disruptive, transformative and efficiency enhancing," he said. "I am confident that developments in fintech will help facilitate capital formation and provide promising investment opportunities for institutional and Main Street investors alike." Read the full SEC statement here.SEE ALSO: The Winklevoss twins think bitcoin could 'go up another 20 times' and trounce gold Join the conversation about this story » NOW WATCH: Cryptocurrency is the next step in the digitization of everything — 'It’s sort of inevitable' [...]



No one used to call Okta’s CEO before trying to squash his business — now Amazon and Google give him a heads-up and that's ‘progress’ [Silicon Alley Insider]

2017-12-11T14:32:13-08:00

What does it feel like when all four of the largest cloud providers decide they want to compete with you? Okta Todd McKinnon says when you are tiny, they ignore you. When you are bigger, you get a courtesy call first. In some ways, the tech industry is like a small town, where everyone who's anyone knows each other and, sometimes, schemes behind each others' backs. Todd McKinnon, CEO of Okta and former head of engineering for Salesforce working directly for Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff, is one of the people in that "in" crowd. And, as the years have gone by, he's been on the receiving end of much scheming. The company that he cofounded, Okta, offers a cloud service that manages passwords and logins to other cloud services for corporate employees (known as "single sign on"). Okta had a successful IPO earlier this year and knocked it out of the park with its first quarterly earnings. Okta's Q1 revenue of $53 million was up 67% year-over-year, and above the $48 million expected by analysts. Okta now has nearly 4,000 customers and is winning big accounts, like Nordstrom's and its 60,000 employees. It turns out that kind of success has become irresistible for the big cloud companies. Years ago, when Okta was still small, Salesforce launched its own competitive service. Then Microsoft launched a competitor, and even went so far as to temporarily boot Okta from one of its big tech conferences. More recently, Google launched one, via an acquisition of a startup called Bitium in September. And last week. Amazon finally launched one as well. McKinnon has a humorous attitude toward all of this competition, he told Business Insider. First of all, he knows he's come up in the world by the way his new competitors are treating him. "You never like big guys coming into your market, but I feel like I’m making progress," he said. "If you go back to 2012, Salesforce enters the single sign-on market, no one calls me. Marc [Benioff] didn’t call me, didn’t give me heads up. He announced the product on stage." Flash forward another couple of years when Microsoft launched a competitor. McKinnon had known Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella for years, way before Nadella became CEO. Okta had turned heads when it was tiny because it was Andreeseen Horowitz's first cloud company investment, picked by the VC's namesake founder Ben Horowitz   "Satya had been to our office when we were 12 people. A year after that they entered the market and he doesn't call me," McKinnon said. "So I am proud because when Google bought Bitium recently, Diane Greene called me at least," he said. Greene is the head of Google's Cloud business. "And with Amazon, it wasn't Jeff [Bezos] and it wasn't Andy Jassy, but at least the Amazon partnership guys at Amazon called me and gave me a heads up before they announced the product," he chuckled.  But the news of Amazon entering the market was particularly scary because Okta's investors have for years asked him what's to stop Amazon from crushing Okta like a bug. He explained to them that cloud "identity management," which helps employees login from one cloud to the next, works well when it's an independent service and not part of one of the big guys' clouds. And that means, in addition to competing with the big dogs, Okta also partners with them. His customers still use Okta to sign on to Salesforce and Microsoft Office more than any other apps. They also use it to sign onto Google Apps and Amazon Web Services.  "Every investor assumes they [Amazon] are going to be in every market and they are going to be successful in every market, which is not true," he said. For those that don't believe him, he has two words "Fire phone," aka Amazon's failed smartphone product.SEE ALSO: An early Facebook exec explains why investing in startups without meeting them is the future of venture capital SEE ALSO: 50 startups that will boom in 2018, according to VCs Join the conversation about this story » NOW WATCH: The world's la[...]



This is how Navy SEALs swim out of a submerged submarine [Silicon Alley Insider]

2017-12-11T14:06:22-08:00

We saw a compartment on the USS John Warner called a "lockout trunk." Lockout trunks are used as an escape hatch for the crew and to get SEALs off the ship. During our recent tour of the USS John Warner nuclear-powered submarine, we got a chance to see a small compartment known as a "lockout trunk." "This is actually how we would get SEALs off the ship submerged," Senior Chief Mark Eichenlaub told Business Insider. "So you would stick a platoon of SEALs in here, 14 guys ... you fill this chamber with water until you match the outer sea pressure. Once the pressure in and outside the ship match, the hatch will lift off open, and they can swim out of a fully filled chamber into open ocean." Once the chamber is filled with water, matching the pressure inside and out, "there's an internal locking mechanism that would open" the top hatch where SEALs swim out, Senior Chief Darryl Wood told Business Insider. The SEALs can then swim to retrieve what is known as a special-forces operations box, which would be filled with weapons and needed gear, from the tower. In addition to getting SEALs off the ship, lockout trunks can be used for the entire crew to escape in case the submarine is downed. This video gives a close-up look at the lockout trunk: width="560" height="315" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/mDHDn8IJ4DE" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen> SEE ALSO: We took a rare tour of one of the US Navy's most dangerous warships — nicknamed the 'Sledgehammer of Freedom' Join the conversation about this story » NOW WATCH: Satellites reveal 'secret' US military bases around the world [...]



THE INTERNET OF THINGS 2017 REPORT: How the IoT is improving lives to transform the world [Silicon Alley Insider]

2017-12-11T14:03:00-08:00

This is a preview of a research report from BI Intelligence, Business Insider's premium research service. To learn more about BI Intelligence, click here. The Internet of Things (IoT) is disrupting businesses, governments, and consumers and transforming how they interact with the world. Companies are going to spend almost $5 trillion on the IoT in the next five years — and the proliferation of connected devices and massive increase in data has started an analytical revolution. To gain insight into this emerging trend, BI Intelligence conducted an exclusive Global IoT Executive Survey on the impact of the IoT on companies around the world. The study included over 500 respondents from a wide array of industries, including manufacturing, technology, and finance, with significant numbers of C-suite and director-level respondents.  Through this exclusive study and in-depth research into the field, BI Intelligence details the components that make up IoT ecosystem. We size the IoT market in terms of device installations and investment through 2021. And we examine the importance of IoT providers, the challenges they face, and what they do with the data they collect. Finally, we take a look at the opportunities, challenges, and barriers related to mass adoption of IoT devices among consumers, governments, and enterprises. Here are some key takeaways from the report: We project that there will be a total of 22.5 billion IoT devices in 2021, up from 6.6 billion in 2016. We forecast there will be $4.8 trillion in aggregate IoT investment between 2016 and 2021. It highlights the opinions and experiences of IoT decision-makers on topics that include: drivers for adoption; major challenges and pain points; stages of adoption, deployment, and maturity of IoT implementations; investment in and utilization of devices, platforms, and services; the decision-making process; and forward- looking plans. In full, the report: Provides a primer on the basics of the IoT ecosystem Offers forecasts for the IoT moving forward and highlights areas of interest in the coming years Looks at who is and is not adopting the IoT, and why Highlights drivers and challenges facing companies implementing IoT solutions To get your copy of this invaluable guide to the IoT, choose one of these options: Subscribe to an ALL-ACCESS Membership with BI Intelligence and gain immediate access to this report AND over 100 other expertly researched deep-dive reports, subscriptions to all of our daily newsletters, and much more. >> START A MEMBERSHIP Purchase the report and download it immediately from our research store. >> BUY THE REPORT The choice is yours. But however you decide to acquire this report, you’ve given yourself a powerful advantage in your understanding of the IoT. Join the conversation about this story » NOW WATCH: Here's why Boeing 747s have a giant hump in the front [...]



Litecoin is surging after Bitcoin futures launch [Silicon Alley Insider]

2017-12-11T13:54:00-08:00

Litecoin, the fifth-largest cryptocurrency by market cap, has gained more than 25% in value over the last 24 hours, reaching an intra-day high of $195.66 per coin. The gains come the day after Cboe Global Markets, a a Chicago-based exchange operator, launched trading of Bitcoin futures contracts. Litecoin creator Charlie Lee also appeared on CNBC Monday morning, possibly fueling interest in the obscure cryptocurrency.  Litecoin initially saw a hefty loss last week after Coinbase’s GDAX exchange crashed last week, briefly sagging below the $100 mark before this week’s skyrocket in price. Litecoin uses a slightly different mining technique than bitcoin, but has been largely left out of the cryptocurrency explosion. While the cryptocurrency has seen its value skyrocket by 4,975% this year, it’s still trading at just $187 per coin, compared to bitcoin’s $17,006. For comparison's sake, bitcoin is up 2,062% in the last 12 months. The electricity used to mine bitcoin this year is bigger than the annual usage of 159 countries, a British research firm recently estimated. SEE ALSO: WALKTHROUGH: How traders 'pump and dump' cryptocurrencies Join the conversation about this story » NOW WATCH: One market expert says the financial system could collapse at any moment [...]



How hard it is to get a job at the 25 best places to work in America [Silicon Alley Insider]

2017-12-11T13:32:00-08:00

• Glassdoor published its list breaking down the best companies of 2018. • If you want to land a job at one of these organizations, you're going to have to bring your A game to the interview. • Using data from Glassdoor, Business Insider took a look at what it's like to interview at these beloved organizations. Considering the generous perks and envy-worth office environments of some of the companies Glassdoor listed in its annual Employees' Choice Awards, it's understandable why you'd be tempted to submit your résumé to a few. But how easy is it to rock a job interview at these places? Business Insider looked at Glassdoor's numbers on the percentage of interviewees who reported a positive experience, as well as the difficulty level of each company's interviews for the top 25 best companies to work for. Glassdoor asks reviewers to score the interview difficulty out of four, with four representing the hardest possible interview. Here's what we found:SEE ALSO: How Mark Zuckerberg runs Facebook, the best place to work in America DON'T MISS: The 50 best places to work in 2018, according to employees No. 1: Facebook Interview difficulty: 3.2 out of 4 58% of interviewees had a positive experience. Sample interview question: "Tell me about a complex sourcing strategy for an ambiguous hybrid role." No. 2: Bain & Company Interview difficulty: 3.6 out of 4 76% of interviewees had a positive experience. Sample interview question: "Walk me through your résumé." No. 3: Boston Consulting Group Interview difficulty: 3.7 out of 4  71% of interviewees had a positive experience. Sample interview question: "We have a company which is seeking to improve its profits on whiskey, which have declined in recent years. How can we improve our client's market share?" See the rest of the story at Business Insider [...]



POINT-OF-SALE TERMINALS: How evolving merchant demands are pushing POS terminal providers to up their game in an increasingly competitive environment [Silicon Alley Insider]

2017-12-11T13:05:00-08:00

This is a preview of a research report from BI Intelligence, Business Insider's premium research service. To learn more about BI Intelligence, click here. The downfall of US brick-and-mortar commerce is overblown — despite sharp gains in e-commerce, which will nearly double between now and 2021, the lion’s share of purchasing continues to take place in-store. And that’s unlikely to change anytime soon, since the online environment can’t yet compensate for the reasons customers like brick-and-mortar shopping. That means the point-of-sale (POS) terminal, which merchants use to accept payments of all types and to complete transactions, isn’t going anywhere. But that doesn’t mean it’s not changing. As merchants look to cut costs amidst shifts in consumer shopping habits, POS terminals, which were once predominantly hardware offerings used exclusively for payment acceptance, are evolving into full-service, comprehensive solutions. These new POS terminals are providing an array of business management solutions and connected offerings to complement payment services.  This is where the smart terminal, a new product that’s part-tablet, part-register, comes in. Merchants are increasingly seeking out these offerings, which afford them the connectivity, mobility, and interoperability to run their entire business. And that’s shaking up the space, since it’s not just legacy firms, but also mobile point-of-sale (mPOS) players and newer upstarts, that offer these products.  As merchants begin demanding a wide variety of payment solutions, terminal providers are scrambling to meet their needs in order to maintain existing customers and attract new ones. This is leading to rapid innovation and increased competition in both the POS terminal hardware and software spaces. BI Intelligence, Business Insider’s premium research service, has put together a detailed report on the shifts in this landscape, how leading players can meet them, and who’s doing it most effectively. Here are some key takeaways from the report: Evolving merchant needs are impacting POS terminal players’ strategies. Merchants select terminal providers based on four key areas: payment functionality, user experience (UX), over-the-top (OTT) offerings, and distribution/customer service. Terminal firms need to innovate in these areas, or risk falling behind. Larger players need to double down on existing success. Smaller players can often be more nimble, which gives them the opportunity to innovate more quickly and build in-demand solutions. That’s a disadvantage to market leaders; however, they can, and should, leverage their massive distribution networks when upgrading or updating their offerings. Meanwhile, smaller players can win by focusing on niches instead. It’s all about the platform. No single feature is likely to make or break a merchant’s decision to pursue a specific provider. Above all, they want a robust ecosystem that can evolve over time.  In full, the report: Explains the current state of in-store retail and why terminal firms need to evolve to meet it. Groups features that matter to merchants and explains why they’re important and what terminal providers stand to gain from focusing on them. Determines the leading players in the space. Assesses how the leading players stack up, and which offerings are the most comprehensive. Issues recommendations about how to develop an attractive platform that best serves merchants' needs as the market continues to shift.  Interested in getting the full report? Here are two ways to access it: Subscribe to an ALL-ACCESS Membership with BI Intelligence and gain immediate access to this report AND more than 250 other expertly researched deep-dive reports, subscriptions to all of our daily newsle[...]



Apple Music could get a boost from Shazam, the company's newest addition (AAPL) [Silicon Alley Insider]

2017-12-11T12:53:50-08:00

Apple's latest startup acquisition could give its music service a jolt. On Monday, Apple officially announced it was buying Shazam, maker of a popular music-recognition app. It's not hard to understand why the iPhone maker might have been interested in Shazam. As we can see in this chart from Statista, users of the company's app grew quickly up to 2015, and were expected to have doubled to 1 billion between 2014 and 2016. Apple has been cagey about its plans for the app. But Shazam has been known to spur music downloads, and it's a good bet the tech giant will try to use the app and its data to boost Apple Music. SEE ALSO: Etsy usually has a great holiday season — but Amazon could ruin things this year Join the conversation about this story » NOW WATCH: Why Korean parents are having their kids get plastic surgery before college [...]



After Raising $27M, Ouster to Plans Mass Manufacture of LiDAR Units [Xconomy VC/Deals]

2017-12-11T12:49:52-08:00

Light Detection and Ranging (LiDAR) is one of the most important technologies underpinning the development of driverless cars. LiDAR systems feed raw sensor data to the car’s brain, creating a 3D picture of the surrounding environment and enabling autonomous vehicles to navigate it. But LiDAR has also been controversial because it’s expensive, sometimes fallible, and […] Light Detection and Ranging (LiDAR) is one of the most important technologies underpinning the development of driverless cars. LiDAR systems feed raw sensor data to the car’s brain, creating a 3D picture of the surrounding environment and enabling autonomous vehicles to navigate it. But LiDAR has also been controversial because it’s expensive, sometimes fallible, and almost nobody is producing it at scale. There are competing sensor technologies, such as radar and cameras, and each has advocates trying to push them to market. Ouster, a San Francisco-based startup developing LiDAR units, is trying to change perceptions of the technology. It says... Read more » Reprints | Share:           UNDERWRITERS AND PARTNERS                                  [...]



Bitcoin hits all-time high above $17,300 after bitcoin futures premiere [Silicon Alley Insider]

2017-12-11T12:40:00-08:00

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  • The price of bitcoin, the red-hot digital currency, topped its previous all-time high set Friday, according to data from Markets Insider.
  • Bitcoin was trading up more than 14% against the US dollar on Monday at a record $17,346, less than a day after the launch of Cboe's bitcoin futures market.
  • The price picked up just after Coinbase's cryptocurrency exchange, GDAX, went back online after a very brief crash.
  • Bitcoin is up more than 1,500% year-to-date.

Story is developing check back for updates.

SEE ALSO: Coinbase's cryptocurrency exchange crashes briefly

Join the conversation about this story »

NOW WATCH: A senior investment officer at a $695 billion firm breaks down tax reform

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The CEO of Soylent, a food-replacement startup that has raised $75 million, is out [Silicon Alley Insider]

2017-12-11T12:35:25-08:00

Rob Rhinehart, the founder of Soylent, a startup that makes a soy-based food replacement drink, is out as the company's CEO. Bryan Crowley, president of Soylent's parent company, is replacing him. Soylent saw major setbacks over the past two years, including a temporary halt to sales after customers reported becoming violently ill. Rob Rhinehart, founder of the much-maligned food-replacement startup Soylent, is stepping down as CEO effectively immediately, he announced in a blog post on Monday. Bryan Crowley, who was appointed president of Soylent parent company Rosa Foods in June, will take over as CEO. In a blog post, Rhinehart said he decided to hand the reins to Crowley because of Crowley's management and industry experience. "I have seen the company evolve with scale, and done my best to guide it toward my vision and support those involved," Rhinehart said. He continues: "Along the way I have seen my role as CEO evolve, especially enjoying the process of delegating my responsibilities to more skilled and experienced scientists, managers, and executives. These specialists are clearly better at their roles than I would be, especially if I were handling tons of other responsibilities simultaneously, which is the exciting early stage of a startup. But that time has passed." Rhinehart will stay on as Soylent's executive chairman, and he remains the company's largest shareholder. Soylent has had a bumpy ride over the last year.  In 2016, in a bid to go mainstream, the venture-backed startup launched several new products, including "Coffiest," a caffeinated meal-shake, and the "Soylent Bar," its first solid-food product. Soylent Drink became the best-selling product in the meal-replacement category on Amazon, and even started being carried in 7-Eleven stores. But Soylent suffered a public black eye after some of its products made a small number of customers violently ill. The company briefly halted sales of the Soylent Bar and its flagship powdered food-replacement. Soylent saw a better start to 2017. It raised $50 million in a Series B round of funding led by GV (formerly Google Ventures). The Los Angeles-based company has raised $74.5 million to date.SEE ALSO: Soylent has raised another $50 million to change how we eat — here are 31 quotes that show its founder's distinctive worldview Join the conversation about this story » NOW WATCH: Soylent’s founder tested the original formula on himself — here are the unusual side effects he experienced [...]



Incredible satellite photos of Southern California's wildfires show the disaster's evolution from space [Silicon Alley Insider]

2017-12-11T12:35:00-08:00

While the most destructive wildfire season in California's history slogs on, satellites are recording the devastation from space. California's latest group of blazes began with the Thomas fire in Ventura County on December 4. Since then, at least six other large fires sparked across the Southern California counties of Los Angeles (Creek, Rye, and Skirball fires), San Bernardino (Little Mountain fire), San Diego (Lilac fire), and Riverside (Liberty fire). The Thomas fire in Ventura County is by far the largest at more than 230,000 acres in size, and it's only about 15% contained as of Monday morning. It continues to burn along with four other fires that are spreading due to strong Santa Ana winds, which peak during December and January. The new blazes have triggered the evacuation of almost 100,000 people, killed at least one person, razed some 1,000 buildings, and scorched more than 250,000 acres of land. This ongoing disaster in Southern California also joins the deadly wildfires across Northern California in October that killed 42 people, destroyed 9,000 structures, and may take the state years to recover from. Thick smoke and intense heat make it difficult for low-flying aircraft to capture the extent of a wildfire's damage. However, a few satellites with high-power cameras and special sensors offer unique and detailed views of the evolving disaster from space. Here's what they've recorded so far, plus a few incredible images taken by astronauts in space:SEE ALSO: 25 photos that prove we're all stowaways on a tiny, fragile spaceship DON'T MISS: Satellite photos show shocking wildfire damage in Northern California from space Shortly after the fires started, satellites passing over Southern California began watching the blazes develop. This view is from the European Space Agency's Sentinel-2 satellite. It shows Ventura County, which is about a 1.5-hour drive northwest of Los Angeles, on December 5. Brown shows the burn scar (center), green shows plants, gray shows urban areas, and orange shows active fires. Source: NASA Earth Observatory The smoke from the wildfires wafted over the Pacific Ocean for hundreds of miles. NASA's Terra satellite shows the Thomas fire in Ventura County on the afternoon of December 5. Source: NASA Earth Observatory Astronaut Randy Bresnik also began taking photographs as the Thomas fire developed and new blazes broke out. Source: Randy Bresknik/Twitter See the rest of the story at Business Insider [...]



Netflix shared its 10 most binge-watched shows of 2017 [Silicon Alley Insider]

2017-12-11T12:34:49-08:00

Netflix has shared a list of the TV shows that viewers binge-watched the most on its platform in 2017. Led by the true-crime satire "American Vandal," Netflix listed the ten series that were most popular for binge-watching (defined as watching more than two hours per day).   The streaming service looked at the average daily viewing hours per user between November 2016 and November 2017. The resulting list of shows includes several sci-fi series and a few unexpected titles.  Here are the top 10 most binge-watched shows on Netflix in 2017:SEE ALSO: The biggest Golden Globes snubs of the year — from 'Logan' to 'The Big Sick' 10. "The Confession Tapes" Netflix description: "This true crime documentary series investigates cases where people convicted of murder claim their confessions were coerced, involuntary or false." 9. "The OA" Netflix description: "Seven years after vanishing from her home, a young woman returns with mysterious new abilities and recruits five strangers for a secret mission." 8. "The Keepers" Netflix description: "This docuseries examines the decades-old murder of Sister Catherine Cesnik and its suspected link to a priest accused of abuse." See the rest of the story at Business Insider [...]



Tesla is rising after reports it has started to deliver the Model 3 to regular customers (TSLA) [Silicon Alley Insider]

2017-12-11T12:21:10-08:00

Tesla has been seen stocking up on the new Model 3 at its stores and delivery centers. Tesla has been plagued by production issues for the Model 3 recently and is working to overcome them. Watch Tesla's stock move in real time here. Tesla is up 3.88% to $327.29 on Monday after reports that the company is starting to deliver its Model 3 to regular customers. Electric car blog, Electrek, is reporting that Tesla is starting to deliver cars to customers that aren't employees or company insiders. Electrek is also reporting that Tesla has been stocking its stores and delivery centers around Los Angeles with Model 3s, and posted a video showing more than 100 Model 3s at the company's Fremont delivery center. Deliveries and full parking lots do not necessarily mean the company has overcome the production bottlenecks that have plagued the Model 3 thus far, but it is a good sign. The Model 3 has a preorder list of about 450,000 customers, while Tesla only produced 260 of the vehicles in the third quarter. Panasonic, Tesla's major battery production partner, said the bottleneck had to do with the assembly of the Model 3's battery. At the end of October, Panasonic's CEO said the problems have been solved, and production would "rise sharply." The company is working toward its revised goal of producing 1,500 Model 3s per week by the end of the first quarter, which was originally its goal for 2017. Tesla is up 52.6% this year. Read more about the company's production bottlenecks here. SEE ALSO: Tesla jumps more than 3% after reportedly solving its Model 3 bottleneck Join the conversation about this story » NOW WATCH: One market expert says the financial system could collapse at any moment [...]



Coinbase's cryptocurrency exchange crashes briefly [Silicon Alley Insider]

2017-12-11T12:18:00-08:00

The Global Digital Asset Exchange, the cryptocurrency exchange run by Coinbase, was down briefly Monday afternoon. The exchanged resumed trading at 2:57 p.m. ET.    Coinbase, the US-based cryptocurrency trading platform, saw its Global Digital Asset Exchange crash for a brief time Monday afternoon. The exchange stopped executing trades for clients at around 2:50 p.m. ET, according to an alert on its website, citing issues relating to their application programming interface, the technology that communicates information between computers. "All markets are now in post-only mode and we are preparing to re-enable trading," the company said. "New maker orders will be accepted, but no matches will occur."  The company had things back up and running by 2:57 p.m. ET. This isn't the first time Coinbase's exchange has experienced an outage. When bitcoin soared over $11,000 per coin in November, Coinbase experienced a "partial system outage," during which time many users found themselves locked out of their accounts. It also experienced issues during a wild-trading session Thursday. Cryptocurrency exchanges, which don't have the industrial infrastructure of traditional exchanges such as the New York Stock Exchange or the Nasdaq, are under pressure to handle record-trading volumes. As such, they are building out their infrastructure and hiring more developers. Here's Coinbase CEO Brian Armstrong on his company's expansion: "Over the course of this year we have invested significant resources to increase trading capacity on our platform and maintain availability of our service. We have increased the size of our support team by 640% and launched phone support in September. We have also invested heavily in our infrastructure and have increased the number of transactions we are processing during peak hours by over 40x." Still, Monday's crash occurred during a relatively calm trading session for bitcoin. Volumes for bitcoin were nearly half of what they were during the previous outage, according to data from CoinMarketCap.SEE ALSO: Bitcoin just hit an all-time high — here's how you buy and sell it Join the conversation about this story » NOW WATCH: A self-made millionaire describes the financial mistakes to avoid if you want to get rich by 30 [...]



Peter Thiel is betting on magic mushrooms to treat depression — and he's not the only one [Silicon Alley Insider]

2017-12-11T12:11:00-08:00

A for-profit company that Peter Thiel invests in has plans to start clinical trials of magic mushrooms for depression within the first three months of 2018. Psychedelics appear to disrupt the brain's activity patterns in a positive and life-changing way. Several research institutions are studying psychedelics for their potential to treat depression, anxiety, addiction, and PTSD. When Clark Martin tripped on magic mushrooms for the first time, he felt as though he'd been knocked off a boat and left for dead. "It was like falling off the boat in the open ocean, looking back, and the boat is gone. Then the water disappears. Then you disappear," he told Business Insider in January. But Martin wasn't alone. Two researchers from New York University were by his side to guide him through his trip. It was an experience that Martin had signed up for as part of one of the first large-scale clinical trials of magic mushrooms for depression and anxiety. The results of that study were so promising that they jump-started a sort of renaissance in psychedelic research that's now being led by a handful of non-profit research organizations and startups. One of them is Compass Pathways, a for-profit company that Silicon Valley entrepreneur Peter Thiel invested in last year. The UK-based group announced last week that it plans to start clinical trials of psilocybin for depression and anxiety sometime within the first three months of 2018, the Financial Times reported. They aim to enroll 400 people across eight countries including the United Kingdom, Germany, Finland, the Netherlands, and Spain — potentially making it the largest international study of the drug to-date. Psychedelics disrupt our normal thought patterns Clark Martin learned within a few minutes that his initial feelings of panic while on the shrooms were temporary. Over the next few hours, he felt overwhelmed by an enduring sense of tranquility and a feeling of oneness with his surroundings. Those feelings persisted to such an extent that he felt like a new person, even years after his initial experience, he told Business Insider. "The whole 'you' thing just kinda drops out into a more timeless, more formless presence," Martin said. Martin was one of several people who had been diagnosed with cancer and developed what's known as end-of-life anxiety and depression. Deep feelings of hopelessness had driven him to near-complete isolation, ruining his relationships with his family and friends and creating a vicious cycle where he constantly felt lonely, trapped, and afraid. But his mushroom trip in 2010 seemed to act as a catalyst — a "kick-start," he likes to call it — for changing the way he sees and approaches the world. Being less anxious and depressed were the most obvious initial benefits of the trip treatment, but they only touch the tip of the iceberg for him. Where he used to be trapped in his mind during social situations, he's come to appreciate his relationships in a way he never would have thought possible. He also managed to revive a relationship with his daughter that had been withering for years. "Now if I'm meeting people, the default is to be just present — not just physically, but mentally present to the conversation," Martin said. "That switch has been profound." He also revived his relationship with his daughter — who was born the same year he was diagnosed with cancer and who he had struggled to connect with for years — and reconnect with his father before he passed away. All of these benefits appear to be related to the effect that shrooms have on the brains of people with depression. Brain scan studies suggest that i[...]



The new Audi Q5 is one of the most high-tech cars you can buy — these are its best features [Silicon Alley Insider]

2017-12-11T11:57:00-08:00

Kelley Blue Book gave the Audi Q5 its 2018 Best Auto Tech Award for luxury brands. The car has three available trims that start between $41,500-$50,800. It has an impressive array of safety features that can detect surrounding cars and pedestrians to prevent or limit the damage from collisions. If you're looking for a luxury car with advanced technology, it can be difficult to find an option that has standout features without breaking six figures. That's why Kelley Blue Book gave the Audi Q5 its 2018 Best Auto Tech Award for a luxury brand. With its standard set of features, the car costs under $45,000, and fully loaded, it still doesn't reach $60,000. Here's why Kelley Blue Book was so excited about the car:SEE ALSO: We drove a $35,000 Mustang and a $120,000 Porsche to see which we liked better — here's the verdict Audi's Q5 has been one of the brand's best-selling models since it was introduced in 2009. The 2018 edition received a significant overhaul, earning a rating of 9.6 out of 10 from Kelley Blue Book. The car has three available trims, which start between $42,475-$51,775. Kelley Blue Book recommends the middle-priced option, the Premium Plus. The car's "pre-sense" system boasts a number advanced safety features that come standard with any configuration, including the ability to sense other vehicles or pedestrians while driving up to 52 mph and automatically engage the brakes to lessen the chance or impact of a collision. See the rest of the story at Business Insider [...]



Aston Martin's $255,000 electric car arrives in 2019 and will be better than anything Tesla has to offer, CEO says [Silicon Alley Insider]

2017-12-11T11:35:56-08:00

Aston Martin's first electric car, the RapidE, is expected to arrive in 2019.  The vehicle will reportedly cost $255,000, and only 155 will be sold.  Aston Martin's CEO says that the ultra-exclusive car won't compete with Tesla's vehicles because it will be more luxurious than anything the electric carmaker offers.  Aston Martin is building an all-electric sedan that the company's CEO claims will be in a league of its own.  CEO Andy Palmer said that the new vehicle, called the RapidE, is designed for exclusivity, and he suggested it will be better than anything Tesla has to offer, according to a report from Car and Driver. "For me Tesla is a very credible competitor in the premium market, against Daimler, BMW, Audi, and the others. But they’re not in the [upper reaches of the] luxury market where we are," Palmer told Car and Driver.   "Most of the people who buy a Model S are buying it fully loaded. They're not limited by their cash; they're limited by the offer. They're not a competitor of ours. We're looking to those people looking for something above Tesla. That customer probably isn't looking for Ludicrous mode. Our offer will have very credible acceleration, equal to a gasoline Aston Martin, but you'll be able to drive the car rapidly all the way around the Nürburgring without it derating or conking out on you." Palmer didn't back up his bold claims with any new information about the RapidE, but the British luxury car maker said earlier this year that it plans a limited-edition run of the vehicle for release in 2019.  Here's everything else we know about the upcoming electric car so far. SEE ALSO: Elon Musk hints that upgraded Roadster could be able to 'fly short hops' FOLLOW US: on Facebook for more car and transportation content! The company will only build 155 RapidE models for release in 2019. Aston Martin began taking orders for the vehicle in July, and it claims that it has already sold all of the 155 vehicles to customers, according to the Car and Driver report.  The RapidE concept, which is based on the company's Rapide AMR, is expected to have a range of at least 200 miles per charge and cost about $255,000. With only 155 going into production, the RapidE will undoubtedly be ultra-exclusive and pricey.  "We've decided to make this car rare, which will obviously tend to push the price higher," Palmer told Reuters in June.  Most major automakers are planning to bring an electric car to market in the next few years, and just about all of them are promising their vehicles will have a range of at least 200 miles per charge.  This is the sweet spot for most consumers worried about EV range, so it would make sense that Aston Martin's EV will offer the same or superior range.  (Source: Reuters) The carmaker reportedly aims for the RapidE to have 800 hp to 1,000 hp. While the company hasn't shared many specifics, Palmer reportedly hinted at what kind of power the car would have during the Bloomberg New Energy Conference in 2015.  "We’re talking about an electric Aston Martin with between 800 and 1,000 horsepower — imagine having all that torque on demand," Palmer said at the conference, according to a Bloomberg report.  See the rest of the story at Business Insider [...]



The Winklevoss twins think bitcoin could 'go up another 20 times' and trounce gold [Silicon Alley Insider]

2017-12-11T11:20:00-08:00

The Winklevoss twins think bitcoin could appreciate 20 times and trounce gold. Others say the cryptocurrency is in a bubble.   Traders in the new bitcoin futures market appear bullish on the red-hot coin. Contracts for the January futures contract on Cboe Global Markets were trading well-above the spot market for bitcoin, at over $17,500 a coin on Monday. But most traders are nowhere near as bullish as the Winklevoss twins. Tyler and Cameron Winklevoss, whose bitcoin holdings are worth more than $1 billion, told Fox Business Monday the coin could reach well above $300,000 a coin. “Today it’s about a $300 billion market cap, gold is at $6 trillion, so we think it could very well go up another 20 times from today," Cameron Winklevoss said. Bitcoin, he said, could ultimately trounce its earthly rival. “We think it’s definitely realistic that it could grow and disrupt gold and maybe even beyond that,” Winklevoss said. Bitcoin, which gained 1,500% so far this year, was trading up 8.9% at $16,407 on Monday afternoon. The coin, which is known for its spine-tingling volatility, has traded higher since Cboe's launch of bitcoin futures. The exchange operator is partnered with Gemini, the cryptocurrency exchange founded by the Winklevoss twins, for the new market.  Still, that hasn't kept naysayers quiet. Some of the most well-respect analysts and economists on Wall Street have said bitcoin is a bubble. In fact, in a note sent out to clients on Monday, UBS Global Chief Economist Paul Donovan referred to bitcoin as the "bubble to end all bubbles." Here's Donovan: "Cryptocurrencies only have value if accepted as currencies. However, they cannot be used for the most important transaction in an economy, and cryptocurrency supply can only rise and never fall (making them a poor store of value). To date, using cryptocurrencies requires (effectively) a simultaneous asset sale and purchase of goods or services." SEE ALSO: Bitcoin bull Tom Lee has identified 12 stocks that are perfect if you don’t want to own it Join the conversation about this story » NOW WATCH: Cryptocurrency is the next step in the digitization of everything — 'It’s sort of inevitable' [...]



The Google vs Amazon fight over YouTube is the perfect reason why you should buy a Roku [Silicon Alley Insider]

2017-12-11T11:16:00-08:00

Google and Amazon are fighting, resulting in the removal of the YouTube app from Amazon streaming devices starting January 1, 2018.  Consumers lose in this major corporation fight.  The best way to avoid becoming a victim of this corporate fight is to buy or switch into the Roku non-partisan ecosystem.  Roku has Amazon's and Google's streaming services, including YouTube.   If you haven't heard, Google and Amazon are fighting.  Long story short, Google will remove the extremely popular YouTube app from all of Amazon's Fire TV streaming devices, as well as the Echo Show smart-home device. The YouTube "ban" on Amazon devices will go into effect starting January 1, 2018.  Google's move is a retaliation against Amazon's refusal to carry Google's products like the Chromecast or Google Home in its online store. Amazon doesn't make its Prime Video streaming service available on Google streaming devices, either. Meanwhile, Google streaming devices don't have an Amazon Prime Video app, but Google offers you ways to cast Prime Video content onto a Google streaming device. Amazon, on the other hand, doesn't allow for casting. Amazon seems to have pushed Google too far when Amazon recently dropped Google's Nest smart thermostats from the Amazon store.  At the end of the day, it's us, the consumers, who lose in this fight of the tech behemoths. Those of us who have bought into the Amazon ecosystem lose out on YouTube. And those of us who bought into the Google ecosystem lose out on Amazon's streaming services. Considering the popularity of YouTube against Amazon's Prime Video service, it's arguably Amazon Fire TV and Echo Show customers who are losing out the most here. If not Amazon, you can also buy Google's Nest or Home products from Google's website. All that said, the best thing to do to stay out of this corporate tiff is to buy into the Roku ecosystem.  Roku is a non-partisan ecosystem, which means it doesn't have any particular allegiance or preference to either Google or Amazon. I have the Roku home screen up right now on my TV using a new Roku Streaming Stick+, and I have access to both Amazon Prime Video and YouTube, as well as Google Play Movies & TV. And I can cast my YouTube video onto the YouTube app with the Roku Streaming Stick+, too. Once Google removes the YouTube app from Amazon streaming devices, I'll still be able to use the YouTube app on my Roku stick.  And for playing music through speakers attached to my TV, Roku has the Spotify app, the Amazon Music app, and a wide variety of other music streaming apps, like Pandora, iHeartRadio, TuneIn, Sirius XM, and Slacker. Oddly, the Google Play Music app is missing in the Roku app selection.  For those looking to buy a new streaming device, I'd absolutely recommend Roku's streaming devices. And if you've already bought Google or Amazon streaming devices, it's not the worst thing in the world to switch. If you own 1080p HD TVs, Roku's Express stick only costs $30. Those with 4K TVs will have a less tempting option with Roku's $70 4K HDR Streaming Stick+, which is a relatively hefty cost when you already own Google or Amazon streaming devices, and it's all in the name of the YouTube app, YouTube casting, or the Amazon Prime Video app.  Still, by switching over to Roku, you can avoid being the victim in current or future scuffles between Google and Amazon.SEE ALSO: The best Apple MacBook laptops for every budget Join the conversation about this story » NOW WATCH: Sc[...]



CHATBOTS EXPLAINED: Why businesses should be paying attention to the chatbot revolution (FB, AAPL, GOOG) [Silicon Alley Insider]

2017-12-11T11:01:00-08:00

This is a preview of a research report from BI Intelligence, Business Insider's premium research service. To learn more about BI Intelligence, click here. Advancements in artificial intelligence, coupled with the proliferation of messaging apps, are fueling the development of chatbots — software programs that use messaging as the interface through which to carry out any number of tasks, from scheduling a meeting, to reporting weather, to helping users buy a pair of shoes.  Foreseeing immense potential, businesses are starting to invest heavily in the burgeoning bot economy. A number of brands and publishers have already deployed bots on messaging and collaboration channels, including HP, 1-800-Flowers, and CNN. While the bot revolution is still in the early phase, many believe 2016 will be the year these conversational interactions take off. In a new report from BI Intelligence, we explore the growing and disruptive bot landscape by investigating what bots are, how businesses are leveraging them, and where they will have the biggest impact. We outline the burgeoning bot ecosystem by segment, look at companies that offer bot-enabling technology, distribution channels, and some of the key third-party bots already on offer.  The report also forecasts the potential annual savings that businesses could realize if chatbots replace some of their customer service and sales reps. Finally, we compare the potential of chatbot monetization on a platform like Facebook Messenger against the iOS App Store and Google Play store. Here are some of the key takeaways: AI has reached a stage in which chatbots can have increasingly engaging and human conversations, allowing businesses to leverage the inexpensive and wide-reaching technology to engage with more consumers. Chatbots are particularly well suited for mobile — perhaps more so than apps. Messaging is at the heart of the mobile experience, as the rapid adoption of chat apps demonstrates. The chatbot ecosystem is already robust, encompassing many different third-party chat bots, native bots, distribution channels, and enabling technology companies.  Chatbots could be lucrative for messaging apps and the developers who build bots for these platforms, similar to how app stores have developed into moneymaking ecosystems.   In full, the report: Breaks down the pros and cons of chatbots. Explains the different ways businesses can access, utilize, and distribute content via chatbots. Forecasts the potential impact chatbots could have for businesses. Looks at the potential barriers that could limit the growth, adoption, and use of chatbots. And much more. Interested in getting the full report? Here are several ways to access it: Subscribe to an All-Access pass to BI Intelligence and gain immediate access to this report and over 100 other expertly researched reports. As an added bonus, you'll also gain access to all future reports and daily newsletters to ensure you stay ahead of the curve and benefit personally and professionally. >> Learn More Now Purchase & download the full report from our research store. >> Purchase & Download Now Learn more: Messaging Apps for Publishers:  Why chat apps are crucial for publishers Messaging App Research: How instant messaging can be monetized Join the conversation about this story » [...]



What’s Hot in Cybersecurity, 2017: Photos and Takeaways [Xconomy VC/Deals]

2017-12-11T05:50:39-08:00

Our annual cybersecurity conference at WGBH in Boston was a big hit last week. In times like these, security is on everyone’s mind—and it has become a critical issue in business and society. A few takeaways from the event (but you really had to be there): 1. Expect a lot more phishing-type attacks after the Equifax […] View the Slideshow Our annual cybersecurity conference at WGBH in Boston was a big hit last week. In times like these, security is on everyone’s mind—and it has become a critical issue in business and society. A few takeaways from the event (but you really had to be there): 1. Expect a lot more phishing-type attacks after the Equifax breach. That’s because all that personal information is out there waiting to be used against us. Meanwhile, tech companies are trying to improve our defenses, using automation and machine learning. 2. Hacking critical infrastructure could take down a society. Look at the aftermath... Read more » Reprints | Share:           [...]



Break The Internet Tomorrow [A VC]

2017-12-11T03:12:48-08:00

Tomorrow, I am going to take AVC offline to show the FCC what the Internet will look like if they repeal the Net Neutrality rules. It is part of a collective action called Break The Internet. If you want to join me in this protest, you can get what you need here. Hopefully, the Verizon […]Tomorrow, I am going to take AVC offline to show the FCC what the Internet will look like if they repeal the Net Neutrality rules. It is part of a collective action called Break The Internet. If you want to join me in this protest, you can get what you need here. Hopefully, the Verizon shill who runs the FCC will get the message. USV TEAM POSTS:Albert Wenger — December 11, 2017AlphaZero Chess: Computers Will Think Differently from Humans, Letting them Outperform Us (on Many Tasks)Bethany Marz Crystal — December 10, 2017Lessons in Leadership: What I Learned from an Evening Spent Dining at the Chef’s Table [...]



Once Shunned, Regulated Industries Now a Lure for Some Investors [Xconomy VC/Deals]

2017-12-11T03:00:40-08:00

When Alex Niehenke started his business career at an investment bank in 2005 as an advisor to Internet companies, there was one strongly held consensus among investors. “You just didn’t touch regulated industries,” says Niehenke, who was recently promoted to partner at Silicon Valley venture capital firm Scale Venture Partners. Investors didn’t want the risks […] When Alex Niehenke started his business career at an investment bank in 2005 as an advisor to Internet companies, there was one strongly held consensus among investors. “You just didn’t touch regulated industries,” says Niehenke, who was recently promoted to partner at Silicon Valley venture capital firm Scale Venture Partners. Investors didn’t want the risks and the burdens. A dozen years later, his investment thesis is a complete turnaround. He says some of the best prospects are startups in heavily regulated industries such as insurance, real estate, and financial technology. But that doesn’t necessarily mean those startups will always be... Read more » Reprints | Share:           [...]



What Are the Nation’s Top Cities and Regions for Driverless Tech? [Xconomy VC/Deals]

2017-12-10T22:08:30-08:00

Whether you think self-driving cars are the stuff of science fiction or a potentially paradigm-shifting new form of transportation, autonomous vehicles are coming—and the companies developing them are spending big money to make it happen. A few years ago, industry analysts seemed to think Silicon Valley would win the race to get self-driving cars on […] View the Slideshow Whether you think self-driving cars are the stuff of science fiction or a potentially paradigm-shifting new form of transportation, autonomous vehicles are coming—and the companies developing them are spending big money to make it happen. A few years ago, industry analysts seemed to think Silicon Valley would win the race to get self-driving cars on the road—and plenty of tech giants are involved in their development, including Apple, Google, Uber, Tesla, and Intel. But car companies are fighting to keep pace by becoming more nimble and collaborative, investing in autonomous technology partnerships with companies both large and small. In fact, many... Read more » Reprints | Share:           [...]



Book: Why We Sleep [Feld Thoughts]

2017-12-10T20:18:21-08:00

As part of v52 of me, I’ve decided to commit to at least eight hours of sleep a night. I’m doing ok, but need to keep working at it. From my early 20s, until v47, I woke up at 5 am from Monday to Friday. I’d then binge sleep on the weekend, often sleeping 12+... Read more The post Book: Why We Sleep appeared first on Feld Thoughts.As part of v52 of me, I’ve decided to commit to at least eight hours of sleep a night. I’m doing ok, but need to keep working at it. From my early 20s, until v47, I woke up at 5 am from Monday to Friday. I’d then binge sleep on the weekend, often sleeping 12+ hours on Saturday or Sunday (my record is just under 16 hours of sleep.) When I had a major depressive episode early in v47, I stopped waking up with an alarm clock. For the next six months, I slept over 10 hours a night (often more than 12), every night. I was extraordinarily sleep deprived. I knew it was bad for me on multiple dimensions, especially my mental health, so since then, I’ve slept until I woke up naturally each morning. Amy and I go to bed early – usually between 9 and 10 pm, so I’m still up between 6 and 7 am on most days. Several friends, who know I both love to sleep and am intrigued with how sleep works, recommended that I read Why We Sleep: Unlocking the Power of Sleep and Dreams. It was excellent. While my self-assessment of my sleep habits are very positive, I learned a few things. More importantly, I now have a much better understanding of the “Why” surrounding sleep, especially around sleep’s importance to a healthy and long life. There are a number of things that I’ve done in the past few years that have dramatically improved my sleep. In addition to eliminating alarm clocks from my life, I stopped taking sleep aids (Advil PM, Ambien) except for helping me reset on international travel (and, after reading this book, I’m going to give Melatonin a try for this situation.) I’ve stopped drinking alcohol. I don’t drink any caffeine after noon (and rarely more than one cup of coffee a day.) I take regular afternoon naps – almost every Saturday and Sunday and whenever I’m on vacation. Our bedroom is pitch black and 65 degrees. I started using a Resmed CPAP machine several years ago (I have a mild sleep apnea). I don’t read or watch TV in bed. Finally, a few months before v52, I stopped drinking fluids after 7 pm and have been skipping dinner several nights a week. While reading this book, I realized how messed up our societal norms are around sleep. Kids needing to get up early in the morning to get to school by 7:30 am is insanity. ADHD drugs, especially in children, is basically doing the exact opposite of what is helpful. Drowsy driving is way more dangerous than drunk driving. Our schools have lots of different kinds of health education (physical, dietary, sex) but virtually nothing on sleep. The 9 to 5 work culture massively disadvantages people we call “night owls.” The macho ideal of a business person who only needs five hours of sleep a night is extremely counterproductive and dangerous, even though many of our visible leaders (business and political) claim they don’t need more than five hours a night. The author, Matthew Walker, is Professor of Neuroscience and Psychology at the University of California, Ber[...]



Proceed With Caution [A VC]

2017-12-10T06:00:46-08:00

The CEO of Coinbase, a company that I am on the Board of, wrote a note to all of their customers on Friday. That note, which he also posted to his blog,  urged caution in the trading of crypto assets such as Bitcoin and Ethereum. This is a quote from that note: Over the course […]The CEO of Coinbase, a company that I am on the Board of, wrote a note to all of their customers on Friday. That note, which he also posted to his blog,  urged caution in the trading of crypto assets such as Bitcoin and Ethereum. This is a quote from that note: Over the course of this year we have invested significant resources to increase trading capacity on our platform and maintain availability of our service. We have increased the size of our support team by 640% and launched phone support in September. We have also invested heavily in our infrastructure and have increased the number of transactions we are processing during peak hours by over 40x. There may be downtime which can impact your ability to trade Despite the sizable and ongoing increases in our technical infrastructure and engineering staff, we wanted to remind customers that access to Coinbase services may become degraded or unavailable during times of significant volatility or volume. This could result in the inability to buy or sell for periods of time. Despite ongoing increases in our support capacity, our customer support response times may be delayed, especially for requests that do not involve immediate risks to customer account security.  The reality is that much of the infrastructure that has been built up over the past seven years to support the trading of crypto assets is struggling to handle the load that the recent excitement over Bitcoin and crypto in general has put on their systems. It reminds me of the days in the mid 90s when all of a sudden everyone wanted to get online and AOL could not handle the massive increase in dial-up customers who wanted to log onto the Internet. Of course eventually everything got sorted out and we have highly scaled systems that can support the roughly 3 billion people who “go online” every day. But that took some time to happen. I think we are going through a similar phase of growing pains with crypto/blockchain. And things will be messy for a while. So proceed with caution, don’t get too far out over your skis, don’t invest more than you can afford to lose, and be prudent. USV TEAM POSTS:Albert Wenger — December 11, 2017AlphaZero Chess: Computers Will Think Differently from Humans, Letting them Outperform Us (on Many Tasks)Bethany Marz Crystal — December 10, 2017Lessons in Leadership: What I Learned from an Evening Spent Dining at the Chef’s Table [...]



Video Of The Week: Samir Desai at Slush [A VC]

2017-12-09T05:44:55-08:00

One of the most impressive startup executions I have witnessed in the past ten years is what the team at Funding Circle has pulled off. They have gone from a team of friends with an idea to the largest non bank lender in the western world. In this interview at the Slush Conference, CEO Samir […]One of the most impressive startup executions I have witnessed in the past ten years is what the team at Funding Circle has pulled off. They have gone from a team of friends with an idea to the largest non bank lender in the western world. In this interview at the Slush Conference, CEO Samir Desai explains how they pulled that off. src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/fzextuEOEA4" width="560" height="315" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen"> USV TEAM POSTS:Albert Wenger — December 11, 2017AlphaZero Chess: Computers Will Think Differently from Humans, Letting them Outperform Us (on Many Tasks)Bethany Marz Crystal — December 10, 2017Lessons in Leadership: What I Learned from an Evening Spent Dining at the Chef’s Table [...]



U-M’s MADE Program Aims to Train Entrepreneurs in Developing Nations [Xconomy VC/Deals]

2017-12-08T13:52:16-08:00

This week, the University of Michigan’s Zell Lurie Institute announced a new program called Michigan Academy for the Development of Entrepreneurs (MADE), which aims to help business owners in developing nations to grow and thrive. The program, which has been established in partnership with the William Davidson Institute and Aparajitha Foundations, will work with local […] This week, the University of Michigan’s Zell Lurie Institute announced a new program called Michigan Academy for the Development of Entrepreneurs (MADE), which aims to help business owners in developing nations to grow and thrive. The program, which has been established in partnership with the William Davidson Institute and Aparajitha Foundations, will work with local entrepreneurial development organizations (EDOs) in developing countries to share knowledge and best practices with company founders to help them move their businesses forward. MADE is led by U-M alum Mike Pape,  a serial entrepreneur who has co-founded several life science companies, including Esperion Therapeutics... Read more » Reprints | Share:           [...]



Promega, Cellectar, Blockchain, & More: This Week’s WI Watchlist [Xconomy VC/Deals]

2017-12-08T11:50:30-08:00

Keep up with the latest news from Wisconsin’s innovation community with these recent headlines: —The Scientist magazine named Fitchburg-based Promega’s “High BiT” protein-tagging system as one of its top 10 innovations of 2017. The product emits a bright light, allowing researchers to “quantify the abundance of a protein of interest, whether it be in the […] Keep up with the latest news from Wisconsin’s innovation community with these recent headlines: —The Scientist magazine named Fitchburg-based Promega’s “High BiT” protein-tagging system as one of its top 10 innovations of 2017. The product emits a bright light, allowing researchers to “quantify the abundance of a protein of interest, whether it be in the cell or on the cell surface,” Chris Eggers, a senior research scientist at Promega, told the publication. The High BiT tag can reportedly be incorporated in a variety of places on a protein of interest using CRISPR-Cas9, a gene editing technique that allows researchers... Read more » Reprints | Share:           [...]



Northwest Startup Supporters Grow U.S.-Canada Economic Ties [Xconomy VC/Deals]

2017-12-08T08:00:06-08:00

There’s a new network organizing the incubators, accelerators, and investors fostering innovation in the Pacific Northwest on both sides of the U.S.-Canada border. Business collaboration across the 49th parallel is having a moment, thanks in no small part to a dramatic divergence in immigration policies between the two countries this year that have prompted U.S. […] There’s a new network organizing the incubators, accelerators, and investors fostering innovation in the Pacific Northwest on both sides of the U.S.-Canada border. Business collaboration across the 49th parallel is having a moment, thanks in no small part to a dramatic divergence in immigration policies between the two countries this year that have prompted U.S. tech companies to establish or grow their presence in Canada to access talent from around the world. The Cascadia Venture Acceleration Network (CVAN) is focused on collaboration at the grass-roots level of the innovation economy—specifically the cleantech, life sciences, and IT industries—in the broad area known... Read more » Reprints | Share:           [...]



In Biggest Biotech IPO of 2017, Denali Raises $248M for Neuro Drugs [Xconomy VC/Deals]

2017-12-08T06:03:21-08:00

Denali Therapeutics has raised more than $248 million in its stock market debut, marking the largest biotech IPO of the year. The company will use the cash to support work on its experimental drugs for Parkinson’s disease and other neurodegenerative disorders. South San Francisco, CA-based Denali priced its offering of 13.8 million shares at $18 […] Denali Therapeutics has raised more than $248 million in its stock market debut, marking the largest biotech IPO of the year. The company will use the cash to support work on its experimental drugs for Parkinson’s disease and other neurodegenerative disorders. South San Francisco, CA-based Denali priced its offering of 13.8 million shares at $18 apiece late Thursday, right at the midpoint of the $17-$19 per share range it had planned earlier. Denali shares are set to begin trading on the Nasdaq exchange later today under the stock symbol “DNLI.” In addition to the size of the stock offering, Denali’s IPO... Read more » Reprints | Share:           [...]



OrbiMed Founder Isaly Steps Down After Sexual Harassment Report [Xconomy VC/Deals]

2017-12-08T06:02:21-08:00

Sam Isaly, managing partner of OrbiMed Advisors, is stepping down from the company. OrbiMed, a leading healthcare investment firm founded by Isaly, made the announcement Thursday, two days after Stat published a report of sexual harassment allegations from former OrbiMed employees against Isaly. According to OrbiMed’s statement, Isaly will be replaced by a committee of […] Sam Isaly, managing partner of OrbiMed Advisors, is stepping down from the company. OrbiMed, a leading healthcare investment firm founded by Isaly, made the announcement Thursday, two days after Stat published a report of sexual harassment allegations from former OrbiMed employees against Isaly. According to OrbiMed’s statement, Isaly will be replaced by a committee of partners: Sven Borho, Carl Gordon, and Jonathan Silverstein. Islay has denied the allegations to Stat, and yesterday’s statement from OrbiMed made no reference to them. The company said Isaly’s move was “pursuant to years-long succession planning discussions.” However, Isaly reportedly said to Stat earlier this week... Read more » Reprints | Share:           [...]



Bio Roundup: Trials to Watch, Mega Deals, Video Game Therapy & More [Xconomy VC/Deals]

2017-12-08T04:07:30-08:00

With 2018 around the corner, this was a week to look ahead. At Xconomy, we zeroed in on several clinical trials that could become major stories in the life sciences. Other healthcare milestones are on the way, too. The FDA will consider for the first time whether a video game should be approved as medicine. […] With 2018 around the corner, this was a week to look ahead. At Xconomy, we zeroed in on several clinical trials that could become major stories in the life sciences. Other healthcare milestones are on the way, too. The FDA will consider for the first time whether a video game should be approved as medicine. The agency could also give its first nod for a gene therapy. We could see the first clinical trial by a U.S. company for a CRISPR-Cas9 gene editing treatment. And, of course, there are several healthcare implications for the Republican tax bill, the fate of which... Read more » Reprints | Share:           [...]



Funding Friday: Brooklyn Cider House [A VC]

2017-12-08T03:27:31-08:00

I backed this project today. The idea of a cider bar and restaurant in Bushwick seems so right to me. There is less than 24 hours left on this project. I’m hoping we can help them get across the finish line.I backed this project today. The idea of a cider bar and restaurant in Bushwick seems so right to me. There is less than 24 hours left on this project. I’m hoping we can help them get across the finish line. width="640" height="360" src="https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/457498676/brooklyn-cider-house-restaurant-bar-and-cidery/widget/video.html" frameborder="0" scrolling="no"> USV TEAM POSTS:Albert Wenger — December 11, 2017AlphaZero Chess: Computers Will Think Differently from Humans, Letting them Outperform Us (on Many Tasks)Bethany Marz Crystal — December 10, 2017Lessons in Leadership: What I Learned from an Evening Spent Dining at the Chef’s Table [...]



Gilead Bets on Cell Therapy Again with $567M Cell Design Labs Deal [Xconomy VC/Deals]

2017-12-07T17:34:12-08:00

Gilead Sciences is deepening its capabilities in cell therapy with a deal valued at up to $567 million to acquire Cell Design Labs, a company that discovers and develops such treatments. The announcement late Thursday comes a little more than four months after Foster City, CA-based Gilead (NASDAQ: GILD) jumped into cell therapy in a […] Gilead Sciences is deepening its capabilities in cell therapy with a deal valued at up to $567 million to acquire Cell Design Labs, a company that discovers and develops such treatments. The announcement late Thursday comes a little more than four months after Foster City, CA-based Gilead (NASDAQ: GILD) jumped into cell therapy in a big way with its acquisition of Kite Pharma, a company that developed a type of cell therapy for cancer called CAR-T, which involves removing a patient’s T cells, engineering them to make them better cancer fighters, and infusing them back into the patient. Under... Read more » Reprints | Share:           [...]



How Startups Actually Grow [VC Adventure]

2017-12-07T14:56:35-08:00

We’ve all seen the growth curve on the left – all successful startups strive for a version of one. But in reality, the notion of a smooth growth curve actually masks how most successful companies truly grow. Our experience at Foundry suggests that if you blow up the growth curve you’ll find that companies grow...

(image) We’ve all seen the growth curve on the left – all successful startups strive for a version of one. But in reality, the notion of a smooth growth curve actually masks how most successful companies truly grow.

Our experience at Foundry suggests that if you blow up the growth curve you’ll find that companies grow linearly and that what creates the log curve is a series of small changes that either change the slope of the growth (it’s still linear, but now growing faster) or that “jump” the growth curve up (growing at the same rate but now from a high base). Examples of things that fit in the first category are changes in sales efficiency, successfully adding to the sales organization, establishing channel relationships that add predictable revenue, etc. Typically these are small and change the slope of growth only a bit at a time. But over time they add up. Examples in the 2nd category are generally either changes in product that increase pricing across the board or landing an outlier large customer. These tend to be bigger, more obvious, and less frequent.

Over the years we’ve found it helpful to think about growth in these categories – often asking out loud: “does this change the slope of our growth trajectory or jump the line?” so we’re on the same page about what the intended effect of an initiative is. It’s also helpful to step back from a several year growth plan to actually consider the levers that change the slope of the line. There’s no doubt that growing a startup is hard work. Sometimes it’s helpful to take a step back to really understand how small moves add up to the magic growth curve we’re all chasing.

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Welcoming Bobby Schnabel Back to CU Boulder [Feld Thoughts]

2017-12-07T10:19:18-08:00

Bobby Schnabel has returned to CU Boulder as the College of Engineering and Applied Science faculty director for entrepreneurial leadership, external chair of computer science, and campus thought-leader on computing. I first met and worked with Bobby in the mid-2000s at the National Center for Women & Information Technology (NCWIT), where he was a co-founder and on the... Read more The post Welcoming Bobby Schnabel Back to CU Boulder appeared first on Feld Thoughts.Bobby Schnabel has returned to CU Boulder as the College of Engineering and Applied Science faculty director for entrepreneurial leadership, external chair of computer science, and campus thought-leader on computing. I first met and worked with Bobby in the mid-2000s at the National Center for Women & Information Technology (NCWIT), where he was a co-founder and on the board with me. Bobby is awesome and I’m really psyched he’s back in Boulder at CU. While you may not know Bobby, this is a huge add for CU Boulder and the Boulder Startup Community. Bobby has a long history with CU Boulder. He was on the computer science faculty of the University of Colorado Boulder from 1977-2007, and Vice Provost for Academic and Campus Technology and Chief Information Officer from 1998-2007, and founding director of the Alliance for Technology, Learning and Society (ATLAS) 1997-2007. In 2007 when he left CU Boulder to become the Dean of the School of Informatics and Computer at Indiana University I was bummed for CU Boulder (but happy for Bobby and Indiana University.) When he joined the Association for Computer Machinery as CEO in 2015, I had the sense in the back of my mind that he might make his way back to Boulder at some point. Bobby is returning to CU Boulder to strengthen the partnership between the incredible tech business and startup community we have in the Boulder area and in Colorado, and the tech-programs at CU Boulder. Welcome back, Bobby! And, if you are in the Boulder Startup Community and want to connect with Bobby at some point, just give me a shout. The post Welcoming Bobby Schnabel Back to CU Boulder appeared first on Feld Thoughts. [...]



Clora Reaps $3.3M to Speed Consultant Hunts by Life Sciences Companies [Xconomy VC/Deals]

2017-12-07T08:00:03-08:00

Rahul Chaturvedi worked for 16 years as a life sciences company executive, but he was also an avid consumer tech fan who chafed at the clunky enterprise apps used in his industry. Spoiled by speedy, user-friendly consumer apps, he also wondered why finding a biotech consultant to hire was so much harder than, say, lining […] Rahul Chaturvedi worked for 16 years as a life sciences company executive, but he was also an avid consumer tech fan who chafed at the clunky enterprise apps used in his industry. Spoiled by speedy, user-friendly consumer apps, he also wondered why finding a biotech consultant to hire was so much harder than, say, lining up a vacation rental on Airbnb. In 2015, Chaturvedi conceived his mission to “spoil” health product development managers a bit by creating an online marketplace where they could quickly hunt for outside experts needed to shepherd a new treatment to its next stage. Clora, the... Read more » Reprints | Share:           [...]



CS Education Week In NYC [A VC]

2017-12-07T07:19:57-08:00

All over the city this week, students in NYC’s public schools have been celebrating CS Education Week by doing events and hackathons to showcase their coding skills. Through NYC’s CS4All program, over 1000 teachers have been trained to teach CS classes in their schools. That is over 500 schools to date. Over the course of […]All over the city this week, students in NYC’s public schools have been celebrating CS Education Week by doing events and hackathons to showcase their coding skills. Through NYC’s CS4All program, over 1000 teachers have been trained to teach CS classes in their schools. That is over 500 schools to date. Over the course of the ten-year CS4All program, over 5,000 teachers will get this training so that all 1700 school buildings in NYC will have at least one CS teacher and many will have two, or three, or even four. Most of these 500 schools, and many others around NYC, participated in CS Education this week. I was out in the schools along with my colleagues at the Department of Education, CSNYC, and the companies that support us, including Google, Accenture, and Alexandria Real Estate. I met this eighth grader up in the Bronx at In-Tech Academy, a 6-12th grade school that specializes in STEM education and mostly pulls from the Kingsbridge section of the Bronx. He told me that he wants to be a game designer when he grows up. I told him he was well on his way and that he just needed to keep up his schoolwork and his excitement for coding and making things. But it wasn’t just me out in the NYC public schools this week. A bunch of Google engineers went out to the schools and helped with the hour of code. Google has developed a K12 CS Ed curriculum called CS First and Stephen Bloch was helping a student do a lesson from that curriculum. The thing that most excited me this week was to meet all of the NYC public school teachers who have been trained under the NYC CS4All program to teach CS to their students. This is a photo of a teacher named Ms Calise from Horace Mann, PS90Q in Queens, where a bunch of teachers have taken advantage of the CS4All program to learn how to teach CS skills to their students. So, needless to say, this week has been very gratifying for me. CS Education is seeping into hundreds of school buildings in NYC and will continue to do so for the next few years until it is in every school building in NYC. I am so thankful for the generous support of corporations and non-profits like Google, Accenture, Alexandria Real Estate, Hearst, AOL, Two Sigma, Wachtell Lipton, Math For America, Robin Hood, Hutchins Family Foundation, Paulson Family Foundation, and many many others, without whom this work could not happen. If your company or non-profit wants to join this group and help bring CS to all students in NYC, please email me or leave a comment in this blog post and I will contact you. USV TEAM POSTS:Albert Wenger — December 11, 2017AlphaZero Chess: Computers Will Think Differently from Humans, Letting them[...]



Decision Making [Babbling VC]

2017-12-07T02:39:53-08:00

There is a problem in most organisations that teams want to generally be in agreement when making decisions. I think this is a mistake. I was pleasantly surprised when recently reading a Jeff Bezos investor letter where he specifically alluded to this issue. He spoke of “disagree and commit” when it came to decision making at Amazon. This is a wonderful approach. (Please stop now and do go read Jeff's letter. It is that good!) Usually, what happens in companies is that folks get into a death match with one another knowing that they at the end of the day...There is a problem in most organisations that teams want to generally be in agreement when making decisions. I think this is a mistake. I was pleasantly surprised when recently reading a Jeff Bezos investor letter where he specifically alluded to this issue. He spoke of “disagree and commit” when it came to decision making at Amazon. This is a wonderful approach. (Please stop now and do go read Jeff's letter. It is that good!) Usually, what happens in companies is that folks get into a death match with one another knowing that they at the end of the day have to somehow come to a mutual decision. What this unfortunately leads to at best is a ton of time being wasted.  Further it often leads to a certain type of behaviour where the person who can argue the loudest or longest wins. This doesn’t necessarily mean that their decision is right but they simply waged warfare best. Thereafter decision making often turns into a sloppy mess. Deals start being made amongst individuals before meetings even take place and other types of intrigue creep in. This all does nothing to further the goals of the business and can even very quickly lead to its downfall. Ultimately it all comes down to politics. If you are expected to “fight it out”, those individuals who couldn’t be bothered with politics will initially become quiet and at worst, leave your company. Not everyone on the team is going to be an extrovert or aggressive in their style of decision making as part of a group. Oftentimes those with the most insight may also not be high enough in the hierarchy and prefer to keep their mouth shut verses being stomped on.  On the other hand, if the culture strives to disagree yet commit, you get things done. Not everyone has to always agree. Sure there is a risk of wrong decisions being made but making decisions is in my opinion better than not making decisions. It also allows people to engage far more in discussions knowing that if others are not aligned, they can still get something done. Oftentimes, the best decisions often look like the riskiest or most farfetched. But I rather have all these options on the table and agree with them if they are good. If they aren’t so in my opinion but the arguments are sound, I’m happy to disagree and commit to trying them out anyway. Therefore, I am with Jeff on this one. [...]



Metacrine Raises $22M to Advance New Drugs for Chronic Liver Disease [Xconomy VC/Deals]

2017-12-07T02:00:30-08:00

Metacrine, a biotech developing new drugs for treating chronic liver diseases and related metabolic diseases and disorders, said today it has raised $22 million in a Series B financing led by New Enterprise Associates, a new investor. Proceeds will be used to advance Metacrine’s lead drug candidate, MET409, into first-in-human studies during the first half […] Metacrine, a biotech developing new drugs for treating chronic liver diseases and related metabolic diseases and disorders, said today it has raised $22 million in a Series B financing led by New Enterprise Associates, a new investor. Proceeds will be used to advance Metacrine’s lead drug candidate, MET409, into first-in-human studies during the first half of 2018. Initial studies should be completed by the end of the year, the San Diego-based company said. Scientific understanding of the role that bile acids play as signaling molecules have resulted in a number of new drug targets in recent years for treating chronic... Read more » Reprints | Share:           [...]



Boston Tech Watch: Apple, Lyft, BU, Astral Capital, Cengage & More [Xconomy VC/Deals]

2017-12-06T21:01:11-08:00

It’s time to catch up on the latest Boston-area tech headlines: —People can now ride around Boston’s Seaport neighborhood in a self-driving vehicle, thanks to a pilot program launched this week by ride-hailing company Lyft and NuTonomy, the autonomous vehicle software startup now owned by Aptiv. (Aptiv is the name of the autonomous vehicle business […] It’s time to catch up on the latest Boston-area tech headlines: —People can now ride around Boston’s Seaport neighborhood in a self-driving vehicle, thanks to a pilot program launched this week by ride-hailing company Lyft and NuTonomy, the autonomous vehicle software startup now owned by Aptiv. (Aptiv is the name of the autonomous vehicle business formed this week when Delphi Automotive split into two companies.) But despite such milestones here and in other U.S. cities, it’s very early for self-driving vehicles, and a lot must still get figured out, including regulations and business models. —Apple launched a study with... Read more » Reprints | Share:           [...]



Report: Sexual Harassment Claims Hit OrbiMed Founder Sam Isaly [Xconomy VC/Deals]

2017-12-06T14:58:46-08:00

Healthcare investment giant OrbiMed Advisors has been described as a workplace enveloped in a toxic culture of sexual harassment, according to an investigation by Stat released late Tuesday. OrbiMed managing partner and co-founder Samuel Isaly is the main perpetrator of frequent and targeted harassment, according to allegations leveled in Stat’s interviews with five former employees, […] Healthcare investment giant OrbiMed Advisors has been described as a workplace enveloped in a toxic culture of sexual harassment, according to an investigation by Stat released late Tuesday. OrbiMed managing partner and co-founder Samuel Isaly is the main perpetrator of frequent and targeted harassment, according to allegations leveled in Stat’s interviews with five former employees, including one assistant who spoke on the record. The former assistant told Stat that Isaly included a reference to masturbation in work documents, sent e-mails with pornographic images attached, and exposed her to a sex toy, among other abusive behavior. Despite repeated complaints to senior executives,... Read more » Reprints | Share:           [...]



Lexumo, an Internet of Things Security Startup, Calls It Quits [Xconomy VC/Deals]

2017-12-06T13:30:49-08:00

[Updated 12/8/17, 4:27 pm. See below.] Boston-area cybersecurity startup Lexumo has shut down, a source close to the company confirmed to Xconomy. After publication, CEO Dan McCall confirmed the news in an e-mail to Xconomy that said Lexumo ceased operations in September. [This paragraph added.—Eds.] Lexumo spun out of Draper Laboratory—the not-for-profit R&D center next […] [Updated 12/8/17, 4:27 pm. See below.] Boston-area cybersecurity startup Lexumo has shut down, a source close to the company confirmed to Xconomy. After publication, CEO Dan McCall confirmed the news in an e-mail to Xconomy that said Lexumo ceased operations in September. [This paragraph added.—Eds.] Lexumo spun out of Draper Laboratory—the not-for-profit R&D center next to MIT—two years ago, pitching software it said could help find and fix vulnerabilities in open-source software written for connected devices and embedded systems. The company’s “Internet of Things” security play attracted at least $4.9 million in venture funding from Accomplice,... Read more » Reprints | Share:           [...]



Un-Super-Vised [A VC]

2017-12-06T08:03:59-08:00

My partner Andy and I were playing with the latest crypto craze, cryptokitties, this weekend and he suggested we sire a USV kitty. So he contributed a parent from his collection and I contributed a parent from my collection and with the addition of some Ethereum, which I paid from my Coinbase account, we made […]My partner Andy and I were playing with the latest crypto craze, cryptokitties, this weekend and he suggested we sire a USV kitty. So he contributed a parent from his collection and I contributed a parent from my collection and with the addition of some Ethereum, which I paid from my Coinbase account, we made a new kitty. Since it is a USV kitty, we asked the USV team to send in name suggestions and Jacqueline won that contest with the wonderful name of Un-Super-Vised. That’s a handsome cat but the thing I like most is its “lucky stripe.” God knows we need that in the startup business. In the wake of all that excitement, Jacqueline posted her thoughts on this craze. If you want to know what to make of all of this, I’d suggest giving that a read. USV TEAM POSTS:Albert Wenger — December 11, 2017AlphaZero Chess: Computers Will Think Differently from Humans, Letting them Outperform Us (on Many Tasks)Bethany Marz Crystal — December 10, 2017Lessons in Leadership: What I Learned from an Evening Spent Dining at the Chef’s Table [...]



Ionic Unveils New App-Making Tools, Continues Push to Make Money [Xconomy VC/Deals]

2017-12-06T08:01:43-08:00

Ionic has introduced a new set of tools for developing mobile software applications, as the Madison, WI-based startup continues its effort to create revenue streams off of its sizeable user base. The new suite of development tools, known as Ionic Pro, is aimed at helping developers build, test, and distribute apps faster and more easily […] Ionic has introduced a new set of tools for developing mobile software applications, as the Madison, WI-based startup continues its effort to create revenue streams off of its sizeable user base. The new suite of development tools, known as Ionic Pro, is aimed at helping developers build, test, and distribute apps faster and more easily than was possible previously, says Ionic co-founder and CEO Max Lynch. He says Ionic Pro represents a “commercial layer on top” of Ionic Framework, an open-source system for developing mobile apps the startup first released in 2013. The company began generating revenue from Ionic Framework... Read more » Reprints | Share:           [...]



Last Chance to Save on San Diego Life Sciences 2022 [Xconomy VC/Deals]

2017-12-06T06:06:59-08:00

There’s just one week left before Xconomy’s latest biotech event, “San Diego Life Sciences 2022.” Don’t let the clock run out while you can still save some cash on a ticket. Next Monday, December 11, we’re taking an inside look at what the San Diego life sciences landscape will look like in the year 2022. […] There’s just one week left before Xconomy’s latest biotech event, “San Diego Life Sciences 2022.” Don’t let the clock run out while you can still save some cash on a ticket. Next Monday, December 11, we’re taking an inside look at what the San Diego life sciences landscape will look like in the year 2022. Don’t wait to register—our Procrastinator’s Special ends soon and it’s your last chance at a discount. Speakers include: Richard Heyman, Executive Chairman & co-founder, Metacrine John Mendlein, Board Member, aTyr Pharma Diego Miralles, CEO, Vividion Therapeutics Helen Torley, CEO, Halozyme Therapeutics ... Read more » Reprints | Share:           [...]



After Humanitarian Honor, Flagship’s Afeyan States Case for Immigration [Xconomy VC/Deals]

2017-12-06T03:50:51-08:00

They embrace the unfamiliar, overcome adversity, and through it all, make the most of limited resources. These characteristics describe many entrepreneurs. But they also describe immigrants, says Noubar Afeyan, CEO of Cambridge, MA, venture capital firm Flagship Pioneering. It’s no coincidence that many successful company founders in the U.S. originally came from other countries, Afeyan […] They embrace the unfamiliar, overcome adversity, and through it all, make the most of limited resources. These characteristics describe many entrepreneurs. But they also describe immigrants, says Noubar Afeyan, CEO of Cambridge, MA, venture capital firm Flagship Pioneering. It’s no coincidence that many successful company founders in the U.S. originally came from other countries, Afeyan says. The mindset that immigrants need to adapt and survive is also useful in forming and growing new companies that are pushing science into new frontiers. But in some parts of the country, political discourse has turned against immigration, a move that Afeyan says stifles new... Read more » Reprints | Share:           [...]



Gilman’s Next CEO Trick: Taming CAR-T Cells With Obsidian [Xconomy VC/Deals]

2017-12-06T03:10:56-08:00

Genetically modified medicine is here. Two CAR-T therapies, made from a patient’s living T cells, are on the market in the U.S., and many more are in various stages of clinical testing. As remarkable as they might seem, however, these medicines are still fairly crude, with no way to control them once inside a patient’s […] Genetically modified medicine is here. Two CAR-T therapies, made from a patient’s living T cells, are on the market in the U.S., and many more are in various stages of clinical testing. As remarkable as they might seem, however, these medicines are still fairly crude, with no way to control them once inside a patient’s body. But a host of academics and industry researchers want to add controls to cell therapies and broaden their use. A startup called Obsidian Therapeutics is the latest to emerge. At the helm of Obsidian, of Cambridge, MA, is veteran biotech entrepreneur Michael Gilman, who is... Read more » Reprints | Share:           [...]



Hell Yeah! [Babbling VC]

2017-12-05T06:48:59-08:00

So I’ve had this conversation a couple times in the past two or three days and felt that it merited a blog post. There are two times which come to mind today where you should always decide on something by being completely digital about it. Either you want to do it (“hell yeah”) or you don’t (“fuck no”)! The general concept comes from Derek Sivers and it brilliantly works in many situations. In today’s case it is in regards to hiring and picking jobs. When hiring you should be picking candidates based on “hell yeah or fuck no” and nothing...So I’ve had this conversation a couple times in the past two or three days and felt that it merited a blog post. There are two times which come to mind today where you should always decide on something by being completely digital about it. Either you want to do it (“hell yeah”) or you don’t (“fuck no”)!  The general concept comes from Derek Sivers and it brilliantly works in many situations.  In today’s case it is in regards to hiring and picking jobs. When hiring you should be picking candidates based on “hell yeah or fuck no” and nothing in between. If you are shaky on whether to hire someone........pass. It’s common knowledge that it’s better to pass on someone than to hire the wrong person. Yet it happens over and over again. Hiring managers feel like they need to compromise to fill their positions yet you simply can’t fudge on this one.  Same goes for people taking jobs. If you aren’t “hell yeah or fuck no” about a job, move on. You won’t do your best work in that role and you simply won’t shine. I do understand if you are in need of a job right now to make ends meet. Then definitely take whatever you can to get to be back on your feet and thereafter become picky. Yet, if you have options, never compromise on this front.  Not surprisingly, the folks who think like this when hiring or taking jobs tend to get it right in reverse. Everyone I know who is super picky about candidates is just as picky when picking their own roles. Further, those who are super picky about where they work tend to be just as picky about whom they hire. This is a self-fulfilling prophecy and takes everyone up a notch. Hence I am adamant about passing this on to anyone looking for work or hiring people. If one person starts with it, it tends to get passed on to whomever they work with. My goal is obviously to have people in jobs where they really want to be and at the same time, for managers to hire people whom they really want to have on their team. It’s such a no-brainer but it’s an easy win-win situation which you shouldn’t forget in your day-to-day decision making.  [...]



Disqus and Zeta [A VC]

2017-12-05T04:43:51-08:00

Today, our portfolio company Disqus, which makes the software that powers the comments on this blog, is announcing that they have joined the Zeta Global empire. Zeta Global operates the largest independent marketing cloud for enterprises. Zeta competes with companies like Salesforce, Adobe, Oracle, IBM, and others to provide enterprises the marketing services they need […]Today, our portfolio company Disqus, which makes the software that powers the comments on this blog, is announcing that they have joined the Zeta Global empire. Zeta Global operates the largest independent marketing cloud for enterprises. Zeta competes with companies like Salesforce, Adobe, Oracle, IBM, and others to provide enterprises the marketing services they need to grown and sustain their businesses. Zeta Global has grown mostly by acquisition and they operate many different businesses that they have bought over the years. They will continue to operate Disqus as an independent service and brand. The Disqus management team have joined the Zeta organization and I will be joining the Zeta Advisory Board in connection with this transaction. The Zeta management team understands that community is part of the marketing equation and they understand that Disqus powers more communities on the Internet than any other tool, by a wide margin. I expect that Zeta will continue to invest in the Disqus comment system to sustain it as the best community tool out there. Personally, I am happy that the Disqus founders and team have found a transaction that allows them an exit while finding a good home for the Disqus comment system in the process. They have been building Disqus since the summer of 2007, over ten years. They have done a great job staying focused, winning the market, getting profitable, and now finding a great exit. It has been a pleasure to have a front row seat to that ride. USV TEAM POSTS:Albert Wenger — December 11, 2017AlphaZero Chess: Computers Will Think Differently from Humans, Letting them Outperform Us (on Many Tasks)Bethany Marz Crystal — December 10, 2017Lessons in Leadership: What I Learned from an Evening Spent Dining at the Chef’s Table [...]



VCs and our quest to invest in “home runs” [The Equity Kicker]

2017-12-04T07:49:27-08:00

This chart (taken from a recent post by First Republic’s Samir Kaji, data from leading venture investor Horseley Bridge) shows that to get the 3-5x return that most venture... This chart (taken from a recent post by First Republic’s Samir Kaji, data from leading venture investor Horseley Bridge) shows that to get the 3-5x return that most venture capitalists target 10% of their portfolio need to return 10x+. That explains why we are so focused on market size and other upside indicators when we invest. Getting a 10x result is hard and if 10% of our portfolio is to reach those dizzy heights then all of our investments must have that potential. Of course, a 10x return on an individual investment doesn’t necessarily return the whole fund and many venture funds go a step further and stipulate that every deal must be a potential fund returner. That’s the way that we work at Forward Partners, so for us every investment in our second fund must have the potential to return £60m back to our investor. That means if we have a 10% stake the exit value should be £600m or if we have a 25% stake it should be £240m. If we have invested £6m to get to that point the return will be 10x, and if we have invested less, the multiple will be higher. What doesn’t work for us is investing £2m and with the potential of getting £20m back – that’s a 10x return, but it’s not a fund returner. It would be interesting to see a version of this chart which replaced “Percentage of investments > 10x return” on the Y-axis with “Percentage of investments that returned the fund”. [...]



Do An Hour Of Code [A VC]

2017-12-04T06:54:29-08:00

It is CS Education Week, which happens at this time every year to celebrate and energize the growing K12 CS Education movement. The highlight of CS Education Week is the Hour Of Code, in which students, teachers, parents, and community members all do an hour of code during the school week. I would like to […]It is CS Education Week, which happens at this time every year to celebrate and energize the growing K12 CS Education movement. The highlight of CS Education Week is the Hour Of Code, in which students, teachers, parents, and community members all do an hour of code during the school week. I would like to encourage everyone in the technology business to find a school this week, maybe it is your child’s school, maybe it is the school building in your neighborhood, or maybe it is a school where a friend teaches, and volunteer to lead an Hour Of Code. It is really quite easy to do this. Here is a guide on how to help a local school Here are some activities you can do for your hour of code Here are some ways to volunteer. I’m on my way now to a school in the Bronx. USV TEAM POSTS:Albert Wenger — December 11, 2017AlphaZero Chess: Computers Will Think Differently from Humans, Letting them Outperform Us (on Many Tasks)Bethany Marz Crystal — December 10, 2017Lessons in Leadership: What I Learned from an Evening Spent Dining at the Chef’s Table [...]



The Early Stage Slump [A VC]

2017-12-03T06:08:47-08:00

I tweeted out this article from Techcrunch in the middle of last week: “we believe 2012-16 was a bubble in early-stage funding” https://t.co/VZlKOCDg5P — Fred Wilson (@fredwilson) December 1, 2017 And the response from the Twittersphere was a desire to hear my views on it. The data is pretty clear. The seed and early stage […]

I tweeted out this article from Techcrunch in the middle of last week:

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Web 2.0 Summit Day One [From Istanbul To Sand Hill Road]

2008-11-05T18:58:47-08:00

The Web 2.0 Summit started today. If there was one word to describe the overall atmosphere and mood is that it was 'muted.' Despite the new president, the mood lacked the spark and feeling of being part of something big. It was definitely there two years ago. That was then, this is now. We'll see how the rest of it goes. I heard one good stat. Even though the iPhone is only 5% of the smartphone market, it represents 74% of the mobile web traffic. That's an eye-popping number. Once again proof that if you design something well, like the UI of the web surfing experience, people will use it. Welcome to the design era of technology. AT&T must be very happy with its deal and the data revenues its getting as a result. Also, Mary Meeker gave her state of the internet presentation. Lots of good data in there. Whou would think that Skype is about to become the world's largest carrier? You can get it here.The Web 2.0 Summit started today.  If there was one word to describe the overall atmosphere and mood is that it was 'muted.'  Despite the new president, the mood lacked the spark and feeling of being part of something big.  It was definitely there two years ago.  That was then, this is now.  We'll see how the rest of it goes. I heard one good stat.  Even though the iPhone is only 5% of the smartphone market, it represents 74% of the mobile web traffic.  That's an eye-popping number.  Once again proof that if you design something well, like the UI of the web surfing experience, people will use it.  Welcome to the design era of technology.  AT&T must be very happy with its deal and the data revenues its getting as a result. Also, Mary Meeker gave her state of the internet presentation.  Lots of good data in there.  Whou would think that Skype is about to become the world's largest carrier?  You can get it here.  [...]



The NY Times Says Yelp has Arrived [Nothing ventured, nothing gained]

2008-11-04T19:08:24-08:00

It's not often that the venerable New York Times publishes a glowing piece on one of my portfolio companies. This is a welcome bit of good cheer amidst the backdrop of a generally gloomy economy.  When I invested in the young company founded by Jeremy S. and Russ S. back in 2005, Yelp had attracted about 100,000 San Franciscans to its site.  Today, with more than 15,000,000 monthly visitors, it (image)



Humor without the lies, please [Nothing ventured, nothing gained]

2008-11-02T12:01:58-08:00

I admit that I'm a frequent reader of Valleywag, a low-brow blog full of silicon valley gossip.  It's often pretty funny, and I know many of the people referenced in the stories, which only adds to the entertainment value.Last week, however, the blog ran an entry containing a fabricated story.  The entry was meant to embarrass Jimmy Wales, an entrepreneur we backed two years ago.  If there is (image)



Pumpkin O-The Times [From Istanbul To Sand Hill Road]

2008-10-31T21:11:10-07:00

One of our close friends have a pumpkin carving day tradition. This one was one of the best pumpkins carved that day. Thanks Pete & Ayse. Happy Halloween!One of our close friends have a pumpkin carving day tradition. This one was one of the best pumpkins carved that day.  Thanks Pete & Ayse.  Happy Halloween! [...]



Thoughts on European Start Ups [localglobe]

2008-10-30T09:34:59-07:00

I had a great time putting this presentation together past week to give at the O'Reilly Web2Expo in Berlin.Thoughts on European Start UpsView SlideShare presentation or Upload your own. (tags: startups vc)Thanks to everyone for the embedding, the video and the really great feedback - much appreciated.For some really practical advice, check out Robin's great post on cash management. [...]



It's The Economy [From Istanbul To Sand Hill Road]

2008-10-29T20:23:26-07:00

I've been traveling to Canada a lot for work lately. Air Canada has shown me many movies on demand, United has not given any choice, and both have shamelessly asked for $3 for headphones I haven't paid. None of the movies I saw moved me except for one. Ironically, it was the one I thought would be the worst and avoided consistently until the last leg of the final flight that I am writing this now. I watched "Hancock", barely finished it. I watched "The Incredible Hulk", didn't finish it. I watched "Sex and The City" and couldn't finish it. The plane was landing. I watched Indiana Jones again, and again didn't like it as much as the previous one, "The Last Crusade". The last movie I saw was "Swing Vote". It was a painful movie to watch in the beginning. It was also bad in the middle...but the ending. When Bud asked that question I couldn't help but cry. We need a president who wakes up every morning and asks himself the same question and spends his whole life building a legacy around answering it. I am not going to tell you what question that is. You need to watch the movie if you haven't yet. But this blogger believes that the candidate who can devote his life to answer it is Barack Obama. P.S. This is not a political blog, but around this time, once every four years, there may be a politically inclined post :-)I've been traveling to Canada a lot for work lately.  Air Canada has shown me many movies on demand, United has not given any choice, and both have shamelessly asked for $3 for headphones I haven't paid. None of the movies I saw moved me except for one.  Ironically, it was the one I thought would be the worst and avoided consistently until the last leg of the final flight that I am writing this now.I watched "Hancock", barely finished it.  I watched "The Incredible Hulk", didn't finish it.  I watched "Sex and The City" and couldn't finish it.  The plane was landing.  I watched Indiana Jones again, and again didn't like it as much as the previous one, "The Last Crusade".The last movie I saw was "Swing Vote".  It was a painful movie to watch in the beginning.  It was also bad in the middle...but the ending.   When Bud asked that question I couldn't help but cry.  We need a president who wakes up every morning and asks himself the same question and spends his whole life building a legacy around answering it.  I am not going to tell you what question that is.  You need to watch the movie if you hav[...]



Android Is a Success [From Istanbul To Sand Hill Road]

2008-10-29T09:51:04-07:00

For a new mobile technology, let alone an operating system, to go from announcement to shipping product is, however you look at it, a spectacular success. That's exactly what happened to Android with the G1 phone available from T-Mobile. It normally takes years for any technology to get in a carrier's network. Android did it in one year. In addition, Walt Mossberg called it "a worthy competitor to the iPhone". Given the iPhone is one of the most impactful technology innovations of the last 3 years, that's is a big statement. Now we are also hearing that Motorola is reorganizing around Android. Yet another sign of success in such a short period of time. Last year I predicted that Android would be a success, I consider that prediction to have come true. Here is what I wrote then, still quite valid: "1) The Success of Google's Android and the Open Handset Alliance: This means that handsets will become more like PC's and wireless carriers will become more like landline DSL providers. This is a bold statement because both handset makers (like Nokia) and carriers (like Vodafone) don't want this to happen. So why do I predict a change in an industry where dinosaurs were surviving for such a long time? Because a meteor the size of Texas hit the wireless industry in 2007 and it was called the iPhone. For the first time in the wireless industry, the handset chose the carrier as opposed to the carrier choosing the handset. The product was so impactful and well designed that some carriers agreed to share 30-40% of their data revenues with Apple in order to have the device on their network. That could be a very meaningful $200 dollars to Apple. Why did carriers agree to that? Because the carriers did the math and the revenue share probably made up the customer acquisition cost that they no longer had to pay which, in the US, is about $200. In return for that bargain they gave up ALL revenue from applications, ringtones etc. The consumers wanted it, they gave it, and doing so opened up the market an catalyzed the next innovation which came from Google. Android and the Open Handset Alliance, enables other people to quickly create new iPhones. It creates an environment that let's developers focus on what they do best, which is writing innovative applications. So that somebody can come up with a device so compelling that it too will chose their carrier (if carriers need a nudge Google can share search re[...]



Congratulations Like.com [From Istanbul To Sand Hill Road]

2008-10-23T11:11:37-07:00

Congratulations Munjal and the rest of the like.com team on the fundraising! It is just one more testament to the fantastic product you are building. As an angel investor, it is a great pleasure to see the team grow, mature and become that great business that it deserves to be. What a wonderful ride to be a part of.Congratulations Munjal and the rest of the like.com team on the fundraising!  It is just one more testament to the fantastic product you are building.  As an angel investor, it is a great pleasure to see the team grow, mature and become that great business that it deserves to be.  What a wonderful ride to be a part of. [...]



Like.com Raises $32M Series C [Venture Explorer]

2008-10-22T11:16:58-07:00

TechCrunch reports on portfolio company Like.com's recent funding. Munjal's timing was exquisite and the company is now very well-positioned to not just survive, but thrive, in a tough climate.

TechCrunch reports on portfolio company Like.com's recent funding.

Munjal's timing was exquisite and the company is now very well-positioned to not just survive, but thrive, in a tough climate.




Macbook Environmental Report [Salman's blog]

2008-10-15T14:44:00-07:00

Kudos to Apple for putting out an environmental report on their new Macbooks (via earth2tech).

Of course, I will have to point out that Apple estimates its embodied emissions (ie emissions from production and transport) to be 60% of the total lifecycle emissions of the product, versus 39% for customer use. Not to repeat myself too often, but why is it every one seems to be focusing on the 39% portion?

(image)



Hamon Washoku Opens Today in San Carlos [Consuming Ambitions]

2008-10-15T13:00:15-07:00

Last Saturday my friend Bobby treated me and some friends to a sneak preview 7-course meal at his sleek new Japanese restaurant, Hamon Washoku (note, web site still under construction at press time) which opens today. Replacing the French crepes-n-coffee...



Stock Market Got You Down? Here's What $8.06 Buys at Fisher Farm [Consuming Ambitions]

2008-10-12T22:35:38-07:00

In the midst of the current economic meltdown comes a welcome recession buster from Doug Klein, CEO of LightPole and earnest foodie. He recently visited Fisher Farm and wrote in to describe his exploits: I stopped by Fisher on the...



Quote of The Day [From Istanbul To Sand Hill Road]

2008-10-09T14:08:29-07:00

"Apparently the Nigerian government has warned its citizens that if they get any e-mails from Irish/UK/US banks, promising government-backed deposit security and seeking bank account details, its a scam..." "Apparently the Nigerian government has warned its citizens that if they get anye-mails from Irish/UK/US banks, promising government-backed deposit securityand seeking bank account details, its a scam..." [...]



Portfolio Company Politics [Nothing ventured, nothing gained]

2008-10-01T19:01:08-07:00

I got nervous today when I heard one of my consumer internet portfolio companies had posted a political advertisement on YouTube. It seemed obvious to me that any consumer company is likely to alienate half of its customer base by making a political statement. No matter how well-executed the ad, it is guaranteed to hurt business as much as it helps.It appears that I may have jumped too quickly to(image)



Money fears [Nothing ventured, nothing gained]

2008-09-29T14:42:10-07:00

Doesn't this new version of the dollar bill do a perfect job capturing the essence of the Treasury Department's current state of mind?(image)



A Must-Read Blog for Entrepreneurs [Venture Explorer]

2008-09-29T14:32:35-07:00

My friend Eric Ries, co-founder/CTO of IMVU, has a great blog that's a must-read for entrepreneurs: here's the feedburner link: http://feeds.feedburner.com/startup/lessons/learned Subscribe now! This will save you time, money, headaches and ulcers ...

My friend Eric Ries, co-founder/CTO of IMVU, has a great blog that's a must-read for entrepreneurs: here's the feedburner link: http://feeds.feedburner.com/startup/lessons/learned

Subscribe now!  This will save you time, money, headaches and ulcers ...




An Interesting Counter Argument - Why Paulson is Wrong [From Istanbul To Sand Hill Road]

2008-09-26T16:06:27-07:00

http://faculty.chicagogsb.edu/luigi.zingales/Why_Paulson_is_wrong.pdf Here is the first paragraph as a teaser Why Paulson is Wrong Luigi Zingales Robert C. Mc Cormack Professor of Entrepreneurship and Finance University of Chicago -GSB When a profitable company is hit by a very large liability, as was the case in 1985 when Texaco lost a $12 billion court case against Pennzoil, the solution is not to have the government buy its assets at inflated prices: the solution is Chapter 11. In Chapter 11, companies with a solid underlying business generally swap debt for equity: the old equity holders are wiped out and the old debt claims are transformed into equity claims in the new entity which continues operating with a new capital structure. Alternatively, the debtholders can agree to cut down the face value of debt, in exchange for some warrants. Even before Chapter 11, these procedures were the solutions adopted to deal with the large railroad bankruptcies at the turn of the twentieth century. So why is this wellestablished approach not used to solve the financial sectors current problems? The rest is herehttp://faculty.chicagogsb.edu/luigi.zingales/Why_Paulson_is_wrong.pdfHere is the first paragraph as a teaser Why Paulson is Wrong Luigi Zingales Robert C. Mc Cormack Professor of Entrepreneurship and Finance University of Chicago -GSB When a profitable company is hit by a very large liability, as was the case in 1985 when Texaco lost a $12 billion court case against Pennzoil, the solution is not to have the government buy its assets at inflated prices: the solution is Chapter 11. In Chapter 11, companies with a solid underlying business generally swap debt for equity: the old equity holders are wiped out and the old debt claims are transformed into equity claims in the new entity which continues operating with a new capital structure. Alternatively, the debtholders can agree to cut down the face value of debt, in exchange for some warrants. Even before Chapter 11, these procedures were the solutions adopted to deal with the large railroad bankruptcies at the turn of the twentieth century. So why is this wellestabl[...]



Kindo ties the knot with MyHeritage [localglobe]

2008-09-22T16:51:34-07:00

Congratulations to Nils, Gareth and Andrew and the rest of the Kindo team. They have just announced that they are tying up with MyHeritage. See coverage on Washington Post via Techcrunch, VentureBeat and PaidContent.Over the last year the team has built a simple product which is a pleasure to use in over 14 languages -- all the while building a really nice tone of voice, perfect for the family market. Combining this savvy with MyHeritage's scale and smart technology for photos and family history promises something to look forward to for consumers.Related articles by ZemantaMyHeritage raises $15 million from Index and AccelKindo Finds a New HomeFamily Tree Wars Continue: MyHeritage Raises Big Round, Shows Impressive GrowthFamily Tree Site MyHeritage Gets $15 Million Second RoundNils is getting famous in SwedenKindo's day in the sun [...]






Oh my Goldman [Nothing ventured, nothing gained]

2008-09-18T17:40:16-07:00

I got a first-hand sense of how badly Goldman Sachs felt the pressure of the crumbling financial markets this morning.   At the start of a private company's board meeting I was attending, a director received a call on his cell phone.  One member of the board had not yet arrived, so the director answered the call in case it was the missing attendee.  He dispatched with the caller after about a (image)



Hadron Collider Starts in Half an Hour... [From Istanbul To Sand Hill Road]

2008-09-09T23:02:19-07:00

Here is the video that says it all Here is the video that says it all [...]



Because "Bad, Dirty, and Unjust" Somehow Isn't Appealing [Consuming Ambitions]

2008-08-29T17:04:40-07:00

This weekend Slow Food hits Baghdad by the Bay. With a slogan of "Good, clean, and fair," the international movement started in 1989 launches perhaps its finest moment to date with a shindig billed as the largest celebration of American...



Those Who Live by the Sword ... [Venture Explorer]

2008-07-30T09:02:30-07:00

Cuil, a much-hyped search engine, launched yesterday. The blogosphere, after eager anticipation, has not been kind to Cuil. Web 2.0 is all about throwing things out there and seeing what works, but if you're going to drum up hype, you...

Cuil, a much-hyped search engine, launched yesterday.  The blogosphere, after eager anticipation, has not been kind to Cuil.  Web 2.0 is all about throwing things out there and seeing what works, but if you're going to drum up hype, you have to feed the hype monster tasty morsels.  The reaction from bloggers and commenters seems all the more vitriolic for having been promised foie gras and fobbed off with crackers instead.

At the risk of seeming to jump on the bandwagon of Cuil-bashers, I must confess that Cuil didn't do a great job finding me on the web either: the search results for "Vineet Buch" seemed of tertiary interest and didn't discover my professional page (that I am a Partner at BlueRun Ventures), or my LinkedIn or Facebook profiles. 




Is Google's Dominance of Search Self-perpetuating? [Venture Explorer]

2008-07-29T14:12:53-07:00

Mashable's Stan Schroeder expounds an interesting theory: that Google's current (and expanding) dominance in web search, at least in the English-speaking world, has trained websites to do all they can to show up high on Google - to such an...Mashable's Stan Schroeder expounds an interesting theory: that Google's current (and expanding) dominance in web search, at least in the English-speaking world, has trained websites to do all they can to show up high on Google - to such an extent that no upstart search engine can hope to do better than Google for broad horizontal search.Stan's review of recently launched, well-funded search startup Cuil, as also the TechCrunch review, are lukewarm at best and support Stan's thesis - but this thesis assumes that Google has the best possible knowledge of a user's intentions, and since websites will compete to match Google's algorithm that expresses that intention in a query, Google is by default the winner in any search competition.  The flaw in this argument is that Google has very little information about a user's intention - indeed, Google doesn't even seem to use all the information it could have about the user, because of privacy and latency considerations (for instance, I doubt if Google looks up my interests in my Facebook profile when I search as a logged-in Google user, to discover that by typing the search term "kayak" I probably mean a watercraft and not a travel search engine).  Google is constantly refining its approaches to divining intention, of course ... and the masses of data generated by user searches help it get better every day.  But web search is far from perfect today, and it stands to reason that Google's own momentum - and success - will lock it into the innovator's dilemma of doing little more than tweaking its existing algorithms.  And some enterprising startup will bring a refreshing new take to searching the web.  Wonder what it could be?[...]



Is the Online Display Ad Market Being Overhyped? [Venture Explorer]

2008-07-29T13:22:05-07:00

Back in April, I'd written about the really slow movement of brand ad dollars online. Advertising Age just ran an article diving into some of the points I'd raised, and they're worth exploring again. There are a few choice quotes...

Back in April, I'd written about the really slow movement of brand ad dollars online.  Advertising Age just ran an article diving into some of the points I'd raised, and they're worth exploring again.  There are a few choice quotes from Ad Age that I felt compelled to mention here:

The inconvenient truth is that for all its new-media spin, display advertising is "old" media -- a commercial message to be placed next to editorial or entertainment content.

part of why large companies such as P&G spend so little on the web is because of the feedback they get from the marketing-mix models they still use to determine media outlays: TV and other old media still work. (P&G increased its magazine budget by 7% last year.)

For all its glory, the internet still has not proven itself capable of being a primary branding medium. Most ads online are response-based and work best for brand marketers when they complement a branding campaign in other media.

"The biggest gating factor to internet ad growth is the obsession of the players, the [venture capitalists] and the press with 'bottom of the funnel' marketing in a world where the big money is spent at the top," said Rob Norman, CEO of Group M Interaction. [OUCH!]





The CAT is out of the bag [Salman's blog]

2008-07-27T09:29:00-07:00

I’ve been toying with the idea of a Value Added Tax on embodied carbon, and I’ve been meaning to put some thoughts in writing. So I came up with what I thought was the brilliantly original acronym: CAT for a “Carbon Added Tax”.

Then I did a search, and found that Nobel-laureate Joe Stiglitz recently proposed the same idea:
"A carbon added tax (CAT), levied at each stage of production, would have some of the same advantages that a value added consumption tax has. Each producer would have to show receipts for the carbon tax paid on inputs into its production. The taxes levied at each stage of production would be passed on to consumers. It is as if the tax were imposed on consumers… A carbon value added tax will both discourage production in more carbon intensive ways and discourage the consumption of carbon intensive goods."
His proposal pretty much sums up my thought process…

But perhaps even more interesting is that some one called Ewan O'Leary, registered the URLs for carbonaddedtax.com and .org last February. Now that is some real forward thinking!!! ;-)



OUR personal data on the web [Salman's blog]

2008-07-17T03:07:00-07:00

Our data is born free, but everywhere it is in chains.

We need a new "Social Data Contract" for the web.



The 11 Best Foods You May Not Be Eating [Consuming Ambitions]

2008-07-16T23:20:41-07:00

Tara Parker-Pope of the New York Times did a piece recently boldly titled The 11 Best Foods You Aren't Eating -- a bit presumptuous in that anybody who is at least somewhat health conscious is heeding the frequently heard advice...



Letters to Economist Editors [Salman's blog]

2008-07-11T13:01:00-07:00

I read the Economist religiously - or rather I partly skim and partly read the Economist religiously every week. So it was nice that they published a letter I wrote them. (Of course, it relates to Embodied Emissions.)What was surprising is how much they edited the letter. At first, I was taken aback: after all, they had lost the nuance of some of my points. On reflection though, it is quite amazing and flattering that they would take the time and effort to completely re-write such letters to drive home the point they think is worth publishing.In any case, here is the original letter I sent:Dear Sir,Your article entitled “Emissions Suspicions” (June 19 2008) ignores the principle of “consumer-responsibility” - that consumers can be responsible for the carbon embodied in the goods they consume. If our society decides to proactively reduce its total carbon emissions, it makes little sense to just focus on the carbon being emitted (or “produced”) directly in our society. For example, a study by Oxford’s Dieter Helm showed that while “UK greenhouse gas [emitted directly in the UK has] fallen by 15% since 1990…on a consumption basis, the illustrative outcome is a rise in emissions of 19% over the same period… Trade may have displaced the UK’s greenhouse gas appetite elsewhere.” Whether this displacement was caused by carbon regulations or other factors is less relevant - What matters is the total amount of carbon that was emitted to produce the goods and services consumed in the UK.As such, a “carbon tariff” on embodied carbon should not be compared to traditional “import taxes”. The correct analogy is a “Sales tax”. Today, governments tax goods and services both at the point of production (via corporate taxes) and consumption (via VATs or other sales tax). But emis[...]



Marten Mickos of MySQL on building Open Source Software businesses [Venture Explorer]

2008-07-07T17:28:08-07:00

I had the privilege of attending an informal presentation by Marten Mickos, CEO of MySQL, last week at SAP Labs. Marten was his usual candid self, and spoke frankly about the challenges of making money in Open Source, why MySQL...I had the privilege of attending an informal presentation by Marten Mickos, CEO of MySQL, last week at SAP Labs.  Marten was his usual candid self, and spoke frankly about the challenges of making money in Open Source, why MySQL sold to Sun and the ups and downs after the acquisition closed.  Key takeaways: Open Source really is a smarter way to create software; somewhat because of community code contribution, but even more because the omnipresent threat of public scrutiny makes everybody produce better software By trying to buy Yahoo, which is built mostly on Open Source tools, even Microsoft has indirectly affirmed the value and longevity of Open Source.  Nokia's acquisition of Symbian and subsequent open-sourcing of its software, and Oracle's acquisition of InnoDB and BerkeleyDB are other affirmations. You can't build Open Source businesses on services and support alone; the love and passion of your users is great, but open checkbooks are even better. Nothing sells itself. Not Coke, not Pepsi, and certainly not software, Open Source or proprietary.  Most Open Source companies underestimate the need for a sales-force that can generate lucrative leads and close meaningful deals, and that's why so few Open Source companies make money Sun buying MySQL made MySQL much more appealing to big enterprises - they appreciate the backing and commitment of a large player.  This is reflected in the warmer reception MySQL's sales team gets at large accounts MySQL sold to Sun instead of going public for a couple of reasons, but the mo[...]



Beer Brewing FAQ [Consuming Ambitions]

2008-07-01T11:16:23-07:00

Okay, last time we did wine, so now it's time to give beer some air time. I am fortunate to work with a bona fide beermeister, and by that I do not mean somebody with Animal House style binge tendencies,...



Miyowa lève 8 millions de dollars pour son second tour de table [Techfund.Info]Gregoire

2008-07-01T03:34:34-07:00

Moins de deux ans après sa première levée de fonds, l’éditeur de messagerie instantanée mobile clôture un deuxième tour de table. Objectif : lancer un nouveau produit et se développer outre-Atlantique. Après une première levée de fonds de 3 millions d’euros réalisée en septembre 2006 auprès des fonds de capital-risque Techfund et Sophia Eurolab, Miyowa […](image)


Media Files:
http://www.miyowa.fr/images/logo.jpg




The Polluter is the Consumer [Salman's blog]

2008-06-24T01:47:00-07:00

Here is another high level analysis of embodied carbon in imports by Oxford’s Dieter Helm (et al). It looks at the UK’s carbon emissions from the “consumption point of view.” The paper notes that using conventional producer-based carbon accounting-methods,“UK greenhouse gas emissions have fallen by 15% since 1990. In contrast, on a consumption basis, the illustrative outcome is a rise in emissions of 19% over the same period. This is a dramatic reversal of fortune… It suggests that the decline in greenhouse gas emissions from the UK economy may have been to a considerable degree an illusion. Trade may have displaced the UK’s greenhouse gas appetite elsewhere.”The same paper has a well-articulated overview of the “consumer vs producer” paradigm:“Both these [currently used] methodologies are based on the location of the production of greenhousegases. This, however, is a somewhat misleading and partial basis for policy purposes. For a country could have a very low production of greenhouse gases, but at the same time have a high consumption level. It could produce low-GHG-intensity goods, but import and consume high-GHG-intensity goods. Thus, a developed country might cease to produce steel, aluminium, glass and chemicals domestically, but import the manufactured goods from abroad. In the UK’s case, the shift of production in such activities to China, India and other developing countries in the last two decades suggests that this effect may be considerable… China might argue that, although it produces high emissions, these are on behalf of consumers in developed countries, and therefore the consumers should pay for the relevant reductions. In this way, the polluter is n[...]



Muxtape 2.0 [Dav-generated Content]

2008-06-12T20:13:00-07:00

I made another one http://davduf2.muxtape.com/

In other news, I'm leaving Desjardins Venture Capital next week to join the JLA Ventures team as an associate. More on this - and an overhaul of this blog, including, hopefully, actual blogging - very soon.

Also, in the last few days I have lost my spot as the #1 Tungle Space creator and intend to win it back. That is, unless I follow Rick's advice and get a Mac laptop and then have to wait for Tungle's complete Mac and Google integration. But, right now sitting here, I'm having Voodoo Envy envy.



Entrepreneurial “procrastination” – easy to be a victim [Sid Mohasseb]

2008-06-02T19:29:14-07:00

The first proof of the preacher himself committing the sin is my inability to do a Blog in recent weeks – shame on me for procrastinating!Now back to preaching… Procrastinating on getting to revenue equals sudden death. Recently an entrepreneur passionately indicated that they have potential customers that are willing to buy their product NOW, but they are holding back until they raise more capital! because they are concerned about the growth and how they can control it; they have seen this before as they claimed. Upon further investigation, it became clear that the product works, there are no technical reasons for delay, and that the customer is actually willing to pay a portion of the fees in advance; which can support staffing and internal expenses. This conversation has bothered me to the point of motivating me to write a post (thank god for the motivation!). So, I would like to remind some of my entrepreneur friends of the following key facts of entrepreneurship:1. Avoiding a potential mistake, may be as bad as making a new mistake2. A business is built on revenues not raised capital3. The more of the company you keep the better off you are!4. Before you control growth you should experience it5. Risk is a part of life.6. Fear of failure is as BAD as if not worst than fear of success7. There is a thing called “competition” , while you ponder they are executing![...]



Fred Wilson on how he made it as a VC [Venture Explorer]

2008-06-02T16:28:35-07:00

Fred Wilson of Union Square Ventures just wrote a very informative and articulate post on how he made it as a VC. Here's what Fred thinks you should do (as opposed to what he did): The way you do that...Fred Wilson of Union Square Ventures just wrote a very informative and articulate post on how he made it as a VC.  Here's what Fred thinks you should do (as opposed to what he did):
The way you do that is you work for at least ten years in the industry, getting operating experience, building a killer rolodex, and learning how the business works from the inside. Then in your mid to late 30s, you can make the move to the venture capital business, as a partner, not as a wet behind the ears associate who doesn't know anything other than how to push numbers around a spreadsheet.
A number of VC firms do, in fact, hire precisely based on this profile.  If you're not prepared to take such a circuitous path, here's a post I wrote a while back on finding a job in venture capital.








Judging at Under The Radar Social Media and Entertainment Summit [Venture Explorer]

2008-05-27T13:05:18-07:00

I'll be a judge at the Games track at the Under The Radar Social Media and Entertainment Summit June 3rd in Mountain View. Good mix of companies and I'm looking forward to it!I'll be a judge at the Games track at the Under The Radar Social Media and Entertainment Summit June 3rd in Mountain View.  Good mix of companies and I'm looking forward to it!



The Landscape of Cloud Computing [Venture Explorer]

2008-05-13T20:17:29-07:00

It's pretty well known that Amazon Web Services' EC2 and S3 initiatives have taken off and are gaining users not just in startup land but in Corporate America as well. Amazon provides a compute and storage cloud, and the rush...It's pretty well known that Amazon Web Services' EC2 and S3 initiatives have taken off and are gaining users not just in startup land but in Corporate America as well. Amazon provides a compute and storage cloud, and the rush of companies big (e.g., Google) and small (e.g., Nirvanix) beginning to compete with Amazon in providing clouds has spawned a term and a movement - Cloud Computing.  I've been involved with precursors to cloud computing (Utility Computing, Grid Computing, Application Service Providers - ASPs) from my days at Corio, an early ASP acquired by IBM in 2005. In fact, back in graduate school at Cornell, I did research on assembling commodity hardware into compute grids.  Small wonder, then, that Cloud Computing is an area I'm looking at quite actively for potential investments. Peter Laird has a great blog post that defines the landscape of Cloud Computing; I encourage anybody interested in the space to read Peter's post.  And Peter's cheat-sheet on the players is invaluable if you want to appear well-informed :-) [...]



Transportation and Carbon-Conscious Consumers [Salman's blog]

2008-05-03T13:33:00-07:00

As a sector, transportation is certainly a significant source of carbon emissions. But perhaps because it is so visible, or even tactile, transportation gets a lot of attention, and people tend to overstate its role in embodied emissions. Some recent NY Times articles make references to some related data which are worth quoting:From the Green Issue of the Magazine: “It is the locavore’s dilemma that organic bananas delivered by a fuel-efficient boat may be responsible for less energy use than highly fertilized, nonorganic potatoes trucked from a hundred miles away. Even locally grown, organic greenhouse tomatoes can consume 20 percent more resources than a tomato from a far-off warm climate, because of all the energy needed to run the greenhouse.”The same issue also quoted the famous New Zealand studies, though in a somewhat skeptical tone: “A handful of studies have recently suggested that in certain cases under certain conditions, produce from places as far away as New Zealand might account for less carbon than comparable domestic products.”Also, when Timberland studied the embodied emissions of its shoes, “the company was surprised to find that transportation may account for less than 5 percent of its greenhouse-gas emissions — while almost 80 percent may come from making the leather, a process buried deep in its supply chain.” (Note however that Timberland seems to have overestimated the emissions related to the leather.)The above study is consistent with Weber and Matthews’ study on the embodied emissions o[...]



Discounted admission to UTR Social Media and Entertainment [Venture Explorer]

2008-05-01T09:27:02-07:00

Dealmaker Media is offering readers $100 off the Under the Radar Social Media and Entertainment event on June 3rd in Mountain View, CA. Click here or on the image below to register with the discount. Here's the conference description (I'm...Dealmaker Media is offering readers $100 off the Under the Radar Social Media and Entertainment event on June 3rd in Mountain View, CA.  Click here or on the image below to register with the discount.Here's the conference description (I'm a judge, btw): Under the Radar: Social Media and EntertainmentJune 3, 2008 | 8:00am – 6:00pm Microsoft Campus | Mountain View, CA If you can't beat 'em, buy 'em. No longer is big media trying to compete with the content companies that were stealing the show - instead, they're offering them a premium channel. From YouTube to Bebo and MySpace to Club Penguin, every media mogul, Hollywood tycoon and Silicon Valley innovator wants a piece of this pie.  But even Toto knows we're not in Kansas anymore - technology has changed, business models and ad metrics are being reinvented, and the pressure to turn millions of eyeballs into billions of cash is on. Blink once and they just might get side-swiped by a startup with a better product, a smarter model and, even worse, nothing to lose.Under the Radar will uncover 32 startups in the entertainment and social media space that have launched within the year. Covering social networks, advertising, casual gaming, virtual worlds, measurement tools, video, commerce, publis[...]



Novaled AG is awarded Red Herring Europe 100 Winner 2008 and announces financial results for 2007 [Techfund.Info]Gregoire

2008-04-21T05:47:29-07:00

Novaled, a major know how and service provider for highly efficient long lifetime OLEDs, announces today that the company is winner of Red Herring 100 Europe 2008, an award given to the top 100 private technology companies each year. At the same time Novaled releases the last year’s results proving the enterprises rapid growth.Red Herring’s […](image)


Media Files:
http://herringevents.com/europe08/images/EUROPE_ROTATING_small.gif




Saul Griffith’s Carbon Footprints Part II – Some numbers [Salman's blog]

2008-04-20T12:30:00-07:00

Following my previous post, I thought to look at Saul’s energy usage / carbon footprint calculations by separating out his personal energy usage from his work related consumption.See the notes below on how I have separated the work from the personal energy usage. The chart below separates out the numbers into 4 categories, and speaks for itself. Almost half of Saul’s home energy usage comes from “Food and Stuff” which represents the embodied emissions of his consumer purchases. Of course, as Saul has pointed out, he has probably underestimated the energy usage associated with these categories.Again, people can dispute the difficulty of calculating the embodied emissions of “stuff”, but at almost 4 times the energy usage of his home heat and electricity, Saul’s calculations should at least, again, put the importance of embodied emissions in perspective.__________________________A few other notes:Like the truck driver in my previous post, Saul’s major source of carbon emissions relates to his travel for work. His total work related energy use should be compared to the value of his work, in revenues from his company or at least with the costs associated with the company. This figure should be compared to other businesses in the same sector.Energy usage of ‘stuff’ related to work would probably need to be more comprehensive, including things like capital goods (servers, furniture), services delivered to his workplace (fedex, as well a[...]



Saul Griffith’s Carbon Footprints Part I – More on Consumer vs Producer Responsibility [Salman's blog]

2008-04-15T13:45:00-07:00

“Power Consumption at work... This... brings up a very interesting point... where do you draw the lines in figuring out your own energy consumption? Does work energy go against you or the product of that work?”Saul Griffith’s excellent presentation gives a very thorough view of carbon foot-printing, and the particular question above is quite fundamental. I would argue that personal energy consumption should be treated separately from energy use for work. The energy use related to our work should show up embodied in the product of our work.A few examples could help illustrate why…Say I am truck driver that delivers apples ( ;-) ) to a local grocery store. It would not make sense to mix my personal energy consumption behavior with my job as a truck driver. Even if I lead a carbon neutral personal life, mixing my stellar home footprint and my work related emissions would give a distorted view of the choices I can make – ie the factors which are under my control, in my personal life.Now let’s imagine the exact opposite case. Let’s say you are a small business owner, doing most of your work from the office using emails and phones. Again, you could be driving a hummer from home to work, and leave your oven on 24 hours a day, but if you mix your personal and work energy usage, you would still seem more eco-friendly than the me.Now, to drive the point home, imagine that you are my boss, and you are responsible for dec[...]



Carbon Emissions in Developing Countries: Producer vs Consumer Responsibility [Salman's blog]

2008-04-06T01:48:00-07:00

“Developing countries, whose economies and populations are growing fastest, [will] contribute 74% of the increase in global primary energy use [until 2030]. China and India alone account for 45% of this increase.” World Energy Outlook 2007, IEA So three quarters of all new power production capacity will be in developing countries. Close to half of it in India and China. And according to the same report: “China, with four times as many people, overtakes the United States to become the world’s largest energy consumer soon after 2010. In 2005, US demand was more than one third larger.”And... “In the longer term, [in China,] demand slows as the economy matures, the structure of output shifts towards less energy-intensive activities and more energy-efficient technologies are introduced.”This last sentence is the most interesting. It sounds like the basic assumption of the report is that China will make a typical progression towards a more advanced economy: As the country becomes richer, not only will it care more about the environment and prioritize more energy efficient technologies, but the economy as a whole will become more service oriented, much like that of the US. Of course, this does not mean that the world will consume fewer goods. It just means that those goods will be produced in a new generation of up and coming developing nations [...]



Muxtape [Dav-generated Content]

2008-04-04T07:04:00-07:00

Muxtapes are the new Scrabulous. So I made one. davduf.muxtape.com

I love the minimalist, clean, easy, no frills interface. A breath of fresh air in these days of functions-overload, social-everything and ads-everywhere.