Tag Archives: Venture
This article originally ran in Term Sheet, Fortune’s newsletter about deals and dealmakers. Sign up here.
Reddit co-founder Alexis Ohanian announced Wednesday that he would be stepping down from his daily role at the company (he will continue to serve on Reddit’s board).
Ohanian said he will return to Initialized Capital, an early-stage VC firm he co-founded with Garry Tan, as a full-time general partner. The firm has more than $ 250 million in assets under management, and its investments include Coinbase, Instacart, Zenefits, Opendoor, Soylent, and Cruise Automation.
Now, he plans to double down on investment opportunities in emerging technologies such as blockchain, and says the firm will participate in upcoming initial coin offerings.
“The threat that ICOs pose long-term are to VC firms that aren’t very good because the onus will be on investors to justify why founders should take their money and not use other ways to get it,” he told Term Sheet. “We’re up for that challenge.”
How do they plan to do this? Ohanian says his focus for 2018 is to roll out software that will automate some investment decisions. This may also increase deal flow diversity and help founders gain access to the firm’s network more efficiently.
“It’s a challenge for all of venture,” he said about investing in non-white-male founders. “We have to get it right. Believe me, I used to think about this before I had a black daughter, and I really think about this now on another level because it’s so personal to me.”
As we’ve seen with Social Capital’s “capital-as-a-service” platform, diversity improves when human bias is taken out of investment decision-making. For context, Social Capital evaluated nearly 3,000 companies during its private beta and committed to funding several dozen across 12 countries. CEO demographics skewed 42% female and majority non-white.
Though Ohanian wasn’t familiar with Social Capital’s data-focused investment platform, his response to the findings was, “hell yeah.” So why aren’t more firms fully embracing the data?
“It’s ironic because venture capital firms talk about investing in founders who are building the future and replacing file cabinets with software and yet venture is so technologically backwards,” he said. “That’s because very, very few people running these firms are product people.”
It looks like data-driven venture investing will only accelerate in the future. It remains to be seen how well quantitative recommendations are accepted in a world of big personalities and a strong belief in “the pickers.”
(Reuters) – Technology executive Dave DeWalt has joined early-stage cyber-security venture capital firm Allegis Capital as a managing director, the fund said on Thursday, as it looks to invest more in companies closer to going public.
With the appointment DeWalt, a former CEO of FireEye Inc and McAfee before it was acquired by Intel Corp, is moving directly into the world of venture capital after years of running companies.
“His experience, and the networks that come with it, will be a tremendous asset to our firm and our portfolio companies as they grow from solution innovators to market leaders,” Allegis founder Bob Ackerman said in a statement.
Allegis is looking to raise between $ 200 million and $ 400 million to invest in series C funding rounds, a source with knowledge of the plans said. Such rounds typically involve the last private cash injected into a company before it goes public.
San Francisco-based Allegis also said it would change its name to AllegisCyber and open an office in the Washington area to tap into the region’s high density of cyber engineers and robust investment opportunities.
Allegis said that DeWalt had previously consulted on several investments, including a stake they took in Callsign, where DeWalt sits on the board.
DeWalt has this year joined the boards of a string of cyber security companies including ForgeRock, Optiv, Phantom and Claroty. He has sat on the board of Delta Air Lines Inc since late 2011.
Allegis’ existing cyber security investments include Area 1, Bracket Computing, CyberGRX, E8 Security, Shape Security, Signifyd, Synack, tCell.io and vArmour.
Reporting by Alastair Sharp; Editing by Jim Finkle and Diane Craft
Just one year ago, Indian e-coupon aggregator LafaLafa.com was barely a blip in the mind of, well, anyone. It’s been quite the year though – testament to the booming tech environment in India, they’re one of the privileged few to be on their way to be accelerated by one of Silicon Valley’s hottest startup incubators.
The partnership comes in the face of mutual suspicion between the US and Chinese government amid claims and counter claims of state sponsored cyber security threats.
In June Cisco was forced to remove several of its senior executives in China, amid reports of falling sales slide and Chinese government fears about the foreign ownership of networking equipment.
Cisco’s China sales fell 20 per cent on the previous year in the quarter ending on April 25 at a time when its global revenue gained 5.1 per cent. As its share of the Chinese router market fell from 21.2 per cent to 9.4 per cent the lost sales went to local rival Huawei Technologies, according to Bernstein Research.
Direct selling became more challenging, The Wall Street Journal has reported, after US National Security Agency whistleblower Edward Snowden said the NSA put surveillance tools in US technology products sold overseas.
US-Chinese technology company partnerships are growing in number and Microsoft announced on Thursday an alliance with Baidu and the Chinese state-owned private investment firm Tsinghua Unigroup on cloud technology. Last week Dell unveiled plans to invest $ 125 billion over five years in China. Earlier this year, IBM pledged to help develop China’s advanced chip industry with a ‘Made with China’ strategy, while chipmakers Intel and Qualcomm are developing chips with smaller Chinese companies.
Chinese President Xi Jinping’s arrived in Seattle this morning on a state visit to the US.
Chinese officials have said the partnerships will follow the pattern of car manufacturing agreements in the past, with foreign technology firms granted market access in return for shared technology and co-operation with Chinese industry.
Cisco corporate Cisco Systems is to form a joint venture with Chinese server maker Inspur, selling networking and cloud computing products in China.
The cloud sector came out strongest in the 2015 Global Venture Capital Confidence Survey compiled by Deloitte and the National Venture Capital Association (NVCA). The study quizzes 200 speculators on the general venture capital environment as well as other market factors such as conditions in industries and across regions.
While biopharmaceuticals and robotics reported the highest levels of confidence growth, and the Internet of Things (IoT) was recognised for the first time by the study, cloud computing was the top tech trend for the third year in a row. When the survey group was asked to gauge their levels of confidence in a technology, cloud was the most convincing quantity in which investors would put their faith, with a confidence rating of 4.18 out of 5. Mobile came in second place with a rating of 4.05, while new category the IoT came third with a score of 3.95. Software was a close fourth with a rating of 3.82 on the confidence range.
Investors are most confident in companies based in Silicon Valley and San Francisco with $ 15.2bn being invested in these regions. Next in the investment league came New York with $ 4.5bn and Boston, which received $ 3.2bn from speculators. Confidence in investing in UK-based companies varies, with four of the eight countries questioned saying they have increased confidence in the UK’s tech startup economy and four saying their confidence has fallen.
Interest in investing in Israel was rated highly (a 3.9 out of 5) while Canada (3.60) continued to rise from previous years’ survey results. Confidence in emerging markets has declined among global investors, with rating Brazil at 2.70, down 43 basis points from 2014.
In the cloud computing industry there is much for venture investors to feel excited about, according to Bobby Franklin, president and CEO of NVCA. “The fundraising environment continues to improve, the IPO market is gaining strength and there is no shortage of innovative, game-changing start up companies to take to the next level,” said Franklin.