Tom Perkins sails away from changed Silicon Valley

June 10, 2016

The swashbuckling investor, who has died at 84, pioneered the venture-capital model that gave rise to the likes of Google and Amazon. Famous for his antics outside the boardroom, Perkins ended up an outsider in the more buttoned-down corporate culture his money helped create.

Cox: Disruption flops will spare old-line targets

By Rob Cox
June 2, 2016

Venture capitalists have wagered on plenty of highly valued startups to destroy the established corporate order. But some so-called unicorns, probably including Theranos, will turn out to be mythical. A wave of “gluenicorns” would be good news for public companies under threat.

Facebook has new free-speech problem: Peter Thiel

By Rob Cox
May 25, 2016

The venture capitalist has been revealed to be a secret backer of Hulk Hogan’s lawsuit against Gawker. That calls into question his media neutrality just as the social network is under fire for bias. As a director, Thiel’s First Amendment position is at odds with Facebook’s.

Capital drought will spark unicorn M&A orgy

December 23, 2015

Plentiful money has detached valuations on many hot private tech firms from reality. About a third of the 144 private startups worth at least $1 bln are valued at precisely that much. As capital dries up, selling to bigger rivals or mating with other unicorns becomes appealing.

Diageo drinks to Silicon Valley-style disruption

December 3, 2015

As AB InBev brews mega-beer, the $74 bln distiller of Johnnie Walker and Smirnoff wants for potent takeover targets. Instead of waiting for big brands like Jack Daniel’s and Bacardi, Diageo is seeding booze entrepreneurs who are building new ones. Doing so quietly is the twist.

Rainbow-chasing unicorns get Groupon reality check

November 4, 2015

The daily-deal company’s stock cratered on cut forecasts and a CEO change. It’s now worth about $2 bln, a third of Google’s offer price in 2010. Tech startups may favor tales of takeover refuseniks like Facebook and Twitter, but it’s easy to get lost in valuation fantasyland.

Chinese fund invests enough to make angels weep

October 14, 2015

Startup and venture capital matchmaker AngelList has landed $400 mln from a Beijing-based private equity firm. Allowing investors to piggyback the early-stage picks of experienced backers is a clever model. The sum involved, however, is almost certainly too much of a good thing.

Guest view: What’s holding technology M&A back?

April 9, 2015

Though deal-making is near boom-time highs, most of it’s not about making bold bets on the future, says Andreessen Horowitz’s managing partner. Activism plays a role. But as newly public tech firms that are more resistant to external pressure mature, the dynamic will shift.

Silicon Valley sexism case tests new M&M color

March 11, 2015

Venture capitalists at Kleiner Perkins didn’t slip the candy down blouses, behavior that cost one tech law firm big bucks in 1994. But they’re accused of unfairly blocking a woman’s rise. It’s a subtler but more toxic flavor of discrimination that suggests how little has changed.

VC bigwigs reveal Valley’s contradictions

September 19, 2014

Peter Thiel’s new book sets out possible features of the next world-changing startup that will earn its founders a monopoly – another Google, say. Ben Horowitz’s focuses on running a tech company amid fierce competition. One is about vision, the other – for most people – reality.