Sarah's Feed
Apr 30, 2013

Ride service Uber raising cash at $1 billion valuation

SAN FRANCISCO, April 30 (Reuters) – Ride-sharing service
Uber is raising a new funding round at a valuation of $1
billion, according to a person familiar with the situation.

If the company succeeds, it will join an elite group of
start-ups that command 10-figure valuations. The situation
underscores investors’ desire to pay premiums for any company
they think might become the type of outsized success story along
the lines of business network LinkedIn or software
company Workday.

Apr 20, 2013

Search for Boston bombers likely relied on eyes, not software

By Sarah McBride

(Reuters) – As investigators searched through videos and photos for clues that ultimately led them to the suspects in this week’s bombing at the Boston Marathon, their search likely relied more on old-fashioned police work than technology, officials who work on such investigations and related technology say.

Advances in facial-recognition technology and related fields have been significant in recent years, but the technology mostly still isn’t good enough to match blurry images or those that show a face only from an angle, say people familiar with law-enforcement dealings.

Apr 11, 2013

Ex-Kleiner partner Ellen Pao lands job at website Reddit

SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) – Ellen Pao, a former Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers junior partner who is suing the venture capital firm for gender discrimination, has landed a new job heading up strategic partnerships at social-news website Reddit.

Pao had been working with Reddit for the last year, according to a blog post by Reddit Chief Executive Yishan Wong on Thursday. (here) Her work there gives her an operational role rather than the advisory role venture capitalists typically take.

Apr 11, 2013

Foursquare resorts to debt in latest financing

SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) – Foursquare said on Thursday it raised $41 million in a new financing round that relied on debt, rather than equity, to give the location-based start-up the money it needs to keep expanding.

The cash came from a new investment by technology private-equity firm Silver Lake, through its Waterman growth debt fund, as well as existing investors Andreessen Horowitz, O’Reilly AlphaTech Ventures, Spark Capital, and Union Square Ventures, Foursquare founder Dennis Crowley wrote in a blog.

Apr 10, 2013

Big venture firms eye opportunity in Google Glass

SAN FRANCISCO, April 10 (Reuters) – Venture firms Andreessen
Horowitz, Google Ventures, and Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers
are teaming up to provide funding for startups working with
Google Glass, the hybrid eyeglasses and smartphone developed by
Google.

The firms aim to provide funding to startups working on
applications and hardware designed to work with the glasses,
they said on Wednesday.

Apr 10, 2013

In U.S. immigration debate, some query skilled-worker shortage

SAN FRANCISCO, April 10 (Reuters) – As the wrangling over
immigration reform intensifies in the U.S. Congress, the tech
industry is lobbying hard to raise the limit on H-1B visas,
which allow non-U.S. citizens with advanced skills and degrees
in “specialty occupations” to work in the country for up to six
years.

Demand is so great that the annual cap of 65,000 was hit
last week, just days after the application period opened.
Technology companies support raising the H-1B quota almost
five-fold, to 300,000, arguing universities are just not turning
out enough American math and science graduates and they need to
cast their net abroad to stay competitive.

Apr 8, 2013

U.S. holds visa lottery for 85,000 skilled workers

WASHINGTON, April 8 (Reuters) – A U.S. visa program ran a
lottery on Sunday to award 85,000 slots for high-skilled workers
just one week after the application period opened, the U.S.
Citizenship and Immigration Service said, signaling companies
feel confident enough about the economy to hire more foreign
workers.

The USCIS held the lottery to approve petitions for the
slots after it received approximately 124,000 H-1B petitions
last week, including petitions filed for holders of advanced
degrees from U.S. universities. The USCIS started accepting
petitions for the visas just a week ago, on April 1 and stopped
accepting them five days later because of high demand.

Mar 26, 2013

BP Ventures expanding beyond alternative energy

SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) – BP Ventures will continue to expand beyond alternative energy to more mainstream energy investments, said Issam Dairanieh, BP Ventures’ director of global ventures.

The venture arm of the oil and gas giant BP (BP.L: Quote, Profile, Research) made its first refining and processing investment two years ago and its first exploration and production investment last year, Dairanieh told Reuters in a telephone interview.

Mar 16, 2013

Malibu resident relents, provides access to “Billionaire’s Beach”

SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) – Access to one of California’s most exclusive strips of sand will soon become easier as a Malibu homeowner settles a decade-long legal battle that will result in a paved path to Carbon Beach, better known as “Billionaire’s Beach.”

The mile-long sandy strip boasts beach getaways owned by record mogul David Geffen, former Dodgers Chief Executive Jamie McCourt, and Oracle Chief Executive Larry Ellison. It also has been home to many movie stars, including John Travolta, Courtney Cox and David Arquette. Top architects including Michael Graves and Richard Meier built many of the residences.

Mar 14, 2013

Beach becomes latest clash over technology titans’ property

SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) – A prominent Silicon Valley venture capitalist has stepped into the middle of a long-standing controversy over a California tradition: open access to the state’s famed beaches.

In a lawsuit filed this week, the Surfrider Foundation, a coastal protection group, alleges that the owner of a beachfront property south of San Francisco has violated the law by closing an access road that has long been used by local surfers and fisherman to reach a spit of sand called Martin’s Beach.