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Updated: 2017-09-24T03:09:00+00:00

 



THE VOICE ASSISTANT LANDSCAPE REPORT: How artificially intelligent voice assistants are changing the relationship between consumers and computers [Silicon Alley Insider]

2017-09-23T20:09:00-07:00

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 a bevy of industries are helping intelligent digital voice assistants like Apple's Siri and Amazon's Alexa become more sophisticated and useful pieces of technology.  Advances in artificial intelligence (AI) are allowing them to accurately understand more information, while upgrades to mobile networks are facilitating quick transfers of data to robust clouds, enabling fast response times. In addition, the swell of internet connected devices like smart thermostats and speakers is giving voice assistants more utility in a connected consumer's life.  Increasingly sophisticated voice assistants and the growing potential use cases they can assist in are driving consumers to adopt them in greater droves — 65% of US smartphone owners were employing voice assistants in 2015, up significantly from 30% just two years prior. Consumers are also eagerly adopting speaker-based voice assistants, with shipments of Google Home and Amazon Echo speakers expected to climb more than threefold to 24.5 million in 2017, according to a report from VoiceLabs. However, there are still numerous barriers that need to be overcome before this product platform will see mass adoption, as both technological challenges and societal hurdles persist.  In a new report, BI Intelligence explains what's driving the recent upsurge in adoption of digital voice assistants. It explores the recent technology advancements that have catalyzed this growth, while presenting the technological shortcomings preventing voice assistants from hitting their true potential. This report also examines the voice assistant landscape, and discusses the leading voice assistants and the devices through which consumers interact with them. Finally, it identifies the major barriers to mass adoption, and the impact voice assistants could have in numerous industries once they cross that threshold.  Here are some key takeaways from the report: Voice assistants are software programs that respond to voice commands in order to perform a range of tasks. They can find an opening in a consumer’s calendar to schedule an appointment, place an online order for tangible goods, and act as a hands-free facilitator for texting, among many, many other tasks. Technological advances are making voice assistants more capable. These improvements fall into two categories: improvements in AI, specifically natural language processing (NLP) and machine learning; and gains in computing and telecommunications infrastructure, like more powerful smartphones, better cellular networks, and faster cloud computing. Changes in consumer behavior and habits are also leading to greater adoption. Chief among these are increased overall awareness and a higher level of comfort demonstrated by younger consumers. The voice assistant landscape is divided between smartphone- and speaker-based assistants. These distinctions, while important now, will lose relevance in the long run as more assistants can be used on both kinds of devices. The primary players in the space are Apple's Siri, Microsoft's Cortana, Google Assistant, Amazon's Alexa, and Samsung's Viv.  Stakes in the competition for dominance in the voice assistant market are high. As each assistant becomes more interconnected with an ecosystem of devices that it can control, more popular platforms will have a sizable advantage.  In full, the report: Identifies the major changes in technology and user behavior that have created the voice assistant market that exists today.  Presents the major players in today's market and discusses their major weaknesses and strengths.  Explores the impact this nascent market poses to other key digital industries.  Identifies the major hurdles that need to be overcome before intelligent voice assistants will see mass adoption.  Interes[...]



Book: Against Our Will: Men, Women and Rape [Feld Thoughts]

2017-09-23T19:11:48-07:00

“Men are afraid that women will laugh at them. Women are afraid that men will kill them.” – Margaret Atwood A few weeks ago, after reading the New York Times Sunday Review article The Book That Made Us Feminists, I asked Amy for several recommendations for books that were foundational to the feminist movement. I purchased... Read more The post Book: Against Our Will: Men, Women and Rape appeared first on Feld Thoughts.“Men are afraid that women will laugh at them. Women are afraid that men will kill them.” – Margaret Atwood A few weeks ago, after reading the New York Times Sunday Review article The Book That Made Us Feminists, I asked Amy for several recommendations for books that were foundational to the feminist movement. I purchased all that she suggested and added them to my infinite list of books to read. The past few days I read Susan Brownmiller’s book Against Our Will: Men, Women and Rape. Written in 1975, it’s 480 pages of intense and powerful writing. After about a third of it, I turned to Amy and said, “That Margaret Atwood quote has a clear basis in history.” Today, again in the New York Times (this time online), I read the article Push for Gender Equality in Tech? Some Men Say It’s Gone Too Far. I was almost finished with Against Our Will so it didn’t take much to infuriate me about the article. There are several men quoted in the article and others referenced. The only one whose perspective makes any sense to me is Dick Costolo’s quote. “In just the last 48 hours, I’ve spoken to a female tech executive who was grabbed by a male C.E.O. at a large event and another female executive who was asked to interview at a venture fund because they ‘feel like they need to hire a woman,’” said Dick Costolo, the former chief of Twitter, who now runs the fitness start-up Chorus. “We should worry about whether the women-in-tech movement has gone too far sometime after a couple of these aren’t regularly happening anymore.” In many of the conversations I’ve had around sexual harassment and sexual assault, I’ve been discussing something I’ve been referring to as the “perpetrator / victim paradox.” In this situation, the perpetrator “assaults / harasses” the victim. When the perpetrator is discovered (or almost discovered), he becomes the victim and tries to manipulate the victim into “not destroying my life.” It alternates between threats (continued perpetrator behavior aimed at the victim) and pleas (where the perpetrator takes the role of the victim, often using guilt to try and keep the victim quiet.) Now, this doesn’t only apply to sexual harassment and sexual assault, but to any power dynamic. Which leads to the well-discussed idea that rape is much more about power than about sex. Brownmiller’s book does an incredible job of linking power to sex, especially in the context of men using sex to assert their power over women. But there was another level that jumped out at me, which was the notion of women as property, where a first man asserts their power over second man by having unwanted sex (rape) with the woman who was “affiliated” (wife, child, sister) with the second man. While Brownmiller has an incredibly long and distressing chapter on rape as part of the spoils of war, this idea infiltrates much of the book. When I read articles like Push for Gender Equality in Tech? Some Men Say It’s Gone Too Far all I can think of is “these men are afraid of losing power to women.” As a man, I wish other men would get over this. As our current president assembles the most male-dominated government in decades it’s clear that there is still a lot of work to do here. The post Book: Against Our Will: Men, Women and Rape appeared first on Feld Thoughts. [...]



THE CHATBOT MONETIZATION REPORT: Sizing the market, key strategies, and how to navigate the chatbot opportunity (FB, AAPL, GOOG) [Silicon Alley Insider]

2017-09-23T19:06:00-07:00

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. Improving artificial intelligence (AI) technology and the proliferation of messaging apps — which enable users and businesses to interact through a variety of mediums, including text, voice, image, video, and file sharing — are fueling the popularity of chatbots. These software programs use messaging as an interface through which to carry out various tasks, like checking the weather or scheduling a meeting. Bots are still nascent and monetization models have yet to be established for the tech, but there are a number of existing strategies — like "as-a-service" or affiliate marketing — that will likely prove successful for bots used as a tool within messaging apps. Chatbots can also provide brands with value adds — services that don't directly generate revenue, but help increase the ability of brands and businesses to better target and serve customers, and increase productivity. These include bots used for research, lead generation, and customer service. A new report from BI Intelligence investigates how brands can monetize their chatbots by tailoring existing models. It also explores various ways chatbots can be used to cut businesses' operational costs. And finally, it highlights the slew of barriers that brands need to overcome in order to tap into the potentially lucrative market.  Here are some of the key takeaways:  Chatbot adoption has already taken off in the US with more than half of US users between the ages of 18 and 55 having used them, according to exclusive BI Intelligence survey data. Chatbots boast a number of distinct features that make them a perfect vehicle for brands to reach consumers. These include a global presence, high retention rates, and an ability to appeal to a younger demographic. Businesses and brands are looking to capitalize on the potential to monetize the software. BI Intelligence identifies four existing models that can be successfully tailored for chatbots. These models include Bots-as-a-Service, native content, affiliate marketing, and retail sales. Chatbots can also provide brands with value adds, or services that don't directly generate revenue. Bots used for research, lead generation, and customer service can cut down on companies' operational costs. There are several benchmarks chatbots must reach, and barriers they must overcome, before becoming successful revenue generators.  In full, the report: Explains the different ways businesses can access, utilize, and distribute content via chatbots. Breaks down the pros and cons of each chatbot monetization model. Identifies the additional value chatbots can provide businesses outside of direct monetization. Looks at the potential barriers that could limit the growth, adoption, and use of chatbots and therefore their earning potential. 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 Join the conversation about this story » NOW WATCH: The 5 best hidden features from the latest iPhone update [...]



THE FUTURE OF SHIPPING REPORT: Why shipping could be the next billion dollar opportunity for online retailers (FDX, UPS, AMZN, WMT, BABA) [Silicon Alley Insider]

2017-09-23T17:05:00-07:00

The parcel delivery industry — a segment of the shipping sector that deals with the transportation of packages to consumers — is booming thanks to e-commerce growth, and players outside the industry want a piece of the pie.  In a new report, BI Intelligence looks at efforts by Amazon, Alibaba, and Walmart to handle more of their own shipping and concludes that big retailers are well positioned to disrupt the parcel industry. Here are some of the key points from the report:  Transportation and logistics could be the next billion dollar opportunity for e-commerce companies. The global shipping market, including ocean, air, and truck freight, is a $2.1 trillion market, according to World Bank, Boeing, and Golden Valley Co. There is much at stake for legacy shipping companies, which have seen a boom in parcel delivery as e-commerce spending has risen. Twenty different partners currently share the duties of shipping Amazon's 600 million packages a year, with FedEx, USPS, and UPS moving the most. Amazon, Alibaba, and Walmart have so far focused on building out their last-mile delivery and logistics services but are increasingly going after the middle- and first-mile of the shipping chain.  Amazon has already made major moves across each stage of the shipping journey. It launched same-day delivery service, which it handles through its own fleet of carriers, cutting out any third-party shippers. The company also recently began establishing shipping routes between China and North America. Walmart's interest in expanding its transportation and logistics operations is almost purely related to cost-savings. It's begun leasing shipping containers to transport manufactured goods from China and is making greater use of lockers and in-store pickup options to cut down on delivery costs. Alibaba has begun leasing containers on ships, similar to Amazon's Dragon Boat initiative. This means that Alibaba Logistics can now facilitate first-mile shipping for third-party merchants on its marketplace. In full, the report: Sizes the market for the shipping industry. Explains how the industry operates in broad terms. Suggests why major e-commerce retailers should disrupt the space. Outlines the shipping initiatives of Amazon, Walmart, and Alibaba. Concludes how these moves might impact traditional carriers. Interested in getting the full report? Here are two 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  Join the conversation about this story » [...]



THE VIRTUAL REALITY REPORT: How the early days of VR are unfolding and the challenges it must overcome to reach mass adoption [Silicon Alley Insider]

2017-09-23T15:04:00-07:00

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 virtual reality (VR) market has made significant strides throughout 2016. New VR headsets like the Oculus Rift and the HTC Vive debuted amid great consumer anticipation, while VR content launches kept pace, with Batman: Arkham VR and Chair In A Room garnering encouraging download totals. At the same time, industry groups and conferences brought developers, investors, and content producers together, helping to further ramp up buzz in this nascent space.    BI Intelligence forecasts shipments of VR headsets to spike by 1047% year-over-year (YoY) to 8.2 million in 2016. This growth will help propel the virtual reality space to exceed $1 billion in revenue for the first time, according to research by Deloitte. Powering that growth is an estimated 271% increase in investment in AR (augmented reality) and VR companies from 2015, according to estimates from CB Insights. But while 2016 has indeed been an important year for the VR market, it hasn’t necessarily been a big one — at least not compared to its future growth potential. VR headset shipments will continue to grow in the years ahead, driven by the introduction of new content that will appeal to a broad swath of users.  In a new report, BI Intelligence explores the highly fragmented and volatile VR market that emerged in 2016. It lays out the future growth potential in numerous key VR hardware categories, as driven by major VR platforms. And it examines consumer sentiment and developer excitement for VR, presenting which headset categories and platforms are most poised for success in the near- to mid-term. Here are some key takeaways from the report: This has been an important foundational year for the VR market. New hardware and content have brought more options to market to appeal to a wider set of consumers.  But the growth seen this year is merely a foreshadowing of the future. The highly fragmented VR market today will eventually narrow as the market grows and matures. After considerable progress in 2016, the VR market is ripe for transformation in 2017. Developers, consumers, investors, and hardware makers have a host of options from which to choose, each with their own strengths and shortcomings. The environment is poised for the first killer VR app to hit the market sometime in 2017, which will be a major catalyst for consumer adoption of VR hardware. Not all headset categories and platforms will emerge as winners in the near future. More immersive headsets that offer the best VR experiences are too expensive for most consumers. Alternately, affordable headsets that rely on smartphones as processors offer sub-par experiences that can induce sickness. In full, the report: Identifies the major players in today's VR hardware and platform markets. Estimates future growth of each of the major VR categories. Explores barriers to mass market consumer adoption for each of the VR hardware categories. Considers how developer sentiment is driving the growth of various platforms.  Assesses how the market will shake out over the next five years in terms of size and the success of various VR hardware categories.  Interested in getting the full report? Here are two 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 Join the conversation about this story » [...]






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

2017-09-23T14:07:00-07:00

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: Apple announced an iPhone 8 and iPhone X — here are the most important differences [...]



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

2017-09-23T11:04:00-07:00

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 » [...]



The 15 best states for job seekers in 2017 [Silicon Alley Insider]

2017-09-23T09:49:00-07:00

Everyone knows location is a big deal in the real estate world. But it's also a crucial factor in the job search, too. Personal finance site WalletHub found that landing a gig is far easier in some states than in others. WalletHub assigned each US state a score based on numerous factors, including median annual income adjusted for the cost of living, share of employees with private health insurance, and the number of workers living below the poverty line. The site also assigned each state an employment outlook score using Gallup's job creation index. The score is based on the amount workers say their place of employment is increasing or decreasing the size of its workforce, with the highest score of 42 indicating the best employment outlook. To read more about the study's methodology, check out the full report here. Here are the most job-seeker-friendly states in the US: SEE ALSO: The 15 best states for finding a job in 2017 DON'T MISS: The largest employers in each US state Join the conversation about this story » NOW WATCH: Amazing time-lapses show how much America has changed [...]



The American slide into work martyrdom has led to the rise of an amazing employee benefit [Silicon Alley Insider]

2017-09-23T08:40:00-07:00

Americans are increasingly becoming "work martyrs," people who stay late at the office and don't take any vacation. Companies have responded to the trend by paying for employees to go on vacation. They can range from $1,000 bonuses to larger vacation funds of $7,500 or more. Americans may be obsessed with work, but that obsession has led some companies to offer a perk most employees can only dream of. Over the last several years, nearly a dozen companies around the US have started enacting policies of "paid paid vacation," or the practice of paying employees extra money on top of their normal salary to be used solely for vacations. "Our culture is really simple," said Mark Douglas, CEO of the marketing and advertising company SteelHouse, which in 2011 started giving people a yearly $2,000 to take trips. "It's based on trust and ambition." Paid paid vacation is one way the corporate world has responded to the rise of so-called "work martyrs," people who stay late at the office and take little vacation all in the name of excelling in the office. Data reveal work martyrdom has become commonplace in the US. The land of the work martyrs A 2014 Gallup poll showed that 50% of full-time US workers reported working more than 40 hours each week, and more than 20% said they worked 50 to 59 hours, or about 10 to 12 hours per day. They're taking hardly any vacation to make up for it, either. In 2015, Project: Time Off found that 55% of Americans combined to leave 658 million vacation days unused. Not that people necessarily regret all that time they spend at work. Nearly half of all working millennials, the largest generation in the US, say they treat the title as a badge of honor, even if work martyrdom can lead to extreme stress and poor mental health. In addition to SteelHouse, companies like Airbnb, Basecamp, Evernote, and a handful of smaller marketing, public relations, and tech companies have jumped onboard. Marketing analytics company Moz supplements its 21 days of paid vacation with $3,000 in expense reimbursements. It borrowed the practice from contact management company FullContact, which offers $7,500 a year on top of the 15 vacation days. "If you don't take a vacation, the opportunity disappears," a 2012 Moz blog post read. "Hence, it's in all of our employees' great interest to take time to do what they love with friends, family, whomever (we'll pay their vacation expenses too so long as you go with them) and disconnect for a few days, or a few weeks." SteelHouse employees have been known to try to game the system, Douglas said. On several occasions, people have asked if the $2,000 can simply be lumped into their paychecks. But he doesn't budge. "I actually want you to go somewhere and enjoy yourself," he said. Evernote takes the policy a step further, requiring that employees stop working for five consecutive days in order to claim their $1,000 bonus. Even if they take double that amount of time but spread it out over several weeks, in other words, they don't get the bonus. 3 hours or less Being a work martyr is still desirable at some companies. Earlier this July, Erika Nardini, CEO of the sports and men's lifestyle site Barstool Sports, said in an interview with the New York Times that one of her go-to interviewing strategies is texting candidates at odd hours on the weekends to see how responsive they are. "If you're in the process of interviewing with us, I'll text you about something at 9 p.m. or 11 a.m. on a Sunday just to see how fast you'll respond," she said. The maximum response time she'll allow is three hours. "It's not that I'm going to bug you all weekend if you work for me," she continued, "but I want you to be responsive. I think about work all the time. Other people don't have to be working all the time, but I want people who are also always thinking." Jas[...]



Take a tour of Harvey Mudd College, the tiny STEM 'bootcamp' outside Los Angeles whose graduates out-earn Harvard and Stanford alums [Silicon Alley Insider]

2017-09-23T08:30:00-07:00

Located in Claremont, California is an 829-person liberal arts college that might go unnoticed to the uninitiated. It's not a member of the Ivy League, nor does it have the celebrity of Stanford University, its neighbor to the north. In fact, if you're not familiar with the Claremont Consortium, you've probably never heard of the school. Harvey Mudd College is a STEM powerhouse. It routinely shows up on lists that rank the best value colleges and, based on median salary, its graduates out-earn those from Harvard and Stanford about 10 years into their careers.  With a price tag for tuition, room, and board of $71,939 a year, it's the most expensive college in the US. But the sticker price comes with a strong return on investment. Its peer institutions, like the California Institute of Technology, praise its computer science curriculum.  Business Insider recently had the opportunity to tour Mudd to see for ourselves, from the rooftop classroom to the underwater robotics lab.  Here's what it's like to attend Harvey Mudd College.SEE ALSO: The most expensive college in America is a tiny STEM 'bootcamp' outside Los Angeles whose graduates out-earn Harvard and Stanford alums DON'T MISS: A tiny California college whose graduates outearn Harvard and Stanford grads is changing how we train students to enter the job market We arrived on Harvey Mudd's campus on a gloomy September day about two weeks into the 2017-2018 school year. The school is a member of the Claremont Colleges Consortium — which includes Claremont McKenna College, Pitzer College, Pomona College, Scripps College, Claremont Graduate University and Keck Graduate Institute of Applied Life Sciences. Mudd students, called Mudders, can take classes at any of the other member schools. Not even on campus 10 minutes, we realized Mudd would provide an experience unlike many of the other schools we have toured. The campus was quiet. We'd come to find out it's due to the highly studious nature of the student body. During our five-hour visit, there was only one 15-minute period where campus seemed busy. Many were hurrying off to their next class or working on laptops. Board racks are near every door and students grab their longboard, shortboard, or free lines — two separate wooden boards that attach to your shoes with wheels underneath — for the short ride to class. Scooters, bicycles, and even unicycles are also popular on campus. See the rest of the story at Business Insider [...]






An 18-year-old entrepreneur has idea that could change the world — and she might help change the tech industry too [Silicon Alley Insider]

2017-09-23T07:30:00-07:00

Sharon Lin is not your typical 18-year-old. A freshman at MIT, Lin helped develop an Android app while interning at the US State Department. She's this year's Youth Poet Laureate in New York City. And She was named to Crain's 20 under 20 list.  She's also prospective entrepreneur who's CEO of her own company. And in that role, she could help reshape the tech industry and possibly change the world, if a recent contest is any indication. This week, Lin won the annual #BuiltByGirls startup challenge and its $10,000 prize. She was recognized for an app she developing to help impoverished communities around the world cheaply and easily find out whether their water supplies are contaminated with harmful bacteria.  "You only have to look at the finalists of the #BuiltByGirls Challenge ... to know that the future is in good hands," said Nisha Dua, the founder of #BuiltByGirls, the organization behind the contest.  Promoting women  Run by Verizon-owned Oath, #BuiltByGirls works to promote women in tech. It offers mentorships to young women and helps them get hands-on experience at top tech companies and venture capital funds. It also runs a yearly contest focused on encouraging women who are interested in becoming tech entrepreneurs.  At this year's contest, five finalists pitched their startup ideas to a panel of judges at Spotify’s San Francisco offices. They had been selected from among 450 applicants. The finalists, some of whom were solo entrepreneurs like Lin and some of which were parts of multi-person teams, had each taken a few days off school to fly in and compete for the prize. Gold and blue balloons waved from the stage and vegan cupcakes sat waiting as the entrepreneurs pitched their ideas for solving problems including autism-related anxiety, waste decomposition, and knee injuries. Lin was the the last entrepreneur to take the stage. Her presentation walked the audience through microbial analysis and the app she's developing. The app uses machine learning to analyze photos of water samples and can recognize different bacterial strains. To show how it works, Lin, who created a company called White Water to develop the app, tested it on photos sent from a family in China. White Water's app isn't fully developed; Lin still needs to build out a database of water samples. But the program could have a lot of promise — it was designed so that even people without a background in science could use it to test their water. The contest judges were obviously impressed. After only a brief deliberation, they named Lin the winner of the contest. Lin was excited not only about winning, but also what that might mean for her company and idea.  "It's given me the confidence of knowing that there are people who care about issues such as water quality analysis, and that there is genuine interest in developing enterprise software for developing nations," she said. From personal interest to winning app Lin's own interest in solving the problem of water quality came from personal connections. She has family in China who live in small villages that lack the money and resources to perform lab tests on their well water. She'd heard enough of stories about water-related disease outbreaks there to know they didn't have a good way to make sure their water was drinkable.  As a senior in high school, she participated in a Science Olympiad competition, where she saw presentations on water quality testing systems. She wanted to find out more, so she reached out to university professors for more information. Eventually, she came up with her idea for W[...]



A 40-year study of teens finds Generation Z is unlike any past generation — here's what they're all about [Silicon Alley Insider]

2017-09-23T07:30:00-07:00

Today's teens are in no hurry to grow up, a new study finds. Contrary to teenagers of past generations, Generation Z — broadly defined as people born between 1995 and the mid-2000s — aren't drinking alcohol, having sex, driving, or going out without their parents nearly as much. According to psychologists Jean Twenge and Heejung Park, who analyzed 8.3 million responses across seven surveys of teens from 1976 to 2016, today's 18-year-olds act more like 15-year-olds from years past. The findings largely back up Generation Z as less reckless and more socially isolated than generations prior. Here's what they're all about.SEE ALSO: Psychologists studied 5,000 genius kids for 45 years — here are their 6 key takeaways They don't crave the open road. In the late 1970s, nearly 90% of teens had gotten their driver's license by the 12th grade. By 2014, survey data showed the rate had fallen to roughly 73%. Twenge and Park's findings suggest this downward trend correlates with many other Gen Z trends, given that driving offers the freedom to date, go to parties, and get to work. They're not as interested in trying alcohol. Younger teenagers were more likely to avoid alcohol, according to the study, while older teens showed less of a change. That indicated to Twenge and Park that "recent adolescents try alcohol at older ages than adolescents in past decades," they wrote. Since 1993, the percentage of eighth-graders who have tried alcohol declined by 59%, compared to a 40% decrease for 10th-graders and 26% for 12th-graders. Dating is far less frequent. Since 1976, there have been major declines in 12th-graders saying they go on dates. When the first survey was issued, about 85% of high-school seniors said they go on dates; by 2014, about 58% did. The internet, while a possible contributing factor, was not ruled the deciding factor since the declines began before large percentages of the population came online, the researchers noted. See the rest of the story at Business Insider [...]



I bought bitcoin at a deli — here's how it works [Silicon Alley Insider]

2017-09-23T07:22:00-07:00

At first glance, Mario's Gourmet Deli, a New York City bodega on the corner of West 106th Street and Amsterdam Avenue, looks like a regular corner store. But inside there's an ATM that gives folks access to what some view as the future of payments and finance: bitcoin. The recently installed ATM was featured in a New Yorker piece by Ian Parker, who described it as a "machine with the body of a regular ATM but the soul of a lottery terminal." I paid the deli a visit to buy some bitcoin, the digital coin that's up near 500% over the last year. Here's what it was like. (Please excuse my poor photography skills.)SEE ALSO:  Here's a shot of Mario's. The bitcoin ATM looks like a normal one, but it doesn't work the same. You can't withdrawal bitcoin, as it's not a physical currency, and it accepts only cash. A Coinsource bitcoin ATM allows you to buy up to $3,000 worth of the cryptocurrency, which is less than one coin. I bought the minimum amount, $5. See the rest of the story at Business Insider [...]



How drones will change the world in the next 5 years [Silicon Alley Insider]

2017-09-23T07:07:00-07:00

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 fast-growing global drone industry has not sat back waiting for government policy to be hammered out before pouring investment and effort into opening up this all-new hardware and computing market.  A growing ecosystem of drone software and hardware vendors is already catering to a long list of clients in agriculture, land management, energy, and construction. Many of the vendors are smallish private companies and startups — although large defense-focused companies and industrial conglomerates are beginning to invest in drone technology, too.  In a report from BI Intelligence, we take a deep dive into the various levels of the growing global industry for commercial drones, or unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs). This report provides forecasts for the business opportunity in commercial drone technology, looks at advances and persistent barriers, highlights the top business-to-business markets in terms of applications and end users, and provides an exclusive list of dozens of notable companies already active in the space. Finally, it digs into the current state of US regulation of commercial drones, recently upended by the issuing of the Federal Aviation Administration's draft rules for commercial drone flights. Few people know that many companies are already authorized to fly small drones commercially under a US government "exemption" program.  Here are some of the key takeaways from the report: We project revenues form drones sales to top $12 billion in 2021, up form just over $8 billion last year. Shipments of consumer drones will more than quadruple over the next five years, fueled by increasing price competition and new technologies that make flying drones easier for beginners. Growth in the enterprise sector will outpace the consumer sector in both shipments and revenues as regulations open up new use cases in the US and EU, the two biggest potential markets for enterprise drones. Technologies like geo-fencing and collision avoidance will make flying drones safer and make regulators feel more comfortable with larger numbers of drones taking to the skies. Right now FAA regulations have limited commercial drones to a select few industries and applications like aerial surveying in the agriculture, mining, and oil and gas sectors. The military sector will continue to lead all other sectors in drone spending during our forecast period thanks to the high cost of military drones and the growing number of countries seeking to acquire them. In full, the report: Compares drone adoption across the consumer, enterprise, and government sectors. Breaks down drone regulations across several key markets and explains how they’ve impacted adoption. Discusses popular use cases for drones in the enterprise sector, as well as nascent use case that are on the rise. Analyzes how different drone manufacturers are trying to differentiate their offerings with better hardware and software components. Explains how drone manufacturers are quickly enabling autonomous flight in their products that will be a major boon for drone adoption. Simply put, The Drones Report is the only place you can get the full story on the rapidly-evolving world of drones. To get your copy of this invaluable guide, 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. >>[...]



Summer of Snapcodes: Why brands including Evian and Wendy's hopped onto Snapchat's barcodes this summer [Silicon Alley Insider]

2017-09-23T07:00:00-07:00

A large number of brands have been using Snapcodes, Snapchat's own version of QR codes, to elevate their marketing campaigns. Snapcodes are potentially huge: Users are already scanning over 8 million codes a day. They help brands connect traditional and digital advertising and also gives them access to data. But additional production costs and lack of clarity in how they drive results are its downsides, say marketers.  Turns out that everyday objects like cans, bottles and cardboard cups can serve as the perfect gateways to Snapchat. Just ask Gatorade, Wendy's and Evian. These are just a few among a growing roster of brands that hopped on the Snapcode bandwagon this past summer, using Snapchat's own version of QR codes to elevate their marketing campaigns on the platform to another level. By plastering Snapcodes onto product packaging, print and even out-of-home ads, these brands have been able to encourage people to use their smartphones to unlock exclusive branded filters, lenses, custom websites and even Snapchat-specific mobile games. Evian, for example, printed Snapcodes on over 300 million bottle across six countries, which opened up to exclusive branded content, including filters and lenses on the platform. Wendy's, on the other hand put the codes on its drink cups, donating $5 to a foster care foundation every time someone scanned the code to unlock a custom Snapchat filter.  "Snapchat fits into our overall marketing mix and aligns well with our brand personality because it’s a fun, interactive platform," Jimmy Bennett, Wendy's head of media, told Business Insider. "And Snapcodes are unique as they seamlessly connect social and real world experiences." Rise of Snapcodes While Snapcodes have been around since 2015, for a long time they were mostly used by people to add friends on the app using their smartphone cameras. Only recently have they emerged as a powerful weapon in a brand's Snapchat marketing arsenal.  It's not hard to see why.  The benefits of Snapcodes are potentially huge: The company says users are already scanning over 8 million codes a day, making for a sizeable audience that brands can target. If brands can give people a fun way to use the Snapchat camera in the real world through branded filters and lenses, they are likely to spread that content to more of their friends. Evian's "Live Young" campaign, for example, saw over 2 million unique Snapchatters interact with its lenses and over 3 million play around with its filters. Free advertising Unlike filters, lenses or video Snap Ads, Snapcodes are not actual ad products. In fact, they are free, and Snapchat says it doesn't charge advertisers extra for them. Anyone can create a Snapcode that unlocks an external website from within Snapchat (what the company calls a "web view"), without anyone at Snapchat helping them. And if they want to have a Snapcode link to their filter or lens campaign, Snapchat can create that for any brand for free. So in other words, Snapcodes basically enable advertisers to reach more consumers and ideally amplify their paid Snapchat ad campaigns investments by tapping into existing behaviors. "Snapcodes made for an easy, shareable way to raise awareness and do some good at the same time," said Wendy's Bennett. "Plus, our customers use Snapchat regularly and have a habit of sharing pictures and selfies, so featuring a code on cups was an ideal way to get participation while in restaurants." Plus[...]



Here's how the 'Rich Kids of Instagram' spent their summers [Silicon Alley Insider]

2017-09-23T06:47:00-07:00

For the last four years, the "Rich Kids of Instagram" blog and Instagram account have been chronicling the escapades of the young and wealthy. The summer vacations taken by those featured on the blog this year were filled with crystal-clear waters, yachts, and of course, private jets. See how they spent their fortunes this season. SEE ALSO: You can buy a third of a Hawaiian island for $260 million — but there's a catch Some swam in private pools in St. Barts. Instagram Embed:http://instagram.com/p/BRwA7OZBLIM/embed/Width: 658px   Others relaxed and enjoyed the view off the coast of Ibiza. Instagram Embed:http://instagram.com/p/9trT85K1qP/embed/Width: 658px   Some adventurous travelers jumped into the waters near the island of Capri in Italy. Instagram Embed:http://instagram.com/p/BW6F6OUh8Gn/embed/Width: 658px   See the rest of the story at Business Insider [...]



There's no question that Tesla's future is all about China (TSLA) [Silicon Alley Insider]

2017-09-23T06:37:00-07:00

• China could be Tesla's largest market in the future. • The Chinese government is considering relaxing rules to allow foreign electric carmakers to operate their own factories. • Tesla could amass much more market share in China than in the US or Europe. China could be on the verge of a huge change in how it manages its auto industry — and Tesla could be one of the biggest beneficiaries. For several decades, western automakers hoping to both build and sell vehicles in China have had to engage in a joint venture with a Chinese company. Effectively, the JVs have helped companies like General Motors and Volkswagen prosper while ensuring that Chinese consumers get better vehicles and Chinese carmakers gain expertise. But China might soon allow foreign automakers to set up their own non-JV factories, to manufacture electric vehicles. This would be a massive shift, for two key reasons. First, the Chinese auto market is already much larger than the North American market (the US and Canada combined). About 20 million new cars were sold in North America in 2016; in China, a staggering 28 million vehicles did. And that tally is expected to grow rapidly in coming years, with some analysts predicting 40-million yearly sales market in the Middle Kingdom. Second, the Chinese government is pressing to get many more electric vehicles on the road. There are numerous reasons for this, and it might not work out according to plan, especially given the Chinese consumer's penchant for American-style SUVs.  But China is clearly thinking long-term, and if an additional $10 million-$12 million in annual sales can be electric, China's EV market will be nearly as large as the entire auto market in the US. And China would be able to leap to EV dominance, potentially also becoming a large-scale exporter of EVs. Tesla in China What does this all mean for Tesla? Well, CEO Elon Musk and his team are up against a daunting statistic: only about 1% of global auto sales are electric vehicles. That data point could improve and favor Tesla in the US, its biggest market, but the question is, "How much?" For Tesla to sell millions of cars, consumer interest in gas-powered vehicles would have to collapse, and there are no signs that will happen. So Tesla needs to expand in other markets. China is perfect because of the growth prospects and the command-and-control economy. If the government wants millions of new EVs on the road, it can make that happen. And if Tesla doesn't have to go through the JV process, it can simply build a factory and start rolling cars.  That would be expensive and it's easier said than done. But Musk has stressed that Tesla wants to build, not just sell, cars in China, and if future China sales could be double what they in the US, then Tesla would be foolish to avoid doing everything possible to get up and running in the country. Tesla's China ambitions have provoked criticism, but the real value in this market for Tesla derives from future growth and as a hedge against competition elsewhere. As Tesla gets bigger in the US and Europe, it validates electric cars as a transportation option and front runs the risk for other carmakers, who are now beginning to develop their own EVs — and introduce them ahead of some Tesla vehicles, as was the case with the Chevy Bolt that beat Tesla's Model 3 to market by a year. A strong manufacturing presence in China would give Tesla the chance to capture more market share in the country than might be possible in, say, the US, where the company could end up being [...]



This is one of the worst fall TV seasons in years — but here are the 18 shows worth watching [Silicon Alley Insider]

2017-09-23T06:35:00-07:00

There's a lot of TV. This fall, however, there hasn't been a lot of good TV so far. In fact, it's one of the worst seasons for new shows in years. But that doesn't mean there's nothing to watch.  There are a few entertaining freshman shows like ABC's "The Mayor" and Netflix's "American Vandal," but a lot more returning shows are must-see TV, like NBC's "The Good Place" and HBO's "Vice Principals." We put together a list of the new and returning TV shows that you should be wasting your precious free time on, from new shows to returning ones. We also included where to watch them.  Here's what you should be watching on TV this fall:SEE ALSO: The 50 worst TV shows in modern history, according to critics "The Deuce" — new "The Wire" creator David Simon looks back to 1970s New York and the early days of the porn industry. James Franco plays twins! The all-star cast also includes Maggie Gyllenhaal and Zoe Kazan. It was already renewed for season two, so it's worth your time since now we know the story will continue.  Where to watch: Sunday nights on HBO, HBONow, HBOGo.  "You're the Worst" — returning This sometimes-a-dramedy is in its fourth season. The show, about quirky and very flawed thirty-somethings in LA, covers issues including PTSD and depression, and is the most inventive, thoughtfully written show on TV right now. It's also very funny. Check out our interview with the creator and showrunner Stephen Falk.  Where to watch: Wednesday nights on FXX, and new episodes available the next day on the FX app. Seasons one, two, and three are available on Hulu. "Better Things" — returning Season two of the Emmy-nominated series continues Sam's (Pamela Adlon) life as an actress and single mother of three daughters in LA. Adlon co-created the series with Louis C.K., and it shows: the subject matter and spirit is very similar to "Louie." Where to watch: Wednesday nights on FX, and new episodes available the next day on the FX app.  See the rest of the story at Business Insider [...]



Tesla wants to build 'mega supercharging' stops that sell food and coffee (TSLA) [Silicon Alley Insider]

2017-09-23T06:31:00-07:00

Tesla wants to take the tedium out of the charging experience by turning its stops into convenience stores. Tesla owners already have it pretty good when it comes to juicing up their vehicles. Customers can drive to one of the companies' many Supercharger stations and be back on the road in just 30 minutes. Most electric-car owners need to set aside at least an hour, making an overnight charge in the garage the best option. Still, 30 minutes is a long time for anyone who is used to the convenience of a gas station. That's why the company wants to build new Superchargers near restaurants and coffee shops: to make it a little easier to bide the time. Tesla first said it wanted to make Supercharger stations more like traditional restrooms on its second-quarter earnings call. "We should see some immediate relief even for S and X customers on some of the key supercharge locations whilst we [experiment] with... mega supercharging location, like really big supercharging location with a bunch of amenities," Tesla CEO Elon Musk said on the call, courtesy of Seeking Alpha. "So we're going to unveil the first of those relatively soon. And I think we'll get a sense for just sort of how cool it can be to have a great place to – if you've been driving for three, four hours – stop, have great restrooms, great food, amenities, hang out and for half an hour and then be on your way," he continued. Musk is still committed to the idea he described in early August. Tesla CTO JB Straubel told attendees at food-tech conference FSTEC that it's trying to attach convenience stores to plug-in centers, GrubStreet reported. The company is already working with restaurants to make the vision a reality.  Tesla would not build the amenities, but would work with hotels, restaurants, and shopping areas to turn Supercharger station into enjoyable stopping gaps. It's unclear when we could see the first Tesla convenience store, but a nicer charging experience certainly helps the case for buying an electric car.SEE ALSO: Tesla will discontinue its cheapest Model S option on Sunday FOLLOW US: on Facebook for more car and transportation content! Join the conversation about this story » NOW WATCH: THE TESLA ROAD TRIP — The last leg of the journey is the hardest as we race against time to avoid running out of battery power [...]



Video Of The Week: Matthew Zeiler at Code Commerce [A VC]

2017-09-23T05:40:02-07:00

Matthew is the founder and CEO of our portfolio company Clarifai. Here is his talk (11mins) from last week’s Code Commerce conference in which he talks about how to use AI to grow your business.

Matthew is the founder and CEO of our portfolio company Clarifai.

Here is his talk (11mins) from last week’s Code Commerce conference in which he talks about how to use AI to grow your business.

src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/Rnd6bfloPaY" width="560" height="315" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen">

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Epic’s App Orchard Gains Traction with Hospitals, Third Parties [Xconomy VC/Deals]

2017-09-22T14:40:02-07:00

In February, Epic Systems formally introduced App Orchard, a program aimed at helping other healthcare software companies integrate their digital products with Epic’s tools for managing patient records. Hundreds of health systems around the world already use Verona, WI-based Epic’s software to document patient information. Doctors, nurses, and other healthcare workers can use the software […] In February, Epic Systems formally introduced App Orchard, a program aimed at helping other healthcare software companies integrate their digital products with Epic’s tools for managing patient records. Hundreds of health systems around the world already use Verona, WI-based Epic’s software to document patient information. Doctors, nurses, and other healthcare workers can use the software to schedule appointments for patients, order medications, and bill for care, to name a few examples. However, the company also needs to configure its software to send and receive information from third parties—software vendors that need to be able to share data with Epic at... Read more » Reprints | Share:           UNDERWRITERS AND PARTNERS                                  [...]



Boston Tech Watch: Autodesk, HubSpot, ViralGains, MLK Memorial & More [Xconomy VC/Deals]

2017-09-22T11:58:17-07:00

This week in Boston tech, we’ve been tracking another HubSpot artificial intelligence acquisition, investments in advertising and marketing technology startups, the acquisition of a nearly century-old local tech company, and a local entrepreneur’s effort to help build a memorial to Martin Luther King, Jr., in Boston. Read on for details. —HubSpot acquired Chicago-based Motion AI, […] This week in Boston tech, we’ve been tracking another HubSpot artificial intelligence acquisition, investments in advertising and marketing technology startups, the acquisition of a nearly century-old local tech company, and a local entrepreneur’s effort to help build a memorial to Martin Luther King, Jr., in Boston. Read on for details. —HubSpot acquired Chicago-based Motion AI, a maker of business chatbots, for an undisclosed price. The deal marks HubSpot’s third acquisition in three months, following the purchases of Kemvi and Evolve. All three use machine learning and related technologies. Cambridge, MA-based HubSpot (NYSE: HUBS) sells marketing and sales software. —ViralGains,... Read more » Reprints | Share:           [...]



Friday Fun #2 [VC Adventure]

2017-09-22T07:58:43-07:00

Beware of Lotters. And guys with guns who can’t spell.

Beware of Lotters.

And guys with guns who can’t spell.

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Last Chance to Sign Up For The Fall 2017 Venture Deals Course [Feld Thoughts]

2017-09-22T06:59:07-07:00

Kauffman Fellows and Techstars are running another cycle of the Venture Deals course with me and Jason Mendelson. Signups close tomorrow as the course runs from 9/24/17 – 11/13/17. The course is free to everyone. The seven-week course, which is about five hours of work each week, has the following agenda. Week 1 – Introduction of... Read more The post Last Chance to Sign Up For The Fall 2017 Venture Deals Course appeared first on Feld Thoughts.Kauffman Fellows and Techstars are running another cycle of the Venture Deals course with me and Jason Mendelson. Signups close tomorrow as the course runs from 9/24/17 – 11/13/17. The course is free to everyone. The seven-week course, which is about five hours of work each week, has the following agenda. Week 1 – Introduction of key players/Form or join a team Week 2 – Fundraising/Finding the Right VC Week 3 – Capitalization Tables/Convertible Debt Week 4 – Term Sheets: Economics & Control Week 5 – Term Sheets Part Two Week 6 – Negotiations Week 7 – Letter of Intent/Getting Acquired Over 10,000 people have taken the course at this point. We’ve gotten universally strong positive reviews and have made plenty of new friends from people who have gone through the course and connected with us. If you are interested in raising venture capital, I encourage you to sign up and take the course. I hope to see you online. The post Last Chance to Sign Up For The Fall 2017 Venture Deals Course appeared first on Feld Thoughts. [...]



Pfizer, Veritas, MGH Join Xconomy’s Healthcare + A.I. Conference on Nov. 2 [Xconomy VC/Deals]

2017-09-22T06:00:58-07:00

Like a lot of fields, healthcare is riding the A.I. wave. We’re hearing about machine learning and other artificial intelligence techniques being applied to genomic analysis, drug discovery, imaging and diagnostics, patient-doctor interactions, and other clinical tasks. But there’s a lot of hype and challenges to go along with it. On November 2, Xconomy is […] Like a lot of fields, healthcare is riding the A.I. wave. We’re hearing about machine learning and other artificial intelligence techniques being applied to genomic analysis, drug discovery, imaging and diagnostics, patient-doctor interactions, and other clinical tasks. But there’s a lot of hype and challenges to go along with it. On November 2, Xconomy is convening a special group of business and healthtech leaders to discuss the most important issues in this emerging sector. The half-day conference, called Healthcare + A.I., is happening at Pfizer’s offices in Cambridge, MA, and you can still snag a ticket here. It will... Read more » Reprints | Share:           [...]



Satya Nadella owns his mistakes – impressive [The Equity Kicker]

2017-09-22T05:26:09-07:00

From a recent Fast Company article about Satya: Invited to participate in a Q&A at the Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in Computing, a major annual event, he told...

From a recent Fast Company article about Satya:

Invited to participate in a Q&A at the Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in Computing, a major annual event, he told the largely female audience that women in the tech industry should forgo asking for raises and instead trust that the system would reward them appropriately. The negative reaction was swift, with attendees quickly tweeting out their pushback.

Nadella realized his mistake, and the next day issued an apology. “I answered that question completely wrong,” he wrote in an email to Microsoft employees. Today, he describes his onstage comments as “a nonsense answer from this privileged guy.”

But Nadella did more than deliver a mea culpa; he explored his own biases—and pushed his executive team to follow suit. “I became more committed to Satya, not less,” says Microsoft chief people officer Kathleen Hogan, the former COO of worldwide sales, whom Nadella promoted into her current role soon after the kerfuffle. “He didn’t blame anybody. He owned it. He came out to the entire company, and he said, ‘We’re going to learn, and we’re going to get a lot smarter.’

That makes me want to join Microsoft to follow him :). Very impressive.

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Five Questions For … Anousheh Ansari, Tech CEO & Space Traveler [Xconomy VC/Deals]

2017-09-22T04:08:04-07:00

Dallas—As a teenager in Iran in the 1970s, Anousheh Ansari looked to the night sky and dreamed of going to space. When she was a teenager, she moved with her family to the United States. She couldn’t speak English, but as she learned the language, she says she was able to communicate through her love […] Dallas—As a teenager in Iran in the 1970s, Anousheh Ansari looked to the night sky and dreamed of going to space. When she was a teenager, she moved with her family to the United States. She couldn’t speak English, but as she learned the language, she says she was able to communicate through her love of science and math. That foundation led to bachelor’s and master’s degrees in electrical and computer engineering from George Mason University and George Washington. After a stint at telecommunications firm MCI (where she met her husband, Hamid Ansari), she founded Telecom Technologies along with Hamid... Read more » Reprints | Share:           [...]



Bio Roundup: RNAi’s Big Day, CAR-T For Kids, Drugs From Fungi & More [Xconomy VC/Deals]

2017-09-22T03:30:02-07:00

It’s been a year of biomedical milestones in the U.S., including the first approval of a CAR-T cellular immunotherapy, the first smartphone app to treat substance abuse, and the first approval of a cancer drug based on genetic signature instead of the tumor’s organ of origin. Add to the list the first successful Phase 3 […] It’s been a year of biomedical milestones in the U.S., including the first approval of a CAR-T cellular immunotherapy, the first smartphone app to treat substance abuse, and the first approval of a cancer drug based on genetic signature instead of the tumor’s organ of origin. Add to the list the first successful Phase 3 trial for an RNA interference drug, likely leading to a first ever FDA review. We might not need to go far into the future to look back at 2017 and call it a year when medicine began to significantly change. Perhaps we can... Read more » Reprints | Share:           [...]



Feature Friday: Coinbase Vaults [A VC]

2017-09-22T02:21:28-07:00

Vaults are the crypto equivalent of a savings account. If you have crypto assets that you don’t plan to spend/send frequently, you can put them in vault and get increased security. Coinbase has had a vault offering for Bitcoin for the past three years and they have now launched the same vault product for ETH […]Vaults are the crypto equivalent of a savings account. If you have crypto assets that you don’t plan to spend/send frequently, you can put them in vault and get increased security. Coinbase has had a vault offering for Bitcoin for the past three years and they have now launched the same vault product for ETH and Litecoin. It appears as an additional account in your Coinbase accounts screen: With the vault, you get a 48 withdrawal period (so nobody can move funds out of your account for 48 hours) and multiple signers on a withdrawal. You can have three signers and require all three to sign a withdrawal or you can set up five and require three of five to sign a withdrawal. I like to keep some crypto assets in my wallet and the rest in a vault. It is more secure. If you have crypto assets at Coinbase, I encourage you to set up vaults for them. [...]



Nathan Myhrvold: The Full Xconomy Voices Interview [Xconomy VC/Deals]

2017-09-22T00:00:36-07:00

Episode 3 of our new podcast, Xconomy Voices, features a conversation about nuclear power with Nathan Myhrvold, the founder and CEO of Intellectual Ventures. The former Microsoft chief technology officer is now vice chairman of TerraPower, a Bellevue, WA-based spinout of Intellectual Ventures that aims to revive commercial nuclear energy. The company is researching next-generation […] Episode 3 of our new podcast, Xconomy Voices, features a conversation about nuclear power with Nathan Myhrvold, the founder and CEO of Intellectual Ventures. The former Microsoft chief technology officer is now vice chairman of TerraPower, a Bellevue, WA-based spinout of Intellectual Ventures that aims to revive commercial nuclear energy. The company is researching next-generation reactor designs, including the traveling wave reactor and the molten chloride reactor, that would be cheaper to build and operate than previous generations of reactors—as well as safer. Myhrvold believes nuclear power has to be part of the answer to the challenge of... Read more » Reprints | Share:           [...]



CloudHealth Names Axbey CEO as Enterprise Cloud Spending Accelerates [Xconomy VC/Deals]

2017-09-21T13:46:05-07:00

Fresh off raising a $46 million venture funding round, CloudHealth Technologies is embarking on its next chapter under new leadership. On Thursday, the Boston-based IT management firm named Tom Axbey as its new president and CEO. Axbey previously led Rave Mobile Safety, a Framingham, MA-based company whose software is used to communicate and share data […] Fresh off raising a $46 million venture funding round, CloudHealth Technologies is embarking on its next chapter under new leadership. On Thursday, the Boston-based IT management firm named Tom Axbey as its new president and CEO. Axbey previously led Rave Mobile Safety, a Framingham, MA-based company whose software is used to communicate and share data during emergencies. (Rave recently promoted chief product officer Todd Piett to president and CEO.) Axbey takes the reins from CloudHealth co-founder Dan Phillips, who will remain chairman of the company’s board. Co-founder and chief technology officer Joe Kinsella will stay in that role. As... Read more » Reprints | Share:           [...]



As CarGurus Preps IPO, These 6 Boston Tech Firms Could Be Next [Xconomy VC/Deals]

2017-09-21T11:54:52-07:00

Some predicted the U.S. tech IPO window would open wider this year, but it’s still just a slit. Only 14 tech companies have held initial public offerings in the U.S. this year, Bloomberg reported this week. (Notable IPOs include Snap, Blue Apron, and Redfin.) That follows 19 U.S.-listed tech IPOs last year and 28 in […] Some predicted the U.S. tech IPO window would open wider this year, but it’s still just a slit. Only 14 tech companies have held initial public offerings in the U.S. this year, Bloomberg reported this week. (Notable IPOs include Snap, Blue Apron, and Redfin.) That follows 19 U.S.-listed tech IPOs last year and 28 in 2015. By comparison, at least 34 companies went public in the U.S. markets each year from 2010 through 2014, according to Bloomberg. None of this year’s tech IPOs have come from the Boston area. But the local tech community could avoid a 2017... Read more » Reprints | Share:           [...]



Seattle Screenings of For Here or To Go? [Feld Thoughts]

2017-09-21T09:01:09-07:00

Amy and I have been big supporters of a movie about immigration called For Here or To Go? With our friends at Boundless, we are sponsoring a week of screenings in Seattle. We are supplying a bunch of free tickets and – when they are used up – will still have a set of paid tickets available....

The post Seattle Screenings of For Here or To Go? appeared first on Feld Thoughts.

Amy and I have been big supporters of a movie about immigration called For Here or To Go?

With our friends at Boundless, we are sponsoring a week of screenings in Seattle. We are supplying a bunch of free tickets and – when they are used up – will still have a set of paid tickets available.

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It’s playing at the Landmark Theaters Crest Cinema Center from Friday 9/22 to Wednesday 9/27. If the topic of immigration is important to you, this is a great, powerful, thought-provoking movie.

If you want to bring a big group or spend some time with Rishi, the creator of the movie, just email me.

The post Seattle Screenings of For Here or To Go? appeared first on Feld Thoughts.

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Xconomy Voices, Episode 3: Nathan Myhrvold and TerraPower [Xconomy VC/Deals]

2017-09-21T07:24:47-07:00

We’re pleased to bring you the third episode of Xconomy Voices, our new podcast featuring conversations with entrepreneurs, innovators, and investors from Xconomy’s home cities and regions. This week our guest is Nathan Myhrvold, the former Microsoft chief technology officer who, since 2000, has headed Intellectual Ventures, a Bellevue, WA-based firm that buys, develops, and […] We’re pleased to bring you the third episode of Xconomy Voices, our new podcast featuring conversations with entrepreneurs, innovators, and investors from Xconomy’s home cities and regions. This week our guest is Nathan Myhrvold, the former Microsoft chief technology officer who, since 2000, has headed Intellectual Ventures, a Bellevue, WA-based firm that buys, develops, and licenses technology patents and other intellectual property. Myhrvold spoke about Intellectual Ventures’ mission and business model at Xconomy’s Napa Summit in June, and we caught up with him there. He has so many interests and projects that we could easily have spent the entire... Read more » Reprints | Share:           [...]



Big Fundraising Week for Slack, Patreon, TigerGraph, Others in Bay Area [Xconomy VC/Deals]

2017-09-21T06:04:11-07:00

Silicon Valley companies, from big ones with millions of users to infant startups, rolled up some money from investors this week. —San Francisco-based Slack, which offers shared messaging channels for workplace teams, raised $250 million to pad out its cash cushion from the $591 million the company had already raised, Bloomberg reported. The big round was […] Silicon Valley companies, from big ones with millions of users to infant startups, rolled up some money from investors this week. —San Francisco-based Slack, which offers shared messaging channels for workplace teams, raised $250 million to pad out its cash cushion from the $591 million the company had already raised, Bloomberg reported. The big round was led by SoftBank Group Corp.’s Vision Fund—which pitched in more than half the money—joined by other investors including Accel, Bloomberg reported. The investment pegs Slack’s valuation at $5.1 billion. The SoftBank fund has raised nearly $100 billion this year, and its investment interests range from... Read more » Reprints | Share:           [...]



Landos Joins Garabedian’s Bio Startup Accelerator Xontogeny, Gets $10M [Xconomy VC/Deals]

2017-09-21T04:30:04-07:00

Xontogeny, the Boston-based biotech startup accelerator formed by one-time Sarepta Therapeutics CEO Chris Garabedian, has taken on its first company. The firm has helped secure a $10 million investment for a Blacksburg, VA, startup, Landos Biopharma, that is developing drugs for inflammatory bowel disease. New York life sciences investment firm Perceptive Advisors is the sole […] Xontogeny, the Boston-based biotech startup accelerator formed by one-time Sarepta Therapeutics CEO Chris Garabedian, has taken on its first company. The firm has helped secure a $10 million investment for a Blacksburg, VA, startup, Landos Biopharma, that is developing drugs for inflammatory bowel disease. New York life sciences investment firm Perceptive Advisors is the sole investor in Landos’s Series A round. Perceptive was also Xontogeny’s only investor when it raised a $25 million round earlier this year. Xontogeny was formed to help fledgling biotechs progress experimental programs from preclinical research through proof-of-concept studies. Garabedian (pictured), a former Gilead Sciences (NASDAQ:... Read more » Reprints | Share:           [...]



Happy New Year [A VC]

2017-09-21T02:50:31-07:00

Today is Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year. I’d like to wish a happy new year to all my Jewish friends and colleagues and readers. I don’t personally identify as any particular religion. I was brought up Catholic, married into and raised our children Jewish, and I appreciate both of these religions. I also feel great […]Today is Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year. I’d like to wish a happy new year to all my Jewish friends and colleagues and readers. I don’t personally identify as any particular religion. I was brought up Catholic, married into and raised our children Jewish, and I appreciate both of these religions. I also feel great connectivity to Buddhism and have many wonderful Muslim friends. There are bits of all of these belief systems that I connect to and appreciate. But mostly I am a fan of spirituality and belief systems. Being human is a strange, wonderful, and, at times, unnerving experience. Spirituality and belief systems help us with our humanity and make our time on earth a bit easier. If we could have that without all of the other stuff religion brings, that would be a wonderful thing. Today is a day for my Judaism. I will attend services with my family, hear the shofar, wish everyone Shanah Tovah, and celebrate with a big meal with friends and family. Rosh Hashanah is my favorite Jewish holiday and I plan to enjoy it. Shanah Tovah. [...]



Humatics, $18M Richer, Aims to Equip Robots with Microlocation Tech [Xconomy VC/Deals]

2017-09-20T15:07:06-07:00

A Boston-area robotics firm is starting to make its first big moves. Cambridge, MA-based “microlocation” startup Humatics announced this week it has completed an $18 million Series A funding round. Detroit-based Fontinalis Partners led the investment, with participation from Airbus Ventures, Lockheed Martin Ventures, Intact Ventures, Tectonic Ventures, Presidio Ventures, Blue Ivy Ventures, and others. […] A Boston-area robotics firm is starting to make its first big moves. Cambridge, MA-based “microlocation” startup Humatics announced this week it has completed an $18 million Series A funding round. Detroit-based Fontinalis Partners led the investment, with participation from Airbus Ventures, Lockheed Martin Ventures, Intact Ventures, Tectonic Ventures, Presidio Ventures, Blue Ivy Ventures, and others. Since its inception in 2015, the company has raised a total of about $22 million. Humatics’ technology revolves around “location and navigation at the millimeter level,” says co-founder and CEO David Mindell. Traditional Global Positioning Systems (GPS) rely on satellites... Read more » Reprints | Share:           [...]



Techstars Heads to Norway in Search of Energy Startups with Statoil [Xconomy VC/Deals]

2017-09-20T14:23:19-07:00

Global startup launcher Techstars plans to run a program next year in Oslo, with Norwegian state-owned energy giant Statoil, focused on startups working in the energy industry. Statoil (NYSE: STOS) is a 45-year-old vertically integrated oil and gas giant with deep expertise in offshore exploration and drilling, as well as a significant hydroelectric and wind energy […] Global startup launcher Techstars plans to run a program next year in Oslo, with Norwegian state-owned energy giant Statoil, focused on startups working in the energy industry. Statoil (NYSE: STOS) is a 45-year-old vertically integrated oil and gas giant with deep expertise in offshore exploration and drilling, as well as a significant hydroelectric and wind energy portfolio, after its merger a decade ago with Norsk Hydro. Audun Abelsnes, a Norwegian technology executive, investor, and company founder, will direct Techstars Energy, after spending the last nine months as an entrepreneur in residence. “Norway is internationally recognized for energy so it... Read more » Reprints | Share:           [...]



Mexico City [A VC]

2017-09-20T10:51:00-07:00

Mexico City is an amazing place. The Gotham Gal and I were there around this time last year. The people, the culture, the energy are all great in Mexico City. It feels like a place on the move where good things are happening. So I was upset to hear about the devastating earthquake last night. […]Mexico City is an amazing place. The Gotham Gal and I were there around this time last year. The people, the culture, the energy are all great in Mexico City. It feels like a place on the move where good things are happening. So I was upset to hear about the devastating earthquake last night. We have had so many natural disasters in the last month and I understand that we may all be fatigued from giving to all of these needy causes. But I took some time this morning to give and thought I’d share with all of you where I sent some funds in case you want to do the same. Salma Hayek’s Crowdrise Campaign to UNICEF’s on the ground relief efforts: I donated $1000. Bitso’s (Mexico’s largest crypto exchange) Campaign to benefit Red Cross and Brigada de Rescate Topos Tlaltelolco A.C.: I donated 2 ETH. It feels good to send some funds to organizations on the ground that are actually helping people in a difficult time. [...]



US and UK entrepreneurs suffer equally from ‘fear of failure’ [The Equity Kicker]

2017-09-20T09:11:02-07:00

This chart is from the UK government’s recently published Patient Capital Review. I’m publishing it here because I often hear it said that the US startup ecosystem has a...

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This chart is from the UK government’s recently published Patient Capital Review.

I’m publishing it here because I often hear it said that the US startup ecosystem has a significant advantage over the UK and Europe because on this side of the Atlantic we are hobbled by a greater fear of failure. This has always annoyed me because a) I didn’t see it in practice, b) a certain amount of fear of failure is rational, and c) people used our supposed fear of failure to talk down the local startup ecosystem.

As you can see from the graph on the far right it turns out that fear of failure is roughly the same in the UK, the US, France and Germany.

It’s so good to finally have data on this topic!

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Austin Venture Firm AVX Partners Changes Name to Elsewhere Ventures [Xconomy VC/Deals]

2017-09-20T09:02:49-07:00

Austin—The founders of an Austin venture capital firm that invests in software companies have renamed the firm to Elsewhere Partners because its founders say it reflects the investors’ interest in companies located in cities that don’t traditionally have much access to venture capital. Previously known as AVX Partners, which was founded in 2015, the firm […] Austin—The founders of an Austin venture capital firm that invests in software companies have renamed the firm to Elsewhere Partners because its founders say it reflects the investors’ interest in companies located in cities that don’t traditionally have much access to venture capital. Previously known as AVX Partners, which was founded in 2015, the firm decided to change its name to Elsewhere Partners to match its interest in investing in companies such as Itential, based in Atlanta, Franklin, TN-based Relatient, and Vancouver, BC-based Tasktop, says co-founder and partner Chris Pacitti. Pacitti’s first investment with AVX, Austin-based Vyopta, stirred his... Read more » Reprints | Share:           [...]



I’m Not Buying An iPhone 8 [Feld Thoughts]

2017-09-20T07:41:56-07:00

For starters, let’s look at some Golden Retriever puppies instead. I watched most of the Apple announcement last week (I was on vacation and hanging out waiting for Amy, so I just plopped down on the floor and watched Special Events on the Apple TV channel.) I fell asleep for a few minutes part way... Read more The post I’m Not Buying An iPhone 8 appeared first on Feld Thoughts.For starters, let’s look at some Golden Retriever puppies instead. style="border: none; overflow: hidden;" src="https://www.facebook.com/plugins/video.php?href=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.facebook.com%2FNTDTelevision%2Fvideos%2F2341382102570553%2F&show_text=0&width=476" width="476" height="476" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen"> I watched most of the Apple announcement last week (I was on vacation and hanging out waiting for Amy, so I just plopped down on the floor and watched Special Events on the Apple TV channel.) I fell asleep for a few minutes part way through it. I turned it off about halfway through the iPhone X announcement. I’ve been an Apple user for many years now. Every few years, I switch to an Android phone for a month (whatever the newest model is) but always end up going back to my iPhone. Whenever each new iPhone model has come out (for at least the past five years) there’s been a mad rush among my partners to make sure all of us have a new phone the day they ship. I even sported a rose gold one during one upgrade cycle just because I could. When Amy and I went to lunch after the iPhone 8 and X announcement, she asked me if I was going to get a new iPhone. I said no. I realized I was profoundly uninspired – both by the new phone and the way the Apple team presented it. I’d go so far as to say I was bored, which as a lifetime nerd, is unusual when Amy lets me hang out and do anything related to computers (including watching TV about computers.) Amy then said, “I didn’t mean the 8, I meant the X.” For some reason, I’m completely uninterested right now in the iPhone X. I don’t know why. It might be the presentation. It might be that’s it’s not available for another few months. It might be that I just spend too much money and time fixing my iPhone 7+ screen (twice) after dropping it. Why twice? Because the first time I stupidly sent it over to one of the non-Apple “we can fix your iPhone for you for less money” stores who replaced the glass but totally screwed up a bunch of other things (the home button, the touch dynamics, and the edge feel of things.) That resulted in me buying a new iPhone 7+. Dumb Brad – just to go the Apple store even if it’s five miles further away and you have to drive instead of walk. On the other hand, iOS 11 just installed on my phone while I was writing this post. A cursory glance shows that[...]



Last Chance to Save on Boston’s Life Science Disruptors [Xconomy VC/Deals]

2017-09-20T05:46:12-07:00

There’s just eight days left before Xconomy’s latest biotech event, “Boston’s Life Science Disruptors.” Don’t let the clock run out while you can still save some cash on a ticket. Next Thursday, September 28, we’re bringing together some of the key founders and investors behind three cancer drugmakers—Tesaro, Dragonfly Therapeutics, and IFM Therapeutics—that have each […] There’s just eight days left before Xconomy’s latest biotech event, “Boston’s Life Science Disruptors.” Don’t let the clock run out while you can still save some cash on a ticket. Next Thursday, September 28, we’re bringing together some of the key founders and investors behind three cancer drugmakers—Tesaro, Dragonfly Therapeutics, and IFM Therapeutics—that have each taken distinguishing, unusual paths. Join us to get a candid, inside look at these unique stories for insights you won’t find anywhere else. Don’t wait to register—our Procrastinator’s Special ends next week and it’s your last chance at a discount. Speakers include: Mary Lynne Hedley ... Read more » Reprints | Share:           [...]



Costello’s A.I.-Driven Software Aims to Improve Sales Rep Performance [Xconomy VC/Deals]

2017-09-20T01:34:15-07:00

Artificial intelligence technologies are evolving at a rapid pace, remaking everything from vehicles to video games. An Indianapolis startup called Costello, armed with $1 million in investment capital, is launching this month to bring A.I. to deal management software, which the company says will help to better prepare sales reps while also offering managers increased […] Artificial intelligence technologies are evolving at a rapid pace, remaking everything from vehicles to video games. An Indianapolis startup called Costello, armed with $1 million in investment capital, is launching this month to bring A.I. to deal management software, which the company says will help to better prepare sales reps while also offering managers increased visibility into deals. Founder and CEO Frank Dale has an extensive background in sales and marketing for software companies, and was the CEO of Compendium when it was acquired by Oracle in 2013. He also spent some time as the Entrepreneur-in-Residence at TechPoint, where... Read more » Reprints | Share:           [...]



NVCA Sues Trump Administration for Delaying “Startup Visa” Program [Xconomy VC/Deals]

2017-09-19T18:34:52-07:00

Add another item to the list of tech industry beefs with the new crew in the White House. An organization representing venture capital firms filed a federal suit in Washington, DC, on Tuesday accusing Trump Administration officials of unlawfully delaying a program that would have allowed international entrepreneurs to work at companies they founded within […] Add another item to the list of tech industry beefs with the new crew in the White House. An organization representing venture capital firms filed a federal suit in Washington, DC, on Tuesday accusing Trump Administration officials of unlawfully delaying a program that would have allowed international entrepreneurs to work at companies they founded within the United States. The suit by the National Venture Capital Association is another attempt to stop the new administration from overturning immigration policies upheld during former President Barack Obama’s tenure. Under Obama, the federal government developed a program, nicknamed the “Startup Visa” plan, that would have... Read more » Reprints | Share:           [...]



Fintech Startup Zebra Raises $40M, Seremedi, Alice & More Texas News [Xconomy VC/Deals]

2017-09-19T13:58:35-07:00

Austin—The Zebra founder Adam Lyons has described the insurance startup as the “Kayak of insurance.” Now, The Zebra’s got a new CEO: the former head of Kayak. Keith Melnick, who was Kayak’s president, takes the reins at five-year-old The Zebra, a website that allows consumers to enter basic information about their car’s make, model, and […] Austin—The Zebra founder Adam Lyons has described the insurance startup as the “Kayak of insurance.” Now, The Zebra’s got a new CEO: the former head of Kayak. Keith Melnick, who was Kayak’s president, takes the reins at five-year-old The Zebra, a website that allows consumers to enter basic information about their car’s make, model, and year, as well as their ZIP code, and search for the best insurance matches available to them. The Zebra has also raised $40 million in a Series B round from Accel Partners. (The Palo Alto, CA-based venture firm has also backed Kayak, as well as... Read more » Reprints | Share:           [...]



MIT’s The Engine, Now With $200M, Makes First Bets: 3 Takeaways [Xconomy VC/Deals]

2017-09-19T13:42:44-07:00

[Updated 9/20/17, 8:18 am. See below.] Now the real work begins for The Engine, MIT’s ambitious venture fund and incubator. The organization announced its first batch of seven investments on Tuesday (see below), and revealed that it has raised $200 million, with plans to back 40 to 50 so-called “tough-tech” companies over the next few […] [Updated 9/20/17, 8:18 am. See below.] Now the real work begins for The Engine, MIT’s ambitious venture fund and incubator. The organization announced its first batch of seven investments on Tuesday (see below), and revealed that it has raised $200 million, with plans to back 40 to 50 so-called “tough-tech” companies over the next few years. The Engine initially raised $150 million for its first fund, but later tacked on the additional $50 million. MIT is one of the investors in the fund; it chipped in $25 million. MIT launched The Engine almost a year ago to provide resources... Read more » Reprints | Share:           [...]



Forward Partners Code of Ethics Regarding Sexual Harassment [The Equity Kicker]

2017-09-19T09:47:38-07:00

Earlier in the year, there were a significant number of victims who came forward to share stories of sexual harassment by investors. Some of those investors were prominent VCs....

Earlier in the year, there were a significant number of victims who came forward to share stories of sexual harassment by investors. Some of those investors were prominent VCs.

At Forward Partners we were really saddened by the reports – clearly, any abuse of an asymmetrical power relationship for sexual gain is wrong. Doctors have been held to a high standard in this regard for as long as I can remember and investors should be no different.

So a couple of weeks ago we adopted a new Code of Ethics for Sexual Harassment, with a link at the bottom of our homepage and a new question in our FAQ. The code identifies four different levels of sexual harassment and is based on a template that TechCrunch published in July.
We don’t want to make a big deal of this announcement, but it is important that people know our code of ethics exists.
All feedback welcome and if anyone wants to copy or adapt our code for their organisation we’d love that too.
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Engage in Boulder’s Upcoming Local Election [Feld Thoughts]

2017-09-19T08:42:49-07:00

Boulder has local elections every odd year. That means we are having a local election this year, with mail-in balloting starting on 10/16/17 and ending on 11/7/17. Because it’s on an odd-year cycle, turnout has historically been relatively low (under 50%). As a result, a very small number of votes can have a big impact... Read more The post Engage in Boulder’s Upcoming Local Election appeared first on Feld Thoughts.Boulder has local elections every odd year. That means we are having a local election this year, with mail-in balloting starting on 10/16/17 and ending on 11/7/17. Because it’s on an odd-year cycle, turnout has historically been relatively low (under 50%). As a result, a very small number of votes can have a big impact on the election results. This is especially important for the city council election. A number of Boulder residents, including me, have organized a new group called Engage Boulder to help get out the vote in this election cycle. Between now and 11/7/17, you’ll see a number of suggestions, events, and encouragement. Yesterday, Engage Boulder put out a short overview on why you should vote in the local election. It also had easy links to register for the mail-in voting. The overview follows – and, if you are interested – there’s a Get Out the Vote Event 9/27 at Oskar Blues in Boulder. To learn more about the upcoming Boulder election and related events, sign up to join the Engage Boulder newsletter. Participating in your local election is critical. It’s up to all of the citizens of Boulder to elect a slate of candidates committed to practical, analytical decision-making and a vision for the city that is open, progressive, and forward-looking. With your help, this can happen. Why Vote in Local Elections (And Why You Should Encourage  All Your Friends To Vote Too) Because your vote matters: We know that a few voters can drastically shift the outcome of an election. In the 2015 city council election, Jan Burton was only elected by 125 votes. Your vote can literally sway the election. Because what local government does affect you:  It decides: The safety and upkeep of our public areas. The quantity and type of local housing. The quality of trails for riding, hiking, and running. The level of support for the art, music, and entrepreneurial scene. How easy it is to get from home to work to play … and back. How easy it is to start and grow a business, or a family. And much, much more. Because it gives you the power to create change: We become the city we imagine, and how we govern ourselves has a lot to say about it. So vote on behalf of the next generation of [...]



Cloud Europe 2017: The Factory is Cranking [Cracking-the-code]

2017-09-19T06:51:00-07:00

Recent SaaS trends and the Accel Euroscape of the 100 most promising companies in Europe and Israel************This article was co-authored with my colleague Pia d'Iribarne and published initially on Tech.eu. Findings were presented at Cloud Europe, an Accel and Salesforce event gathering the top 100 SaaS companies in Europe, in conjunction with SaaStock 2017. You can see the full presentation here -************Europe is fertile ground for Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) companies, as shown in our comprehensive look at SaaS last year, “SaaS Wars – Europe Awakens”. Since then, momentum has only accelerated, and we’ve published a fresh edition of the top 100 European SaaS companies in conjunction with SaaStock 2017.But, first, let’s take a look at the overall health of the SaaS industry.12 cloud IPOs in the past 2 years: One from Europe SaaS companies are thriving in the public markets, with their aggregated market cap grew 350% since 2011, and 12 cloud companies going public in the past 24 months. These 12 have performed well, with an aggregate $2.6 billion in revenues (growing 39% year-on-year) and $25B of market cap. Compared to Salesforce, the industry leader, the stats were not too dissimilar over the same period: its market cap grew by $19B and its revenue increased by $3.3B.Looking closer at the 12 companies, we can conclude that it takes a $100m+ revenue run rate and 30-50% growth to go public in the current environment, even if several companies like Atlassian and Cloudera waited to reach $300M+ revenues before going public. However, the companies’ annualised free cash flow showed a big variation, ranging from -$100M for Box and Cloudera to +$100M for Atlasssian. Out of the 12 IPOs, Mimecast is the only company from Europe. However, as Europe’s SaaS acceleration began in 2013, and given that the median time to IPO from this group is 10 years, it will take time before we see a meaningful geographical change in SaaS IPOs. A healthy funding environment and momentum in Europe Like the public market, the private funding environment is still at an all-time high in 2017 with an annualised investment rate of $8.4B in the US, $2.6B in Europe and $0.9B in India. Europe and India are growing particularly quickly, and investment more than doubled from 2015, while the US is up 20%. The pace of SaaS company creation in Europe is growing even faster, up from 200 companies in 2008-10 to 670 in 2014-16. Our investments in the space have followed suit. We’ve invested $2.3B in SaaS companies globally. In 2010, 4% of this funding was going to European SaaS companies, while it’s over 40% this year.[...]



EPIcenter Developing Energy Incubator, Think Tank in San Antonio [Xconomy VC/Deals]

2017-09-19T06:47:02-07:00

San Antonio—[Corrected 2:28 p.m. See below.] On the south end of downtown San Antonio, in a 108-year-old power plant that was decommissioned in 2003, a nonprofit has plans to establish a think tank, incubator, and exhibit space that will advocate for innovation in clean energy. Called EPIcenter, the organization is redeveloping the power plant into […] San Antonio—[Corrected 2:28 p.m. See below.] On the south end of downtown San Antonio, in a 108-year-old power plant that was decommissioned in 2003, a nonprofit has plans to establish a think tank, incubator, and exhibit space that will advocate for innovation in clean energy. Called EPIcenter, the organization is redeveloping the power plant into a space to host conferences, develop new companies and new ideals, and for research and development work, among other uses. It was conceived in 2015 by a group of four energy-related organizations, including CPS Energy, a gas and electricity provider that is owned... Read more » Reprints | Share:           [...]



The IPO process should be difficult [BijanBlog]

2017-09-19T06:12:20-07:00

Since the recovery of the first internet crash in 2001, it’s an old saw to hear entrepreneurs and investors (mostly the latter), talk about the pain of going becoming a public company. And recently some friends of mine have launched a SPAC with a plan to help companies become public with less “brain damage”.I have a few thoughts on the subject.In the NYT article, Chamath points out that Facebook was the poster child of such a strategy. That is quite true but they were also the poster child of a secondary stock for private shares which was virtually unheard of previously. (And I’m not sure the secondary stock world has been a healthy thing for everyone but I’ll leave that for another post). And even though FB waited a long time to go public, they still provided massive equity growth after their IPO which is an extraordinary thing and a positive dynamic for the market/industry. Going public should be rigorous. It should be for the best companies. Recall in the late 90′s startups were going public with zero revenue and and endless losses. In addition, you had a bogus process for pricing private stock, we didn’t have a 409a process, and tech companies were even backdating options. Some had VCs specific programs/staff/infrastructure in place to take companies in less than a year. There will no doubt be great companies will choose to stay private longer or may not go public at all. That’s always been the case. But I like that the bar is high for companies to go public. It’s a healthy and constructive thing for the company and their customers and employees. I’ll end this post with some wisdom my good friend Fred Wilson shared about going public:I appreciate why some founders want to avoid being public. I spent the last day and a half being a public company director. There are parts of that job that suck. But having seen this movie (going public/being public) many times now, I think there is a lot less to fear than most entrepreneurs think. It’s good for the company to be held accountable, it’s good for the employees and investors to have liquidity, and it’s good to join the ranks of the best companies in the world.* * * The NYT article also describes an effort by Eric Reiss to encourage longer term shareholders. I like that concept a lot and would love to learn more about it.  [...]



Why Amazon Should Come To NYC [A VC]

2017-09-19T03:39:38-07:00

USA Today reported that NYC is working on a proposal to encourage Amazon to locate its second headquarters “HQ2” in NYC. I can’t imagine a better place for HQ2 than NYC. Here are ten reasons why Amazon should stop thinking about any other place and just pick NYC: NYC is headquarters to many global companies. […]USA Today reported that NYC is working on a proposal to encourage Amazon to locate its second headquarters “HQ2” in NYC. I can’t imagine a better place for HQ2 than NYC. Here are ten reasons why Amazon should stop thinking about any other place and just pick NYC: NYC is headquarters to many global companies. It has the transportation systems, building stock, and talent base that companies need and desire for their headquarters. It has 8.5mm people, enough to satisfy Amazon’s insatiable appetite for talent. It is home to the entrepreneurs, creators, innovators, and big ideas that Amazon is looking to surround itself with. It is home to the second largest tech sector in the US. NYC is committed to teaching computer science to all of the 1.1mm students in its school system by 2025 and is already 1/3 of the way there. NYC/NYS has embarked on massive infrastructure investment to upgrade its transportation hubs like LGA and Penn Station. There are something like fifteen direct flights from NYC to Seattle every weekday. NYC has the largest Amazon customer base of any city in the US (I am guessing on this one. But it has to be true). NYC will welcome Amazon with open arms unlike some of the other cities that Amazon is considering. NYC has the most diverse workforce in the US. So if any AVC readers know how to get this post to the team at Amazon that is making this decision, please send it to them. I am certain NYC is the place for them. They will love it here. [...]



Why I’m a Patriots fan [BijanBlog]

2017-09-18T07:59:25-07:00

In our house, the biggest fan of the New England Patriots is our oldest child, Sophia. She watches every game from start to finish. And she always sits in the same seat in our family room. To say she’s a superstitious fan is an understatement. This fall Sophia moved out of the house and headed off to college — and the Patriots lost their season opener. I got a text during the game from Sophia that said, “you know why they are losing, right?”.I knew exactly what she meant. She wasn’t watching the game from home. It turns out I was thinking the same thing. This past weekend, Sophia was home. She had been really sick and decided to come home to get some rest and TLC. I felt bad she was under the weather but it was nice to have her back.Yesterday we watched the Pats beat the Saints. She was sitting in her usual spot and she was happy watching her team win again. I like watching football and I like the Patriots. But the real reason I’m a Pats fan is really because I have so many memories of me and that kid cheering on Brady and team over the years. That’s what we do together and we did it again yesterday. [...]



Worry [A VC]

2017-09-18T05:42:43-07:00

I remember when I was in my early 20s and just starting out in the venture capital business, I came across an old wall street saying that “a market climbs a wall of worry.” I didn’t understand it and that made me want to. I read a bit about the saying and came to understand […]I remember when I was in my early 20s and just starting out in the venture capital business, I came across an old wall street saying that “a market climbs a wall of worry.” I didn’t understand it and that made me want to. I read a bit about the saying and came to understand that bull markets require an uneasy feeling. Worrying is a fundamental characteristic of most investors I know. Greed and fear are the two opposing elements of market forces. I read a board deck this weekend from a portfolio company that is absolutely crushing it and forwarded it to our team at USV with a short memo outlining all of the risks I am worried about. Not a single enthusiastic comment was in that email. Why is that? Because although we invest on “what could go right”, we manage our investments on “what might go wrong.” I believe one of our greatest assets to our portfolio companies is to be an early warning sign of trouble. If we can help the founders/leaders and their teams be aware of risks on the horizon, they can manage against those risks. And if there is one thing investors, particularly ones who have been around a while know about, it is how things can and do go wrong. Of course, how you worry is critical. You can’t weigh down the leadership teams with your worries. You can’t fill up the board meetings with angst. You have to be supportive, optimistic, encouraging, and positive in your interactions with founder/leaders and their teams. But you must also flag areas where there could be trouble. Getting that balance right has been a work in progress for me for my entire career. So being a worrier is an important characteristic in an investor. But you have to mostly keep those worries to yourself and your partners/team (this is a place where partners are invaluable). And you have to decide when a worry is significant enough to share it with your portfolio companies and then you need to find the right moment and narrative to communicate it. When you do it right, the teams appreciate it immensely. [...]



That Was The Vacation I Needed [Feld Thoughts]

2017-09-17T16:26:30-07:00

Amy and I just spent a week of vacation off the grid in Aspen. I ran, read, and hung out. I had a fantasy about writing, but didn’t get to it. We watched Narcos Season 3, ate at a bunch of Aspen’s restaurants, and had an Amy pre-birthday dinner with our friends Dave and Maureen.... Read more The post That Was The Vacation I Needed appeared first on Feld Thoughts.Amy and I just spent a week of vacation off the grid in Aspen. I ran, read, and hung out. I had a fantasy about writing, but didn’t get to it. We watched Narcos Season 3, ate at a bunch of Aspen’s restaurants, and had an Amy pre-birthday dinner with our friends Dave and Maureen. And we napped – a lot. I hadn’t had a vacation since mid-April, which is unusual for me as Amy and I try to take a week off the grid every quarter. On day three, which was a Monday, I settled into a total chill zone which lasted all week. I did my long run on Friday (instead of Saturday) and cruised from Aspen to Basalt. I then slept most of the day on Saturday when I wasn’t reading or eating. Yup – I’m marathon ready. While I’m not quite finished with Reincarnation Blues, I did knock down six other books this week. Sourdough: I loved this one. Robin Sloan’s previous book, Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore, was my favorite book of 2013 (thanks Geraldine!) Sourdough was even tastier. Daring to Drive: A Saudi Woman’s Awakening: Intense, powerful, horrifying, and inspiring all at the same time. Manal Al-Sharif is incredible. I hope I get to meet her someday – I’ll thank her for being brave enough to do what she does and to tell her story while doing it. The Impossible Fortress: My inner 14-year-old loved this book. Loved, loved, loved it. The Commodore 64 code was a bonus. Angel: How to Invest in Technology Startups – Timeless Advice from an Angel Investor Who Turned $100,000 into $100,000,000: I met Jason Calacanis in the mid-1990s when he was peddling his Silicon Alley Reporter magazine. We’ve been friends ever since and I give him a big hug whenever our paths cross. He’s his normal outspoken and bombastic self in this book, which has lots of gems buried in it. I smiled a lot when I read it. And how about that subtitle … The Rise and Fall of American Growth: The U.S. Standard of Living since the Civil War: This book was a grind, but it had a lot of good stuff in it. It’s only 784 pages so it took more than a day to read [...]



Some Thoughts On Burn Rates [A VC]

2017-09-17T04:11:56-07:00

The startup and venture capital businesses are based on a general idea that you can and should invest heavily into your business in order to increase value creation, amplify it, and accelerate it. These investments mostly take the form of operating losses, driven by headcount, where the monthly expenses are larger, often much larger, than […]The startup and venture capital businesses are based on a general idea that you can and should invest heavily into your business in order to increase value creation, amplify it, and accelerate it. These investments mostly take the form of operating losses, driven by headcount, where the monthly expenses are larger, often much larger, than revenues. These losses are known in the industry vernacular as “burn rates” – how much cash you burn on a monthly basis. But how much burn is reasonable? I have been thinking a lot about this in recent years. Instinctively I feel that many of our portfolio companies, and the startup sector as a whole, operate on burn rates that are too high and are unsustainable. But it is hard to talk to a founder, a management team, or a Board about burn rates objectively. There are no hard and fast rules on burn rate so you end up getting into an emotional discussion “it feels right vs it feels wrong.” That’s no way to have a conversation as important as this one. So I’ve been looking for some rule of thumbs. One that I like and have blogged about is the Rule of 40. The rule of 40 makes an explicit relationship between revenue growth rates and annual operating losses. Below 40 is bad. Above 40 is good. But the issue with the Rule of 40 is that it is oriented toward businesses (like SAAS) where there is a well-understood relationship between value and revenues and ones that are reasonably developed. So I’ve been deconstructing the Rule of 40 in hopes of trying to get to a more fundamental truth about burn rates. And what I have come up with is this: Your company’s annual value creation (valuation at the end of the year minus valuation at the start of the year) should be a multiple of the cash your company has consumed during the year. That seems simple and obvious and that is a good thing. But in order to make this work you need to lock down two things; how are you going to objectively measure valuation absent a financing event? what is the multiple? The latter one is easier I think. The multiple should be large. 1x is cl[...]



Audio Of The Week: Andy Weissman on Twenty Minute VC [A VC]

2017-09-16T04:24:09-07:00

In this podcast, my partner Andy talks a lot about USV’s investment process. It’s a good interview.In this podcast, my partner Andy talks a lot about USV’s investment process. It’s a good interview. src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=https%3A//api.soundcloud.com/tracks/341849990&color=%23ff5500&auto_play=false&hide_related=false&show_comments=true&show_user=true&show_reposts=false&visual=true" width="100%" height="300" frameborder="no" scrolling="no"> [...]



Fun Friday: Crypto Crystal Ball [A VC]

2017-09-15T06:07:41-07:00

Chris Burniske posted this Twitter poll a few days ago: Given the tense #crypto market environment right now, are you expecting: — Chris Burniske (@cburniske) September 14, 2017 I voted for option one. I think the crypto markets will be under pressure for at least the remainder of the year. But I am a buyer […]

Chris Burniske posted this Twitter poll a few days ago:

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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 a[...]



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 bes[...]



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?

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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 so[...]



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 dil[...]



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[...]



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 commit[...]



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, a[...]



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 :-) [...]