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Feb 25, 2015

California venture firm sexism trial hears of late night hotel visit

SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) – On a 2011 business trip to New
York, Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers venture firm partner Trae
Vassallo answered a late night knock on her hotel room door. A
male colleague, Ajit Nazre, was standing there in his bathrobe
and slippers.

“He asked if he could come in. I said no,” Vassallo said in
testimony on Tuesday at the closely-watched trial over
allegations of gender discrimination and retaliation against one
of the highest-profile venture capital firms in the United
States.

Feb 24, 2015

Kleiner firm was not level playing field for women, trial told

SAN FRANCISCO, Feb 24 (Reuters) – Kleiner Perkins Caufield &
Byers, the investment firm that has backed tech companies from
Google to Amazon, fired a woman junior partner after she
complained of gender discrimination, her lawyer said at trial on
Tuesday.

Former Kleiner partner Ellen Pao accuses the firm of firing
her after she complained about harassment by a male partner.
Kleiner has denied the accusations of discrimination and
retaliation, and says Pao underperformed her peers.

Feb 24, 2015

Silicon Valley gender discrimination case heads to trial

SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) – Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, the investment firm that has backed tech companies from Google to Amazon, will defend itself in court on Tuesday in a closely watched gender discrimination case that could lay open the inner workings of venture capital.

Former Kleiner partner Ellen Pao accuses the firm of holding her back from a promotion and better compensation after she complained about harassment by a male partner. Kleiner has denied the accusations of discrimination and retaliation, and says Pao underperformed her peers. Both sides are expected to make opening statements on Tuesday in San Francisco Superior Court.

Feb 20, 2015

U.S. West Coast ports talks break for night without deal

SAN FRANCISCO, Feb 19 (Reuters) – Shipping executives and
union leaders for dockworkers at 29 West Coast ports ended a
third straight day of contract talks late on Thursday without a
settlement, despite arm-twisting from the U.S. labor secretary,
but planned to meet again on Friday.

Labor Secretary Tom Perez joined the talks in San Francisco
on Tuesday at the behest of President Barack Obama, who has come
under growing political pressure to intervene in a dispute that
has rippled through the trans-Pacific commercial supply chain
and could cost the U.S. economy billions of dollars.

Feb 11, 2015

Mithril, doubling down, leads $50 million investment in AppDirect

SAN FRANCISCO, Feb 11 (Reuters) – San Francisco-based
AppDirect, which helps developers and businesses create, use and
sell apps, said it raised another $50 million in a funding round
led by Mithril Capital Management, the same firm in charge of
its last round.

The latest funding values AppDirect at $600 million, double
the valuation when it raised $35 million in April.

Feb 2, 2015

Former Kleiner partner seeks $16 mln in discrimination lawsuit

SAN FRANCISCO, Feb 2 (Reuters) – Ellen Pao, a former partner
at prominent Silicon Valley venture capital firm Kleiner Perkins
Caufield & Byers, is seeking $16 million for discrimination and
retaliation in a lawsuit against the firm, a Kleiner attorney
said in court.

The suit, filed in 2012, accuses the firm of holding her
back from a promotion and better compensation after she
complained about harassment by a male partner. The case helped
spark a broad and ongoing discussion in Silicon Valley about
sexism.

Jan 30, 2015

Uber will improve privacy, data security following report

SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) – Ride service Uber, which is trying to enhance its image after several controversies, on Friday released the findings of a report on its handling of passenger data and said it would act on all the report’s recommendations for improvements.

Lawyers at Hogan Lovells, who wrote the report commissioned and paid for by Uber, found that the smartphone app-enabled service had appropriate guidelines and procedures in place for internal access control, data security and data retention.

Jan 28, 2015

Uber, Lyft face crucial courtroom test over driver benefits

SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) – Smartphone-enabled car services Uber and Lyft head to court this week to resolve a critical question for Silicon Valley’s sharing economy: whether their drivers are independent contractors or employees.

The two privately held companies face separate lawsuits seeking class action status in San Francisco federal court, brought on behalf of drivers who contend they are employees and entitled to reimbursement for expenses including gas and vehicle maintenance. The drivers currently pay those costs themselves.

Jan 28, 2015

Creating an old-girls network in Silicon Valley

Jan 28 (Reuters) – Thanks to Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg
and her mega-bestselling book, Lean In, the gender-disparity
debate has been front and center for years now in Silicon
Valley.

But another executive believes she is taking that concept
one step further with her own organization, Upward. Her take:
focus a little less on working harder, and a little more on
old-fashioned meeting and greeting.

Jan 20, 2015

Intel’s diversity drive should focus on internal changes, advocates say

SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) – When Intel Corp (INTC.O: Quote, Profile, Research) said this month it would spend $300 million on increasing diversity in its workforce, Silicon Valley lauded its plan to improve the “pipeline” of candidates by helping more women and minorities study computer science and engineering.

But focusing too hard on the pipeline, a frequent tactic of technology firms seeking to change their workforce, will benefit the chipmaker less than working on what happens inside Intel, diversity advocates say.