Browsed by
Month: February 2017

Crimes, Misdemeanors – and Business As Usual

Crimes, Misdemeanors – and Business As Usual

Move fast and break things. Do more faster. These are the mantras that the tech industry, particular those in Silicon Valley, cut their teeth on. Competition is fierce and timing (first to market) – and perception (category killer: think Google and Facebook) – is everything. So is it a wonder that Uber has drawn so much scrutiny and criticism for its practices lately? On all fronts, it seems.

Has Uber Gone Too Far this Time? Is Uber involved in a Smear Campaign,?” asks Michael Spencer on LinkedIn, referring not only to former Uber employee Susan Fowler’s blog on the sexual harassment she encountered at the company, which was not unique to her but instead, fairly widespread in Uber’s frat boy culture, according to Caroline Fairchild on LinkedIn.

Then there’s the Google patent infringement lawsuit, which is alleging that Uber is using stolen technology which it acquired through its purchase of Otto, to advance its own autonomous-car development (A Stray Email Caused Google’s Waymo to Sue Uber and Otto Over Stolen Tech). Read More...

The Things We Think and Do Not Say

The Things We Think and Do Not Say

This past week, not unlike Jerry Maguire, Mark Zuckerberg issued a mission statement, with some 5700 words on the goals of Facebook. To refresh your memory, there has been some speculation of late as to whether or not the Facebook founder is preparing a presidential run, presumably in 2024, but now it seems, he has decided that, instead, he wants to rule the world. According to Mashable, with his manifesto, Mark Zuckerberg just said he wants Facebook to save the world. Same difference.

Facebook has certainly been under the microscope lately. Between the so-called fake news (we say ‘so-called,’ as while Macedonian teenagers might have posted misinformation, news sources that don’t necessarily follow lock-step with the world view of the Silicon Valley/global elite were also conveniently lumped into this category and even the ethics of Facebook’s chosen outside fact-checkers are called into question) and streaming suicides, murders and gang rapes, Facebook has become a veritable online Roman Coliseum.

As Zuckerberg discusses the evolution of peoples from tribes to cities to nations, he’s no doubt considering that that’s the progression of Facebook as well, which is in parallel to the global community that Silicon Valley would like to see, with national boundaries as a leftover of a bygone or disappearing era, and isn’t Facebook, after all, a global community without boundaries? The social network does not suffer under the inconvenience of national barriers. Read More...

The New Pathway to Exits

The New Pathway to Exits

Silicon Valley is fond of exits – isn’t a meaningful exit the dream and endgame of every investor and entrepreneur in tech? You have to admire – or shake your head in total disbelief at – Silicon Valley, when it comes to what they’ve managed to accomplish: namely, disrupt a number of industries, as well as the basic principles of economics and business, to get to those astronomical exits, whether or not they were real, or just so much smoke and mirrors.

When Twitter launched in 2006 and started picking up steam after its debut at SXSW the following year, they had no revenue model, but the company’s investors assured us that there would be a revenue model by 2009. Then came the IPO in 2013 and, as The Wall Street Journal noted, “The San Francisco-based company raised as much as $2.1 billion and ended the day with a market capitalization of about $25 billion. That made the six-year-old company bigger than more than half of the firms in the S&P 500 and larger than well-known brands such as Kellogg Co. and Whole Foods Market Inc.”

That was then and this is now, and the company is now worth well under its IPO price and as Bloomberg News notes on the eve of three-year-old Snap going public, Snap’s IPO to Be Haunted by Twitter and GoPro. As MarketWatch warns, Snap’s cost of revenue has exceeded sales for two years, and could grow more. Which is Silicon Valley newspeak for the company is losing money, in case you’ve never read George Orwell’s 1984 and evidently, we don’t know what the hell they’re teaching out there. As for Twitter’s revenue model (what to speak of the fact that the company is hemorrhaging users), we’re still waiting. Read More...

Where Are All the Women Investors?

Where Are All the Women Investors?

Following the Ellen Pao gender discrimination trial, quite a few articles came out about the lack of women investors in technology. We attend many events and panels, and it struck us that we know quite a few women tech investors, so we sat down and made a list of the ones we know in New York alone – and quickly came up with well over a hundred names. So, they’re out there. In New York, anyway.

Not long after having compiled this list (170+ VCs, angels, Corporates and Family Offices), we attended the Demo Day of one of the leading accelerators and noticed something odd: after the presentations, the male investors gathered in small groups to discuss the various companies, while the women dispersed to different stations where the entrepreneurs were answering questions and it struck us that there was something of a disconnect/chokepoint: the proverbial Old Boy networks have been around forever and while the names and faces may change, they’re still very much alive and well, while there’s no such long-standing network/pipeline among women: the women investors don’t necessarily all know each other.

Which gave birth to Ladies Who Lead, an event we plan on hosting quarterly (our 2nd one will be held this Thursday evening) so that the women investors of New York can get better acquainted with each other, in order to facilitate deal flow. Read More...

Social media & sharing icons powered by UltimatelySocial
%d bloggers like this: