Month: April 2019

April 30, 2019 Off

USV closes on $450M for new funds, adds two partners

By Jill T Frey

Union Square Ventures, a venture capital firm known for early bets in Twitter, Etsy and Tumblr, has $450 million in capital commitments to plow into the next generation of technology startups.

The capital, which comes in just above the $429 million USV filed to raise earlier this year, is divided across two new funds: $200 million for its 2019 Core Fund and $250 million for the 2019 Opportunity Fund. The two funds are larger than their predecessors, which both closed on $175 million in 2016.

USV is expanding its partnership to manage the new funds. The firm announced today the hiring of Gillian Munson as a partner. Munson was most recently the chief financial officer at XO Media, a business responsible for several brands, including wedding planning site The Knot. Additionally, USV has promoted Nick Grossman, the firm’s former general manager of special projects, to partner. Grossman focuses on cryptonetworks … Read the rest

April 30, 2019 Off

The curious case of Slack’s missing $162 million

By Jill T Frey

Slack has filed its S-1 registration statement with the SEC in preparation for its direct listing. One interesting data set that usually comes out of these S-1s is the company’s actual fundraising history. Slack has raised eight main rounds (series A-H), and 15 rounds total when including individual tranches, since it incorporated on February 25, 2009, according to Delaware records.

Now that we have data, we can ask: How did the tech press do in covering the company?

Arman and I investigated by looking at coverage of Slack’s individual rounds of capital on startup news sites and comparing those reported numbers to the data now offered in the S-1. For the most part, the tech press did decently well, except for one curious, $162 million gap.

The missing Form D

First, though, a note about Form Ds.

Source link Read the rest

April 30, 2019 Off

Spot.IM raises $25M to help publishers engage with readers

By Jill T Frey

Spot.IM announced today that it has raised $25 million in Series D funding.

We’ve written about the company’s commenting platform before, but CEO Nadav Shoval said it’s now building a broader “community platform.”

That means going beyond commenting and moderation to also include community pages and other ways to highlight and monetize user-generated content. The company’s customers include Hearst, Refinery29, Fox News and our corporate siblings at Engadget and

Shoval argued that these tools are particularly important as digital media business models are struggling — regardless of whether those publishers are focused on advertising, subscriptions or other models, the key is to focus on loyal readers and  viewers rather than “random users that come in and disappear.”

Spot.IM can make a big difference in this area by keeping users engaged, and by providing data to help publishers understand their behavior and value. In fact, Shoval said that for some … Read the rest

April 30, 2019 Off

Apple Q2: iPads up, iPhones down

By Jill T Frey

Today’s big story for Apple revenue was once again focused on services. That’s likely to be the tale for the foreseeable future, as the company continues to pump billions into product offerings like Apple TV+.

As predicted, hardware was more of a mixed bag for the company. The iPad, a bright spot in an otherwise stagnant tablet market, also marked a key highlight for the quarter, as revenue jumped 22% year over year. Notably, the company now offers its largest range of slates, with recent quiet refreshes to the Air and Mini following last year’s big Pro update.

Revenue for Mac dipped slightly, in spite of recent refreshes to the MacBook Pro and iMac and last year’s milestone of 100 million Macs in use. Late last month, the company apologized for ongoing woes involving its MacBook keyboards.

iPhones, meanwhile, missed expectations slightly, maintaining the recent downturn … Read the rest

April 30, 2019 Off

Apple’s stock jumps 5% after beating expectations

By Jill T Frey

Apple released earnings for its fiscal second quarter today, reporting revenue of $58 billion, a decline of 5% from the year-ago quarter, and quarterly earnings per diluted share of $2.46, down 10%. International sales accounted for 61% of the quarter’s revenue.

The market apparently approves. Apple’s shares have jumped $10 apiece since the earnings were released, putting the company in spitting distance of the $1 trillion market cap it has been flirting with since last August.

The earnings are also in line with the guidance that Apple had provided during its last earnings call. In late January, per Apple’s guidance for the second quarter, it had estimated that its revenue would fall between $55 billion and $59 billion, its gross margins between 37% and 38%; its operating expenses between $8.5 billion and $8.6 billion; and that it would see other income of $300 million.

In a release, the company … Read the rest

April 30, 2019 Off

Eric Schmidt and Diane Greene are leaving Alphabet’s board of directors

By Jill T Frey

Google’s parent company Alphabet announced that two board members, Eric Schmidt and Diane Greene, will not be seeking re-election when their terms expire on June 19.

Schmidt has been on the company’s board since 2001, and also served as Google’s CEO for a decade, until April 2011. He then became the company’s executive chairman, before transitioning into the vague-sounding role of “technical advisor” at the end of 2017. (He said last year that he’s focused on new applications of machine learning and artificial intelligence.)

Alphabet said Schmidt will continue to serve as technical advisor to the company.

Greene, meanwhile, became the CEO of Google’s cloud business after Google acquired her company Bebop in 2015, a role she held for about three years before stepping down in January. She’s been on the board since 2012.

Along with the departures, Alphabet is also announcing the appointment of Robin L. … Read the rest

April 30, 2019 Off

Security giant FireEye’s Q1 earnings in line with expectations, but outlook light

By Jill T Frey

FireEye, one of the largest and most prominent security companies on the market, reported its fiscal first-quarter earnings after the bell Tuesday.

The cybersecurity giant reported first-quarter loss of $78.3 million, or 38 cents a share, on revenues of $210 million (statement). FireEye reported a loss of 3 cents per share on a non-GAAP basis, in line with Wall Street expectations.

FireEye’s chief executive Kevin Mandia said the company “met or exceeded our guidance ranges for all key financial metrics” for the quarter.

The company had a good quarter news-wise. In March, the company debuted its secure email gateway, released its new Windows virtual machine-based malware analysis platform and continued to publish groundbreaking new research on prominent threat groups, as well as keeping on top of global cyberattack efforts.

And, just after the quarter closed earlier this month, the company revealed a second intrusion from a … Read the rest

April 30, 2019 Off

Golden unveils a Wikipedia alternative focused on emerging tech and startups

By Jill T Frey

Jude Gomila, who previously sold his mobile advertising company Heyzap to RNTS Media, is taking on a new challenge — building a “knowledge base” that can fill in Wikipedia’s blind spots, particularly when it comes to emerging technologies and startups.

While Gomila is officially launching Golden today, it’s already full of content about things like the latest batch of Y Combinator startups and morphogenetic engineering. And it’s already raised $5 million from Andreessen Horowitz, Gigafund, Founders Fund, SV Angel, Liquid 2 Ventures/Joe Montana, plus a long list of individual angel investors including Gomila’s Heyzap co-founder, Immad Akhund.

To state the obvious: Wikipedia is an incredibly useful website, but Gomila pointed out that notable companies and technologies like SV Angel, Benchling, Lisk and Urbit don’t currently have entries. Part of the problem is what he called Wikipedia’s “arbitrary notability threshold,” where pages are deleted for not being notable enough. (This … Read the rest

April 30, 2019 Off

Oculus announces a VR subscription service for enterprises

By Jill T Frey

Oculus is getting serious about monetizing VR for enterprise.

The company has previously sold specific business versions of the headsets, but now they’re adding a pricey annual device-management subscription.

Oculus Go for business starts at $599 (64 GB) and the enterprise Oculus Quest starts at $999 (128 GB). These fees include the first year of enterprise device management and support, which goes for $180 per year per device.

Here’s what that fee gets you:

This includes a dedicated software suite offering device setup and management tools, enterprise-grade service and support, and a new user experience customized for business use cases.

The new Oculus for Business launches in the fall.

Source link Read the rest

April 30, 2019 Off

Developers can now verify mobile app users over WhatsApp instead of SMS

By Jill T Frey

Facebook today released a new SDK that allows mobile app developers to integrate WhatsApp verification into Account Kit for iOS and Android. This will allow developers to build apps where users can opt to receive their verification codes through the WhatsApp app installed on their phone instead of through SMS.

Today, many apps give users the ability to sign up using only a phone number — a now popular alternative to Facebook Login, thanks to the social network’s numerous privacy scandals that led to fewer people choosing to use Facebook with third-party apps.

Plus, using phone numbers to sign up is common with a younger generation of users who don’t have Facebook accounts — and sometimes barely use email, except for joining apps and services.

When using a phone number to sign in, it’s common for the app to confirm the user by sending a verification code over … Read the rest