People

  • Thinking Gorilla

    New Seed stage VC Susa Ventures takes on an underrepresented sector that could well be the future

    Susa Ventures is the newest seed stage VC on the block, today announcing the final close of its $25 million seed fund. The bi-coastal firm, which was founded by a collection of four friends and regular co-angel investors, looks to play bigger than its checkbook with a focus on what it calls “companies with a maniacal focus on data.” “Everything from legal to manufacturing to commerce will undergo a step function improvement by collecting, analyzing, and applying data in…
  • jeff-clavier

    Micro-VC pioneer SoftTech VC announces $85M fourth fund, points to changing market conditions for increasing size

    SoftTech VC has raised a new $85 million early stage fund, founding partner Jeff Clavier just announced from stage at the PreMoney conference. The firm’s fourth fund is its largest ever by 50 percent, a fact that’s as reflective of changing market conditions as they are of LP’s interest in backing Clavier and his partners. The average size of both Seed and Series A rounds have increased significantly since Clavier raised SoftTech III ($55 million in 2010), he tells me,…
  • larry-ellison-oracle-no-eyebrows

    Oracle will enter the cloud when Larry’s good and ready. Uh oh, he’s ready

    For years, Oracle has slow-played “the cloud,” focusing on selling traditional “on-premise” solutions and failing to deliver forward-looking products in many key categories. This pattern has lead many observers and critics to claim that Larry Ellison simply doesn’t get the cloud or that Oracle’s age of enterprise dominance was coming to a close. How wrong they were. If history has proven anything, it’s that you don’t bet against Ellison. Late last week, as part of its quarterly earnings call,…
  • lisa pullano YouTube Hauler

    FameBit gets $1.5M to democratize sponsored content on YouTube, connecting long-tail brands and creators

    YouTube is a world of haves and have nots. The most successful creators, often working with MCNs (multi-channel networks), have millions of subscribers and are routinely paid to create content featuring brands or products, in addition to earning a cut of standard ads served against that content. For large brands looking to get in front of mass audiences in a more authentic way, this is often a marriage made in heaven. But what about the long tail of brands and…
  • one-size-fits-all-clothes

    Nips, tucks, and tech: The next wave of fashion is all about the algorithmic fit

    The next wave of online fashion is all about the algorithmic fit. At least that’s what the founders of a handful of new clothing startups are hoping. In the last two years, roughly thirteen such companies have formed under a deceptively simple premise: Custom-sized clothes for the masses. Some target men’s suits, others make bras for women, still others focus on building the perfect t-shirt. But they all have one thing in common: They’re trying to democratize tailoring so the world’s…
  • CrowdFunder Goes to Congress Illustration

    Meet bitcoin’s Capitol Hill champion, a former founder and angel with real startup chops

    Bitcoin appears to have a champion on Capitol Hill. Finally. House Representative Jared Polis of Colorado’s Second District has become the crypto-currency community’s greatest advocate in Washington, arguing staunchly against earlier proposed bans and policies restricting growth of the digital currencies at large. Representative Polis’ advocacy may come as a surprise to those who don’t know his connections to the technology and startup worlds. But it shouldn’t. Before pursuing his political aspirations, the Princeton graduate co-found the TechStars accelerator program…
  • circling sharks

    Southland swims with the sharks: Inside tales from two Shark Tank success stories

    When Shark Tank first hit American cable TV – as a reboot of the Canadian franchise Dragons’ Den – it was viewed as a novelty, but not a place for serious business. Part-time entrepreneurs pitched the celebrity investors on tchotchke products, but rarely did any of the companies demonstrate the potential to become a true multi-million dollar success story. My how things have changed. At last week’s Southland conference in Nashville, I spoke on stage with two entrepreneurs and a VC who are walking…
  • Doh Doh

    BCC boondagle: US Marshals reveals identities, contact info of Silk Road bitcoin bidders

    For fuck’s sake. Email has been commonly available since the early 1990s and yet two decades later the use of CC (carbon copy) and BCC (blind carbon copy) still perplexes users the world over. To call this embarrassing would be too kind. The latest high profile example of a BCC snafu comes via the US Marshals Service which this week accidentally revealed the names and email addresses of the high net worth individuals and institutions interested in bidding on the seized…
  • andreessengif

    Marc Andreessen: Be disruptive, but don’t be a dick

    Disruption is one of those words that’s been defined, reintrepreted, and unpacked so many times that I have tried to banish it from my vocabulary, except in etymological discussions like this. There are those “disruption cultists” for whom the word is a signifier for all things good and holy about the technological revolution — the taking down of incumbents and the installation of better, stronger, faster companies. Then there are those like the New Yorker’s Jill Lepore who wrote a
  • Gary Swart

    From all-star to coach: oDesk CEO Gary Swart joins Polaris as a West Coast Venture Partner

    There is wisdom gained in building a billion dollar business that can’t be acquired in any other way. Once someone reaches the finish line on such a journey, the natural question is what to do with this wisdom. There are really only two options. The first is to get back in the game with a new venture and attempt to draw on your prior experience to drive a bigger and more successful outcome. The second is to take a step…
  • Climbing Redwood

    Acceleprise heads to SF, bets that a vertical focus will give its SaaS accelerator a big edge

    Not all accelerators are created equal. Whether measured by the return on investment they generate or the impact they have on the success rates of participating companies, the fact is, most accelerators simply aren’t very good. Part of the reason for this comes down to the fact that there simply aren’t that many unicorn companies to go around, and success in this game is disproportionately weighted toward finding and investing in unicorns. And at the earliest stages, it’s nearly impossible…
  • screw-youtube-fair-deal

    ScrewYouTube: People are finally realizing that YouTube screws musicians worse than anybody

    Last month, the Worldwide Independent Network (WIN), a trade organization representing independent labels, accused YouTube of bullying small labels into signing up for its upcoming Spotify-style music streaming service, threatening to block these artists if they refuse to agree to the Google-owned company’s reportedly under-market terms. It was a shocking allegation and, if true, an audaciously evil move, even coming from a company in bed with mercenaries. Now it appears YouTube has made good on those threats. The Financial Times reports that YouTube will…
  • bitcoin_accepted

    BitPagos allows Latin American merchants to avoid sky high payment fees by accepting bitcoin

    When it comes to emerging markets, the opportunities to innovate in the financial services sector are nearly endless. Massive segments of the population are unbanked or underbanked, and those who are part of “the system” routinely face exorbitant fees and subpar experiences. It’s this latter group that caught the attention of Argentine entrepreneur Sebastian Serrano. Merchants in Latin America struggle to accept international credit cards, often paying upwards of 30 percent in fees and currency conversion losses, while waiting…
  • US Supreme Court

    The Supreme Court will decide the legality of threatening someone on Facebook

    Imagine separating from your spouse and leaving him or her. You take the kids with you and move to a new home. You try to build a new life for yourself. Then, one day, you sign onto Facebook and encounter a post from your former spouse envisioning a particularly grisly murder scenario — and you’re the purported victim. Would you be afraid? The above scenario is exactly what happened to the wife of Anthony Elonis, a Pennsylvania man who has…
  • makerbot

    Chattanooga launches the nation 3D printing accelerator, mixing its manufacturing past with a hi-tech future

    Shut your eyes and make a mental guess of where you’d expect America’s first 3D printing startup accelerator to be based. Now let me venture a related guess – that you’re wrong. Gigtank, a business accelerator that has turned its third incoming class over to helping companies working with 3D printing, isn’t based in Silicon Valley, New York, or any other technology hot bead. It’s based in Chattanooga, Tennessee. How many of you predicted that? None? Yeah, that’s what I thought.…
  • code silhouette

    Code.org responds to its recent Newsweek and Politico critics

    In the last month, Code.org attracted its first wave of negative national media attention. Newsweek ran an article criticizing the program for teaching “a dying art.” The writer argued that technological advances would destroy the need for programming skills in another decade or two, because humans will be able to use human languages to tell computers what to do. Then Politico came down hard on Code.org for its privacy policy in an article titled “data…

The Week in Review