Bitcoin Futures Are Coming. Are You Ready?

There are three ways to trade futures coming on Bitcoin.  The most under-reported one is Ledger X.  It’s not a true future, but a swap.  Technically they call it a SEF, or a “swap execution facility”.  Most of the time, swaps are exchanges of cash flows of an underlying financial instrument.  In Bitcoin swaps, it’s really only a long vs a short since there is no underlying cash flow.

CBOE and CME both announced futures contracts.  Both are settled in cash-US dollars.  Or, if you are a crypto-fanboy fiat currency.

A long time ago I had a meeting with Leo Melamed about listing Bitcoin futures.  Leo is a good friend and invented FOREX futures.  He is an innovator.  We talked at length about it but it was pretty clear CME wasn’t going to take the risk at that time to Continue reading "Bitcoin Futures Are Coming. Are You Ready?"

Arianna Huffington’s Thrive Global raises $30M so you can work less and sleep more

 Arianna Huffington wants you to work smarter, not harder. She believes a corporate mentality that rewards burning the midnight oil is actually reducing productivity, by causing burnout. Lack of sleep could be costing the U.S. economy $411 billion per year, it turns out. So last year, the HuffPost founder and Uber board member, launched Thrive Global, a startup dedicated to reducing stress… Read More

SoftBank confirms that Benchmark and Menlo intend to sell Uber shares

 SoftBank Group has confirmed that it has found likely sellers for the tender offer for Uber’s shares, which launched tonight. These are the shares from existing shareholders that will be sold at more than a 30% discount to Uber’s last private round.  The Japanese investment firm provided us with the following statement. “SoftBank and Dragoneer have received indications… Read More

SoftBank makes offer for Uber shares at 30% discount

 A SoftBank Group-led team of investors has made an offer to buy Uber’s shares in a tender offer that would value the company at about a 30% discount to Uber’s last private valuation of nearly $70 billion, a source with knowledge of the proposed deal tells TechCrunch. We’re hearing that the proposed price per share is $32.96, which works out to under $50 billion. Bloomberg… Read More

Avoid The Perception, or Temptation of Any Impropriety. Get Deskpass!

The tally of sexual harassment offenders that have been outed in the past few months is too long to name.  High profile journalists, venture capitalists, businessmen, and politicians all have been implicated.  I am sort of surprised we haven’t seen anything in reverse where a powerful woman does something to a man.  When I was in college I had it happen to me once.  I put an end to it.  Had a male teacher in high school do the same thing.  Not cool.

I don’t want to go into the tawdry details.  As a father of daughters, I am shocked it still goes on.  A friend of mine was at a business conference last week and a potential customer shook her hand with a room key in it.  When it dropped to the floor he said, “Just joking.”  Screw him.  Continue reading "Avoid The Perception, or Temptation of Any Impropriety. Get Deskpass!"

What is an IPO pop and why do VCs hate it so much?

 Over the weekend, several VCs tweeted that my headline recapping Stitch Fix’s first day of trading was too harsh. The headline read, “Stitch Fix up just 1% on first day of trading, after reducing size of IPO.” I didn’t say it “fumbled” or label it as “weak” and “disappointing” like many other media publications, but that would… Read More

Senate plans disastrous tax on vesting that could kill stock compensation

 A proposed tax that charges people as their startup equity vests instead of when they cash it out and actually have money to pay the taxes could wreck how tech companies recruit talent. And the industry doesn’t have much time to mobilize to get this tax changed. The U.S. Senate released its proposed tax reform bill late last week under the aggrandized “Tax Cuts and Jobs… Read More

SoftBank looks to finalize Uber investment today

 After months of talks, SoftBank Group is close to finalizing its investment in Uber. Multiple sources tell TechCrunch that the deal is expected to be signed later in the day on Sunday. SoftBank plans to lead a $1 billion investment directly in the company alongside Dragoneer Investment Group. The joint venture will also buy up to $9 billion of shares from eligible existing shareholders in a… Read More

New venture capitalists find strength in numbers

 Ian Rountree, the twenty something captain at the helm of Cantos Ventures, an SF-based micro-fund, is characteristic of a new breed of venture capitalists in tech — a group of  small funds looking to go toe-to-toe with some of the valley’s most entrenched seed funds like First Round Capital and SV Angel. Rountree is experimenting with a strategy so antithetical to the venture… Read More

Feedzai closes $50M Series C to help banks and merchants identify fraud with AI

 Feedzai is announcing a $50 million Series C this morning led by an unnamed VC with additional capital from Sapphire Ventures. The six year old startup builds machine learning tools to help banks and merchants spot payment fraud. In today’s rapidly maturing world of fintech, Feedzai is trying to thread the needle between turnkey solution and customizable platform. With 60 clients… Read More

ROSS Intelligence lands $8.7M Series A to speed up legal research with AI

 Armed with an understanding of machine learning, ROSS Intelligence is going after LexisNexis and Thomson Reuters for ownership of legal research. The startup is announcing an $8.7 million Series A today led by iNovia Capital with participation from Comcast Ventures Catalyst Fund, Y Combinator Continuity Fund, Real Ventures, Dentons’ NextLaw Labs and angels. Read More

ROSS Intelligence lands $8.7M Series A to speed up legal research with AI

 Armed with an understanding of machine learning, ROSS Intelligence is going after LexisNexis and Thomson Reuters for ownership of legal research. The startup is announcing an $8.7 million Series A today led by iNovia Capital with participation from Comcast Ventures Catalyst Fund, Y Combinator Continuity Fund, Real Ventures, Dentons’ NextLaw Labs and angels. Read More

ROSS Intelligence lands $8.7M Series A to speed up legal research with AI

 Armed with an understanding of machine learning, ROSS Intelligence is going after LexisNexis and Thomson Reuters for ownership of legal research. The startup is announcing an $8.7 million Series A today led by iNovia Capital with participation from Comcast Ventures Catalyst Fund, Y Combinator Continuity Fund, Real Ventures, Dentons’ NextLaw Labs and angels. Read More

A running list of every company backed by the $93B SoftBank Vision Fund

 When SoftBank announced the first close of its $93 billion Vision Fund back in May it was hard to understand how the company would even manage to deploy so much capital in an already saturated ecosystem. Two months have passed and we’re starting to get a taste of the strategy of the fund — bet big and bet often and you just might be able to influence who wins and loses in the… Read More

Visa makes strategic investment in card processing startup Marqeta

 Since 2010, Marqeta has quietly established itself as the underlying tech provider for businesses that are looking to issue virtual and physical debit and credit cards to employees, partners and customers alike. As it looks to expand internationally and sign up customers around the globe, the company has taken $25 million in strategic investment from payments heavyweight Visa. Read More

Calling All Fin Tech Startups!!!!

My friend and fellow former trader Alan Matthew of Tribal Ventures alerted me to this. It’s a good opportunity for fin tech startups to get some exposure to potential customers.  I don’t think this is a good opportunity to get investors. But, customers are way more important than investors. Here is a copy of the announcement.  
FIA seeking innovators for Expo 2017
FIA invites all fintech startups to apply to be featured in the Innovators Pavilion at Expo 2017! We are looking for leading edge companies that are creating innovative products and services for any aspect of the global securities and derivatives industry. These innovations can include blockchain, machine learning, big data, cloud computing and social trading.The Innovators Pavilion is an integral part of FIA’s Annual Futures and Options Expo. The FIA Innovators program celebrates innovation and entrepreneurship in financial markets technology. Nearly 40 companies have participated in Continue reading "Calling All Fin Tech Startups!!!!"

Rover raised $65 million for pet sitting

walking the dog Finding temporary housing for your dog should be as easy as renting an Airbnb. That’s the idea behind Rover, which raised $65 million to expand its pet sitting and dog-walking businesses. The Seattle-based company got a significant vote of confidence from Spark Capital, which is leading the round and additional capital from existing investors including Menlo Ventures, Foundry Group,… Read More