Author: Connie Loizos

The nanny of former Uber engineer Anthony Levandowski has filed an excruciatingly detailed lawsuit

TECHCRUNCH Anthony Levandowski might have thought things couldn’t get much worse. But a new lawsuit filed Levandowski’s former nanny suggests that the exact opposite is true. In fact, much of the nanny’s lawsuit — filed by a personal injury attorney in Fair Oaks, Ca., and rife with complaints, including of a retaliatory and hostile work environment, age discrimination, failure to pay wages, and other labor and health code violations —  reads rather like a failed blackmail attempt. For example, it cites with little certainty the names and jobs of people who were discussed during family dinner conversations; it also...

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Sequoia Capital just closed a giant new seed fund — and here’s how it works

TECHCRUNCH Sequoia Capital, the top-tier venture firm, has just closed on a $180 million new fund called Sequoia Scout III that’s focused exclusively on seed-stage opportunities. It’s a development startup founders will be watching closely, no doubt, which is why we caught up yesterday with Bryan Schreier, a Sequoia partner who sits on the boards of Dropbox, Thumbtack and Qualtrics among others, to ask how the vehicle works exactly. Sequoia doesn’t talk often about its processes. Perhaps owing to greater transparency throughout the industry, as well as growing competition, including from AngelList — which is increasingly providing founders with seed money to invest in other founders — the firm offered to shine some light on its offerings and approach. More from our conversation with Schreier follows, edited lightly for length. TC: This new fund is an interesting hybrid. Unlike in past years, where Sequoia made seed bets from its main, early-stage funds, it’ll be used to invest directly in seed deals, and you’ll be incorporating investments that are being brought to you by so-called “scouts.” Is that correct? BS: Yes, we have a long-standing seed practice at Sequoia, going back to the very beginning, and this new fund just represents the consolidation of our seed program into a single fund. As with Airbnb, Dropbox, and Stripe, we’ll be looking for seed investments that we’ll be investing in directly. We’ll...

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Even the Most Interesting Man in the World couldn’t make Luma work as standalone company

TECHCRUNCH Luma, a three-year-old, Atlanta, Ga.-based maker of smart WiFi routers, has been acquired by First Alert, a maker of smoke and carbon monoxide detectors that is itself a subsidiary of Newell Brands, a public company whose other holdings include Rubbermaid. Terms of the deal aren’t being disclosed, but Luma had attracted $22 million from investors, including Relay Ventures, Accel Partners, and Andreessen Horowitz, among others. Axios was first to report the news, having obtained an internal memo authored by Luma chairman and cofounder Paul Judge, who is transitioning out of the company and who characterized the deal as...

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Howard Lindzon’s Social Leverage is looking to raise up to $50 million for its newest fund

TECHCRUNCH Social Leverage, a seed and early-stage venture outfit, is looking to raise up to $50 million for its third fund, shows a new SEC filing. It’s of interest in large part because of cofounder Howard Lindzon, a kind of Internet celebrity and serial entrepreneur known for creating WallStrip, an online video show that took a satirical approach to financial news and was acquired by CBS in 2007, and later StockTwits, a venture-backed social network for traders and investors. Social Leverage dates back roughly a decade. As Lindzon told StrictlyVC in 2015, he’d started the firm with Tom Peterson, a classmate of his at...

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Goldman clients are giving Cadre $250 million to pour into commercial real estate

TECHCRUNCH Cadre, a three-year-old, New York-based online platform helping accredited investors delve into commercial real estate deals in what it claims is a far more transparent way, has received a big vote of confidence from Goldman Sachs. According to CEO Ryan Williams, Goldman’s private wealth clients are committing $250 million to the platform, money that will get funneled directly into a portfolio of real estate stakes assembled by Cadre. The move isn’t a complete surprise for numerous reasons, beginning with Cadre’s ties to Goldman. Williams spent a couple of years at the bank right after getting his undergraduate degree...

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Practice Fusion, once poised for a blockbuster IPO, sells at a loss to Allscripts

TECHCRUNCH Practice Fusion, a 12-year-old, San Francisco-based start-up backed by the likes of Peter Thiel’s Founders Fund, was written about several years ago as a company on the brink of going public. In 2015, JPMorgan, working with Practice Fusion, estimated that the company could be assigned a valuation of around $1.5 billion if it went public in 2016, a figure based off estimated revenue of $181 million for 2018. Instead, Practice Fusion is selling for $100 million in cash to publicly traded Allscripts, it was announced today. The amount, roughly two-thirds of the $157 million the company had raised over the years from VCs, is further “subject to adjustment for working capital and net debt.” The news won’t come as a complete shock to anyone who has been following the electronic medical records company for the last couple of years. Despite backing from Founders Fund — along with Kleiner Perkins, ORIX Growth Capital, Artis Ventures and others — Practice Fusion had stumbled in recent years as bigger competitors such as 38-year-old Epic Systems continue to gain market share. In fact, despite raising a $70 million Series D round in 2013 led by Kleiner, Practice Fusion’s fortunes seemed to turn sharply by mid 2015. First, it swapped out its founding CEO. It then conceded it had cut 25 percent of its workforce in an effort to hoist itself into the...

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James Damore just filed a class action lawsuit against Google, saying it discriminates against white male conservatives

TECHCRUNCH James Damore, a former Google engineer, who was fired in August after posting a memo to an internal Google message board, arguing that women may not be equally represented in tech because they are biologically less capable of engineering, has filed a class action lawsuit against the company in Santa Clara Superior Court in Northern California. His claims: that Google discriminates against white, conservative men. He is joined in the suit by another former Google engineer named David Gudeman, who spent three years with Google, working on a query engine and who left in December 2016. The lawsuit, filed...

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A look at 42 women in tech who crushed it in 2017

TECHCRUNCH What a challenging, exhilarating year it has been for women everywhere, starting from the women’s March on Washington to former Uber engineer Susan Fowler’s eye-opening and now famous blog post to the #metoo movement that has swept the country, washing dozens of sexual predators out of their powerful roles in the process. All the while, women in tech have been driving their tech companies to new levels of success, including reaching difficult product development milestones and, in many of the cases you’re about to read, raising meaningful follow-on funding. That’s not always an easy task, as many will...

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