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Updated: 2017-10-20T05:04:00+00:00

 



German app-only bank N26 gears up for UK launch as it recruits country manager [Silicon Alley Insider]

2017-10-19T22:04:00-07:00

German app-only bank N26 recruiting a manager to lead "market entry in the UK." The hot startup has signed up 500,000 customers in just two years and raised $55 million.   LONDON — Closely-watched German fintech startup N26 is recruiting a country manager to spearhead its launch into the UK. A job listing on N26's website says it is looking for someone to take "charge of the market entry of N26 in the UK." The successful applicant will be "responsible for the operational setup and development of N26 in the UK market," and should "build up the branding for N26 within the UK market in order to successfully attract and win new customers." A spokesperson for N26 declined to comment on the app-only bank's timeline for launch in the UK. The Times reported in April that Berlin-based N26 wanted to launch in Britain by the end of the year. When Business Insider asked cofounder and CFO Maximilian Tayenthal this in June, he said: "It's a really interesting market and we are thoroughly looking at it. I don't want to commit to any timeline." It's unclear when N26 first posted the job listing but the same advert was posted on LinkedIn at the start of October. Business Insider understands that at least one person at a leading London fintech business has been approached by N26 about the job in recent weeks. Founded in 2013 and launched in 2015, N26 is a so-called "neobank" — a branchless bank that offers all its services through a smartphone app. The company operates across 17 countries in Europe, including Germany, France, Italy, and Spain, and has already signed up half a million customers. N26 is one of a number of app-only bank or bank-like services that have sprung up across Europe in the last few years. UK rivals include Monzo and Revolut. N26 has a significant war chest to take on competitors. The 290-person business has raised over $55 million (£42.7 million), most recently raising $40 million (£31 million) from investors including Hong Kong billionaire Li Ka-Shing last June.Join the conversation about this story » NOW WATCH: This is what separates the Excel masters from the wannabes [...]



People told the MongoDB founders they were 'completely crazy' and now the company is worth $1.6 billion [Silicon Alley Insider]

2017-10-19T21:56:00-07:00

A decade ago, people told the MongoDB founders they were crazy to try and build their tech company in New York instead of Silicon Valley. On Thursday, MongoDB proved the naysayers wrong with a successful IPO. It's been a "surreal" experience for one of its founders, 36-year-old Eliot Horowitz, he tells Business Insider. On Thursday, MongoDB pulled off a successful IPO, opening at $24, higher than its initial target range of $18 - $20 and raising $192 million. MongoDB's shares leaped 33% by day's end, valuing it at $1.6 billion, on par with the last valuation it had as a private company. And that's good news for the crop of other unicorns, startups valued at $1 billion or more, waiting in the wings for their own IPOs. The New York-based database company has been a darling of the VC world and raised over $311 million from private investors. But it wasn't always that way, recalls one of its cofounders, CTO Eliot Horowitz. Horowitz helped cofounder Dwight Merriman write the company's bread-and-butter product, the MongoDB database, when the company was founded in 2007. They were joined by cofounder Kevin Ryan. Merriman and Ryan were already known in New York for creating a hit tech company, DoubleClick, sold to a private equity firm for $1.1 billion. (Google later bought it for over $3 billion). But DoubleClick was an adtech company and New York is the hub of advertising. The database world was centered in Silicon Valley. "We started ten years ago and people thought we were completely crazy for starting a database company in New York. The early VC meetings where like, so when are moving to California? And Dwight and I were like, 'uh, never,'" he recalls. For a good four years people continuously told the founders that "you can't build a database company in New York," he said. But they did. Although MongoDB did eventually bow to pressure and open an office in Palo Alto, California, New York remained the hub. "When we started to hire people out of college and gave them the choice of do you want to go to New York or Palo Alto, they were like, 'Well, New York. Because New York is more fun," he said. The New York home base even caused the company to lose its CEO Max Schireson in 2014. Schireson, a former Oracle exec from the Bay Area, was living an exhausting bi-coastal lifestyle. He quit the job to see his kids more, a decision that set off a firestorm of analysis on work/life balance for men. The company hired Dev Ittycheria as CEO who led them to this IPO on Thursday. By day's end, Ittycheria's 6% stake was worth $88 million. A new kind of database Even from New York, MongoDB became a leader in an entirely new kind of database market. MongoDB is a free and open source database for holding messy types of data, the types generated by and used by internet applications. It fills a different technical need than the traditional databases sold by Oracle and Microsoft that store more rigid types of data. Its free version has been downloaded 30 million times and it has 4,300 paying customers, it says. It's the fourth most popular database on the market, according to market watching site DB-Engines. Today, MongoDB employees 820 people in 29 offices. For Horowitz, the best part of MongoDB's success is seeing how companies use this new kind of database. For instance, he says Bosch uses it with special screwdriver drills that can measure the torque of the screws as they install them in airplanes. By tracking torque, they can "make airplanes safer, and I fly a lot so that’s cool," he said. It's also cool that Horowitz's nearly 6% stake was worth $77 million by the close of market on Thursday. How does that feel? "The day's been a little surreal," he says.SEE ALSO: Founder of $110 million startup CrowdFlower: I'm forever grateful to Travis Kalanick Join the conversation about this story » NOW WATCH: Samsung released [...]



Leerink’s Cozzens on New Health IT Fund, A.I.’s Future as a Platform [Xconomy VC/Deals]

2017-10-19T21:01:59-07:00

Despite uncertainty over the future of the Affordable Care Act, investors continue to see opportunities to build successful businesses in healthcare technology and related services. For several years, the common refrain among healthtech investors has been that the implementation of electronic medical records (EMRs) and the shift from a fee-for-service payments structure to so-called value-based […] Despite uncertainty over the future of the Affordable Care Act, investors continue to see opportunities to build successful businesses in healthcare technology and related services. For several years, the common refrain among healthtech investors has been that the implementation of electronic medical records (EMRs) and the shift from a fee-for-service payments structure to so-called value-based care are the two most significant trends reshaping the healthcare industry—and they will continue to be important, regardless of what happens in Washington. Count Todd Cozzens in that camp. He’s a co-founder and managing partner of Leerink Transformation Partners (LTP), a Boston-based healthcare investment firm affiliated... Read more » Reprints | Share:           UNDERWRITERS AND PARTNERS                                  [...]



THE MOBILE CARRIER LANDSCAPE: How AT&T, Verizon, T-Mobile, and Sprint are overcoming slow user growth amid a fierce price war [Silicon Alley Insider]

2017-10-19T21:01:00-07:00

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. It hasn't been smooth sailing for telecoms in recent years. Native voice and messaging services, which once accounted for the vast majority of telecoms' subscriber revenue, are struggling to compete with over-the-top (OTT) apps, like Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp, and Viber — and they're losing. A fierce and ongoing price war among the Big Four carriers is only compounding the pressure telecoms are facing. The consequent resurgence of unlimited data plans is straining carriers' networks, and revenues are suffering. Nevertheless, telecoms are now better positioned than ever to play a bigger role in their subscribers' lives. Consumers spend more than half of their digital time on smartphones, compared with a third on PCs. This shift has effectively placed telecoms at the front door of consumers' digital experience. In a new report from BI Intelligence, we examine where the wireless industry stands as a result of the price war and uptick in data demand from consumers. We also look at how technological advancements and the adoption of new product lines could incentivize the next wave of revenue growth for telecoms. Finally, we explore potential barriers to carriers' growth, and examine which of the Big Four carriers are poised to lead the pack. Here are some of the key takeaways from the report: Native voice and messaging services, which once accounted for the vast majority of telecoms' subscriber revenue, are struggling to compete with over-the-top apps. A fierce ongoing price war among the Big Four is only compounding the pressure telecoms are facing. Still, consumers' growing dependence on smartphones and data means telecoms are now better positioned than ever to play a bigger role in their subscribers' lives. As digital continues to reshape the wireless industry, telecoms are preparing for the next wave of disruption, including connected cars, augmented reality, and 5G. Despite a plethora of opportunities, several existing and emerging threats could impede telecoms' growth and expansion efforts. In full, the report: Describes how the US wireless carrier is shaping up. Explores the effect of the fierce pricing wars taking place, and the methods carriers are using to retain their subscribers. Highlights the new technology carriers are using to drive growth and revenue.  Looks at the potential barriers that could limit carriers' growth and examines who's best positioned to come out on top. To get the full report, subscribe to an All-Access pass to BI Intelligence and gain immediate access to this report and more than 250 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 You can also purchase and download the full report from our research store. Join the conversation about this story » [...]



JPMorgan Chase to Buy WePay; Venmo Adds Merchant Payments [Xconomy VC/Deals]

2017-10-19T20:40:32-07:00

Banks and financial technology companies are scrambling for territory in the online payments arena, as they compete to offer the safest and most convenient digital transaction mechanisms for both consumers and merchants. This week, JPMorgan Chase announced an agreement to acquire WePay, a Redwood City, CA-based company that helps software makers build a payment function […] Banks and financial technology companies are scrambling for territory in the online payments arena, as they compete to offer the safest and most convenient digital transaction mechanisms for both consumers and merchants. This week, JPMorgan Chase announced an agreement to acquire WePay, a Redwood City, CA-based company that helps software makers build a payment function into their apps. Terms of the deal weren’t given. But the Wall Street Journal, as cited by CNBC, reported that the purchase price was higher than the $220 million valuation set for WePay in its most recent funding round in 2015. WePay was... Read more » Reprints | Share:           [...]



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

2017-10-19T20:08:00-07:00

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 » [...]



Twitter admits it hasn't kept its promises to make the site safer and published deadlines for new rules (TWTR) [Silicon Alley Insider]

2017-10-19T18:11:00-07:00

Twitter admitted that it has to do more to protect its users from harassment and threats. It also said it needs to be more open about what it is doing and why. So, on Thursday it announced something new: a public timetable to have new rules or features in place, and open progress report on these efforts.  Twitter on Thursday published a blog post that admitted that the company has often promised to protect people from harassment and violent threats and failed to follow through on efforts to improve. "Far too often in the past we’ve said we’d do better and promised transparency but have fallen short in our efforts," the company said in the post. The mea culpa came after Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey sent a series of tweets late last Friday promising to do better. This after a backlash the company received for temporarily banning the account of actress Rose McGowan after she accused Ben Affleck of lying about his knowledge of producer Harvey Weinstein's alleged sexual harassment. Earlier this week, Dorsey outlined a long list of specific behaviors that Twitter will ban including becoming stricter over "non-consensual" nudity, hate symbols, and threats of violence. Twitter is also developing new rules on groups that advocate for the use of violence. But on Thursday the company tried do more than just issue more promises. It included a timetable for when the company expects to have these new rules in place, or at least give a progress report. For instance, it says it expects to publish its new rules on violence and hate groups by November 3 and it will provide updates on the progress of all the new rules between now and mid-December. "This is the first time we’ve shared this level of visibility into our work, and we hope it helps build trust along the way." Twitter is also hiring for its Trust and Safety teams. Of the 297 positions it has open, seven are for positions on its Trust & Safety team (including one for a six-month contract position). This compares to 21 in its marketing and communications department, 58 in sales and partnerships and 103 in software engineering.SEE ALSO: Twitter will be tougher on 'non-consensual' nudity, hate symbols, and violent tweets after user backlash Join the conversation about this story » NOW WATCH: The 5 most annoying changes in the new iPhone update — and how to fix them [...]



SoftBank plans to invest roughly $880 billion in tech through its already-massive Vision Fund [Silicon Alley Insider]

2017-10-19T18:08:19-07:00

Japanese conglomerate SoftBank plans to aggressively grow its $100 billion Vision Fund to roughly $880 billion. "Vision Funds 2, 3 and 4 will be established every two to three years," according to CEO Masayoshi Son. SoftBank has already used the massive fund to invest in Nvidia, ARM, Improbable, and others. It's also close to acquiring roughly 20% of Uber. SoftBank plans to invest roughly $880 billion in tech companies through at least three more iterations of its Vision Fund, CEO Masayoshi Son recently told Nikkei. The Japanese conglomerate already commands the world's biggest private equity fund with the $100 billion it raised for the first Vision Fund this year. But the colossal amount of capital is just "the first step," according to Son, who said he is already working to establish a second Vision Fund in the next two or three years. "We will briskly expand the scale," he told Nikkei. "Vision Funds 2, 3 and 4 will be established every two to three years." Son said that SoftBank plans to invest in at least 1,000 tech companies in areas like artificial intelligence and robotics over the next 10 years. The billionaire businessman is said to be a firm believer in the concept of the "singularity," which says that artificial intelligence will eventually give way to machines that are smarter than all humanity. SoftBank tapped companies like Apple, Qualcomm, and the government of Saudi Arabia to back its first Vision Fund, and Son said he plans to exponentially grow each iteration of the fund closer towards one trillion dollars. "We are creating a mechanism to increase our funding ability from 10 trillion yen to 20 trillion yen to 100 trillion yen," he said. 100 trillion yen equals roughly $880 billion based on current currency rates. SoftBank has already invested in a wide range of companies this year, including Brain Corp, Mailbox, Boston Dynamics, Improbable, Nvidia, and Slack. Uber board member Arianna Huffington recently said that SoftBank is close to acquiring a 14% to 20% stake in the ride-hailing giant.SEE ALSO: Venture capitalists are 'baffled' by SoftBank's massive $100 billion tech fund and the size of its investments Join the conversation about this story » NOW WATCH: The 5 most annoying changes in the new iPhone update — and how to fix them [...]



Here's the weaponry aboard the guided-missile cruiser heading for the 5th fleet [Silicon Alley Insider]

2017-10-19T18:04:00-07:00

The guided-missile cruiser USS Monterey is on its way to the areas of the 5th and 6th fleet, which includes Europe and the Middle East. The Monterey, a destroyer with ballistic-missile-defense capabilities, deployed Monday "on a previously unscheduled deployment to the 5th and 6th Fleet areas to conduct maritime security operations,” Lt. Cmdr. Courtney Hillson told Navy Times. Here are the armaments the Monterey is bringing. Editor's note: This story has been corrected to reflect that the USS Monterey is heading toward the areas of the 5th and 6th fleet.SEE ALSO: This is the massive US nuclear submarine that just arrived off the Korean Peninsula NOW READ: Recent images show construction on North Korea's 'Hotel of Doom' may be starting again The USS Monterey, which measures about 567 feet long and 55 feet wide, was christened in October 1988 and commissioned in June 1990. Source: US Navy Its four LM2500 gas-turbine engines can bring it to speeds of more than 34 mph. Source: US Navy Its primary defense against airborne threats is the Standard Missile 2, the world's most advanced supersonic homing missile. The Standard Missile 2, seen in action above aboard the USS The Sullivans, is launched using the AEGIS Weapon System and the Vertical Launching System.  See it in action below:  Youtube Embed:http://www.youtube.com/embed/dMUfDCrxR2UWidth: 560pxHeight: 315px  Source: US Navy See the rest of the story at Business Insider [...]



There's a link between iPhone screen repairs and Apple's 2-year upgrade cycle [Silicon Alley Insider]

2017-10-19T17:37:00-07:00

There's a mental calculation most people do upon shattering their iPhone screen: Should I fix it immediately, or wait and buy a whole new phone? While some wait to do anything at all until their phone gives them glass slivers, others go the repair route, shelling out up to $149 to Apple or other repair services to replace the cracked screen.  But that mental calculation depends a lot on Apple's traditional two-year upgrade cycle. Peaks and valleys In the past, Apple has used a two-year cycle when designing iPhones. A complete redesign of the phone is released every two years, then a more incremental model (the S model) is released in the year in between. It's that timeline — which Apple only recently moved away from with the release of the iPhone 7, and did again with the iPhone 8 — that has traditionally impacted when people opt to fix their screen. "We see peaks and valleys in consumer demand for repairs," AJ Forsythe, the founder and CEO of phone repair service iCracked, told Business Insider. "When the iPhone 7 came out, iPhone 6s repairs actually eclipsed iPhone 6 repairs. Consumers are more likely to fix their 6s than they are to fix their 6, because they’re one generation away."  "It doesn’t make sense for you to go buy an iPhone 7 because you break your 6s, but it does make more sense on the two-year cycle to go get the iPhone 7 from the iPhone 6," Forsythe said. iCracked has been around since 2010 and repairs both iPhones and Samsung devices in about 600 cities around the US. The company says it has done more than 518,000 repairs, and about 60% of its phone repairs are iPhones.  While iCracked doesn't release specific repair metrics, it tracked the rate of phone repair requests over time and compared them to the release dates of Apple's phones. iCracked found that the biggest uptick in repairs consistently falls right before the next generation phone is about to be released: Repair requests for the iPhone 5 spiked right before the release of the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus in 2014 Requests for the 6 spiked right before the release of the 6s in 2015 Requests for the 6s spiked right before the launch of the 7 was released in 2016. Here's how that looks over the last four years: iCracked also tracked the life cycle of requests, and it's easy to see the spike and the tapering off of repairs with Apple's last few phones. Now that the iPhone 8 has been released and the iPhone X has been announced, for example, requests to repair iPhone 6s devices are tapering off, as those users may be planning to buy the newest phones instead of repairing their old one. The same thing happened with the iPhone 6, and the iPhone 5s before that. "We generally have an 18-24 month — I don’t want to call it a life cycle, but right now, our two most-requested device repairs are iPhone 6 and iPhone 6s, and it’s not iPhone 7," Forsythe said. "But we know from historical data that in 12 months, our most-requested device will be iPhone 7. It takes awhile for sale cycles to catch up." iCracked's data isn't a complete analysis of screen repairs, since people may use local repair services or go to Apple directly. For anyone with AppleCare+, an iPhone 7 Plus repair only costs $29 — iCracked's rates depend on the type of device, the type of repair, and your location, but can range upwards of $90.  But the data iCracked has been able to track is pretty clear: iPhone owners may not have been using logic when they let their $800 device hit a hard surface, but they are using logic when deciding whether — and when — to repair. SEE ALSO: REVIEW: Google's new Pixel 2 is the phone you'll want for the long haul 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]

2017-10-19T17:05:00-07:00

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: The 5 most annoying changes in the new iPhone update — and how to fix them [...]



The race to create a self-driving taxi fleet just took a bizarre turn with a $1 billion bet on Lyft led by Alphabet (GOOG, GOOGL) [Silicon Alley Insider]

2017-10-19T15:40:15-07:00

CapitalG, Alphabet's investment arm, led a $1 billion funding round in Lyft. Alphabet has forged a close relationship with Lyft on self-driving cars as its pre-existing relationship with Uber has soured. The funding round highlights the intense battle to get self-driving cars on the road. Google is having a very public breakup with Uber. Google Ventures in 2013 poured $258 million into Uber — an investment that's now worth more than $3.5 billion. But the relationship has long since soured and now Google's parent company, Alphabet, is preparing to reap the benefits of a full Uber meltdown. Naturally, this much was clear when Waymo, Alphabet's self-driving-car company, sued Uber over claims it stole intellectual property and trade secrets. The suit was bizarre from the get-go, marking a rare instance where a major investor would undercut its own investment. But if the lawsuit was a stab in the back, then Lyft's latest funding round is the twist of that knife. CapitalG, the investment arm of Google parent company Alphabet, led on Thursday a $1 billion funding round in Lyft. CapitalG's investment isn't a bet on Lyft's ride-hailing prowess, which still falls short of Uber despite its growth in the last year. But the $1 billion funding round highlights Google's willingness to bet that Lyft will ultimately be the go-to mobility provider on self-driving cars. Waymo is also partnering with Lyft on self-driving vehicles. This is important because self-driving cars are unlikely to exist without a mobility service to support them. The vehicles are far too costly to own and can only seriously thrive as a method to cut taxi costs, encouraging more frequent ridership. Major automakers see this as well. GM has invested $500 million in Lyft, Volvo has partnered with Uber, and companies like Ford have launched their own car-sharing services.  "If you're an employer building an autonomous car and looking out at the future market, you see that mobility will be a huge piece of that," Tom Mayor, the head of KPMG's automotive strategy practice, told Business Insider. "You want to make sure you have good access to very strong and well-positioned mobility-service providers." If Waymo is going to demand Uber pay over $2 billion for the alleged theft of trade secrets, it can't also expect Uber will be the provider for its self-driving taxi fleet. At this point, Alphabet is doing its best to essentially kill Uber's self-driving-car program and get in bed with its next-biggest competitor in the US. Whether or not Uber's self-driving dreams will turn into a worst-case scenario nightmare will be determined when the Waymo suit goes to trial in December. Until then, Alphabet knows to cover all its bases.SEE ALSO: We just got our best look yet at what it's like to drive a Tesla Model 3 Join the conversation about this story » NOW WATCH: Watch Elon Musk reveal Tesla's long-awaited Model 3 [...]



MongoDB soars 33% on its first day of trading — the CEO explains how they plan to beat Oracle and Amazon (MDB) [Silicon Alley Insider]

2017-10-19T15:10:51-07:00

The database company MongoDB listed its stock on the Nasdaq under the symbol MDB. The company priced its IPO at $24 a share, above the expected range of $20 to $22. The shares closed at $32.07 after the first day of trading, more than 30% higher than the IPO price

MongoDB CEO Dev Ittycheria sat down with Business Insider at the Nasdaq to discuss the IPO and how the company plans to beat legacy giants like Oracle.

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Microsoft, Packers to Spend $10M to Create Startup Hub in Green Bay [Xconomy VC/Deals]

2017-10-19T15:01:57-07:00

The NFL’s Green Bay Packers attract tens of thousands of fans from Wisconsin and other states whenever the team plays a home game at Lambeau Field. Now, through a new, $10 million partnership with Microsoft, the Packers are hoping to attract entrepreneurs and tech startups to Green Bay, and develop new products and services there. […] The NFL’s Green Bay Packers attract tens of thousands of fans from Wisconsin and other states whenever the team plays a home game at Lambeau Field. Now, through a new, $10 million partnership with Microsoft, the Packers are hoping to attract entrepreneurs and tech startups to Green Bay, and develop new products and services there. The Packers said Thursday that they’ve teamed up with Seattle-based Microsoft (NASDAQ: MSFT) to create a venture capital fund, which will invest in graduates of a new startup accelerator the two organizations are launching. The accelerator, fund, and other innovation-focused programming will be held in... Read more » Reprints | Share:           [...]



Amazon could detonate a gentrification ‘prosperity bomb’ in the city it chooses for its new headquarters [Silicon Alley Insider]

2017-10-19T14:27:00-07:00

At least 50 cities are expected to submit proposals to host a new $5 billion Amazon campus, dubbed HQ2, by today's deadline. Amazon claims its second headquarters would create 50,000 jobs in the to-be-determined city. But some residents worry that the new headquarters would increase traffic, spur gentrification, and lead to prolonged construction. A new report looked at HQ2's potential impact on 15 cities, and found that it could increase rent prices in up to 2% annually.   Cities across North America are vying to become the home of Amazon's second headquarters. The company said in early September that it plans to invest $5 billion in the construction of a new campus, dubbed HQ2, which it hopes will eventually hold 50,000 Amazon employees. CEO Jeff Bezos said HQ2 will be equal in size to Amazon's current headquarters in the Seattle area, where the company grew from a small set-up in Bezos' garage into a global e-commerce giant. Cities in the running include New York City, Philadelphia, Denver, San Jose, and Toronto. Many city leaders are optimistic about the thousands of jobs Amazon claims HQ2 would create. But some residents worry that it would also spur the same problems that Seattle has seen since Amazon arrived in the late 1990s: increased traffic, soaring housing prices, and prolonged construction. In The Oregonian, a Portland resident questioned how the city would cope with the population growth HQ2 could bring. Meanwhile, Philadelphia Inquirer columnist Will Bunch expressed worries about higher rents that could price out "young artists and dreamers ... crushing any and all cultural diversity and vibrancy."  James Thomson, an ex-head of Amazon Services (the division that recruits sellers to the company's marketplaces), told the Toronto Star that inviting an Amazon HQ comes with risks. "The expense is a trade-off against schools, infrastructure, health care, etc.," he said. "Can Toronto support 50,000 high-net earners who all want nice homes, nice restaurants, easy commutes, etc.? Amazon is NOT a fan of unions or regulation." As of bid day, 73 community organizations across 21 states have signed an open letter to Bezos listing several concerns around a possible HQ2 in their cities, including out-of-state hiring, lack of investment in transportation infrastructure, unaffordable housing, and gentrification. Their worries about higher rent prices are not be unfounded, according to a recent report from the real estate website Apartment List. The site made a few predictions about HQ2's potential impact on housing prices in 15 major cities, based on historical home-building statistics and data from the US Census and Bureau of Labor Statistics. According to the report, the metro areas with the highest rent increases would include Raleigh, North Carolina (1.5% to 2% annually); San Jose, California (1% to 1.6%); Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania (1.2% to 1.6%); and Baltimore, Maryland (1% to 1.3%). The study suggests that most cities would add more jobs than they would housing units and struggle to keep up with residential demand, though different cities would likely have different rates of housing construction.  In Seattle, Amazon is the largest property taxpayer and private employer. Since 2000, the area has added 99,000 new jobs, with 30% of them in tech, contributing to a construction boom. Since then, Amazon has continued to spur an influx of high-skilled, majority-white tech workers. According to[...]



DIGITAL ENGAGEMENT AND THE CONNECTED CAR: How cars are transforming into digital platforms and opening an entirely new channel for service providers [Silicon Alley Insider]

2017-10-19T14:02:00-07:00

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. Media consumption is at a saturation point. After rising for much of the last decade, total digital time spent has been nearly static since the start of 2015. As a result, it's increasingly difficult for content producers to win over minutes of consumers' time. One platform, though, is poised to move the needle and provide a new avenue to boost digital time spent: the connected car. Consumers will spend more time in cars that offer a range of connectivity options, giving them the chance to use the services they know and love in the car. The key question for service providers is how to take advantage of the connected car by integrating their services into this growing platform. In a new report from BI Intelligence, we provide a roadmap for service providers looking to offer their services in the car. We analyze media consumption and overall digital time spent trends, and then forecast the growth of the connected car market in relation to the digital time opportunity. Finally, we propose potential routes that service providers can take to get into connected cars and ride-hailing vehicles. Here are some of the key takeaways: Digital time spent has become nearly static; however, people are spending more time in cars every year, and the growth of connected cars will likely turn these extra minutes into digital time. Getting services into the car is more complicated than ever before, and will require service providers to take different approaches to integration. The introduction of autonomous vehicles and the growth of ride-hailing services in the coming years will completely change what people can do in cars, which will alter the requirements for digital services in these developing platforms. In full, the report: Analyzes trends in digital time spent and the growth of connected cars. Explains the connected-car ecosystem, where service providers fit in, and what relationships they need to succeed in the space. Provides a detailed explanation of the future of connected cars, which will expand media consumption and offer new e-commerce and payments opportunities. 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 » [...]



A Stanford researcher is pioneering a dramatic shift in how we treat depression — and Google Brain's cofounder has joined the effort [Silicon Alley Insider]

2017-10-19T13:45:00-07:00

Several tech startups have entered the mental health space in recent years, but few have made a real impact. Woebot is an artificially intelligent chatbot designed by Stanford researchers. It uses one of the most heavily researched clinical approaches to treating depression. This week, the company announced that a co-founder of the Google Brain project will serve as Woebot's new chair. Depression is the leading cause of disability worldwide, and it can kill. Yet scientists know surprisingly little about it. They do know, however, that talking seems to help — especially under the guidance of a licensed mental health professional. But therapy is expensive, inconvenient, and often hard to approach. A recent estimate suggests that of the roughly one in five Americans who have a mental illness, close to two-thirds have gone at least a year without treatment. Several Silicon Valley-style approaches to the problem have emerged: There are apps that replace the traditional psychiatry office with texting, and chat rooms where you can discuss your problems anonymously online. The newest of these tech-based treatments is Woebot, an artificially intelligent chatbot designed using cognitive-behavioral therapy, or CBT — one of the most heavily researched clinical approaches to treating depression. On Wednesday, the company announced that Andrew Ng, a co-founder of the Google Brain project, will serve as Woebot's new chairman. The Google Brain research team focuses on artificial intelligence with an emphasis on a machine learning process known as deep learning. According to VentureBeat, Ng believes machine learning could greatly benefit the mental health space, which what led him to Woebot. Woebot's designer, Alison Darcy, is a clinical psychologist at Stanford. She tested a version of the technology on a small sample of real people with depression and anxiety long before launching it. "The data blew us away," Darcy told Business Insider. "We were like, this is it." The results of the trial were published recently in the journal JMIR Mental Health. For the test, Darcy recruited 70 students who said they experienced symptoms of depression and anxiety and split them into two groups. One group spent two weeks chatting with Woebot; the other was directed to a National Institute of Mental Health e-book about depression. Over two weeks, people in the Woebot group reported that they chatted with the bot almost every day and saw a significant reduction in their depressive symptoms. That's a promising result for a type of treatment whose results have so far been tough to quantify — there isn't much research comparing bot therapy with traditional human therapy. Several studies have suggested that the CBT approach lends itself to being administered online. A review of studies published recently in the journal World Psychiatry compared people who received CBT online with people who received it in person and found that the online setting was just as effective. One reason for this, according to Darcy, is that CBT focuses on discussing things that are happening in your life now as opposed to things that happened to you as a child. As a result, instead of talking to Woebot about your relationship with your mom, you might chat about a recent conflict at work or an argument you had with a friend. "A premise of CBT is it's not the things that happen to us — it's how we react to them," Darcy said. Woebot uses that methodology to point out areas where a person might be engaging in what's called negative self-talk, which can mean they see the enviro[...]



Here’s why people on Twitter think Melania Trump was replaced by a body double — and why they’re wrong [Silicon Alley Insider]

2017-10-19T13:42:12-07:00

A crazy new conspiracy theory about the First Lady has recently gotten the attention of the Internet. Some Facebook and Twitter users seem to think that Melania Trump has been replaced by a body double after a recent TV appearance. The images have sparked a heated debate and, of course, plenty of memes and jokes.  Following is a transcript of the video. There's a new conspiracy theory about Melania Trump. People on Twitter think she might have a body double. Donald Trump: "My wife, Melania, who happens to be right here." A woman on Facebook started the debate. Then a man named Joe Vargas spread it further. Other people started to chime in on the conspiracy. Some pointed out a height difference in the photos. Others thought her face looked different, and the glasses were used as a disguise. There's also a Secret Service agent that resembles her. People think the agent could be the body double. It quickly turned into a meme, with plenty of jokes. Ultimately, it's not true. A side-by-side comparison shows this is Melania. Other photos from that day also show it was her. Here's a look at Melania without her glasses. While the theory has been debunked, the meme lives on.  Join the conversation about this story » [...]



The richest real estate developer in the US wrote a letter to Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos offering to pay for the insanely sought-after HQ2 [Silicon Alley Insider]

2017-10-19T13:32:00-07:00

Proposals are due on Thursday from all cities vying to become the future site of Amazon HQ2. Donald Bren, the richest real estate developer in the US, wrote a letter on behalf of his company to Jeff Bezos, offering to finance the entire $5 billion project. Irvine, California is already home to hundreds of other top tech companies, as well as a 1,200-person Amazon outpost.   The fight for Amazon's HQ2 has reached a fever pitch. Proposals are due on Thursday from cities across the US and Canada interested in becoming the future site of Amazon's second headquarters, and one Southern California city is taking desperate measures to clinch Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos' attention. Donald Bren, the multi-billionaire owner of the Irvine Company, wrote a letter to Bezos on behalf of his company and in companion with the city of Irvine. In it, he offers to finance the entirety of HQ2 — which Amazon projects will cost about $5 billion — if the e-commerce giant chooses Irvine. The offer is billed by Bren as "a one-click shopping opportunity" for Amazon. Bren writes: "With the Irvine Company proposal, Amazon will not be required to invest capital for land acquisition, buildings, or entitlements to build your new business campus. Our company has the long-term real estate assets, capital resources, and flexibility to deliver all your required workspace with lease durations of Amazon's choosing. "In essence, you would have a one-click shopping opportunity and be able to capitalize on our inplace property development rights, thus avoiding potential delays, because Irvine Company has invested more than 60 years master planning 93,000 acres of land, and designing and overseeing the creation of the largest new city in America…Irvine, California." Over 250,000 people live in Irvine and it's often regarded as the epicenter of Orange County, an affluent coastal community sandwiched between San Diego to the South and Los Angeles to the North. Amazon says its new HQ2 will eventually house 50,000 mostly white-collar workers making an average of over $100,000 a year. That's currently about the average income for workers in Irvine. Bren — who's worth a cool $17 billion — is the chairman of the Irvine Co., which owns about one-fifth of the land in Orange County spread across office, retail, and apartment space, as well as golf courses and hotel resorts. In the letter, Bren positions Irvine as the ideal candidate for Amazon because "Irvine is ranked by various sources as America's fastest growing, most desirable, best educated, safest, and healthiest large city," he writes. More than 900 tech companies, such as Google, Broadcom, Blizzard Entertainment, UBS, and Verizon have offices in Irvine, and Amazon already has a 1,200-person outpost in the city. Southern California is home to the biggest pool of STEM workers in the US, according to the Irvine Company proposal. The University of California, Irvine, a top-ranked public university located in Orange County, awards 42% of its undergraduate students with STEM degrees annually. At the end of the letter, Bren makes one final plea to his fellow billionaire: "It's 74 degrees on this beautiful October day, the sun is out and the surf's up at our spectacular beaches. Please come join us! The water, like the place, is the perfect temperature." Read Donald Bren's letter to Jeff Bezos in full below: Donald Bren Letter to Jeff Bezos by Tanza Loudenback on Scribd class="scribd_iframe_embed" title="Donald Bren Letter to Jeff Bezos" src="https://www.scribd.com/embeds/362062714/content?start_page=1&view_mode=scroll&[...]



MongoDB skyrockets 33% on its first day of trading (MDB) [Silicon Alley Insider]

2017-10-19T13:26:00-07:00

Mongo DB jumped more than 30% on its first day of trading. The company isn't profitable but is working on improving that.   MongoDB, a database provider, jumped on its first day of trading. Shares closed up more than 33% on the day of its initial public offering. The company priced its IPO at $24 a share, which was higher than the expected range of $20 to $22. It closed the day at $32.07. The company offered 8 million shares in its IPO and raised $192 million, valuing the company at $1.2 billion, according to CNBC. MongoDB started trading under the ticker 'MDB.' The company offers free database software that is popular among tech startups. Its business model comes from the extra support and services it offers on top of the database software. The company hopes that as tech startups grow, they will upgrade to its premium services. MongoDB has not yet turned a profit. It reported a $45.76 million loss during the six months of the ending on July 31. It made $67.9 million in revenue in that same time frame. The company is working its way towards profitability though, as the loss per share of $1.71 is less than the $1.93 in the same period last year. The company is the freshest face on the public markets, but is going up against some of the largest and oldest players in tech, like Microsoft and Oracle. Read more about Mongo DB's IPO here.SEE ALSO: A $1.6 billion rival to Oracle and Amazon just filed to go public Join the conversation about this story » NOW WATCH: Debating the odds of a stock market correction [...]



Where, when, and how to watch this week's meteor shower created by Halley's Comet [Silicon Alley Insider]

2017-10-19T13:22:24-07:00

Following is a transcript of the video. The Orionid meteor shower is happening this weekend. It produces some of the brightest meteors all year. The most meteors will fall between Oct. 20-22. Expect to see between 10-30 meteors an hour. The best time to spot them is around 1:30 am each night. By this time, the Moon will have set. Its absence provides darker skies to enjoy the show. But watch out for the weather. Cloudy skies will be rolling across the US this weekend. Here are the best and worst places to watch on Oct 20, 21, and 22. What makes the Orionids so special is where they come from. They're actually debris from the famous Halley's Comet. For the best show, find a safe, dark place away from city lights. Many meteors will appear to come from the Orion constellation. But experts advise to look away from Orion. That way, you'll spot the meteors with the longest tails. Happy meteor hunting!Join the conversation about this story » [...]



Stitch Fix just filed for an IPO [Silicon Alley Insider]

2017-10-19T13:20:26-07:00

Stitch Fix, a personal styling company, just filed for an IPO. It was profitable the last two years, and had $1 billion in revenue this year. It will trade under the ticker SFIX. Personal styling service Stitch Fix filed for an IPO Thursday. According to its S-1 filing with the SEC, it plans to use the ticker SFIX. The company claims nearly 2.2 million "active clients" and revenue of nearly $1 billion for 2017. The company was profitable in both 2015 and 2016, with $730.3 million and $977.1 million in revenue, respectively. It claimed losses of under $1 million for 2017. "We strongly believe that most existing retail constructs are insufficient and out of date," CEO Katrina Lake wrote in the filing. "I believe we are the best in the world at personalizing in apparel at scale, but I also know that we are just at the beginning of how powerful personalization can be." Stitch Fix raised $42.5 million in venture capital from firms like Benchmark, Structure Capital, and Baseline Ventures. The company claims to be seeking $100 million from its IPO, though that is likely a placeholder number. After stock liquidations in the last year, based on the share price, the company would be valued at just under $2 billion, according to Axios. Goldman Sachs and J.P. Morgan will serve in lead advisory roles on the IPO.  Stitch Fix launched in 2011. Customers fill out an online profile, telling the company a bit about their personal style: what they like to wear and how much they prefer it to cost. The service then sends out a box full of items to try on, complete with a prepaid return label. The styling fee per box is $20, but the fee goes toward anything the customer purchases in the box. Stitch Fix encourages customers to buy more of the items in each box by offering a 25% discount if all five items are purchased. However, customers are not required to buy anything, and they can send all the items back if they choose, only paying the $20 fee. The service is not a subscription, and customers can order a "fix" either on demand or by a set schedule. It launched as a women's only service, but now offers both men’s and maternity services.SEE ALSO: Amazon is on its way to becoming America's favorite clothing store Join the conversation about this story » NOW WATCH: Here's why this wine costs $16,000 per bottle [...]



THE CLOUD COMPUTING REPORT: An introduction to cloud solutions and their use cases [Silicon Alley Insider]

2017-10-19T13:01:00-07:00

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. Cloud computing — on-demand, internet-based computing services — has been successfully applied to many computing functions in recent years. From consumer-facing, web-based productivity apps like Google Docs to enterprise database management suites, the tools businesses rely on are increasingly moving to the cloud. But developing a cloud strategy is no easy task. Public cloud solutions will likely come to dominate the market over the next decade, but business constraints, such as security concerns and the limitations of existing infrastructure, make it difficult for companies to fully adopt the public cloud right now. That means that hybrid clouds, in which multiple cloud implementations (including public and private) are connected, will remain popular for the time being, at least until these constraints are addressed. The tech giants that dominate the IaaS market — Amazon, IBM, Microsoft, and Google — are constantly expanding their offerings to address current business constraints as they compete for market share. A new report from BI Intelligence evaluates the current business considerations for the various cloud solutions and provides an outlook on the state of the market. Here are some of the key takeaways from the report:  Cloud computing solutions have gained traction because they're flexible and cost efficient. Sixty-seven percent of companies used an Infrastructure-as-a-Service solution in 2015, like the cloud, for some part of their business, up 19% from the prior year. All cloud solutions provide certain benefits that are becoming increasingly essential to businesses in the digital age. These include on-demand self-service, rapid elasticity, and broad network access, among others. Security needs, demand predictability, existing infrastructure, and maintenance capabilities are key business considerations for enterprises choosing between cloud implementations. While hybrid cloud strategies will remain popular in the near term, the market is likely to shift toward the public cloud over time. That's because costs are falling, providers are developing solutions that address main concerns with the public cloud, and business practices like agile development and data analytics are dependent on advantages the public cloud provides. However, industries that handle sensitive information, like financial services and healthcare, will likely prefer hybrid and private cloud strategies given regulatory restrictions. Amazon Web Services is the dominant cloud computing provider by market share, followed by Google, IBM, and Microsoft. Because the latter three companies have had little success taking on Amazon, market-share gains are likely to come at the expense of smaller competitors. In full, the report: Explains the different cloud computing strategies and benefits of cloud computing. Evaluates key business considerations – security needs, demand predictability, existing infrastructure, and maintenance capabilities – for enterprises choosing between cloud implementations. Provides and outlook for trends and major players in the cloud computing market. 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 th[...]



With Pitches for HQ2 Made, Cities Wait on Amazon’s 2018 Decision [Xconomy VC/Deals]

2017-10-19T13:00:00-07:00

From Portland to Pittsburgh, it’s likely that every city in the U.S. with more than 1 million people has made its case to Amazon to locate the company’s second headquarters there. At least, hopefully they have already, because today—if you haven’t heard—was the deadline to apply. Amazon sent North America into a frenzy after announcing […] From Portland to Pittsburgh, it’s likely that every city in the U.S. with more than 1 million people has made its case to Amazon to locate the company’s second headquarters there. At least, hopefully they have already, because today—if you haven’t heard—was the deadline to apply. Amazon sent North America into a frenzy after announcing plans to build a second headquarters (which it calls HQ2) outside of Seattle, bringing with it tens of thousands of jobs and billions of dollars in economic development benefits. Like candidates on “The Bachelor,” cities have spent the last month expounding on the reasons they... Read more » Reprints | Share:           [...]



The Great Firewall [A VC]

2017-10-19T08:58:32-07:00

We arrived in Shanghai late Monday night after a long four-airport three-flight day and all I wanted to do was crash. The Gotham Gal wanted to check her email so she logged onto the hotel WiFi and attempted to do that. As I was falling asleep I heard her call down to the front desk […]We arrived in Shanghai late Monday night after a long four-airport three-flight day and all I wanted to do was crash. The Gotham Gal wanted to check her email so she logged onto the hotel WiFi and attempted to do that. As I was falling asleep I heard her call down to the front desk and complain that the Internet wasn’t working. I told her we could deal with it in the morning. So when we got up, we grabbed our laptops and went downstairs to have breakfast and fix things. I set up VPN software on both laptops and the Gotham Gal’s iPhone. For some reason that I don’t entirely understand, my Pixel with a TMobile SIM card seemed to be able to bypass the great firewall and access Google and Twitter without need for a VPN. But even with firewall software on our devices, accessing western Internet services in Shanghai was flaky. Sometimes things worked, sometimes they didn’t and it wasn’t entirely clear why. But more than the inconvenience, and it wasn’t a big one, the entire notion that China has chosen to block some of the world’s most essential services inside of China’s borders seems crazy to me. I understand the value of protecting home grown services from competition from Google, Facebook, and Amazon. But the local versions of those services have grown so powerful over the past decade and cultural norms (like WeChatting) have taken hold so strongly that the protection seems unnecessary at this point. Of course there are the censorship issues, which the New York Times recently shamefully heralded, but how hard is it to get a VPN if you want to check Twitter and search Google for uncensored news? Xi Jinping heralded the dawn of a New Era for China in his talk at the 19th Party Congress this week. He asserted that China is strong and ascendent and those are both certainly true. I would argue that China is strong enough now to fully join the Internet without any controls or constraints on it, like the dominant modern society that it wants to be and, frankly, already is. USV TEAM POSTS:Nick Grossman — October 18, 2017ServiceAlbert Wenger — October 18, 2017Uncertainty Wednesday: A Random Variable without Expected Value [...]



Lab Focused on Human-Centered Design Moves to Put San Diego on Map [Xconomy VC/Deals]

2017-10-19T08:17:49-07:00

For Michèle Morris, the big question hanging over organizers as they laid the groundwork last year for the first Design Forward Summit was whether the innovation community in San Diego understood the value of design. “We didn’t know who was going to show up—and 600 people showed up,” said Morris, who is associate director of […] For Michèle Morris, the big question hanging over organizers as they laid the groundwork last year for the first Design Forward Summit was whether the innovation community in San Diego understood the value of design. “We didn’t know who was going to show up—and 600 people showed up,” said Morris, who is associate director of the Design Lab at UC San Diego and a founder of the Design Forward Summit. Now, with the second Design Forward Summit set to begin Wednesday on San Diego’s downtown waterfront (and Thursday in Liberty Station), Morris said the question to be answered this year is... Read more » Reprints | Share:           [...]



At Lambeau Field, Case & Vance Plot a Path for Emerging Startup Hubs [Xconomy VC/Deals]

2017-10-18T17:51:24-07:00

Green Bay, WI, is among the smallest of the 30-plus cities Steve Case and other leaders of his venture capital firm Revolution have visited since 2014 as part of its national “Rise of the Rest” tour, but Case nonetheless said he sees some of the seeds that could help sprout a cluster of high-tech businesses […] Green Bay, WI, is among the smallest of the 30-plus cities Steve Case and other leaders of his venture capital firm Revolution have visited since 2014 as part of its national “Rise of the Rest” tour, but Case nonetheless said he sees some of the seeds that could help sprout a cluster of high-tech businesses there. “We think there are companies that can be built in the next 10 years in places like Green Bay—big, valuable, change-the-world companies,” he said. Case, who is known best as the co-founder of AOL, spoke before a crowd of hundreds of people on Tuesday as... Read more » Reprints | Share:           [...]



VelocityTX Releases Early Design for Texas Startup “Innovation Center” [Xconomy VC/Deals]

2017-10-18T14:59:16-07:00

San Antonio—A new “superhub” for entrepreneurs and startups in San Antonio is taking shape—at least on paper. VelocityTX, an organization unveiled last month that plans to support and promote local startups, released early renderings of its plans for a three-building “innovation center,” which it says will include an event space, labs, offices, and other resources […] San Antonio—A new “superhub” for entrepreneurs and startups in San Antonio is taking shape—at least on paper. VelocityTX, an organization unveiled last month that plans to support and promote local startups, released early renderings of its plans for a three-building “innovation center,” which it says will include an event space, labs, offices, and other resources for young businesses. The Texas Research & Technology Foundation (TRTF), a bioscience and tech economic development group that created VelocityTX, purchased an industrial complex with 110,000 square feet of building space in September, some of which it plans to use to house the new center.... Read more » Reprints | Share:           [...]



GE & Apple Unite to Bring Industrial Apps to iPhones & iPads [Xconomy VC/Deals]

2017-10-18T10:09:10-07:00

General Electric’s push to remake itself as a software-focused industrial manufacturer took another step forward today with the announcement of a partnership with Silicon Valley giant Apple. The companies are rolling out a software development kit that enables developers to create apps for Apple’s iPhone and iPad that use GE’s Predix, a cloud-based software platform […] General Electric’s push to remake itself as a software-focused industrial manufacturer took another step forward today with the announcement of a partnership with Silicon Valley giant Apple. The companies are rolling out a software development kit that enables developers to create apps for Apple’s iPhone and iPad that use GE’s Predix, a cloud-based software platform for tracking and analyzing data from connected industrial machines. Developers will be able to download the toolkit starting Oct. 26. Boston-based GE (NYSE: GE) will also work with Cupertino, CA-based Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL) to develop industrial apps for use by GE employees and customers.... Read more » Reprints | Share:           [...]



Is your sales problem really a product problem? [VC Adventure]

2017-10-18T08:55:09-07:00

Not suprisingly when companies are having issues in sales they look to their sales or and sales leadership for the source of the problem. In the cliche example (but one which happens all the time) sales will loop in marketing (“we’re not getting enough leads”, “the leads aren’t high quality enough”). But typically product is... Read moreNot suprisingly when companies are having issues in sales they look to their sales or and sales leadership for the source of the problem. In the cliche example (but one which happens all the time) sales will loop in marketing (“we’re not getting enough leads”, “the leads aren’t high quality enough”). But typically product is left out of this mix. To be clear, there are plenty of sales related issues that are directly attributable to poor sales processes, bad training of sales resources, poor time management, etc. But often overlooked is the role product plays in sales challenges. I’m not writing this to offer a ready made excuse for sales teams that aren’t executing but as a reminder to executive teams that when you’re struggling to understand sales challenges be sure to look at closely at product. I’d suggest looking both at how existing customers are actually using your product (often not well understood by companies) and comparing that with both the type of customer you’re targeting (which may be very different than your current mix of customers) and what features they require. I can’t tell you the number of times we’ve looked more closely into this question and found that the problem we’re actually solving isn’t well mapped to a shifting target in sales. Or where there are specific product features that we’re lacking that are preventing product adoption but for whatever reason that feedback insn’t coming through as part of our sales process. Seasoned execs know to beware of the “if we only had feature X we’d be selling more” feedback from sales and to dive more deeply into what the data are showing them about actual product usage. But more often than it’s given credit for product is key part of sales challenges. For an older post I wrote on companies making the shift from early product to sales focus see here.  [...]



Ann Arbor Unicorn: After $70M Series D, Duo Security Valued at $1.1B [Xconomy VC/Deals]

2017-10-18T07:14:35-07:00

[Updated at 1:05 p.m. on 10/17/2017 to add comments from Duo CEO Dug Song; see below.] Ann Arbor, MI-based cybersecurity startup Duo Security today announced that it has closed on a Series D financing round valued at $70 million, bringing the company’s total valuation to $1.17 billion just seven years after its inception. According to […] [Updated at 1:05 p.m. on 10/17/2017 to add comments from Duo CEO Dug Song; see below.] Ann Arbor, MI-based cybersecurity startup Duo Security today announced that it has closed on a Series D financing round valued at $70 million, bringing the company’s total valuation to $1.17 billion just seven years after its inception. According to the Michigan Venture Capital Association, this is the largest round of funding and highest valuation of any venture-backed company in the Great Lake State’s history. Duo CEO and Detroit/Ann Arbor Xconomist Dug Song says that the company has benefited from being headquartered in... Read more » Reprints | Share:           [...]



Veo Grabs $12M, Led by GV & Lux, to Help Industrial Robots “See” [Xconomy VC/Deals]

2017-10-18T07:00:57-07:00

True artificial intelligence is likely decades away, if it ever comes. In the meantime, companies are making robots “smarter” in less dramatic ways that nevertheless could prove quite useful. Veo Robotics is one of the players trying to boost the intelligence of industrial robots by enhancing their perception and responsiveness to their surroundings—thereby making it […] True artificial intelligence is likely decades away, if it ever comes. In the meantime, companies are making robots “smarter” in less dramatic ways that nevertheless could prove quite useful. Veo Robotics is one of the players trying to boost the intelligence of industrial robots by enhancing their perception and responsiveness to their surroundings—thereby making it easier and safer for them to work alongside humans. “Our goal is to have humans be at home in the world of machines,” says Veo co-founder and CEO Patrick Sobalvarro. Today, Veo’s vision got a $12 million jolt from investors. The Series A funding round was... Read more » Reprints | Share:           [...]



Hope Is The Consequence of Action [Feld Thoughts]

2017-10-18T06:22:23-07:00

Last night Amy and I hosted an event at our house for the ACLU and Earthjustice, two organizations we are significant supporters of. If you told me 20 years ago that I’d be spending a lot of my philanthropic energy supporting lawyers, I would have aggressively rejected the notion. But if you had described what... Read more The post Hope Is The Consequence of Action appeared first on Feld Thoughts.Last night Amy and I hosted an event at our house for the ACLU and Earthjustice, two organizations we are significant supporters of. If you told me 20 years ago that I’d be spending a lot of my philanthropic energy supporting lawyers, I would have aggressively rejected the notion. But if you had described what is going on in the US right now, I would have also aggressively rejected the notion. Since the election, Amy has had a great tagline for me. Action is the antidote. She’s amazing and the energy she puts behind this is unwavering. I’m extremely fortunate to have her as my life partner – it buoys me up regularly, especially around things that I might otherwise just ignore. Last night’s event was great. We heard from David Cole (the ACLU Legal Director) and Patrice Simms (the Earthjustice VP of Litigation). Like me, they are each long-term optimists so their perspective is not just about tomorrow (although much of their focus is on today and tomorrow). In the middle of the discussion. David mentioned a quote that he attributed to Cornel West and Roberto Unger from their 1998 book titled  The Future of American Progressivism. The quote, which is the title of this post, is “Hope is the consequence of action.” I believe, but am not certain, that it comes from this passage: “Change requires neither saintliness nor genius. What it does require is the conviction of the incomparable value of life. Nothing should matter more to us than the attempt to grasp our life while we have it, and to awaken from the slumber of routine, of compromise and prostration, so that we may die only once. Hope is not the condition or cause of action. Hope is the consequence of action. And those who fail in hope should act, practically or conceptually, so that they may hope.” David deconstructed this to explain that action doesn’t come from hope, but hope comes from action. Chew on that for a bit – it’s important in every context, not just politics. Apply it to any situation – work or personal; exogenous or endogenous; positive or negative. Take action, which will generate hope, rather than use your hope to generate action. When I think about my life and my work, it applies. I take action all the time, and that’s what creates hope and makes me optimistic. If you are inspired by this, I’ll leave you with a recent Cornel West talk at the most recent Harvard Divinity School’s Convocation address. class='youtube-player' type='text/html' width='640' height='390' src='https://www.youtube.com/embed/7wCIWF1rYak?version=3&rel=1&fs=1&autohide=2&showsearch=0&showinfo=1&iv_load_policy=1&wmode=transparent' allowfullscreen='true' style='border:0;'> The post Hope Is The Consequen[...]



Green Bay Startup Lanehub Wins $100K Steve Case Investment [Xconomy VC/Deals]

2017-10-18T06:08:41-07:00

When a company ships a truckload of goods across the country, it’s often the case that the truck will return to its city of origin carrying less than a full load. Trucking, which is estimated to be a $720 billion-plus industry, could be made more efficient by putting businesses that ship products by truck in […] When a company ships a truckload of goods across the country, it’s often the case that the truck will return to its city of origin carrying less than a full load. Trucking, which is estimated to be a $720 billion-plus industry, could be made more efficient by putting businesses that ship products by truck in closer contact with carriers—and with other shippers—says Mark Hackl, founder and CEO of the Green Bay, WI-based startup Lanehub. On Tuesday, Lanehub took first place in a pitch contest held in the company’s hometown, landing a $100,000 investment from AOL co-founder Steve Case. The... Read more » Reprints | Share:           [...]



Kayyem Joins Lineup for What’s Hot in Cybersecurity on Dec. 5 [Xconomy VC/Deals]

2017-10-18T05:22:47-07:00

Join Xconomy for its second annual cybersecurity event on December 5 at WGBH. This year, we will discuss how Boston-area cybersecurity companies are working to advance the state of the art in security automation, behavioral analytics, anti-phishing systems, and other arenas, as venture investment picks up in hot sectors like cryptocurrencies, blockchain and identity management, […] Join Xconomy for its second annual cybersecurity event on December 5 at WGBH. This year, we will discuss how Boston-area cybersecurity companies are working to advance the state of the art in security automation, behavioral analytics, anti-phishing systems, and other arenas, as venture investment picks up in hot sectors like cryptocurrencies, blockchain and identity management, and deception tech. We’ll be exploring these areas and more with industry leaders from Boston and beyond at this half-day event. Confirmed speakers include: Juliette Kayyem, CEO, Zemcar; former Assistant Secretary, U.S. Department of Homeland Security Bob Brennan, Executive Director, CA Technologies Brian Ahern ... Read more » Reprints | Share:           [...]



Two Accelerator Programs Open in Austin as Texas Bolsters Ecosystem [Xconomy VC/Deals]

2017-10-18T04:30:43-07:00

Austin—Two new startup programs have launched in Austin in the last week: One is a Boston-based program that doesn’t take an equity stake in the startups it helps accelerate, while the second is a new branch of Techstars that’s focused on social and environmental businesses. Austin is the newest city in a growing list in […] Austin—Two new startup programs have launched in Austin in the last week: One is a Boston-based program that doesn’t take an equity stake in the startups it helps accelerate, while the second is a new branch of Techstars that’s focused on social and environmental businesses. Austin is the newest city in a growing list in which MassChallenge, a nonprofit founded in 2009, will operate an accelerator program. Besides Boston, the group also operates in the UK, Israel, Switzerland, and Mexico. The new Austin program expects to receive more than 1,000 applications for the accelerator, which will start in... Read more » Reprints | Share:           [...]



Vir Biotech Vies for Global Approach to Tackling Infectious Disease [Xconomy VC/Deals]

2017-10-18T04:01:44-07:00

Vir Biotechnology CEO George Scangos aims to develop new infectious disease drugs that can treat people in the U.S. and other developed countries. But he also wants to make these therapies available to the developing world, where the need is great but the financial means to pay for medicine is scarce. To accomplish both goals, […] Vir Biotechnology CEO George Scangos aims to develop new infectious disease drugs that can treat people in the U.S. and other developed countries. But he also wants to make these therapies available to the developing world, where the need is great but the financial means to pay for medicine is scarce. To accomplish both goals, Scangos is bringing a wide-ranging approach to his San Francisco-based biotech startup. Vir has lined up a slate of partners in the private sector, the nonprofit world, and academia. In doing so, Scangos (pictured above) says Vir can assemble the technologies and the capabilities to make... Read more » Reprints | Share:           [...]



Board Decks Best Practices [A VC]

2017-10-18T03:22:19-07:00

At our portfolio company CEO Summit this spring, the 60 or so leaders in attendance asked us if we could figure out a way to aggregate some insights across our entire portfolio and share the data with them. We said we would see about that. So this summer, we hired Max Heald for a three […]At our portfolio company CEO Summit this spring, the 60 or so leaders in attendance asked us if we could figure out a way to aggregate some insights across our entire portfolio and share the data with them. We said we would see about that. So this summer, we hired Max Heald for a three month stint after he graduated from college and tasked him with figuring out how to do this. The first constraint was that we were not going to ask our portfolio companies for data. They have businesses to run and they don’t need us dumping a big data request on them. So we pulled together all the data we already had on our portfolio companies, the spreadsheets, the pitch decks, the board decks, the financial reports, etc and asked Max to comb through it and see if there were insights in the aggregate data. Of course there was. Here’s an example of something we were able to determine via this effort. I have been telling the companies I work with to plan on eighteen months of runway from a financing and three to six months to raise the next round for years. But it is nice to see that advice validated in data. Along the way Max saw a lot of board decks and asked us if he could write a post on the USV blog describing some of the best practices he saw. We encouraged him to do that and he published it today. Check it out. USV TEAM POSTS:Nick Grossman — October 18, 2017ServiceAlbert Wenger — October 18, 2017Uncertainty Wednesday: A Random Variable without Expected Value [...]



Xconomy Bookclub: Village Capital CEO Tackles Innovation’s “Blind Spot” [Xconomy VC/Deals]

2017-10-17T13:14:10-07:00

Silicon Valley has written the playbook for building innovative companies that have transformed the global economy. But it doesn’t hold the exclusive patent on the only path to innovation. That’s the view of Ross Baird, the co-founder and CEO of Village Capital, a Washington, DC-based social impact venture firm, and author of the new book […] Silicon Valley has written the playbook for building innovative companies that have transformed the global economy. But it doesn’t hold the exclusive patent on the only path to innovation. That’s the view of Ross Baird, the co-founder and CEO of Village Capital, a Washington, DC-based social impact venture firm, and author of the new book “The Innovation Blind Spot.” “The American dream has been replaced by the Silicon Valley dream, and that dream is only accessible to a tiny percentage of the population,” Baird told me in an interview. In essence, he says that dream has increasingly become the exclusive realm... Read more » Reprints | Share:           [...]



Fast-Growing Vacasa Raises $103.5M for Vacation Rentals Marketplace [Xconomy VC/Deals]

2017-10-17T13:06:07-07:00

Vacation rental marketplace and management service Vacasa announced a $103.5 million Series B funding round, which the Portland, OR-based company says will help fund continued technology development and expansion to new markets. Vacasa, co-founded in 2009 by Eric Breon and Cliff Johnson, grew for six years without raising outside capital. Last spring it announced a […] Vacation rental marketplace and management service Vacasa announced a $103.5 million Series B funding round, which the Portland, OR-based company says will help fund continued technology development and expansion to new markets. Vacasa, co-founded in 2009 by Eric Breon and Cliff Johnson, grew for six years without raising outside capital. Last spring it announced a Series A round that grew to $40 million, led by Level Equity, with participation from Assurant Growth Investing and Riverwood Capital. Riverwood took the lead for the Series B round, announced Tuesday, with participation of prior investors and newcomer NewSpring. The company manages more... Read more » Reprints | Share:           [...]



After FDA Nod, TransEnterix Preps to Bring Surgical Robot to Market [Xconomy VC/Deals]

2017-10-17T12:10:46-07:00

TransEnterix now has regulatory clearance to bring its surgical robot to the market, but don’t expect to see surgeries performed with the technology in U.S. hospitals for at least a year, perhaps longer. Hospitals need four to six quarters to work through purchasing decisions for new capital equipment, says CEO Todd Pope. In the meantime, […] TransEnterix now has regulatory clearance to bring its surgical robot to the market, but don’t expect to see surgeries performed with the technology in U.S. hospitals for at least a year, perhaps longer. Hospitals need four to six quarters to work through purchasing decisions for new capital equipment, says CEO Todd Pope. In the meantime, Research Triangle Park, NC-based TransEnterix (NYSE MKT: TRXC) is gearing up for medical conferences, building its sales staff, and preparing a Florida site that will be used to train surgeons on the new system. Pope’s comments came during a Tuesday morning conference call with analysts... Read more » Reprints | Share:           [...]



After Shutdown, Bridj Restarts Engine in Australia Under New Owner [Xconomy VC/Deals]

2017-10-17T07:54:09-07:00

[Updated 10/18/17, 2:01 pm. See below.] Bridj, the Boston-based, app-enabled transit service that shut down in the spring, is apparently making a comeback—in Australia. In a Facebook post on Friday, Bridj said its business was acquired by Australian public transportation operator Transit Systems, which plans to implement Bridj’s service in Sydney, Australia, later this year. […] [Updated 10/18/17, 2:01 pm. See below.] Bridj, the Boston-based, app-enabled transit service that shut down in the spring, is apparently making a comeback—in Australia. In a Facebook post on Friday, Bridj said its business was acquired by Australian public transportation operator Transit Systems, which plans to implement Bridj’s service in Sydney, Australia, later this year. BostInno first reported the news. Bridj CEO Matt George hasn’t responded to an e-mail from Xconomy seeking comment. He told the Boston Globe that Transit Systems bought the rights to use Bridj’s brand and software code, and that he’s not joining the acquirer.... Read more » Reprints | Share:           [...]



Gemini Reels In $42M to Target Root Causes of Age-Related Blindness [Xconomy VC/Deals]

2017-10-17T04:00:15-07:00

One of the biggest risk factors for vision loss is age. As people grow old, the central part of the retina can become damaged, leading patients to lose the central part of their vision in a condition called age-related macular degeneration (AMD). In recent years, scientists have found genetic factors associated with the eye damage […] One of the biggest risk factors for vision loss is age. As people grow old, the central part of the retina can become damaged, leading patients to lose the central part of their vision in a condition called age-related macular degeneration (AMD). In recent years, scientists have found genetic factors associated with the eye damage that leads to AMD. Gemini Therapeutics is developing a range of potential treatments—gene therapies, monoclonal antibodies and engineered proteins—based on these genetic underpinnings and it now has $42.5 million in funding to bring several experimental treatments into clinical trials. The Series A investment round was co-led... Read more » Reprints | Share:           [...]



A Better Way To Do Bike Share [A VC]

2017-10-17T02:23:04-07:00

I’m a big Citibike user in NYC. I take it to and from work sometimes. I take it to and from the ferries a lot. And I use it to get twenty or thirty blocks in 5-10 mins when I don’t have the time to walk it. But one thing I don’t like about Citibike […]I’m a big Citibike user in NYC. I take it to and from work sometimes. I take it to and from the ferries a lot. And I use it to get twenty or thirty blocks in 5-10 mins when I don’t have the time to walk it. But one thing I don’t like about Citibike is the anxiety around having an empty docking spot at your preferred destination kiosk. If there are no empty docks, you have to go to the nearest one in search of an empty dock. I’ve sometimes had to try three or four kiosks which is very frustrating. Here in Shanghai, they do things a bit differently, and I think a bit better. The bike share bikes are everywhere that we’ve been in Shangahi but they don’t dock in kiosks. They just lock up when you end your ride and the next person unlocks them with an app on their phone. Here are what the bikes look like when they are waiting for someone to take them out. Sometimes they are lined up almost like a Citibike kiosk. And sometimes they are just dropped off a bit more randomly. And here is the QR code you read into an app on your phone to get the code to unlock the bike. I sure hope that the NYC Citibike system moves to this approach as soon as practical. It would make the system a lot better. USV TEAM POSTS:Nick Grossman — October 18, 2017ServiceAlbert Wenger — October 18, 2017Uncertainty Wednesday: A Random Variable without Expected Value [...]



AirFox ICO, XFactor’s 1st Investments & Other Boston Funding News [Xconomy VC/Deals]

2017-10-16T21:01:40-07:00

[Updated 10/17/17, 9:54 am. See below.] It’s time to catch up on the latest venture capital investments and other funding news from the Boston tech scene: —XFactor Ventures announced its first eight investments. The $3 million fund—formed by Flybridge Capital Partners and a group of women entrepreneurs in Boston, New York, and the Bay Area—plans […] [Updated 10/17/17, 9:54 am. See below.] It’s time to catch up on the latest venture capital investments and other funding news from the Boston tech scene: —XFactor Ventures announced its first eight investments. The $3 million fund—formed by Flybridge Capital Partners and a group of women entrepreneurs in Boston, New York, and the Bay Area—plans to invest $100,000 in 30 early-stage companies with at least one woman founder. —Boston-based AirFox said it raised $15 million through an initial coin offering (ICO), a sale of digital tokens. The company said the money will be used to fund development of its... Read more » Reprints | Share:           [...]



Digital Security Is Not Working Very Well [Feld Thoughts]

2017-10-16T07:31:27-07:00

We live in a digital world with a false sense of security. While watching Blade Runner 2049 I smiled during a scene near the end where Deckard says to K, “What Have You Done?!?!?” I expect that this false sense of security will still exist in 2049 if humans manage to still be around. The first big... Read more The post Digital Security Is Not Working Very Well appeared first on Feld Thoughts.We live in a digital world with a false sense of security. While watching Blade Runner 2049 I smiled during a scene near the end where Deckard says to K, “What Have You Done?!?!?” I expect that this false sense of security will still exist in 2049 if humans manage to still be around. The first big piece of security news this weekend was ‘All wifi networks’ are vulnerable to hacking, security expert discovers. It only a Severe flaw in WPA2 protocol leaves Wi-Fi traffic open to eavesdropping, but, well, that’s most Wi-Fi networks. If you want the real details, the website Key Reinstallation Attacks: Breaking WPA2 by forcing nonce reuse goes into depth about KRACK Attacks. And yes, KRACK is already up on Wikipedia. Here’s the summary, which is mildly disconcerting (that’s sarcasm if you missed it …): The weaknesses are in the Wi-Fi standard itself, and not in individual products or implementations. Therefore, any correct implementation of WPA2 is likely affected. To prevent the attack, users must update affected products as soon as security updates become available. Note that if your device supports Wi-Fi, it is most likely affected. During our initial research, we discovered ourselves that Android, Linux, Apple, Windows, OpenBSD, MediaTek, Linksys, and others, are all affected by some variant of the attacks. For more information about specific products, consult the database of CERT/CC, or contact your vendor. I was cruising along in my naive security bliss this morning when I saw the article Millions of high-security crypto keys crippled by newly discovered flaw. It turns out that a key RSA library that is widely used has a deep flaw in it and has been being used to generate weak keys since 2012. A crippling flaw in a widely used code library has fatally undermined the security of millions of encryption keys used in some of the highest-stakes settings, including national identity cards, software- and application-signing, and trusted platform modules protecting government and corporate computers. The weakness allows attackers to calculate the private portion of any vulnerable key using nothing more than the corresponding public portion. Hackers can then use the private key to impersonate key owners, decrypt sensitive data, sneak malicious code into digitally signed software, and bypass protections that prevent accessing or tampering with stolen PCs. The five-ye[...]



Southeast Asia [A VC]

2017-10-16T04:10:26-07:00

We spent the last nine days in Southeast Asia, in Vietnam, Cambodia, and Laos. If you want the play by play version of our trip, head on over to the Gotham Gal’s blog where she does that and has has done for every trip we’ve taken over the last fifteen years. As an aside, if […]We spent the last nine days in Southeast Asia, in Vietnam, Cambodia, and Laos. If you want the play by play version of our trip, head on over to the Gotham Gal’s blog where she does that and has has done for every trip we’ve taken over the last fifteen years. As an aside, if you ever want travel tips to many destinations around the world just Google for the city and add gothamgal.com to the end of the search query and there’s a good chance you will find a host of blog posts that she has written about that location. But I digress. Throughout our trip in Southeast Asia over the last nine days, I was struck by the palpable feeling of economic growth and entrepreneurship. It felt like a region that is pulling itself out out of poverty by it’s bootstraps. There is a long way to go for sure. Annual per capita GDP in Vietnam is roughly $7000US, that number is roughly $6000US in Laos, and roughly $4000US in Cambodia. But there is a vitality everywhere you go. People are on the go. Construction projects abound. Commerce is everywhere. People have phones and motor scooters. Most of all you see children and young adults. This is a region that lost much of my generation to war and genocide. But they are regenerating their families and societies. In Vietnam, 50% of the population is under 30. In Cambodia, 70% are under 22. The people are nice. They welcome the tourists and understand the economic support it brings to their cities and country. So I’m very optimistic about these countries. They are on the move. It was exciting to see that. USV TEAM POSTS:Nick Grossman — October 18, 2017ServiceAlbert Wenger — October 18, 2017Uncertainty Wednesday: A Random Variable without Expected Value [...]



My Partners Blogging In 2017 [Feld Thoughts]

2017-10-15T12:45:57-07:00

My partners Chris Moody, Seth Levine, and Lindel Eakman are all blogging right now. My other two partners, Ryan McIntyre and Jason Mendelson have blogged in the past, ut took a break in 2017. Also, the Foundry Group blog is always active, with occasional thought pieces but mostly updates on initial financings both for companies and... Read more The post My Partners Blogging In 2017 appeared first on Feld Thoughts.My partners Chris Moody, Seth Levine, and Lindel Eakman are all blogging right now. My other two partners, Ryan McIntyre and Jason Mendelson have blogged in the past, ut took a break in 2017. Also, the Foundry Group blog is always active, with occasional thought pieces but mostly updates on initial financings both for companies and other funds that we invest in. So, I thought I’d point you at Moody, Seth, and Lindel’s blogs (and some posts) in case you are interested in following more of what we are doing at Foundry Group. Moody’s recent post Two Steps Forward, One Step Back talks about being a few months into his gig as a VC, after his announcement of his transition from operator to VC in Joining Foundry Group. Seth has started a Friday series named Friday Fun because the world needs more fun. His longer thought pieces like The Feature -> Product -> Company Continuum, How to value your SaaS company, and Reading Your VC Pitch Meeting are must-read posts for me – and for every founder and company executive. Also, Seth’s not afraid to be very personal and open, as he shows in his post Drowning. Lindel is getting into a grove with posts like Saying “No” too often is part of being a good investor, Mi Casa Es Su Casa – How we seek to interact with our family of GPs, and Venture Risk and Return circa 2017. Very few LPs blog, so it’s neat to add Lindel’s perspective as a fund investor into the mix. If you are following and reading me, I encourage you to follow and read my partners to get the full view of how we think about things at Foundry Group. The post My Partners Blogging In 2017 appeared first on Feld Thoughts. [...]



Crypto Asset Allocation [A VC]

2017-10-14T16:54:24-07:00

Coindesk did me a disservice with this blog post: USV’s Fred Wilson Predicts ‘Big’ Cryptocurrency Crash https://t.co/P8085HlhW1 pic.twitter.com/8rVaudYnlA — CoinDesk (@coindesk) September 26, 2017 It made it seem like I was predicting an imminent crash which I was not. But just as bad, it has led to a lot of tweets like this one suggesting […]

Coindesk did me a disservice with this blog post:

(image)



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

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

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



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

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

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



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

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

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



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

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

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



Thoughts on European Start Ups [localglobe]

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

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



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

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

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



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

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

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



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

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

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



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

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

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

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

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




Macbook Environmental Report [Salman's blog]

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

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

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

(image)



Hamon Washoku Opens Today in San Carlos [Consuming Ambitions]

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

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



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

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

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



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

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

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



Portfolio Company Politics [Nothing ventured, nothing gained]

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

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



Money fears [Nothing ventured, nothing gained]

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

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



A Must-Read Blog for Entrepreneurs [Venture Explorer]

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

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

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

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




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

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

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



Kindo ties the knot with MyHeritage [localglobe]

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

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






Oh my Goldman [Nothing ventured, nothing gained]

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

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



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

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

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



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

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

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



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

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

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

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

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




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

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

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



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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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





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

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

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

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

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



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

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

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

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



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

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

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



Letters to Economist Editors [Salman's blog]

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

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



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

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

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



Beer Brewing FAQ [Consuming Ambitions]

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

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



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

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

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


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




The Polluter is the Consumer [Salman's blog]

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

Here is another high level analysis of embodied carbon in imports by Oxford’s Dieter Helm (et al). It looks at the UK’s carbon emissions from the “consumption point of view.” The paper notes that using conventional producer-based carbon accounting-methods,“UK greenhouse gas emissions have fallen by 15% since 1990. In contrast, on a consumption basis, the illustrative outcome is a rise in emissions of 19% over the same period. This is a dramatic reversal of fortune… It suggests that the decline in greenhouse gas emissions from the UK economy may have been to a considerable degree an illusion. Trade may have displaced the UK’s greenhouse gas appetite elsewhere.”The same paper has a well-articulated overview of the “consumer vs producer” paradigm:“Both these [currently used] methodologies are based on the location of the production of greenhousegases. This, however, is a somewhat misleading and partial basis for policy purposes. For a country could have a very low production of greenhouse gases, but at the same time have a high consumption level. It could produce low-GHG-intensity goods, but import and consume high-GHG-intensity goods. Thus, a developed country might cease to produce steel, aluminium, glass and chemicals domestically, but import the manufactured goods from abroad. In the UK’s case, the shift of production in such activities to China, India and other developing countries in the last two decades suggests that this effect may be considerable… China might argue that, although it produces high emissions, these are on behalf of consumers in developed countries, and therefore the consumers should pay for the relevant reductions. In this way, the polluter is not the producer, but rather the consumer.”Also, the paper finds that “by 2006, the trade deficit in greenhouse gases [in the UK] was 341 MtCO2e, around 50% of d[...]



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 mistake
2. A business is built on revenues not raised capital
3. The more of the company you keep the better off you are!
4. Before you control growth you should experience it
5. Risk is a part of life.
6. Fear of failure is as BAD as if not worst than fear of success
7. There is a thing called “competition” , while you ponder they are executing!(image)



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

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

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








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

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

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



The Landscape of Cloud Computing [Venture Explorer]

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

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



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

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

As a sector, transportation is certainly a significant source of carbon emissions. But perhaps because it is so visible, or even tactile, transportation gets a lot of attention, and people tend to overstate its role in embodied emissions. Some recent NY Times articles make references to some related data which are worth quoting:From the Green Issue of the Magazine: “It is the locavore’s dilemma that organic bananas delivered by a fuel-efficient boat may be responsible for less energy use than highly fertilized, nonorganic potatoes trucked from a hundred miles away. Even locally grown, organic greenhouse tomatoes can consume 20 percent more resources than a tomato from a far-off warm climate, because of all the energy needed to run the greenhouse.”The same issue also quoted the famous New Zealand studies, though in a somewhat skeptical tone: “A handful of studies have recently suggested that in certain cases under certain conditions, produce from places as far away as New Zealand might account for less carbon than comparable domestic products.”Also, when Timberland studied the embodied emissions of its shoes, “the company was surprised to find that transportation may account for less than 5 percent of its greenhouse-gas emissions — while almost 80 percent may come from making the leather, a process buried deep in its supply chain.” (Note however that Timberland seems to have overestimated the emissions related to the leather.)The above study is consistent with Weber and Matthews’ study on the embodied emissions of imports into the United States, which suggests that “CO2 emissions due to international freight transport are unlikely to increase the totals [of embodied emiss[...]



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

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

Dealmaker Media is offering readers $100 off the Under the Radar Social Media and Entertainment event on June 3rd in Mountain View, CA. Click here or on the image below to register with the discount. Here's the conference description (I'm...Dealmaker Media is offering readers $100 off the Under the Radar Social Media and Entertainment event on June 3rd in Mountain View, CA.  Click here or on the image below to register with the discount.Here's the conference description (I'm a judge, btw): Under the Radar: Social Media and EntertainmentJune 3, 2008 | 8:00am – 6:00pm Microsoft Campus | Mountain View, CA If you can't beat 'em, buy 'em. No longer is big media trying to compete with the content companies that were stealing the show - instead, they're offering them a premium channel. From YouTube to Bebo and MySpace to Club Penguin, every media mogul, Hollywood tycoon and Silicon Valley innovator wants a piece of this pie.  But even Toto knows we're not in Kansas anymore - technology has changed, business models and ad metrics are being reinvented, and the pressure to turn millions of eyeballs into billions of cash is on. Blink once and they just might get side-swiped by a startup with a better product, a smarter model and, even worse, nothing to lose.Under the Radar will uncover 32 startups in the entertainment and social media space that have launched within the year. Covering social networks, advertising, casual gaming, virtual worlds, measurement tools, video, commerce, publishing and more, Under the Radar is the only forum that empowers its audience to discover tomorrow’s leading tech companies. PRESENTERS: 33Across - Identifie[...]



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

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

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


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




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

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

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



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

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

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



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

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

“Developing countries, whose economies and populations are growing fastest, [will] contribute 74% of the increase in global primary energy use [until 2030]. China and India alone account for 45% of this increase.” World Energy Outlook 2007, IEA So three quarters of all new power production capacity will be in developing countries. Close to half of it in India and China. And according to the same report: “China, with four times as many people, overtakes the United States to become the world’s largest energy consumer soon after 2010. In 2005, US demand was more than one third larger.”And... “In the longer term, [in China,] demand slows as the economy matures, the structure of output shifts towards less energy-intensive activities and more energy-efficient technologies are introduced.”This last sentence is the most interesting. It sounds like the basic assumption of the report is that China will make a typical progression towards a more advanced economy: As the country becomes richer, not only will it care more about the environment and prioritize more energy efficient technologies, but the economy as a whole will become more service oriented, much like that of the US. Of course, this does not mean that the world will consume fewer goods. It just means that those goods will be produced in a new generation of up and coming developing nations – and those nations would account for the ~30% of the total increased energy use until 2030.One could imagine that, like China today, those countries will want to u[...]



Muxtape [Dav-generated Content]

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

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

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



Reims Aviation acquiert la société Flying Robots [Techfund.Info]Gregoire

2008-04-03T09:30:14-07:00

Reims, le 2 avril 2008 : Reims Aviation, leader européen de la surveillance aéroportée légère, annonce avoir signé un protocole d’accord pour l’acquisition de la société Flying Robots(image)


Media Files:
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Venture Capital in Emerging Markets Conference, 9 - 10 June 2008, Istanbul, Turkey [Golden Horn Ventures]

2008-03-29T03:09:05-07:00

Golden Horn ventures is organizing a conference in Istanbul, Venture Capital in Emerging Markets. The goal is to bring together fund investors, venture capitalists from all over the world and entrepreneurs and discuss investment strategies, the right and wrong practices...



Novaled opens its first subsidiary in Asia [Techfund.Info]Gregoire

2008-03-19T11:48:56-07:00

Novaled, a major OLED know how and service provider reinforces its presence in the Asian market by opening a Japan Branch office.Effective from 10th March 2008, Novaled set up a Branch Office in the Tokyo area. With this new opening, the company confirms its commitment to the OLED industry in Asia. The Novaled Branch office […](image)


Media Files:
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Le capital-risque « vert » prend son envol en France [Techfund.Info]Gregoire

2008-03-12T14:39:07-07:00

Les technologies du développement durable « cleantech » s’affirment désormais comme l’une des priorités du capital-risque. Aux Etats-Unis, l’engouement pour le capital-risque vert a même provoqué en fin d’année dernière une mise en garde de l’association des investisseurs en capital, la NVCA, inquiète du risque d’une nouvelle bulle. La croissance est en effet très rapide […](image)


Media Files:
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L’avenir très prometteur des énergies vertes [Techfund.Info]Gregoire

2008-03-08T13:22:34-08:00

Emission de France24 évoquant les Cleantech : alors que les industriels américains ont déjà réagi favorablement au secteur des énergies renouvelables, les entreprises européennes se mettent enfin au vert.(image)


Media Files:
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Entrepreneurial support – The conversation series [Sid Mohasseb]

2008-03-02T18:13:28-08:00

So here is something new for interested entrepreneurs.Venture Farm Institute Web Conference YOU CHOOSE THE TOPIC & WE PAY FOR IT (IT'S FREE) First event : March 17,2008 8:30am-9:15 pstPick Your Topic & RegisterThe purpose of the series is to inform and enrich the entrepreneur to understand the Funding Process and focus on Business Execution.The Conversation series is also a complement to our workshop Series with Rapid Fire , a 3hr Live Roundtable of providing early stage companies uncensored feedback, from the investor perspective, as well as a 2-Day Workshop on Effective Entrepreneurship .How to participate?: This series is online. You need a computer with web access.What is on the Agenda: The selected topic will be discussed. A short Q&A for you and your guests is also scheduled.Who should participate in the webconference?: Any Entrepreneur who wants to build a great company...and yes that may include raising money!Hope to see you on line. [...]