Tech Industry News: May 30, 2016

Hope everyone enjoyed Memorial Day. Late delivery due to the holiday.

Last week, today

  • 5/20 – Dan Primack has a profile on Glasswing Ventures, which is a new fund being started by Rudina Seseri and Rick Grinnell, previously partners with Fairhaven Capital (Fortune)
  • 5/20 – Avaya’s owners Silver Lake and TPG are reportedly considering a sale that could value the business for between $6B and $10B. The Company is reportedly working with Goldman Sachs on the deal. Avaya had $900M in EBITDA, but $400M in interest expense last year (Fortune)
  • 5/21 – Marc Benioff gave a weird answer to Jim Cramer when asked whether or not Salesforce would still potentially sell itself (Business Insider)
  • 5/22 – Ursula Burns, the CEO of Xerox, will not serve as CEO of either of the two businesses (one will focus on printer and copiers and one on BPO and other services) after Xerox splits later this year (NYT)
  • 5/23 – After laying off 10% of its workforce, Localytics is now pushing for profitability (Xconomy)
  • 5/23 – Kleiner Perkins is raising $1.3B for two funds split between its early stage and its digital growth funds (CNBC)
  • 5/23 – HelloTech merged with rival in-home tech support company Geekatoo. HelloTech has raised $17M from firms like Madrona, Upfront and Greycroft. Geekatoo had raised $3M from a bunch of different people (Fortune)
  • 5/23 – Xiaomi, the Chinese phone maker and private company with the second highest valuation behind Uber, reportedly had flat-ish revenue last year, growing only 5% (Fortune)
  • 5/23 – Amazon has stopped giving refunds when an item’s price drops after you purchase it (Re/Code)
  • 5/23 – “Why the Virtual-Reality Hype is About to Come Crashing Down” (the answer is the gap between content and technology) (WSJ)
  • 5/23 – Facebook has acquired Two Big Ears, a developer of software/technology for audio content related VR and 3D games (Seeking Alpha)
  • 5/23 – Filings show that Spotify grew revenue 80% to $2.1B while losses only grew by 7% to $188.7M (Re/Code). The Company also released a family plan that lets up to 6 people stream songs for $15 a month (Venture Beat)
  • 5/23 – Harmony Partners has closed its third fund, a $105M fund focused on Series B and later growth checks (PE Hub)
  • 5/24 – A little known Delaware law could force companies to open their books at a shareholder’s request, which obviously will have big implications for a number of companies that prefer secrecy around their financials (WSJ)
  • 5/24 – HP Enterprise is selling off its services business, the old Electronic Data Systems business that it bought in 2008 for nearly $14B, to CSC for $8.5B (ABC News)
  • 5/24 – March Capital Partners has raised $240M for their first fund of which $100M has already been committed (Venture Beat)
  • 5/24 – Amazon is going to launch its Fresh grocery delivery service in the UK and Boston. The Company has been slow to expand beyond its initial core markets  (Re/Code)
  • 5/24 – Facebook is tweaking Trending Topics to counter charges of bias (and hopefully that’s the last we hear about this topic) (Re/Code)
  • 5/24 – Marc Michel is leaving Metamorphic Ventures to launch a new firm called Runway Venture Partners that will focus on extending the “runway” of seed rounds/seed extensions (Fortune)
  • 5/24 – Google is finally getting serious about ads for Google Maps (Search Engine Land)
  • 5/24 – Buyout rumors have again boosted the price of FireEye (this time IBM vs. last time Cisco) with the stock trading up 7.3% (Seeking Alpha)
  • 5/24 – eBay has acquired Ticketbis for $165M to expand StubHub’s reach into Europe, Latin America and Asia (TechCrunch)
  • 5/24 – Newark Venture Partners and an incubator NVP Labs launch with an intended $50M fund (of which $23M is committed) (TechCrunch)
  • 5/24 – 100 investigators raided Google’s Paris HQ at 5 AM in search of evidence of €1.6B in unpaid taxes (Business Insider)
  • 5/24 – Apple is opening up Siri to apps made by others and building an Amazon Echo competitor (The Information)
  • 5/25 – As part of the plan to kick its phone business to the curb, Microsoft will cut 1,850 jobs and take a $950M charge (Re/Code)
  • 5/25 – Business Insider has a report on Domo, which states that the Company is “equal parts hype and reality” and that the enterprise sales business is not doing very well (Business Insider)
  • 5/25 – Alibaba announced that its under investigation by US securities regulators overs its accounting practices for dealing with businesses in which it owns stakes or has a say in its operations (NYT)
  • 5/25 – Uber has signed a partnership with Foursquare to power points of interest data around pick-ups and drop-offs (Medium)
  • 5/25 – This week in Theranos, WSJ has a report that Walgreens didn’t validate its technology (no sh*t) before deploying it in stores (WSJ) and the Company is now being hit by a consumer fraud class action lawsuit (The Verge)
  • 5/25 – Facebook is planning to shut down its ad exchange business, FBX, which enables third party ad technology companies to purchase ads on its network. Criteo which had been buying ads on behalf of companies on the platform traded down on the news (WSJ)
  • 5/25 – In a weird and kind of ominous threat that is likely totally out of context, Visa’s CEO Charlie Scharf said that if Visa and Paypal do not find a better way to work together, Visa will go after the Company “in ways that people have never seen before” (Re/Code)
  • 5/25 – Twitter disbanded its commerce team and ceased product development on its “Buy” button with a number of the 25 people on that team leaving the Company (Buzzfeed)
  • 5/25 – Salesforce has signed a major contract with AWS to spend over $400M on the platform over the next four years. Salesforce also declared AWS its preferred public cloud infrastructure provider (Fortune)
  • 5/25 – Qualcomm chief addresses investors’ appetite for the chip giant to do a large acquisition at JP Morgan’s annual tech conference in Boston (Fortune)
  • 5/25 – Opera Software just took a major step towards officially being acquired by a Chinese consortium for $1.2B after 90.6% of shareholders approved of the deal (TechCrunch)
  • 5/25 – Eric Schmidt said that Alphabet breaking up is “as unlikely as anything (he) could imagine” (Business Insider)
  • 5/25 – Snapchat has hired former Vanity Fair editor Betsy Lack to run global brand strategy for the Company (Re/Code)
  • 5/26 – Google beat Oracle in the copyright lawsuit heard round the world, determining that their use of Java in the Android phone constituted “fair use” (Re/Code)
  • 5/26 – Snapchat has raised $1.8B at either $18B or $20B post in a party round that included a number of growth and venture capital firms (in addition to the traditional mutual fund crew). Investors in this round include Sequoia, General Atlantic, IVP, Coatue, Fidelity, T. Rowe. Leaked documents suggest that the Company did $59M in revenue in 2015 (its first of selling), expects to do $250-350M in 2016 and $500M-$1B in 2017 (TechCrunch)
  • 5/26 – A Financial Times report states that an Apple exec proposed a bid for Time Warner although the idea never actually made it all the way up the ranks (Seeking Alpha)
  • 5/26 –Facebook is searching for a new CIO after news that current CIO Tim Campos (who joined in August 2010) is leaving the Company to found a business (WSJ)
  • 5/26 – This week’s news was largely dominated by the story that Peter Thiel had been funding Hulk Hogan’s lawsuit against Gawker after Gawker had outed Thiel as a gay in 2007 (NYT). Pierre Omidyar, the founder of eBay (which acquired Thiel’s first start-up Paypal) is leading a charge to support Gawker (NYP). Gawker has also hired investment bankers to help it either raise money or sell itself (Re/Code)
  • 5/26 – Intel Capital is restructuring its investment team, but has elected to not sell off its portfolio (WSJ)
  • 5/26 – Twilio officially filed to go public with an S-1 to list on the NYSE under the ticker “TWLO.” The Company plans to raise $100M. It did $166.9M in sales in 2015, up from $88.8M in 2014  (Fortune)
  • 5/26 – Intel has purchased Itseez, in an attempt to boost its navigation of self-driving cars (TechCrunch)
  • 5/26 – Lenovo admits that the Motorola business it acquired from Google “has not met expectations” (TechCrunch)
  • 5/27 – Data Collective has raised $177.5M for its fourth fund. The firm is also seeking $125M for an opportunities fund (PE Hub)
  • 5/27 – Verizon is working with Yahoo’s former investment bank, Bank of America, on a potential takeover bid (Venture Beat)
  • 5/27 – Toyota is close to buying Google’s robotics company, Boston Dynamics (Tech Insider)
  • 5/27 – Amazon is putting Alexa’s capabilities into the browser with Echosim.io (TechCrunch)
  • 5/27 – Marketo* stock jumped 6.7% on rumors that Vista Equity is close to announcing a deal to acquire the company (Seeking Alpha)

Earnings

  • 5/24 – Hewlett Packard Enterprise’s earnings were overshadowed by the news that the Company plans to spin off its services business to CSC. The stock traded up 10% after the news was released (WSJ)
  • 5/25 – Intuit released earnings and the stock fell 2% due largely to a decline in the subscriber growth rate of QuickBooks Online (CNBC)
  • 5/25 – Nimble Storage traded up 25% on an earnings beat with the Company favoring growth over profitability (Fool.com)
  • 5/26 – Palo Alto Networks’ stock fell 10.6% after posting a wider loss than expected (Fortune). The Company’s earnings also dragged down a number of other cybersecurity stocks including FireEye, CyberArk, Imperva, Fortinet (Seeking Alpha)
  • 5/26 – Splunk traded down 6% following its Q1 earnings release. The Company beat on revenue and raised its full year guidance, but losses widened (Seeking Alpha)
  • 5/26 – Pure Storage’s stock took a beating despite releasing solid earnings due to weak guidance and a class action lawsuit. The stock fell 22% on the news (Storage Review)
  • 5/26 – Veeva traded up 9.2% after beating on both top and bottom line (Seeking Alpha)
  • 5/27 – NetApp released earnings and reported a 10% decline in revenue and a 17% decline in product revenue. The stock fell slightly on the news but then mostly recovered (Nasdaq)

Financings

  • 5/23 – Saguna Networks, a 7.5-year-old, Yokneam, Israel-based mobile edge computing platform, has raised $5 million in funding led by CE Ventures
  • 5/23 – SeamlessDocs, a five-year-old, New York startup that helps governments move all their forms online, has raised $7 million in Series B funding led by Motorola Solutions
  • 5/23 – Sun Basket, a two-year-old, San Francisco-based healthy cooking service, has raised $11.6 million in Series A funding led by Paul Allen’s Vulcan Capital
  • 5/23 – Take the Interview, a four-old, New York-based online interviewing platform, has raised $5 million in Series B funding led by 3TS Capital Partners
  • 5/24 – Agari*, a seven-year-old, San Mateo, Ca.-based company that makes data-driven security software to eliminate email as a channel for cyberattacks, has raised $22 million in Series D funding led by Norwest Venture Partners
  • 5/24 – Apixio, a seven-year-old, San Mateo, Ca.-based data science company focused on healthcare, has raised $19.3 million in Series D funding led by SSM Partners
  • 5/24 – Bloomz, a two-year-old, Redmond, Wa.-based education tech startup whose app securely connects teachers and parents, has raised $2.3 million in seed funding from 8VC, ff Venture Capital, Founder’s Co-op, CorrelationVC, Wisemont Capital, Acequia Capital and individual angels.
  • 5/24 – Gett, a six-year-old, New York-based cab-hailing startup with operations across some 60 cities, is getting a $300 million investment from the German car giant Volkswagen
  • 5/24 – Menu Next Door, a year-old, Brussels-based Airbnb-like platform that invites users to either cook for people nearby or to pick up food from a local home cook who’s featured on the platform, has raised $2 million (€1.75 million) from Index Ventures, Local Globe, Kima Ventures and TheFamily.
  • 5/24 – nuTonomy, a three-year-old, Cambridge, Ma.-based developer of software for self-driving cars, has raised $16 million Series A funding led by Highland Capital
  • 5/24 – Pattern, a year-old, Redwood City, Ca.-based online “workspace” platform designed to make life easier for salespeople, has raised $2.5 million in seed funding from First Round Capital, SoftTech VC, and Felicis Ventures
  • 5/24 – SigFig, a five-year-old, San Francisco-based developer of tech-enabled financial advisory services products like reports, has raised $40 million from the venture investment arms of a slew of big banks in the form of $33 million in equity and $7 million in debt. Participants in the round include Santander Innoventures, UBS, Eaton Vance and New York Life
  • 5/24 – Snapchat, the five-year-old, Venice, Ca.-based mobile app that began as an ephemeral messaging service, is raising new funding at a $20 billion valuation
  • 5/24 – TourRadar, a six-year-old, Vienna, Austria-based online marketplace for multi-day travel tours, has raised $6 million in funding co-led by Cherry Ventures and Hoxton Ventures
  • 5/24 – vArmour, a five-year-old, Mountain View, Ca.-based startup that offers security solutions specifically aimed at enterprises that run services and apps across multiple clouds, has raised $41 million in Series D funding led by Telstra
  • 5/25 – Affectiva, a seven-year-old, Waltham, Ma.-based company that’s developing technology capable of reading people’s moods from their facial expressions captured in digital videos, has raised $14 million in Series D funding led by Fenox Venture Capital
  • 5/25 – Dashlane, a seven-year-old, New York and Paris-based online identity management platform provider, has raised $22.5 million in Series C funding led by TransUnion
  • 5/25 – Demisto, a year-old, Cupertino, Ca.-based company founded by four security industry pros, emerged from stealth today with a bot-driven security platform and $6 million in Series A funding. Accel Partners led the round, with participation individual investors, including Cylance CEO Stuart McClure
  • 5/25 – eero, a two-year-old, San Francisco-based maker of a next-generation home WiFi system, has raised $50 million in growth funding led by Menlo Ventures
  • 5/25 – Entelo*, a five-year-old, San Francisco, Ca.-based company that makes enterprise software for data-driven recruiting, has raised $12 million in Series B funding led by Shasta Ventures
  • 5/25 – TransferWise, a five-year-old, London-based money transfer startup, has raised $26 million in new funding led by Baillie Gifford
  • 5/25 – Viptela, a four-year-old, San Jose, Ca.-based networking virtualization company, has raised $75 million in Series C funding led by Redline Capital
  • 5/25 – Votiro, a five-year-old, Tel Aviv, Israel-based maker of secure email gateway software, has raised $4 million in new funding led by Redfield Asset Management
  • 5/26 – 7shifts, a three-year-old, Saskatoon, Saskatchewan-based company that makes employee scheduling software for restaurants, has raised C$1.2 million (roughly $924,000) in seed funding by Relay Ventures
  • 5/26 – AmpMe, a year-old, Montreal-based music-syncing app that allows users to play music across multiple devices to create a kind of portable sound system, has raised $8 million in Series A funding led by Relay Ventures
  • 5/26 – Buddybuild, an eight-month-old, Vancouver-based company focused on continuous integration and delivery for mobile applications, has raised $7.6 million in Series A funding led by Kleiner Perkins Caufield and Byers
  • 5/26 – Contentful, a five-year-old, Berlin and San Francisco-based API-driven content management developer platform, has raised $13 million in Series B funding led by Benchmark
  • 5/26 – Front App, a 2.5-year-old, Paris-based email platform that aims to make it easier to work with teams, has raised $10 million in Series A funding led by Social Capital
  • 5/26 – Lightbend, a five-year-old, San Francisco-based company that’s backing the Scala programming language, has raised $20 million in Series C funding led by Intel Capital
  • 5/26 – Seismic, a five-year-old, Solana Beach, Ca.-based company that sells software that automating updates to corporate sales and marketing collateral, has raised $40 million in Series C funding led by General Atlantic
  • 5/26 – Skillshare, a 5.5-year-old, New York-based ed tech startup that makes short, self-paced courses for so-called creators, has raised $12 million in Series B funding co-led by Amasia and Omidyar Network
  • 5/27 – Centauri Health Solutions, a two-year-old, Scottsdale, Az.-based company that makes medical coding and data analysis software, has raised $50 million in growth capital from the private equity firm Silversmith Capital Partners
  • 5/27 – EyeQ, a five-year-old, Austin, Tex.-based shopper intelligence platform, has raised $3.5 million in Series A funding led by Align Capital
  • 5/27 – Lumiata, a three-year-old, San Mateo, Ca.-based predictive analytics company serving the healthcare industry, has raised $10 million in Series B funding led by Intel Capital
  • 5/27 – Meural, a two-year-old, New York-based startup that enables users to change the art of their walls on command with its framed digital canvases, has raised $2.5 million in seed funding led by Corigin Ventures
  • 5/27 – Photomyne, a two-year-old, Tel Aviv, Israel-based app that lets users quickly scan entire photo albums and then share their scanned photos, has raised $2.6 million in seed funding from Israeli investors like Eddy Shalev and Yariv Gilat

Random, long reads
Ethics and the Eye of the Beholder (BuzzFeed) – While certainly a gossipy story, I’m always interested in situations where powerful people are exposed for their hypocrisy and this is certainly the case here. Thomas Pogge, one of the world’s preeminent academics in the world of ethics, stands accused of manipulating students for his own sexual advances. The story goes into his employer’s (Yale) desire to cover up the charge when they were first raised and raises questions about how long this has been allowed to go on.

Machine Bias (ProPublica) – It’s not breaking news that the criminal justice systems is unduly biased against African Americans. This has been going on for decades and decades and actually has received a bit more attention of late as a result of Hillary Clinton’s candidacy putting some focus on the injustices that have resulted from the 1994 crime bill signed by Bill Clinton. That being said, the fact that there is software used across the country to predict future criminals (built by Northpointe) that is programmatically biased against African Americans is a troubling fact, as the ProPublica reports here.

The Inside Story of When Run-DMC Met Aerosmith and Changed Music Forever (The Washington Post) – This Washington Post piece tells the story of how a 22-year-old white producer named Rick Rubin recruited Steven Tyler and Joe Perry of the down-and-out stadium rock band, Aerosmith, to collaborate with the hottest hip hop act of the time, Run DMC.  The collaboration resulted in Walk This Way and the rest, as they say, is history.

Some fantastic lines in there like this one from Steven Tyler:
I loved rap. I used to go looking for drugs on Ninth Avenue and I would go over to midtown or downtown and there would be guys on the corner selling cassettes of their music. I’d give them a buck, two bucks, and that was the beginning of me noticing what was going on in New York at the time.

And this from DMC:
We go down to my basement and put on the record and then you hear “Backstroke lover always hidin’ ’neath the covers” and immediately me and Joe get on the phone and say: “Hell no, this ain’t going to happen. This is hillbilly gibberish, country-bumpkin bulls—.”  
 

And this from Russell Simmons:
What do I remember about Aerosmith that day? They were in the bathroom a lot. They were sniffing a lot of coke.
  
 

*Battery portfolio company. For a list of all Battery portfolio companies, please click here.