Heartland Tech Weekly: Silicon Valley excess spreads outside the Bay Area

Typically, when a startup goes public after reaching a billion-dollar plus valuation, it’s considered a “win” for that community. But what happens when that billion-dollar company is no longer a unicorn? Earlier this month, Domo, a Utah-based business analytics startup founded by serial entrepreneur Josh James, filed for an IPO. The milestone shoul…Read More

How government-backed VC firms help and hurt the Midwest

GUEST: If you look closely at Pitchbook’s annual report, you might notice something unusual about the most active investors in the Midwest/Great Lakes regions (Pitchbook has split the broader Midwest into a few smaller regions). Whereas the West Coast’s most active investors are all financially-focused, private investors, the Midwest contains many…Read More

3 black female founders share how they got funded in the Midwest

Star Cunningham, founder and CEO of 4D Healthware.
GUEST: Female founders are underfunded and underrepresented, but black female founders bear a disproportionate share of the burden. While female founders overall receive 2.7 percent of all venture funding relative to their male counterparts, black female founders receive 0.2 percent. That’s an astonishingly low number, but it’s especially sta…Read More

New CB Insights ranking of top 100 VCs includes only 9 women

As if one needed more data points to emphasize that the venture capital sector lacks gender balance, along comes a new annual ranking of the top 100 VCs — and it has only nine women. This is the third annual ranking from CB Insights partnership with the New York Times. CB Insights has partnered with the New York Times to provide what is descr…Read More

Travis Kalanick is launching a venture fund

 Travis Kalanick, the controversial co-founder and one-time chief executive of Uber, is launching a new investment fund called the 10100 Fund. According to an announcement on his Twitter account, the new fund will focus on “large-scale job creation.” Investment areas are to include real estate, e-commerce and emerging innovations in China and India. It’s the systematization… Read More

SoftBank’s Michael Ronen isn’t worried about automation displacing workers

SoftBank’s $100 billion Vision Fund has naturally attracted curiosity due to its mammoth size. Managing partner Michael Ronen told the crowd at VentureBeat’s Blueprint conference in Reno, Nevada that the lowest round the fund will invest in is $100 million. In 2017, SoftBank invested in 16 companies in the U.S.

But what’s equally as intriguing about SoftBank’s investment thesis is that it’s deploying capital to ridesharing companies like Didi and Uber, as well as delivery platforms like DoorDash — companies that are changing the way Americans make money.

“With Uber, there’s lots of discussion about what it does to communities — but at a very basic form, it allowed a lot of people on a full-time or part-time basis to make a living or augment their living,” Ronen told the crowd.

However, the inevitable deployment of self-driving cars means that many of the jobs that Uber created may also be Continue reading "SoftBank’s Michael Ronen isn’t worried about automation displacing workers"

A peek inside Alphabet’s investing universe

 Chances are you’ve heard of Google. You’re likely a contributor to one of the 3.5 billion search queries the website processes daily. But unless you’re a venture capitalist, an entrepreneur or a slightly obsessive tech journalist, you may not know that Google, or, more properly, Alphabet, is also invests in startups. And, like most of what Google does, Alphabet invests… Read More

Uber’s big SoftBank deal has officially closed

 SoftBank’s $1.2 billion primary direct investment deal has officially closed, according to Uber itself, which confirmed the deal closure and provided the following statement to TechCrunch via a spokesperson: We’re proud to have SoftBank, Dragoneer and the entire consortium in the Uber family. This is a great outcome for our shareholders, employees and customers, strengthening… Read More