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Recent blog posts
 Fundraising is a stressful process. You do all you can to impress prospective investors by honing the story, optimizing key metrics and making your company look as attractive as possible. But before you decide the amount of money you raise and the type of investor you want on board, you must decide the kind of relationship you intend to have with your new partner. Read More
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 Uber SVP of Leadership and Strategy Frances Frei is optimistic about the future of Uber, despite the allegations of sexual harassment, greyballing and an executive accessing a rider’s medical records. In fact, Frei wears an Uber t-shirt every day and plans to wear one every day until every single one of Uber’s 15,000 employees feels proud about wearing one. Read More
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 How many times have you been in an Uber or Lyft and wanted a few Advil, or a 5-hour Energy? While some enterprising ridesharing drivers occasionally try to sell essentials (or non-essentials like tablets and digital cameras), there really isn’t a structured way to facilitate this… until now. Enter Cargo, a startup that wants to turn drivers’ vehicles into little mobile shops. Read More
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Posted by on in Entrepreneurship

Amy and I were at a delightful dinner with friends (new and old) last night who are deeply involved in Naropa. After a very long couple of days where I was very tired, it was nice to sit in a cozy house, eat home cooked food, and just talk about life.

Near the end of the evening, I heard a line that will stick with me for a very long time.

“Contentment used to be a virtue. Now it’s a vice.”

As with many things that need to stick with me, I repeated it out loud. We talked for a few minutes about the overall, dominant American culture of achievement. The endless striving. The need to feel busy, important, and successful. The deep cultural norms around ambition.

The word striving stuck out for me (I wasn’t the one who mentioned it first.) Recently I’ve been telling people that I’m done striving. Sure, I expect I’ll accomplish a lot more in my life, but it’s not driven from a place of needing to ego fulfillment of accomplishment. Everything about striving, including the definition (“struggle or fight vigorously”), turns me off at this point. It’s not me, how I think about myself, or how I want people to think about me (as a “striver.”)

Yesterday afternoon before dinner I gave a talk at the Catalyze CU-Boulder accelerator. I try to do this every summer as one of the things I do to support entrepreneurship at CU Boulder. As I got in my car to drive to dinner, I wondered whether the students got what they wanted from me. I spent 45 minutes answering a set of questions they’d put together in advance but gave to me when I showed up. While I answered their questions, sort of, my responses were rambling philosophical views of what I thought was actually underneath the question. It was a lot more fun for me; I hope it was useful for them.

This morning, I realized that many of my public talks, especially Q&As, have become more abstract in the past few years. While some specifics still find their way into what I say, I’m trying to help people think about the questions at a much higher level than they ordinarily do. And, in a lot of cases, I’m not trying to give an answer, but provide stimuli to generate more introspection about the question.

On my drive in today, my phone dropped three times, which is in the normal range of one to six. On the third drop, when I called the person back, I said:

“My life with Verizon can be agitated or amused. I choose amused.”

The person I was talking to, who is a high achiever in a very fast growing company, said “I choose amused also. It’s a better way to live.”

Choose amused. Think about the real issues. Embrace contentment.

Also published on Medium.

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Original author: Brad Feld
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 Drones are a threat to both military and public safety, whether flown by a terrorist or just a reckless pilot. SkySafe’s radio wave technology can detect and stop rogue drones from entering unauthorized areas like military bases, stadiums, prisons and airports. Read More
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 Slidebean, the app that wants to take on Prezi and PowerPoint, is launching version 3.0 of the service on the heels of an $850K seed round from CaraoV. The idea behind Slidebean is relatively simple. Presentations/decks are a fact of life for many professionals, but creating those presentations isn’t as simple as inputting the information you want. More often than not, professional… Read More
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 Unless you literally wear a mask all the time, it is almost impossible to completely avoid cameras and face recognition technology. Not only is this a privacy concern, but it also presents a potential liability for companies that need to protect personal data. D-ID, a startup currently taking part in Y Combinator, wants to solve the problem with tools that process images to make them… Read More
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mailbox PebblePost, a startup that uses online data to target consumers with printed mail, has raised $47 million in a combination of equity and debt. That includes the $15 million, RRE Ventures-led Series B that the company announced in February. The equity portion of the funding has been expanded to $20 million, with another $27 million coming from a loan facility from Horizon Technology Finance, plus… Read More
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 Dynamic Yield, which uses machine learning to help online marketers personalize customer experiences on their site, has added $9 million to its Series C, bringing it to a new total of $31 million. Its new investors are DTCP (Deutsche Telekom Capital Partners) and La Maison. Read More
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 The Luma was a compelling product when it was announced back in late-2015 — we even went so far as declaring the WiFi-extending home mesh system, “fun.” That descriptor doesn’t really apply the startup’s new offering, and indeed, Luma Guardian feels a bit out of left field for the networking hardware-maker.  The system is a lot of things rolled into one: a VPN… Read More
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 In episode two of Founder’s Corner, Gina Bianchini, the founder and CEO of Mighty Networks, joins host and Omidyar Network partner Shripriya Mahesh to discuss her mission of empowering people to connect around their passions, and pulls back the curtain on how she runs the business and manages her days as CEO. Read More
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 The TechCrunch Summer Party is a thing of tradition and we hope you can make it out this year. As in years past we’ll gather on the spacious grounds of August Capital in Menlo Park and enjoy an evening of cocktails and the spirit of entrepreneurship. The deck around August Capital’s office is large but cannot hold all of Silicon Valley, so tickets are very limited and released on… Read More
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July 18, 2017

Readers of this blog likely know that my partners Jason and Ryan have a band called Legitimate Front. You also probably know I’m on the board of Defy Ventures. And it’s likely you know that we are investors in Harmonix.

When you mix all three, you get a new DLC for Rock Band from Legitimate Front. Their song, She, is now available to play on Rock Band. And, all proceeds go to Defy Ventures.

I’m proud of a bunch of people involved in this. Yes, I smiled today when I saw how it all came together.

As a bonus, if you want to see Jason and Ryan (and Legitimate Front) IRL, take a look at the video from a recent Techstars FounderCon.

Also published on Medium.

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Original author: Brad Feld
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frank house of cardsNetflix's 'House of Cards'House of Cards / Netflix

Good morning! Here is the tech news you need to know this Tuesday.

1. The UK government is to force porn sites to introduce age verification, or else be banned. People will have to register their card details to prove their age, in a measure designed to protect children from seeing graphic content.

2. Investor and startup platform AngelList has suspended an employee, Lee Jacobs, as it investigates allegations of assault. According to TechCrunch, Jacob allegedly assaulted a woman at an event in 2013.

3. A security flaw in MySpace meant that someone could hack into an account knowing just the user's real name, user name, and birthdate. It isn't clear if any MySpace accounts were affected by the vulnerability.

4. Google's troubled high-speed broadband business, Google Fiber, is losing its new chief executive just five months after he joined. Gregory McCray was hired to head up Access, the Google division which includes Fiber, and it's not clear why he's left.

5. Uber's global retreat continues after it pulled out of China-controlled Macau. The company said it couldn't "secure" the right business environment, and leaves after less than two years in the market.

6. Amazon registered a trademark application for "prepared food kits", suggesting the firm's about to take on the likes of Blue Apron in meal kits. Blue Apron's stock sank 11% on the news.

7. Essential, the startup headed by Android creator Andy Rubin, is set to bring its new smartphone to the UK. Essential has conducted talks with operators to bring its smartphone, a high-end device just called "Phone", overseas.

8. Netflix crushed its growth targets, adding more than 5 million new subscribers for its second quarter. Revenue and earnings per share were in line with analyst guidance, and the results sent the firm's stock up 8%.

9. Hand-tracking firm Leap Motion has raised $50 million (£38 million) in Series C funding to expand its human-computer interaction technology. The firm will expand into different sectors and open a new office in Shanghai.

10. The entire board of Hampton Creek, a Silicon Valley startup famous for making egg-less mayonnaise, has quit except the CEO, Josh Tetrick. The outgoing board members reportedly left because of conflicts with Tetrick.

Original author: Shona Ghosh
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Lucid Air A view of the Lucid Air outside of Lucid Motors' headquarters in Menlo Park, California, February 16, 2017. Bryan Logan/Business Insider

The Silicon Valley-based electric-car startup, Lucid Motors is said to be entertaining a possible sale to Ford Motor Company, Bloomberg reported on Monday.

The publication, citing people familiar with the matter, said Lucid approached Ford about a possible sale, and that Ford rebuffed the suggestion.

Lucid is currently raising money in a Series D round.

A Lucid Motors spokesperson declined to comment on any takeover talks or the company's current Series D, but said that the fundraising effort was "going well." The company is backed by Venrock, which is the same venture capital firm that led Apple's Series A round in 1978.

Business Insider reported in February that Lucid Motors' Series D was in the works. A company spokesman said at the time that Lucid had raised several hundred million dollars as it develops its 1,000-horsepower Lucid Air electric luxury sedan.

Like Faraday Future, another investor-backed electric-car startup, Lucid Motors is also seeking funds to build its inaugural factory, which Bloomberg said could cost $700 million. But unlike Faraday Future, Lucid Motors has not started work at its own site in Casa Grande, Arizona.

Faraday Future said last week that it was temporarily abandoning its plans to build an assembly plant in North Las Vegas, Nevada, 15 months after it held a ceremonial ground-breaking at the site in April 2016, citing trouble raising money from outside investors.

Lucid Motors Chief Technology Officer Peter Rawlinson told Automotive News at the New York International Auto Show in April: "It would be irresponsible to start moving earth or start anything until we have a financial runway to execute that professionally and with absolute integrity."

During his February interview with Business Insider, Rawlinson said of building a new electric car from the ground up: "This team realizes the enormity of the task. We're car guys. This is the team that has done it before. We know how to do this."

Get the latest Ford stock price here.

Original author: Bryan Logan
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ASPEN, Colorado – There's no question that superfast, fifth-generation mobile networks are coming. But when will consumers get to connect to these 5G systems?

How about in as little as two years?

"You’ll see 5G in 2019 for sure," Qualcomm CEO Steve Mollenkopf told attendees of the Fortune Brainstorm conference in Aspen, Colorado on Monday. 

5G networks are expected to send gobs of data faster than your at-home WiFi network and faster than your old-fashioned, wired plug-in network at work. They might even be as fast as the fastest networks you can get today, which run at gigabit speeds.

Although everyone wants faster networks, it's not been clear when 5G would arrive. Even a year ago, Mollenkopf himself would have predicted that 5G wouldn't be readily available until 2020, but "people are pulling us faster" toward 5G than that, he said.

There are also whole new industries that are pushing for it, like connected cars, and health care.

But the big driver? Videos. People want to watch more videos on their gorgeous-screen smartphones, and that requires lots of bandwidth.

Original author: Julie Bort
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google fiberThere's another shake up in Google Fiber's leadershipGeorge Frey/Reuters

Google Fiber, the high-speed internet service operated by Alphabet, has lost its second CEO in less than a year. 

Gregory McCray is stepping down from the CEO job of Access, the Alphabet subsidiary that houses the Fiber unit, Google confirmed to Business Insider on Monday.

The change is the latest shake-up at Access, which announced in October that it would stop rolling out its 1 gigabit per second wired broadband networks to new cities and focus on newer, wireless options, such as the Webpass wireless service it acquired last year.

The Access group also had layoffs towards the end of 2016 and shifted hundreds of other employees to different units within Google earlier this year.

Alphabet CEO Larry Page said in an emailed statement to Business Insider on Monday that the company is "committed to the success of Google Fiber" and was looking for new leader for the business.

"We are serving not only our core Fiber cities but also others through Webpass. Fiber has a great team and I'm confident we will find an amazing person to lead this important business," Page said in the statement on Monday, following the news, which was first report by Bloomberg. 

Craig Barratt, the head of Google Access, stepped down from the top job at the time. And Google hired McCray in February.  McCray was the CEO of Aero Communications before taking the job at Alphabet. His departure after only five months on the job is likely to revive questions about the future of the Access division when Alphabet holds its Q2 earnings conference call next week. 

Visit Markets Insider for constantly updated market quotes for individual stocks, ETFs, indices, commodities and currencies traded around the world. Go Now!

Original author: Alexei Oreskovic
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Myspace screenshotCaroline Cakebread / Business Insider

You may not have thought much about your Myspace page in a long time, but you might want to give it some thought now. 

It turns out, there was — until very recently — an easy way to hack into Myspace accounts. All you needed was an account holder's name, user name, and date of birth. 

British cybersecurity blogger Leigh-Anne Galloway published a post on Monday about the security flaw. Her post was picked up by the Verge, among other outlets. 

Galloway discovered the Myspace vulnerability in April while trying to regain access to her account so she could delete it. The site directed her to an account recovery page. In order to reset her password and allow her to regain control of her account, the page only asked that she provide her full name, user name, email address associated with the account and birth date.

As Galloway noted, most of that information is either public or fairly easy to find for most people, meaning that if hackers wanted to, they could fairly easily take control of any MySpace account. Galloway was concerned enough about the flaw that she notified Myspace soon after she discovered it. She said she never got a response other than an automated email telling her MySpace had gotten the message and would get back to her.

Galloway later discovered the situation was even worse than she thought. Although the recovery page indicated certain fields were required to reset an account, the page also tells visitors to just "try and fill out as many of the fields as you can." After testing it a bit, she discovered she was able to reset her password and gain access to her account without a valid email address

Interestingly, after Galloway published her post on Monday and it was picked up by various news outlets, the recovery page she used disappeared. The site now redirects visitors to a page prompting them to enter an email address to get instructions on how to reset their password.

It's unclear whether any Myspace accounts were compromised due to the vulnerability.

In an emailed statement, the company said that because of the recent concerns, it added an additional verification step for customers seeking to reactivate their accounts. Myspace plans to continue refining the process over time, the company said.

This isn't the first or even the most serious security issue Myspace has faced. In 2016, a hacker stole and then tried to sell 360 million user email addresses and passwords. 

Although it's largely an after-thought in the social networking world these days, Myspace still gets 50 million visits every month according to the Verge. In 2016 media giant Time purchased the social networking company for an undisclosed sum. Then Chairman and CEO of Time, Joe Ripp called the purchase “game changing.”

Viant, a digital advertising platform, is the parent company of Myspace, and Time was likely looking to get in on Viant’s user data for ad targeting purposes. 

Original author: Caroline Cakebread
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Nest CTO Yoky Matsuoka Nest CTO Yoky Matsuoka Stuart Isett/FORTUNE Brainstorm Tech. Used by permission.

Yoky Matsuoka is in the middle of a spectacular career. She began as a semi-professional tennis player. She became a renowned expert on robotics because she dreamed of building a robot tennis partner (something she never accomplished). She did research stints at University of Washington and Microsoft Research.

Then she went on to become one of three co-founder of Google's moonshot R&D unit Google X (now called merely "X"). Today, she's the Chief Technology Officer at Nest.

Having been both a university researcher and a product developer, she has an interesting perspective on why it's so hard for research breakthroughs to wind up in products.

She says there's a "Valley of Death" between academia and commerce because each of them are after different things.

Research is all about proving an idea that's never been done before. Have an idea, write a grant, hire research students, get proof-of-concepts and have everyone publish papers. Those papers bring in more grant money and lead to tenure.

The gap comes at that point.  Researchers assume that that some great product person will take the research and turn it into a product to be used by millions of people.

But it's not easy to take a product "that works for 10 people and getting it working for a million or a billion people," Matsuoka says.

And the work required to bridge t hat gap "is boring for everyone," she says.

Researchers want to focus on new stuff that's never been done before. They don't want take something proven and published, and make it stable for a billion users.

And product people don't want to spin their wheels experimenting with early technologies that have only worked for 10 people. Their attitude is "We’re working on real products," she describes.

She thinks the solution is for more cooperation between the two sides, including more researchers who jump to commercial work and back and again, like she has.

And that was one idea behind the formation of X, which she says was intended to be a "paradigm shift" in research. Even though none of the companies that X has launched has yet to produce financially successful products, she says "It's been very successful, by its own metric."

Original author: Julie Bort
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For all the PR fiascos it’s faced, Uber is still king of the ride-hailing services in the West.

On the other side of the globe, however, the process of requesting a car from your phone is dominated by another giant: Didi Chuxing. As this chart from Statista shows, while Didi is a relative unknown in the West, its fundamentals are nearly on par with the world’s most valuable private company.

Didi acquired Uber’s China operations in a mega-merger last year, outlasting its fellow giant after a fierce price war. The company has the backing of titans like Apple, SoftBank, and China’s own Alibaba and Tencent, two truly massive rivals that merged their respective ride services to create Didi Chuxing and share the spoils.

It’s not hard to see why all these major players are bullish on Didi: It now owns a virtual monopoly on ride-hailing, a growing business, in China, a country with a population of 1.3 billion and a high percentage of citizens who do not own cars. Uber now has a stake in Didi’s business, so it’s not being left in the dark there. But as Uber continues to deal with Lyft at home, Didi may wind up the king of ride-hailing worldwide.

COTD_7.17Jeff Dunn/Business Insider

Original author: Jeff Dunn
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