Facebook’s board of directors is one step closer to adding its first female African-American member following the nomination last week of Peggy Alford.Alford has been with electronic payments service PayPal since May 2011, currently serving as its senior vice president, core markets.Prior to PayPal, she held senior roles at eBay’s Rent.com and held the title of marketplace controller and director of accounting policy at eBay.Alford is also a member of the board at real estate investment trust Macerich.The election of Facebook’s board of directors will take place during the company’s annual meeting May 30.Its board currently consists of:
Go to any Silicon Valley party, and chance are pretty good you'll hear someone talking about "Sapiens," a book about the past and future of humanity by Yuval Noah Harari.After finally managing to make my way through it, the tech industry's fascination with the book made a whole lot more sense.In fact, in 2016, Bill Gates wrote that he went so far as to ask his wife, Melinda Gates, to pack a copy of the book on vacation.Read more: Why Mark Zuckerberg wants everyone to read an Israeli historian's book about the human raceIn the years since, it's only become more ubiquitous, to the point where it's become a punchline.We were once limited by a supposed law of nature that makes it nearly impossible to organize a group of more than 150 people, a limit known to anthropologists as Dunbar's number.
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The idea for Expanse came to CEO Tim Junio when he was in graduate school and contracting for the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA).Expanse monitors the public internet, scanning for devices belonging to the customer — and makes sure they're not talking to hackers or other bad guys without the owners knowing.Expanse has already launched its second product and plans to focus more on international sales.While Expanse CEO and co-founder Tim Junio was in graduate school, he had an "a-ha!"moment when he read an academic paper from the University of Michigan with an ambitious idea for scanning the entire Internet for security flaws.There, they prototyped and worked on military data science projects, but ultimately decided to go their own way.
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Expanse, a six-year-old, San Francisco-based company that helps its clients understand and monitor what it calls their “global internet attack surface,” has received a $70 million vote of confidence from its earlier backers, as well as some notable individual investors.Previous investor TPG Growth led the Series C round, with participation from other earlier investors that include NEA, IVP and Founders Fund.But the company also drew checks directly from Founders Fund cofounder Peter Thiel, Michael Dell, Former IBM CEO Sam Palmisano, media entrepreneur Arianna Huffington, and Turner Enterprise CEO Taylor Glover.What they find so interesting about Expanse, which was formerly known as Qadium?It turns out that when you start indexing global internet protocol addresses before everyone else — meaning the numerical labels assigned to each device connected to a computer network — it’s hard for competitors to catch up.Indeed, numerous big organizations, including CVS and PayPal are among others now use the company’s software-as-a-service to help manage their far flung digital assets connected to the public internet.
Expanse, a company that indexes global internet protocol (IP) addresses, today announced the close of a $70 million funding round.Expanses provides information from its independent database to large organizations like PayPal, CVS, and the federal government to manage their assets connected to the public internet and do things like reduce an organization’s cyberattack vulnerability surface area.In addition to IP addresses, Expanse tracks things like Domain Name System (DNS) protocol information and other registration record systems around the world to compile its database.The $70 million Series C round was led by TPG Growth with participation from New Enterprise Associates (NEA), IVP, and Founders Fund, and individual investors like Arianna Huffington, Peter Thiel, and Turner Enterprise CEO Taylor Glover.Cofounders Tim Junio and Matt Kraning met when consulting DARPA for use of big data for projects related to the war in Afghanistan then created Expanse and a number of projects after built on similar methods.Competitive bid DARPA contracts led to the creation of Expanse’s internet sensing platform, and in 2015 the company began to raise funding and serve customers, Kraning told VentureBeat in a phone interview.
Trump fan Peter Thiel's data-mining biz Palantir has reportedly won a lucrative US Army contract, prising it out of the hands of established defence supplier Raytheon.The deal is said to be worth a potential $800m and represents the first major defence contract that the firm has won.Even though it has long had links with the US government, spy agencies and police (it was backed in its early stages by the CIA's In-Q-Tel VC arm), its contract awards have been small fry compared to the total on offer here.According to the Washington Post and CNBC, Palantir will deploy a battlefield intelligence system-of-systems for soldiers in remote environments, known as an Army Distributed Common Ground System (DCGS-A).The US Army describes DCGS-A, which consists of both software and hardware, as its "cornerstone intelligence system for sensor tasking, Processing, Exploitation and Dissemination" that provides "unprecedented, timely, relevant and accurate data" to soldiers.The Army last year pitted Palantir against Raytheon for the work on the next phase of the DCGS-A, with the Washington Post saying that insiders have long criticised the high costs Raytheon charged for the custom-built systems it provided in the earlier stages of DCGS-A.
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Bustle Digital Group (BDG), the parent company of media brands Bustle and Elite Daily, has tapped longtime magazine editor Dan Peres to lead the revamped Gawker.com.It’s the biggest hire yet for a media brand that has already faced heated scrutiny and controversy before even getting off the ground.Peres, who served as the editor in chief of the defunct Condé Nast title Details, will start on April 1 and will revamp the site, which is slated to launch this summer.The site’s team consists of Peres along with editorial director Carson Griffith, senior editor Ben Barna and publisher Amanda Hale, whose hires were previously announced.Gawker.com filed for bankruptcy and subsequently shut down in 2016 after losing a lawsuit brought by professional wrestler Hulk Hogan that was funded by tech investor Peter Thiel.(The media company Univision bought Gawker Media Group sister sites like Gizmodo and Jezebel in a $135 million deal.)
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More than two years into the Trump administration, the long vacant post of U.S. Chief Technology Officer will be filled.Bloomberg first reported that today Trump is elevating Michael Kratsios, current deputy U.S. CTO, to the nation’s top tech position.Prior to his experience within the Trump administration, Kratsios served as chief of staff at Peter Thiel’s investment firm Thiel Capital and as chief financial officer at another Thiel project, the hedge fund Clarium Capital.The U.S. CTO role was created during the Obama years and three CTOs have served to date, the last of which was former Googler Megan Smith, known for leading early acquisitions at Google before her move to Google.org.The CTO position advises the president on tech issues, works to shape tech policy and importantly serves as a link to the private sector.In contrast with his predecessors, Kratsios brings a distinct venture capital-colored perspective to the role, which sits within the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy.
And not for any of the standout apps or ludicrously expensive straps, but because it has a “send your heartbeat” feature.It’s because when my husband Dion is in the pub, his boss and workmates are quite snooty about him texting me every hour or so to let me know he hasn’t died — but with this watch, he could just discreetly send a heartbeat.In Silicon Valley, they know this, and are pouring billions of dollars into ambitious life extension technology like Google’s Calico, or Peter Thiel’s biotech portfolio, though so far to little avail.It seems like the only thing that all the advances of the past few decades have done is to intensify our mortal terror by giving us hope that death will be optional soon — but maybe not quite soon enough, for some of us.People hate it when you think they’re dead.Either they’re uncomfortable with the suggestion that they’re as perishable as a carrot, or they ask if you’re “alright” and suggest you “might want to see someone” — just for reacting logically to the simple fact that people die without letting you know.
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European mobile bank N26 has appointed a new general manager to drive forward UK expansion as it steps up competition against rivals such as Monzo and Revolut.Former Morgan Stanley investment banker Will Sorby has joined the Berlin-based digital bank, which operates in 24 markets across Europe, following its UK launch in October last year.Read more: N26 digital bank backed by Tencent and Peter Thiel launches in the UK“The element of competitiveness drew us to the UK, it is the most advanced market for banking products in the world and our mission is to be the first totally global mobile bank,” Sorby told City A.M.The bank has plans to launch an overdraft service in the pipeline, and offers “spaces” which allow customers to sort their money into pots for different uses.N26 is also preparing to launch a joint account feature in the UK in the next few months, Sorby said.
Newell aims to expand Virta's relationships with insurers, employers, and providers.Before that, he founded a digital health startup called Jiff that Castlight acquired.To Sami Inkinen, the founder and CEO of a Silicon Valley startup that helps fight diabetes using the ketogenic diet, his company's latest hire is "a dream come true."Virta encourages patients with type 2 diabetes to adopt a low-carb, high-fat diet, and pairs them with a team of trained professionals who help curb their symptoms.Its staff doubled last year and now includes engineering and product talent from places like Airbnb and DoorDash.The company is backed by leading Silicon Valley health venture firm Venrock as well as Founders Fund, where Peter Thiel serves as a partner.
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The project's initial backers, which also included early Facebook investor Peter Thiel, pledged $1 billion.Monday, OpenAI’s leaders said that a paltry $1 billion wouldn’t be enough to compete with the well-resourced AI labs at companies such as Google and Facebook after all.“In order to build AGI you need to have billions of dollars of investment” in computing resources, says Ilya Sutskever, initially OpenAI’s research director, but now chief scientist of the new for-profit, OpenAI LP.Yet developing advanced new AI systems can be extremely expensive because of the powerful computer processors used in cutting-edge machine learning projects, and the high demand for the relatively small—overwhelmingly male—band of people qualified to work on them.Financial filings from Alphabet’s London AI unit DeepMind help illustrate the challenge.The company would burn through a billion in only a few years if it continued to operate as it did in 2017, when it spent £334 million ($442 million).
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Stash, which offers a mobile app to help novices begin investing, today launched its banking service and a rewards program called Stock-Back.The New York-based startup also announced it has raised $65 million to expand its product offering and find new customers.The four-year-old startup raised $65 million in a series E round but declined to disclose names of the participating parties.It has raised north of $180 million to date from a range of investors, including Peter Thiel’s Founders Fund, Union Square Ventures, and Coatue Management.Through Stock-Back, Stash customers will earn parts of a stock each time they make a qualified purchase using the service’s debit card, the company said in a press release.If a customer goes to Chipotle, they will get fractions of Chipotle’s stock.
137 Ventures walks and talks like your run-of-the-mill venture capital fund, but a quick look under the hood exposes a different style of investing.The San Francisco-based growth-stage firm, which is today announcing its fourth fund with $210 million in committed capital, provides liquidity to founders and early employees of “sustainable, fast-growing, private companies.” In essence, 137 Ventures buys shares directly from employees at unicorn tech companies, like Palantir, Flexport and Airbnb .Founded by Justin Fishner-Wolfson and S. Alexander Jacobson, a pair of former investors at Peter Thiel’s Founder’s Fund, 137 Ventures also owns a significant stake in Elon Musk’s SpaceX, according to the pair.Fishner-Wolfson tells TechCrunch he decided to pursue raising his own fund in 2011 after observing the extending startup timeline.Companies were going public later and later, and employees were crying out for opportunities to liquify their stock.He was unsure the experiment would succeed; fast-forward eight years and his limited partners are satisfied enough to increase their bets.
Y Combinator revealed yesterday that its president, Sam Altman, is stepping down from his role to become the accelerator program’s chairman.Two weeks ago, Musk separated from OpenAI, whose operations Musk and Altman have funded, along with Reid Hoffman, Peter Thiel, YC cofounder Jessica Livingstone, and Stripe’s former CTO Greg Brockman, who is today the CTO of OpenAI .Either way, Altman’s newest move begs a question that industry watchers are likely to be asking for some time, and that is whether Altman – – who was part of the first YC startup class in 2005, began working part-time as a YC partner in 2011, and was made the head of the organization fives years ago — made YC better or worse during his tenure at the top.Certainly, it is much changed.In the past two years, YC has launched Startup School, a free 10-week online program; the Series A program, which coaches seed-stage alums on how to nab follow-on funding; the YC Growth program, a 10-week dinner series that it characterizes as a kind of grad school program; Work at a Startup, a platform that connects engineers with YC companies; and YC China, a standalone program that be run out of Beijing once it gets up and going.Even with a network that has 4,000 alumni and 1,900 companies, Altman has long said that he thinks YC can do even more.
Sam Altman will step down as president of the prominent startup incubator Y Combinator (YC), the company said in a blog post on Friday.Altman will remain in a chairman role at YC, but his day-to-day duties will be relinquished to other other partners.Altman had been president of YC since 2014, replacing founder Paul Graham.Y Combinator has helped shepherd companies like Airbnb, Stripe, Twitch, and Dropbox to success, among many others.Sam Altman will step down as president of the storied startup incubator Y Combinator, according to a company blog post on Friday.According to the post, the transition will help Altman focus on the non-profit AI research company OpenAI, which he cofounded with Elon Musk and Peter Thiel.
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Sam Altman is planning to step down from his role as president of Y Combinator, one of the best-known startup accelerators in Silicon Valley.He’s leaving the position to focus on his work as cochair of prominent nonprofit research organization OpenAI, Y Combinator announced today.OpenAI was created in 2015 with $1 billion in funding from people like Altman, YC Research, and people like SpaceX cofounder Elon Musk, investor Peter Thiel, LinkedIn cofounder Reid Hoffman, and Y Combinator founding partner Jessica Livingston.OpenAI has tackled a number of AI research initiatives.In recent weeks alone, the nonprofit launched a massive reinforcement learning simulator, controversial state-of-the-art NLP model GPT-2, and advocated that sound AI systems are reliant on social science as well as computer science.Altman, only the organization’s second president since the accelerator was created, will continue at Y Combinator as company chairman.
Founded in 2015, Zinier is one of a number of startups setting out to automate traditional industry processes — in Zinier’s case, it’s targeting FSM in the telecom and gas industries.FSM, for the uninitiated, concerns the management of service technicians and all the tasks associated with their jobs, which may include servicing equipment that’s spread across multiple sites.Traditionally, this is a complex and resource-intensive task due to the sheer number of variables involved, each of which needs to be monitored and tracked by humans.This increase is being driven largely by the growth in connected devices across the consumer and enterprise spheres — all these devices require technological infrastructure, be it datacenters, base stations, or antennas.But digging down into the details reveals that it’s as focused on bringing a layer of intelligence to the mix as anything else — making use of field service organizations’ data to streamline things.Such environmental elements could mean more severe wear and tear, thus Zinier can be used to preempt a potential failure by triggering a maintenance order ahead of schedule — but just for the Chicago-based antenna.
Peter Thiel's VC firm is delivering huge returns for investors, according to The Wall Street Journal.Founders Fund is returning $4.60 on every dollar invested as part of its fourth fund in 2011.The returns were buoyed by Founders Fund's stakes in companies including Airbnb and Stripe.Peter Thiel's early investment in Facebook made him a billionaire.Now, the investments made through his VC firm Founders Fund are delivering huge returns for others.According to documents reviewed by The Wall Street Journal, Founders Fund is returning $4.60 on every dollar invested as part of its fourth fund in 2011.
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Freight forwarder Flexport is now valued at $3.2 billion.That's after a $1 billion investment round led by the SoftBank Vision Fund.Founded in 2013, Flexport is already the 11th-largest freight forwarder in the world.Flexport has driven big-name investors into the less-than-thrilling world of logistics — Peter Thiel, Y Combinator, Google's GV, Bloomberg Beta, and even Ashton Kutcher.And now, the freight forwarder, which operates globally, can add another enviable investor to its list: SoftBank.The Japanese bank's Vision Fund just led a $1 billion investment round into Flexport, which is now valued at $3.2 billion.
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