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 (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
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.
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.
SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) – U.S. venture capitalists invested $48.39 billion last year, the biggest total since 2000, according to new data from the National Venture Capital Association, PricewaterhouseCoopers, and Thomson Reuters.
Despite the eye popping numbers that hark back to the dotcom era, including $19.8 billion allocated to software startups, most venture capitalists say last year’s investments should not be confused with a bubble. They point to metrics such as revenue-backed growth, often absent 15 years ago but solid in most current high-flying startups.
SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) – Online-grocery delivery service Instacart said venture firm Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers led its latest funding round totaling $220 million.
The company will use the cash to grow into new markets, both internationally and in the United States, Chief Executive Officer Apoorva Mehta said in an interview.
SAN FRANCISCO, Jan 9 (Reuters) – Ellen Pao, a former partner
at Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers who has filed a
discrimination and retaliation lawsuit against the venture firm,
had offered to resign from Kleiner five years before filing her
lawsuit, court documents show.
The documents, filed this week, state that Pao said in June
2007 she would resign due to job dissatisfaction, seven months
after she ended an affair that is at the heart of her lawsuit.
Pao alleges she was pressured into a relationship with
then-partner Ajit Nazre, who retaliated against her for years
after she called it off.
SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) – Police in Cape Town, South Africa, impounded 33 Uber vehicles over the weekend in a dispute over what type of permits drivers should hold, an Uber executive said.
Uber has faced regulatory setbacks all over the world in recent months. Last month, it drew bans in France, Spain and the Netherlands. It was also banned in Delhi after a female passenger there claimed an Uber driver had raped her.
SAN FRANCISCO, Dec 29 (Reuters) – Yuri Milner, the
billionaire Russian who holds the largest outside stake in
Chinese handset maker Xiaomi, said he expects to invest more
evenly between the United States and China in 2015.
“Going forward, we will see it more balanced,” said Milner
in an interview, adding he saw a number of globally ambitious
U.S.-based startups. In recent years, the investments by his DST
Global funds have skewed toward China, including DST’s
participation this month in a $1.1 billion funding round for
SAN FRANCISCO, Dec 18 (Reuters) – Uber argued Thursday that
it should not have to turn over ride data in a California
regulatory standoff that shows how the transportation service is
falling afoul of officials who could threaten its expansion.
The issue, which is being heard in a California
administrative court and whose outcome will not be known until
next year, pits Uber against the California Public Utilities
Commission. The CPUC’s approval of new ride-sharing services
last year carried the condition that the companies make detailed
data about their rides available to the commission.
STANFORD, California (Reuters) – At the end of their first year at Stanford University, a half dozen students snagged an apartment-style dormitory on the third floor of Griffin House, overlooking the campus golf course. A little over a year later, in the autumn of 2014, just two were left at Stanford. The others had gone to work on their startups.
They had a big advantage: Fellow roommate Chris Barber, 21, was a budding venture capitalist, already learning about the business of injecting funds into promising new firms. He funded companies run by three of his roommates.