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Month: February 2015

Startups, Late-Stage Valuations, And Bull

Bill Gurley, a general partner at Benchmark, makes news mostly because he says what other venture capitalists will tell you while drunk, but does so while on the record. It’s refreshing in a way. Most recently, Gurley made the point that the tech and investment industries are shoving nine and ten-figure sums of cash into startups while not enjoying a full dig into their financials. In the age of the mega-round, the issue isn’t a small one: Gurley thinks that some people are investing from the hip and not from the spreadsheet. Here’s the quote: “Pay attention,” Gurley said. “These companies aren’t going through a proper audit process. … We’re drifting from high-margin businesses to ever-increasing low-margin businesses in terms of what we’re saying are unicorns. Be careful. I don’t think it’s sustainable if you extrapolate that way.” Placing the low-margin bit aside, the point about vetting companies is disturbing. If huge sums of money are going into companies that are not properly audited, there is more risk in the market than was perhaps understood. And more risk, in this case, doesn’t mean more potential reward — it means more un-hedged downside. I talked with Gurley on the phone for a minute on the auditing point and he noted that some companies are raising massive rounds off of a Power Point deck, and not an S-1. The implication is simple: When you go public, you...

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Facing Up To the Tech Immigration Challenge

Editor’s Note: Russ Shaw is the founder of Tech London Advocates and an angel and venture investor who previously worked as a vice president at Skype.  President Obama’s legislation on immigration has been one of the most hotly contested political reforms for a generation. The Immigration Order, along with Ron Paul’s subsequent bill attempting to overturn the reform, put immigration firmly at the forefront of the political agenda. The outcry in the US reflects a similar sentiment sweeping across Europe. The rise of numerous right wing parties of varying extremes across European countries has led to immigration being actively curtailed. Anti-EU sentiment also is fueling a desire for homegrown talent in business in this highly charged atmosphere. However, as arguments on both sides escalate, the technology sector has emerged as one of the few voices of reason. Digital companies are used to operating globally, and innovation is driven by attracting and retaining the best talent from around the world. In San Francisco, the battle for talent has seen tech companies doing everything they can to win the best recruits. Hairdressers, free food and doctors are all expected as competition continues to soar. The distance between this environment and the national debate around restricting immigration is extraordinary. Similarly, I have been traveling around the East Coast with the Mayor of London this week and the startups and scale-ups I meet continue to cite talent as...

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A First Look at the Air Jordan 4 Retro “Oreo” (Tech Grey)

This weekend, the Jordan Brand has released the first official images for the reimagined Air Jordan 4 Retro “Oreo” in Tech Grey. Originally released in 1999, the retros feature a textured black leather upper, with grey accents throughout, including a grey speckled midsole. The shoe will be released February 21 at select retailers, for $190 USD. Article source:...

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A First Look at John Elliott + Co. 2015 Fall/Winter Collection

Check out San Francisco-based label, John Elliott + Co.’s first presentation at New York Fashion Week. The label epitomizes simple dressing, with high-quality basics that have found the brand a cult following. The brand has recently begun manufacturing its own fabrics, which was showcased in its collection, along with its usual genius layering of tonal basics. Outfits were monochromatic — whites and creams, grays, among melange fabrics in similar colorways. Looks were generally sportswear-inspired, with joggers and sweatpants, but with standout coats and nylon fabrics that contrasted the otherwise cotton-made collection. Article source:...

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Zane Lowe Set to Leave BBC Radio 1 for Apple

After a successful tenure that lasted for more than a decade, Zane Lowe has announced that he will be parting ways with BBC Radio 1 and moving to the US to work at Apple. The 41-year-old, whose last show will air on March 5, said, “The station has allowed me to share incredible music with the country’s best music fans. I’ve loved every minute of it. Exciting times lie ahead.” Annie Mac has been confirmed as the new presenter for Lowe’s current weekday evening show, and will be stepping down from hosting “Musical Hot Water Bottle” on Sunday evenings. Article source:...

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