4 policy changes Heartland entrepreneurs really want


It feels as though 2017 is likely to go down in history as the year that lasted about a decade in our collective minds. With a new presidential administration, there’s been a groundswell of interest and engagement around policies that impact the country, and more directly, the entrepreneurs looking to build businesses within it.

But even with engagement at an all-time high, headlines are seemingly focused on just a few areas:

  • We’ve seen heavy-handed immigration policies struck down in court, twice.
  • We’ve seen the last of a healthcare debate that raged through two houses of Congress, went through half a dozen Congressional Budget Office scores and a multitude of variations, only to get knocked down in the dead of night.
  • We’ve heard a lot about trade, and by extension bringing back jobs like manufacturing and coal mining.
  • We’ve heard even more about building walls.

There have been good fights Continue reading "4 policy changes Heartland entrepreneurs really want"

WanderJaunt wants to make a brand for itself on Airbnb with $2M in seed funding

 I’ll admit, when WanderJaunt co-founder Michael Chen told me he wanted to build a hotel chain, like the Westin, from the ground up on Airbnb, I wasn’t sure what to think. There are already dozens of property management startups for short-term rentals (Vacayo, Guesty etc. And besides, isn’t the commercial dominance and economic power of hotel groups half the reason people… Read More

Our favorite startups from 500 startups’ 21st class

 Another season, another group of startups presenting as part of 500 Startups’ 21st demo day. This time around, 29 companies pitched on stage at the Computer History Museum in Mountain View. We noticed strong trends in healthcare focused businesses as well as startups tackling international markets out of the gate. Perhaps the most interesting trait of the startups selected for our top… Read More

Seed funding wilts as Silicon Valley investors fret about valuations and IPO market


SAN FRANCISCO (By Heather Sommerville, Reuters) – The bloom is off seed funding, the business of providing money to brand-new startups, as investors take a more measured approach to financing emerging U.S. technology companies.

Seed-stage financing has been sliding for the last two years, with the number of transactions down about 40 percent since the peak in mid-2015, data show. Dollar investments in fledgling companies have also declined, although less dramatically, dropping more than 24 percent over the same period. The slowdown comes despite an explosion of interest by wealthy individuals and foreign investors looking to park money in the next big thing. And it has potentially big implications for Silicon Valley. Early-stage funding is the lifeblood of a technology ecosystem built on risk-taking. Denied critical resources in infancy, companies can’t hope to scale quickly enough to unseat incumbent industries and grow into the next Uber Technologies Inc or Continue reading "Seed funding wilts as Silicon Valley investors fret about valuations and IPO market"

Vicarious gets another $50 million to expand its research team and build smarter robots

 Elon Musk and Mark Zuckerberg might not be able to agree about much when it comes to AI these days, but the pair do seem to see the same potential in Vicarious, a startup applying unsupervised learning techniques to robots. Musk and Zuckerberg were two of the early backers of Vicarious. The startup announced that it raised an additional $50 million in financing this morning (via… Read More

Clara Labs nabs $7M Series A as it positions its AI assistant to meet the needs of enterprise teams

 Clara Labs, creator of the Clara AI assistant, is announcing a $7 million Series A this morning led by Basis Set Ventures. Slack Fund also joined in the round alongside existing investors Sequoia and First Round. The startup will be looking to further differentiate within the crowded field of email-centric personal assistants by building in features and integrations to address the needs of… Read More

Local tech ecosystems: Stop comparing yourselves to Silicon Valley


From Silicon Alley to Silicon Beach, existing tech hubs and emerging ones long to be seen like the Valley: the self-proclaimed epicenter of all things tech. But why is that? When did living in San Francisco become a necessary prerequisite for being a startup founder or employee? As a New Yorker, I’m a bit biased to the Big Apple — the hustle and bustle of the city and the intrinsic drive that people have here opposite of our laid-back counterparts in the Bay. There are hundreds of tech companies that make up our local ecosystem, yet we still seem to come second to San Francisco. A big blow to the empire state, but an even bigger blow to cities on the horizon. Emerging hubs like Miami, Raleigh/Durham, Dallas, Nashville, Cincinnati, Detroit and others deserve the same effort, education, and access that we pour into the Bay. Tomorrow’s next tech leaders and talent Continue reading "Local tech ecosystems: Stop comparing yourselves to Silicon Valley"