A year ago, the Midwest saw one of its largest tech exits to-date: the January 2017 $1.1 billion sale of CoverMyMeds to San Francisco-based McKesson Corp.Through an analysis conducted with data from Pitchbook, Mattermark, and our own proprietary research, Hyde Park Angels looked at the biggest disclosed exits of 2016 and 2017 in what we consider the Midwest: Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio, and Wisconsin.This trend demonstrates a move to more dollars flowing into fewer deals.Interestingly, these exits included a combination of venture capital-backed, private equity-backed, and bootstrapped companies, demonstrating a diversity of capital to fund companies to growth.Some of the major exits from across the region included Michigan-based Altair Engineering‘s IPO, the aforementioned acquisition of Ohio-based CoverMyMeds, and Ohio-based Macropoint’s $107 million exit to Descartes.What’s more, so many assumedly large exits were undisclosed in 2017 that the increase is likely considerably greater than the public data reveals.
While commuter buses ferrying Apple and Google employees have been rerouted to avoid being shot at – reportedly with a pellet gun – GM Cruise has had less success keeping one of its self-driving cars out of harm's way.Earlier this week, the autonomous vehicle subsidiary of automaker GM said that one of its Cruise autonomous vehicles (AV), operating in autonomous mode though presumably carrying a human minder, was struck by a charging pedestrian on January 2, 2018 in San Francisco, California, USA.In journalism circles, this qualifies as a "man bites dog" story: it's seldom news when cars strike pedestrians because that happens so frequently, but it's not every day that a pedestrian runs into a car.The collision occurred while the vehicle was waiting to make a right turn from the northbound lane of Valencia Street onto 16th Street as pedestrians crossed."A different pedestrian from the southwest corner of Valencia and 16th ran across Valencia Street, against the 'Do Not Walk' symbol, shouting, and struck the left side of the Cruise AV's rear bumper and hatch with his entire body," explains the report GM Cruise filed with California DMV, per regulatory requirements.There were no injuries reported but the Cruise vehicle suffered some damage to its right tail light, according to the report.
Google CEO Sundar Pichai responded today to the firing of employee James Damore over his controversial memo on workplace diversity, stating that while he does not regret the decision, he regrets that people misunderstood it as a politically motivated event.Speaking in a live conversation with journalist and Recode co-founder Kara Swisher, MSNBC host Ari Melber, and YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki in San Francisco, Pichai said that the decision to fire Damore was about ensuring women at Google felt like the company was committed to creating a welcoming environment.“I regret that people misunderstand that we may have made this for a political belief one way or another,” Pichai said.“It’s important for the women at Google, and all the people at Google, that we want to make a inclusive environment.” When pressed by Swisher on the issue of regret, Pichai stated more definitively, “I don’t regret it.” Wojcicki, who has spoken publicly about how Damore’s memo affected her personally, followed up with, “I think it was the right decision.”Damore, who was fired back in August after his internal memo went viral, filed a lawsuit earlier this month alleging Google discriminates against white male conservatives.The crux of Damore’s memo was that Google’s diversity efforts are misplaced, that women may be biologically less suited to engineering and programing jobs in the tech industry, and that Google creates a hostile environment for conservatives.
Urban Remedy, a California-based maker of fresh juices and ready-to-eat plant-based meals, has closed $17 million in funding led by 301 INC, General Mills' investment arm, according to Food Navigator.The company ships its products directly to consumers, and operates 13 retail locations and 30 Whole Foods kiosks throughout the Golden State.Food industry veteran John Foraker will join the company's board of directors.Foraker, CEO of organic baby food company Once Upon a Farm, is also the former CEO of organic food brand Annie's, which General Mills acquired in 2014 for $820 million.This new round of funding will help Urban Remedy expand its product capacity and enter a second market outside of San Francisco.At first glance, the partnership between a 152-year-old Big Food company that has built its name on shelf-stable cereal and boxed cake mixes and a newcomer that specializes in ready-to-eat meals with a three-day shelf life seems a bit mismatched.
In 2014, Joseph Poon and Thaddeus Dryja were bitcoin-obsessed engineers hanging out at pizza-fueled meetups in San Francisco.The pair had an idea, one whose elements were already in the air at the time.Six months later, they revealed their work at a San Francisco bitcoin meetup.They called it the Lightning Network, a system that can be grafted onto a cryptocurrency’s blockchain.With this extra layer of code in place, they believed, bitcoin could support far more transactions and make them almost-instant, reliable and cheap, while remaining free of banks and other institutions.In other words, it promised to fulfill the cryptocurrency dream originally set out by Satoshi Nakamoto in 2008.
In one fell swoop, Airbnb made it a lot harder for folks to find vacation rentals in the Bay Area, reports the San Francisco Chronicle.For the last several years, the company has been at odds with its home city of San Francisco over rules and regulations involving registration.On Wednesday, January 17, a law requiring hosts to register their properties went into effect, and unfortunately, many Airbnb users failed to comply.As a result, the platform has nixed nearly half of the rental options on the site.Since September, Airbnb has removed 4,760 San Francisco listings, and 2,080 were removed late Tuesday, January 16, in advance of the new legislation.In total, that means that there are now around 5,500 listings in the Bay Area, a sharp decline from August when that number totaled more than 10,000.
Iris Automation, a San Francisco-based startup that’s building collision avoidance systems for industrial drones and other autonomous flying machines, has closed a $8 million Series A round of funding led by Bessemer Venture partners, with participation from Bee Partners.Founded in 2015, Y Combinator alum Iris Automation claims a team of tech minds from the likes of NASA and Boeing, and is one of a number of computer vision-startups that’s building technology that gives “eyesight” to autonomous vehicles.Though regulation has eased in some areas of the drone realm, when it comes to autonomous flying, every drone operator needs to have the necessary on-board smarts to be able to navigate their environment safely, adjusting their course accordingly should they encounter unexpected obstacles.And this is what Iris Automation is setting out to build — a “situational awareness” platform that can guide drones and other forms of autonomous air transport safely from A to B.Autonomous drone delivery services are already beginning to roll out in commercial use cases, and we’ve seen a number of drone companies come to the fore to help transport medical supplies, survey industrial sites, and more.And at CES 2018 in Las Vegas, a number of companies showcased early-stage air taxi services, so it’s clear that there will be growing demand for Iris Automation’s smarts.
Meanwhile, Bruce Perens wants his legal bills footedOpen Source Security, Inc., the maker of the Grsecurity Linux kernel patches, suffered a setback last month when San Francisco magistrate judge Laurel Beeler granted a motion by defendant Bruce Perens to dismiss the company's defamation claim, with the proviso that the tossed legal challenge could be amended.The code biz and its president Brad Spengler sued Perens over a blog post in June in which Perens said that using the firm's Grsecurity software could expose customers to a contributory infringement claim under the terms of the Linux kernel's GPLv2 license.Open Source Security contends that statement has damaged its business.In December, Open Source Security's legal counsel, Rohit Chhabra, told The Register that the judge's order wouldn't be the end of it.In a court filing on Thursday, he asked the judge to dismiss the case because the company does not intend to amend its claim.
Rokid, a Chinese startup that makes an AI voice assistant and smart devices, just raised a Series B extension round led by Temasek Holdings, with participation from Credit Suisse, IDG Capital and CDIB Capital.The size of the round was not released, but a source familiar with the deal told TechCrunch that it is $100 million.The company’s previous funding was its Series B round, which was announced in November 2016.Founder and chief executive officer Mingming Zhu says Rokid raised a Series B+ instead of a C round because the company, which is based in Hangzhou, China with research centers in Beijing and San Francisco that develop its proprietary natural language processing, image processing, face recognition and robotics technology, is still in its early stages.Rokid wants to focus on gathering more resources and bringing in strategic investors like Temasek Holdings before moving on to a Series C. An investment holding company owned by the Singaporean government, Temasek Holdings counts artificial intelligence and robotics among its main investment areas and its other portfolio companies include Magic Leap.The company’s product lineup already includes smart speakers called Rokid Pebble and Alien, which are currently sold in China.
Every week we track the business, tech and investment trends in CPG, retail, restaurants, agriculture, cooking and health, so you don’t have to.First, if you’re headed to The Winter Fancy Food Show in San Francisco, be sure to come visit us at The Future Market booth to explore themes on cannabis cuisine, blockchain chicken, and more.In other news, Nestle has finally closed its deal to sell its US candy business to Ferrero for $2.8 billion as it moves into healthier, faster-growing categories.French microorganism developer Novolyze has raised a €2.2 million ($2.69m) second seed round for its foodborne illness mitigation technology.Instacart has acquired voice-shopping Canadian startup Unata for $65 million, signaling where its headed in its battle with Amazon.Delivery logistics platform Briggs swallowed $12 million, bringing total funding to $22 million.
If you were hoping to rent out a room on Airbnb in San Francisco, the pickings just got a lot slimmer.As a consequence, more than half of Airbnb's listings in the city disappeared practically overnight.In August, Airbnb listed about 8,900 short-term rentals in San Francisco and on Wednesday that number dropped to a little over 4,000, San Francisco's Office of Short-term Rentals told CBS local affiliate KPIX."We've seen upwards of 6,000 listings removed from the short-term rental platform," Kevin Guy, director of the city's Office of Short-Term Rentals, told KPIX.The home rental site first launched its service in San Francisco in 2008 and the company still maintains its headquarters there.Ultimately, the law dictates that people can rent rooms or their entire home for up to 90 days a year when they aren't around.
Amazon has trimmed its list of potential cities where it wants to build its second headquarters, dubbed HQ2.The Bezos Bunch says it has narrowed down a list of 238 proposals to 19 US cities and one in Canada."Thank you to all 238 communities that submitted proposals.Getting from 238 to 20 was very tough – all the proposals showed tremendous enthusiasm and creativity," Amazon Public Policy exec Holly Sullivan said in announcing the list today."Through this process we learned about many new communities across North America that we will consider as locations for future infrastructure investment and job creation."The finalists are, in alphabetical order:
In Indeed.com’s latest study of Silicon Valley’s tech job openings, released this week, the job search firm gave a snapshot of which companies are doing the most hiring.And, for the first 11 months of 2017, the older, established companies dominated: Apple, Oracle, Google, and Cisco were among the highest ranked.While that may be no surprise—these big Silicon Valley companies are always hiring—the top 20 list did have a few unexpected members.Amazon, a company typically considered to be Seattle’s whale, not Silicon Valley’s, came in at number two.And Walmart’s eCommerce group jumped in at number 13, which reflects Walmart’s recent push into artificial intelligence, according to Indeed’s analysis.Drilling down into the data for specific metro areas, Indeed found that in San Francisco, Salesforce, Square, Amazon, Uber, and Twitter rank on top; for San Jose, Cisco, Paypal, and eBay are the top recruiters; and in Oakland, Pandora and Oracle capture the top spots.
Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff, left, acquired the productivity tool Quip from Bret Taylor for $750 million in 2016.Salesforce just issued $11.3 million in equity to an undisclosed entity.Analysts familiar with the company said it's likely related to the purchase of Attic Labs, a young data start up that Salesforce acquired on January 8.It is not clear exactly who received the stock, though a representative for Salesforce said that the equity was issued "in relation to an acquisition."Analysts familiar with Salesforce said that it's most likely related to the acquisition of Attic Labs, an early stage startup that Salesforce quietly acquired on January 8.The deal officially closed on Tuesday, but Salesforce has not disclosed the financial terms of the acquisition.
FILE PHOTO: An electric board showing exchange rate between South Korean Won and Bitcoin at a cryptocurrencies exchange in Seoul Thomson ReutersICE, the owner of the New York Stock Exchange, is launching a new cryptocurrency data feed.It's teaming up with Blockstream to launch the product, which is aimed at hedge funds.Intercontinental Exchange, the Atlanta-based owner of the New York Stock Exchange, announced Thursday it is gearing up for the launch of a cryptocurrency data feed built for hedge fund clients.The so-called Cryptocurrency Data Feed, which ICE built in partnership with blockchain tech company Blockstream, will draw information from 15 cryptocurrency exchanges, according to a release on the news.“With the broad array of cryptocurrencies and exchanges, and given the price variances between exchanges, it’s critical that investors have a comprehensive source of pricing information,” said ICE data services president and COO, Lynn Martin, in a press release.
Partech Ventures, an investment firm with hubs in Paris, San Francisco, and Berlin, has announced a new fund dedicated to African startups.The aptly named Partech Africa fund currently has commitments of €57 million ($70 million), though it’s targeting an eventual closure of €100 million ($122 million) with some major corporate investors already on board such as Orange, Edenred, and JCDecaux.Founded in 1982, Partech Ventures has separate funds aimed at startups at various stages, from seed through to growth.Indeed, last year the firm emerged as something of a European VC giant after surpassing $1 billion in new funds over an 18-month period, including a $440 million growth-stage fund, a $108 million seed-stage fund, and a $455 million early-stage fund.The company said that with its new Partech Africa fund, it plans to target early-stage growth startups, doling out between €0.5 million ($0.6 million) and €5 million ($6.1 million) per investment, backing teams that are using tech to “address large emerging market opportunities,” according to a statement.So this could be anything from fintech, insurtech, ecommerce, education, entertainment, and beyond.
SAN FRANCISCO–(BUSINESS WIRE)–January 18, 2018–Okta, Inc. (NASDAQ:OKTA), the leading independent provider of identity for the enterprise, and ServiceNow (NYSE:NOW) today announced the launch of the Okta Identity Cloud for Security Operations app to make threat detection easier and more efficient.The app, now available for purchase in the ServiceNow Store, is built on an integration with ServiceNow Security Operations to help businesses stay ahead of and protect against modern threat actors using ServiceNow.The Okta Identity Cloud, integrated with ServiceNow Security Operations, helps organizations drastically shorten the time they are exposed to user-related risk.The integration helps organizations quickly and easily see extended user information from Okta within ServiceNow so that they can better assess the scope and scale of an incident and take immediate action against an affected user.“The IT and security stacks must evolve to meet the needs of modern cloud infrastructure,” said Frederic Kerrest, Okta COO and co-founder.
Nintendo’s Switch console is getting a cute, quirky, and seemingly ingenious upgrade that will appeal to kids and the young at heart with the launch of its new Labo initiative.The idea is to use DIY cardboard kits to craft accessories for the Switch’s Joy-Con controllers and enable new modes of play, and new games as well.The kits bundle game cartridges, cardboard sheets, string, and plastic connectors; you’ll need to follow instructions to build different accessories – called Toy-Cons – to house the controllers.You can craft a small piano, a fishing pole, or a motorcycle handlebar.These contraptions then become controllers for specially designed games to allow for a whole new experience.That sounds like a ton of fun, and The Verge seemed to have a good time with the new kits.
Apartment List, A San Francisco-based apartment rental marketplace, has raised $50 million in a series C round of funding led by Passport Capital, with participation from Allen & Company LLC, Canaan Partners, Matrix Partners, Industry Ventures, Quantum Partners LP, Tenaya Capital, and WTI.Founded in 2011, Apartment List offers a cross-platform app that connects would-be renters with those listing rental properties across the U.S.It uses a mix of questions, manual filters, and a visual interface that leans on photos and maps.Prior to now, Apartment List had raised around $60 million in funding, and with its latest cash injection the company said it plans to grow its property inventory beyond large apartment blocks to “include smaller apartment buildings and single-family homes,” adding that it aims to double its headcount in 2018.“Apartment List exists to make sure renters have an equal place in today’s housing market,” said Apartment List cofounder and CEO John Kobs.“Renters deserve the same personalized, seamless, white-glove experience that buyers get.
Windows have been smashed on five buses used to shuttle Apple employees around the San Francisco Bay Area in suspected pellet gun attacks during the past several days, the Guardian reported Wednesday.The first incident occurred Friday as the commuter bus was traveling from the company's headquarters in Cupertino, California, to San Francisco, the newspaper reported.Subsequent suspected attacks occurred Tuesday, according to an internal Apple memo obtained by the Guardian."There is nothing confirmed but it is suspected that a pellet gun might have been used in these incidents," the email to employees said."Luckily, no one seems to have been injured yet."The memo went on to say the commuter buses would avoid the Interstate 280 route until further notice.