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Oct 16, 2014

Battery Ventures taps software veteran for private-equity business

SAN FRANCISCO, Oct 16 (Reuters) – Boston-based Battery
Ventures said it hired software executive Russell Fleischer as a
partner for its private-equity business amid a buyout
environment that offers rich returns but hard-to-find deals.

Fleischer will focus on finding deals in the
enterprise-software sector, where Battery has developed
expertise. It has backed companies such as Marketo, Splunk and
HighJump, which he ran until its acquisition by Accellos earlier
this year.

Oct 14, 2014

Snapchat breach exposes flawed premise, security challenge

SAN FRANCISCO, Oct 14 (Reuters) – The prospect of tens of
thousands of potentially racy Snapchat photos hitting the
Internet has driven home a simple fact: the mobile app’s core
feature – delivering photos and videos that vanish seconds after
viewing – is flawed.

The negative publicity surrounding that speculation has
spurred criticism about its lax security. But whether this will
affect the valuation of the 3-year-old Silicon Valley start-up
as it seeks another round of funding remains to be seen.

Oct 10, 2014

After gaffe, Microsoft board to look at gender pay gap, male culture

SEATTLE/SAN FRANCISCO, Oct 10 (Reuters) – A well-known
picture in tech circles, taken in 1978, shows the first 11
employees at Microsoft. Two are women. One of them left two
years later after a pay dispute.

Almost four decades later, the ratio has improved: About a
third of Microsoft’s 110,000 or so employees are women. But the
company’s pay practices and attitude toward women are still open
to question and will likely be taken up at the board level,
according to one director, Maria Klawe.

Oct 7, 2014

Flash-storage player SolidFire raises $82 million

SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) – SolidFire, a flash-storage company, said it has raised $82 million in new funding, a sign of the increasing appeal of technology that helps companies store data in new ways.

The cash will help the Boulder, Colorado-based company expand, with profitability expected in the next “couple of years,” Chief Executive Dave Wright said in an interview.

Oct 1, 2014

PayPal spawn have advanced where PayPal stood still

SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) – PayPal’s biggest threat as it prepares to split from eBay (EBAY.O: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) next year may come from former employees who back a crop of new businesses serving shoppers who increasingly prefer to pay with mobile phones rather than personal computers.

Though none of the new companies have the breadth of services offered by PayPal, which has more than 152 million users and deep ties to merchants like Home Depot both online and off, they are entering areas that the once-nimble online-payments service should own – but doesn’t.

Oct 1, 2014

Analysis – PayPal spawn have advanced where PayPal stood still

SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) – PayPal’s biggest threat as it prepares to split from eBay next year may come from former employees who back a crop of new businesses serving shoppers who increasingly prefer to pay with mobile phones rather than personal computers.

Though none of the new companies have the breadth of services offered by PayPal, which has more than 152 million users and deep ties to merchants like Home Depot both online and off, they are entering areas that the once-nimble online-payments service should own – but doesn’t.

Sep 30, 2014

Women lag in venture capital even as they make strides as entrepreneurs

SAN FRANCISCO, Sept 30 (Reuters) – Women venture-capital
partners are becoming scarcer even as more women entrepreneurs
are winning venture cash, according to a report from Babson
College.

The report, “Women Entrepreneurs 2014: Bridging the Gap in
Venture Capital,” paints a picture of a start-up environment
that is making strides in some areas, such as backing female
entrepreneurs, even as the percentage of female venture
capitalists slips.

Sep 19, 2014

With co-CEOs, Oracle sets challenging course

SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) – By promoting its two presidents to serve as co-chief executives instead of founder and CEO Larry Ellison, database-and-software behemoth Oracle (ORCL.N: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) is setting itself a course that has confounded other big companies.

The move seemingly marries the product oversight of Mark Hurd, former chief executive of Hewlett Packard, with the legal and financial expertise of Safra Catz, a 15-year Oracle veteran.

Sep 18, 2014

Silicon Valley provocateur Thiel takes on ‘many-sided mediocrity’

SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) – Forget striving for a well-rounded resume.

According to a new book from Peter Thiel, the investor and PayPal co-founder, well-roundedness amounts to “many-sided mediocrity.” Instead, his “Zero to One” urges entrepreneurs to “focus relentlessly on one thing you’re good at doing.”

And yet this very readable and provocative book by Thiel, a Stanford graduate with a degree in philosophy, draws on sources from Shakespeare to Roman history to Lady Gaga and amounts to a testament to the value of generalization.

Aug 29, 2014

Corrected – Women venture capitalists underperform men, say Harvard academics

SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) – (Corrects spelling of Emily Weisburst’s name in second paragraph)

Women venture capitalists underperform their male counterparts by some 15 percent, according to a new Harvard University study, but the performance differences have narrowed over time and in firms that employ more than a single female venture partner.