Category Archives: Funding

I was wondering why it took them so long, but San Francisco’s cabbies are now shouting out against Uber, the upstart private taxi service, by claiming it’s engaging in “unfair competition”. TNW is reporting on a class-action complaint filed by SF cabbies claiming Uber is practicing “unfair business competition and for violating California Statutory and city regulatory mandates.” Uber, which is facing similar lawsuits wherever it rolls out service (esp. in New York and Chicago), responded with this statement, “Uber complies with all laws and regulations applicable to its business. Any claim to the contrary is baseless and motivated by those who seek to deprive the public of this safe and convenient transportation option. Uber would rather compete for business on the streets of San Francisco than in the courtroom, but Uber will defend these claims in court and is confident of the outcome.”

Uber is not having a hard time capturing funding, with over $50 million so far coming its way from Tech’s most prominent VCs. We’ll see how this plays out in the courts. Looks like Uber will need to stash some of that venture cash for lawyering up — fighting cabbies won’t be pretty.

Former DC Mayor Adrian Fenty (credit: Georgetown Voice)It’s probably not that often that you’ll hear about politicians or traditionally non-tech influential leaders joining up with a company here in Silicon Valley. I mean, it’s not that it’s unheard of but it’s not very common. For politicians, typically you’re going to hear of them going to consulting firms or even lobbyists in Washington, DC. However, it looks like big-time venture capital firm Andreessen Horowitz has snagged two major policy leaders within the past couple of years.

Announced today, the firm picked up the consulting services of former Washington, DC mayor Adrian Fenty. The one-time mayor of the nation’s capital will join the firm as a special advisor where he will most undoubtedly use his expertise in policy, governance, and disruption to help startups better broach the mainstream and become better recognized by the government. As stated by Margit Wennmachers on managing partner Ben Horowitz’s blog, a partner at Andreessen Horowitz, Mayor Fenty’s uncanny ability to disrupt an age-old system in the nation’s capital have given him an iconic image of being a reformer and has led him to unheard-of success. In addition, he was the first in the city to spur technological innovation by finally opening up the city’s data and encouraging developers to create useful apps that would help save the city thousands, if not millions, of dollars, and create a better District for all its citizens.

Facebook CEO Mark ZuckerbergOh man, where has the time gone? We’re already in the middle of August and one of the things that perhaps may have slipped some minds is that it’s already been three months since the largest tech IPO in history happened (albeit to some dismal fanfare). Since that fateful IPO by Facebook in June, not much has gone well for the company. First the company saw their stock IPO at the high of $48 per share, but ultimately it’s slipped by 40% over the past several months. Their first quarterly earnings report didn’t help them as much and the market let them know it. Sure, the company made $1.8 billion in revenue, an increase from $895 million, but according to the New York Times, not much more confidence was given moving forward. The market has continually punished the company over and over again with Facebook’s CFO, David Ebersman, saying that even he’s disappointed in how the stock was traded.

But the next test that lies ahead of Facebook isn’t their next quarterly earnings report, but rather the expiration of the requirement that prevents some shareholders from selling their stock in Facebook. By law, when a company hits the market, its insiders or those holding majority stakes are forbidden to sell any of their shares and an IPO lock-up is usually done so that the market is not flooded with too much supply of a company’s stock too quickly. Once the lock-up period ends, most trading restrictions are removed. According to the Hindu Business Times, this “lock-up” period is set to expire soon–the New York Times says it’s happening this Thursday. What happens after that? Well it seems some select shareholders will be allowed to finally sell their shares in the company. And what happens after that remains a mystery…it might be a sign of further bad news for the social network.

SquareThe world of mobile payments just got turned upside down. I think every startup has been wishing for this news to happen to them–it’s quite frankly a game-changer and can potentially put a lot of people out of business or at least rethinking their strategy. Okay, so what is everyone talking about right now? Probably that coffee giant, Starbucks, has just placed their bets on mobile payment service Square–so much so, that they’ve announced they’re going to invest $25 million in the startup’s latest round of funding.

Square has been in the news quite a bit lately and pretty much has become the media darling that everyone is talking about and wants to use. From recently announcing that they’ve processed over $6 billion in payments annually to securing deals with name brands like Staples, Target, Walgreens, and FedEx Office stores to distribute those iconic credit card readers, this mobile payment company has really hit the ground running hard and has become quite synonymous with pay-by-phone.

500 Startups Unsexy ConferenceLife as an entrepreneur might seem to be glamorous and full of parties and success, but in reality, running your own company can be quite time-consuming, strenuous, and, at times, overwhelming. But the opportunity for you to hit it big and to develop something that will solve one of the world’s problems can be quite rewarding, both spiritually and financially. If you want to understand what it’s like to be a part of the “hustle”, then read this great TechCrunch article written by PicPlum’s co-founder Paul Stamatiou, who gives a read inside look at what it’s like to be an entrepreneur. There’s definitely lots to think about when it comes to your own startup: product ideas & development, investors, user acquisition, features, strategy, and more. And while you might think that life as an entrepreneur is all glamorous and exciting, deep down, there’s lots of things you’ll need to think of–and perhaps one of the most difficult things for any startup is to find ways to make money.

But don’t let that stop you. There are plenty of resources around in Silicon Valley for you to take advantage of and learn how others have become successful. In fact, one such resource you can partake in is happening this Thursday in Mountain View. It’s called the unSEXY conference and it’s being put on by the startup incubator, 500 Startups. Here’s the deal…while there’s a lot of hoopla over those consumer verticals that you see people clamoring over, but you have no idea what their business model is, there are many other companies that aren’t in those appealing verticals that are as successful, or even more, and are vastly different than the “popular girls” in the industry–they’re making money. 

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