Tech Weekly Newsletter: Week of March 27, 2016

Good luck to everyone closing out the quarter this week. 
Last week, today

  • 3/18 – Microsoft apologizes for hiring “dancers dressed as skimpily-clad schoolgirls for its Game Developer Conference (GDC) afterparty,” which is just an amazing sentence to type (Reuters)
  • 3/19 – Did (the former Sequoia Partner) Michael Goguen’s legal case with an ex-romantic interest accidentally reveal tax fraud? (Fortune)
  • 3/20 – NYT has the breakdown of Mark Zuckerberg’s effort to persuade the Chinese government to lift its ban on Facebook and open social media to the country’s 700M internet users (NYT)
  • 3/20 – Aaron Levie of Box has a post for TechCrunch on how this is the beginning of the cloud wars with Amazon, Microsoft and Google only starting to square off against one another (TechCrunch)
  • 3/20 – If this weren’t so critically important to things like freedom, I’d be really snarky about how much coverage Apple vs. FBI is getting. Bloomberg has a rundown of how the Obama administration went from on the same page to at odds with Apple when San Bernardino happened (Bloomberg)
  • 3/21 – Nasdaq has acquired Boardvantage, a provider of a communication system that allows directors to have interactive discussions with management, for $200M. This follows the Company’s acquisition of Marketwired a little bit back as it looks to expand its platform (WSJ)
  • 3/21 – Identity verification company, Jumio, which has raised $37M fromAndreessen Horowitz among others, has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy and is selling its assets to existing investor (and Facebook co-founder) Eduardo Saverin for $22.7M of debt forgiveness and $3.2M in cash (TechCrunch)
  • 3/21 – FanDuel and DraftKings have agreed to shut down operations in New York (their largest market) as part of a settlement with the state’s attorney general. There is an appeals hearing scheduled for September on the subject (WSJ)
  • 3/21 – The legendary Andy Grove has passed away at 79. Here’s a nice tribute from Norman Pearlstine (Fortune) and here’s his 1997 Time Man of the Year profile (Time). “Success breeds complacency. Complacency breeds failure. Only the paranoid survive”
  • 3/21 – The FBI has asked the court to push off its long awaited court date with Apple over access to phones after a mysterious third party has emerged with a new technique that may allow them a work around (Re/Code)
  • 3/21 – GoDaddy is launching new cloud services to compete with Amazon in the small business market (TechCrunch)
  • 3/21 – Salesforce is finally unifying marketing across all its various clouds, instead of having each business unit handle it individually. Each cloud is run with individual P&Ls, which led to a healthy competition, but also no unified marketing strategy (The Information – paywall)
  • 3/22 – JR Rivers, founder and CEO of Cumulus Networks, is taking over as CTO and Josh Leslie, who had been the VP of Sales (and formerly VP of Sales at Instart Logic) is taking over as CEO (
  • 3/22 – Former SV Angel co-founder David Lee, who resigned last year without much of an explanation, is seeking $50M for a new seed fund called Refactor Capital (Fortune)
  • 3/22 – Spunk’s SVP of Products is leaving, ten months after its CTO left (Seeking Alpha)
  • 3/22 – According to RIAA numbers (which puts a lot of different stuff into their “Streaming” bucket), 2015 was the first year that streaming passed digital downloads in revenue for music (Re/Code)
  • 3/22 – Google is really going for the opportunity to compete with Amazon Web Services, this week making a big push at their Google Global User Conference in San Francisco where they announced Disney as a customer (in addition to speaking gigs from already announced customers like Spotify, Netflix and Apple) (Bloomberg)
  • 3/22 – Oracle and HP Enterprise are suing one another, which is really boring and not sure qualifies as news (WSJ)
  • 3/22 – Cisco is reorganizing its entire engineering unit around the following units: Networking, Cloud Services, Security and Applications & IoT (Business Insider)
  • 3/23 – An amazing video with the stars of the show Silicon Valleyguessing what start-ups do (Wired)
  • 3/23 – Apple Pay is expanding beyond mobile apps later this year to include mobile web (Re/Code)
  • 3/23 – Google launched a new machine learning platform that developers can build on top of (TechCrunch)
  • 3/23 – The Information has a rundown of how Apple’s decision to sign with Google for cloud infrastructure capabilities is a result of its inability to build its own cloud (The Information – paywall)
  • 3/23 – Pebble, one of the first companies to make a smart watch, is laying off around 40 people (25% of its staff) with the CEO blaming a chilly fundraising environment (Tech Insider)
  • 3/24 – True Ventures is raising a $295M fund, which is slightly larger than their $250M raised in 2014 (PE Hub)
  • 3/24 – I’m not really sure what Kara Swisher is going to do when Yahoois no longer a relevant company. She now has the latest scoop onMicrosoft execs telling private equity firms that the Company would be willing to assist in the financing of an acquisition. She (along with some unnamed executives) also accuses the sale process of being a farce (Re/Code)
  • 3/24 – Snapchat is buying the maker of bitmojis (the cartoon version of yourself that people send out) for around $100M in cash and stock (Fortune)
  • 3/24 – By some definition Instacart is “profitable” and by profitable I mean what they’re selling costs less than what they’re charging for it (Fortune)
  • 3/24 – The Information has details on the product vision for Nest/Google(The Information) and some stuff on the internal struggles there, which includes Dropcam co-founder accusing Tony Fadell of acting like a “tyrant bureaucrat and holding back all its progress” (The Information). Re/Code has a summary outside of the paywall (Re/Code)
  • 3/25 – If two ships crash in the night, does anyone notice?  Rovi (market cap of $1.7B) and TiVo (market cap of $750M) are reportedly in talks to merge. TiVo has been facing pressure from activist investors over the last year (NYT).
  • 3/25 – Olapic (backed by Felix Capital) is acquiring Piqora (backed by DFJ, Freestyle Capital and Baseline Ventures).  Both companies focus on visual marketing management (TechCrunch)
  • 3/27 – Fortune has a sneak peak of Dan Lyons’ book on his year at HubSpot, which certainly seems more interesting in concept than anything revealed in these pages. Just one person’s opinion (Fortune)


  • 3/22 – Red Hat shares fall slightly in trading after earnings announcement. The stock finished down 4% in after-hours. The numbers met estimates for Q4, but guided Q1 estimates roughly in-line (Investors)


  • 3/21 – Elliptic, a three-year-old, U.K.-based fintech startup whose blockchain forensics tool mines the public Bitcoin ledger to identify and flag suspicious transaction patterns, has raised $5 million in Series A funding led by Paladin Capital Group
  • 3/21 – GreatHorn, a year-old, Belmont, Ma.-based cloud security platform startup focused on stopping phishing attacks, has raised $2.25 million in seed funding led by ff Venture Capital and SoftTech VC
  • 3/21 – Mattermark, a three-year-old, San Francisco-based startup that examines public Internet data to provide investors, sales teams and others with search tools and other business intelligence, has raised $7.3 million in Series B funding at a $42 million valuation from inside investors.Foundry Group led the round
  • 3/21 – Moat, a 5.5-year-old, New York-based online media analytics company, has raised $50 million in Series C funding led by Insight Venture Partners
  • 3/22 – Maxwell Health, a 3.5-year-old, Boston-based employee benefits tech platform, has raised $22 million in new funding from GIS Strategic Ventures
  • 3/22 – Zodiac, a year-old, Philadelphia, Pa.-based startup that makes predictive marketing analytics software, has raised $3 million in seed funding led by First Round Capital
  • 3/22 – Crate Technology, a three-year-old startup that’s been developing an open-source SQL database technology (from offices in San Francisco, Berlin, and Dornbirn, Austria), has raised $4 million in fund led by Dawn Capital
  • 3/23 – BetterWorks, a 2.5-year-old, Palo Alto, Ca.-based cloud-based platform designed to help employees set and reach business goals, has raised $20 million in Series B funding led by Emergence Capital
  • 3/23 – Convoy, a year-old, Seattle-based on-demand service for local and regional trucking, has raised $16 million in Series A funding led byGreylock Partners
  • 3/23 – Domo, a 5.5-year-old, American Fork, Ut.-based data management platform company, has raised $131 million in additional Series D funding, pushing a $200 million round that it had initially closed last April to a whopping $331 million.
  • 3/23 – GoCardless, a five-year-old, London-based payments company that makes collecting payments by direct debit easy, has raised a $13 million in new funding led by Notion Capital
  • 3/23 – Science Exchange, a nearly five-year-old, Palo Alto, Ca.-based scientific research marketplace, has raised $25 million in Series B funding led by Maverick Capital
  • 3/24 – Mesosphere, a three-year-old, San Francisco-based container-centric company that aims to help enterprises better use their data centers with the help of its own operating system, has raised a $73.5 million Series C funding round. The round was led by Hewlett Packard Enterprise
  • 3/24 – OneRent, a nearly two-year-old, San Jose, Ca.-based startup behind a full-service rental management platform for landlords and tenants, has raised $4 million in Series A funding from the Chinese social-networking company Renren
  • 3/25 – Bromium, a 5.5-year-old, Cupertino, Ca.-based developer of endpoint protection using virtualization, has raised $40 million in funding from Silver Lake Waterman
  • 3/25 – FLYR, a 2.5-year-old, San Francisco-based travel and data science company, has raised an undisclosed amount of funding fromJetBlue Technology Ventures
  • 3/25 – Hive, a 10-month-old, New York-based team collaboration platform, has raised $1.4 million in seed funding led by Tribeca Venture Partners

Random long reads

  • You won’t believe how Nike lost Steph to Under Armour (ESPN) – While the headline is a bit more salacious than the story itself (you probably will believe how Nike lost a player that has been underestimated his entire career), ESPN writer Ethan Sherwood Strauss unpacks how the most captivating player of his generation went from Nike to Under Armour. The full impact of this tectonic shift probably won’t be fully felt for another decade (plus), but a Morgan Stanley analyst has pegged the potential worth of Steph Curry to Under Armour at $14B. This is the story about how Nike executives let Steph Curry walk out the door.
  • Confessions of a Phony Telephone Psychic ( – I’ve always been fascinated by the concept of psychics – mainly how there are people that use them (and also how some psychics are able to afford storefront real estate in Manhattan). This is a first person account of a phony telephone psychic explaining how she got into it and what was going through her mind when some dark phone calls came through.
  • Bezos Prime (Fortune) – An in-depth profile of Jeff Bezos and his evolution from simply the leader of Amazon to the leader of what has become the Amazon Ecosystem and his pet projects that include the Washington Post (which he said he did no due diligence on and didn’t negotiate price) and Blue Origin (his space exploration adventure). Some funny anecdotes like Bezos doesn’t care about editorial control at the Post, but does care about page load times and subscription on-boarding experience. Overall an interesting profile on (probably) the most powerful person in tech.