As Values Crash, Startups Focus on Profitability, Not Growth

This year, Silicon Valley companies — most notably WeWork and Uber Technologies — are estimated to have lost about $100 billion in value. Car subscription company Fair and software company UiPath are two others that have downsized, and scooter company Lime has had to tweak its operations to prove it can be profitable. As a result, startup executives are honing their pitches and venture capitalists are more wary of investing. Ahoy Capital’s Chris Douvos noted that the five-year “rollicking” party appears to be over. Continue reading As Values Crash, Startups Focus on Profitability, Not Growth

Foreign Investment Law Does Not Deter Chinese Investing

The U.S. has yet to define the specifics of a 2018 law designed to limit foreign access to critical technologies. In the meantime, Chinese investors continue to put money in U.S. startups and venture capital funds. U.S. tech entrepreneurs also welcome a connection with China, and investment between the two countries remains significant. The tangle of investments in a single company can make it hard to determine provenance. Even so, successful Chinese AI startup SenseTime Group was blacklisted by the Trump administration. Continue reading Foreign Investment Law Does Not Deter Chinese Investing

New Silicon Valley Stock Exchange Is Approved by the SEC

U.S. regulators have approved a new stock exchange originally introduced to the Securities and Exchange Commission last year by tech entrepreneur Eric Ries, who raised $19 million from VCs for his project. The new Long-Term Stock Exchange (LTSE) will provide tech firms with options to traditional New York exchanges. The “Silicon Valley-based national securities exchange” is “promoting what it says is a unique approach to governance and voting rights, while reducing short-term pressures on public companies,” reports Reuters. Continue reading New Silicon Valley Stock Exchange Is Approved by the SEC

Facebook Is Developing Cryptocurrency Payments System

Facebook is currently recruiting financial firms and online merchants to launch a “cryptocurrency-based payments system on the back of its gigantic social network,” reports The Wall Street Journal. At its center is a digital coin that users would be able to send to one another and use to make purchases on Facebook and on the broader Internet. This has the potential to significantly disrupt, or even up-end, “the traditional, lucrative plumbing of e-commerce and would likely be the most mainstream application yet of cryptocurrency.”

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Nielsen Debuts Overnight Screening Tool to Test Product Ideas

Nielsen is rolling out a new tool to provide fast-moving consumer goods manufacturers (FMCG) with analysis about what ideas have higher probability of in-market success. According to Nielsen exec Kevin Daly, Quick Screen was developed as a cost-effective solution for the “second-tier” product innovation level. The tool questions consumers (who identify with specific product categories) to determine the relative strength of proposed ideas. Predictive analytics then evaluate the data to identify levels of potential in-market success. Continue reading Nielsen Debuts Overnight Screening Tool to Test Product Ideas

Patents, Investments Point to Significant Future for VR and AR

Sony dominates U.S. patent filings related to virtual reality, followed by IBM, Samsung, Microsoft and Canon. Magic Leap and Reveo are the leading startups when it comes to published patents related to VR. Microsoft, Sony and Qualcomm have the most published patents related to augmented reality, although they do not necessarily lead in the number of AR inventions. Osterout Group and Magic Leap are the clear leaders in published AR patents. All the companies on these lists have far fewer inventions than patents because multiple patents may be included in a single invention. Continue reading Patents, Investments Point to Significant Future for VR and AR

Yahoo Plans for Auction of Patent Portfolio, Lines Up Buyers

Yahoo has distributed letters to potential buyers to launch an auction for its portfolio of 3,000 patents that could earn more than $1 billion. The collection dates back to the company’s 1996 IPO, including its original search tech, say those familiar with the plans. “Yahoo has set a mid-June deadline for preliminary bids,” reports The Wall Street Journal, “and hired Black Stone IP, a boutique investment bank that specializes in patent sales, to run the auction.” Yahoo confirmed the sale of patents and pending applications “related to Web search and advertising.” The company is also selling its core Internet business; Verizon reportedly bid about $3 billion. Continue reading Yahoo Plans for Auction of Patent Portfolio, Lines Up Buyers

Banks Make Changes to Adapt to Today’s Mobile Technologies

As a growing number of consumers, particularly millennials, access financial services on their smartphones, traditional banks are struggling to keep up with new competitors. Major tech companies, from Apple to Snapchat, have entered the consumer banking industry, along with a wide variety of financial tech startups. Banks like Citigroup have formed new partnerships and departments for developing more mobile-friendly banking services as Americans’ banking habits continue to evolve. Continue reading Banks Make Changes to Adapt to Today’s Mobile Technologies

Fig: New Game Crowdfunding Site Offers Equity to Investors

The new crowdfunding platform Fig just launched with a new way to finance computer games. Its debut is a campaign to raise $125,000 for “Outer Wilds,” an unfinished game already honored with the 2015 Independent Games Festival Awards’ Grand Prize. Fig, which plans to debut one major studio title and one independent release each month, differs from a more general crowdfunding platform like Kickstarter in two ways: it is meticulously curated and offers rewards and equity to investors. Continue reading Fig: New Game Crowdfunding Site Offers Equity to Investors

VR Reigns in New Frontier Category at Sundance Film Festival

In the Sundance Film Festival’s New Frontier exhibition, virtual reality is making a strong showing with 11 VR installations at this year’s festival. The projects range from a high-flying experience through the skies of San Francisco to a first-person perspective of a college assault as well as a number of compelling examples regarding how news gathering and documentary storytelling is evolving. The technology is advancing so rapidly that creators already have new ideas about how to produce the content. Continue reading VR Reigns in New Frontier Category at Sundance Film Festival

Reddit Acquires Alien Blue, Now the Official Reddit Mobile App

Before Wednesday, social media startup Reddit, which has 174 million regular monthly users, did not offer a mobile app. Instead, the online message board worked with a variety of third-party, unofficial programs. However, in the wake of a large round of venture funding, Reddit announced that it has purchased the most popular of these third-party programs, Alien Blue. The app will now become the official Reddit app, available for download via Apple’s App Store. Continue reading Reddit Acquires Alien Blue, Now the Official Reddit Mobile App

Qzzr: New Quiz Creation Tool Helps Sites Drive Social Traffic

Online quiz startup Qzzr allows users to create as many quizzes as they want for free. The service helps websites drive social traffic by uploading quizzes to their webpages. The pro version also helps companies capture leads and present special offers. Sites such as BuzzFeed and Zimbio have seen a burst in views due to these quizzes. Qzzr officially launched last week with $2 million in seed money and partnerships with ESPN, Yahoo, Mashable, Reddit, College Humor, and others.  Continue reading Qzzr: New Quiz Creation Tool Helps Sites Drive Social Traffic

Reddit Earns Significant Revenue During Celeb Photo Scandal

Social news and entertainment site Reddit was one of the most shared channels linking to controversial celebrity photographs reportedly hacked from iCloud accounts. In the six days prior to Reddit’s removal of the photos, the site earned enough revenue to run its servers for a month. This is based solely on Reddit Gold, and does not include ad revenue from the quarter billion page views. As Reddit seeks a new round of investments, the site’s belated removal of the page is not considered a coincidence. Continue reading Reddit Earns Significant Revenue During Celeb Photo Scandal

Samsung to Tap Silicon Valley Innovation in Post-PC Era

Samsung disclosed details this week regarding its planned Silicon Valley innovation center, which will help build partnerships between entrepreneurs and the company’s nine product divisions to develop new product ideas. The center is also expected to encourage expansion of the company’s mergers and acquisitions strategy by determining which companies and emerging technologies can help fill existing product gaps. Continue reading Samsung to Tap Silicon Valley Innovation in Post-PC Era