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Feb 4, 2014

Ex-Sequoia partners raise $250 mln for Silicon Valley-style startups in Midwest

SAN FRANCISCO, Feb 4 (Reuters) – Regions around the world
have long sought to replicate California’s success in launching
startups. Now, two venture capitalists have raised $250 million
in a gambit to recreate some Silicon Valley-style growth in the
U.S. Midwest.

Mark Kvamme and Chris Olsen, formerly partners at
venture-capital firm Sequoia Capital, announced Tuesday that
they had raised the funds to nurture companies in states often
overlooked by traditional venture cash. Their new fund,
Columbus, Ohio-based Drive Capital Fund I, will focus on
technology, healthcare and consumer businesses, they said.

Jan 28, 2014

Venture capitalist Perkins apologizes for Nazi analogy

SAN FRANCISCO, Jan 27 (Reuters) – Legendary venture
capitalist Tom Perkins apologized for comments comparing the
treatment of wealthy Americans to the Nazi’s persecution of
Jews, although he stood by his belief in the danger of
demonizing the rich.

“I deeply apologize to you and anyone who has mistaken my
reference to Kristallnacht as a sign of overt or latent
anti-Semitism,” he said in an interview Monday on Bloomberg
Television. “This is not the case.”

Jan 28, 2014

Ride service Uber faces new lawsuit after fatal San Francisco crash

SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) – The family of a young girl killed by a driver affiliated with fast-growing private transportation service Uber sued the company on Monday, adding to Uber’s growing list of legal problems.

On New Year’s Eve Sofia Liu, 6, died after she, her younger brother and their mother were hit by a car in a San Francisco cross-walk, according to the lawsuit. At the time of the crash, driver Syed Muzzafar was logged on to the Uber X smartphone app and was available to provide rides, the lawsuit said.

Jan 17, 2014

California governor declares drought emergency

SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) – California Governor Jerry Brown declared a drought emergency on Friday, a move that will allow the parched state to seek federal aid as it grapples with what could turn out to be the driest year in recorded state history for many areas.

The dry year California experienced in 2013 has left fresh water reservoirs with a fraction of their normal reserves and slowed the normally full American River so dramatically that brush and dry riverbed are showing through in areas normally teeming with fish.

Jan 17, 2014

A new university bets on a hybrid online-learning model

SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) – Offering a twist on the learn-from-anywhere convenience of Internet classes, a new university is asking freshmen to take a large leap of faith.

Minerva Schools of KGI, a radically experimental university in San Francisco, is sifting through applications for its first class, starting this fall. The school is an alliance between Minerva Project, a venture-backed for-profit company, and Keck Graduate Institute, one of California’s Claremont colleges.

Jan 16, 2014

Latest perk on Google buses: security guards

SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) – First, San Francisco-based commuters to Google Inc got buses with plush seats and free WiFi. Now, they are getting security.

In recent days, men with earpieces have closely monitored passengers boarding Google commuter buses at the site of at least one bus stop in San Francisco’s Mission District. Their presence comes a few weeks after Google buses were targeted by protesters who blame tech-industry employees for rising city rents.

Jan 13, 2014

U.S. venture funds raise more in fourth quarter, but less for year

SAN FRANCISCO, Jan 13 (Reuters) – U.S. venture funds raised
$4.85 billion last quarter, up 53 percent from the same period a
year ago, but full-year 2013 fundraising fell 15 percent
compared to the year before.

For the full year, venture capital firms raised $16.7
billion, the weakest annual total since 2010, according to data
from the National Venture Capital Association and Thomson
Reuters released on Monday.

Jan 9, 2014

Uber cuts prices up to 34 pct for no-frills UberX car service

SAN FRANCISCO, Jan 9 (Reuters) – Uber, the red-hot rides
start-up known for jacking up town-car fares, is taking the
opposite approach with its no-frills UberX service.

Fares on UberX, which offers rides in ordinary cars at lower
prices than the company’s high-end town car service, will be cut
in 16 cities, Uber said in a blog post Thursday.

Jan 6, 2014

Google, other big companies to pay to use San Francisco bus stops

SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) – Google Inc and other big technology companies that rely on private commuter buses to ferry workers around will now pay the city of San Francisco fees to use city bus stops, the city announced at a news conference on Monday.

Companies using commuter buses, which some see as a symbol of unwelcome gentrification in San Francisco, will end up paying the city around $1.5 million over the next 18 months as part of a pilot program, Mayor Ed Lee said.

Jan 6, 2014

Arrest made in San Francisco Chinese consulate arson: FBI

SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) – U.S. prosecutors on Monday charged a 39-year-old man with arson in connection with a fire at the Chinese consulate in San Francisco last week, but law enforcement authorities are not treating the incident as an act of terrorism.

Yan Feng turned himself into local police on Friday, two days after the Chinese consulate in San Francisco sustained fire and smoke damage, Federal Bureau of Investigation special agent David Johnson said at a news conference on Monday. Feng currently faces two criminal charges, including arson.