Author: Connie Loizos

The ambitious real estate ‘unicorn’ Opendoor just made its first acquisition, snapping up Open Listings

TECHCRUNCH Opendoor, a four year-old, San Francisco-based company, has from the outset intended to make it possible to buy and sell residential real estate with a few key strokes. It seemingly gets closer to that audacious vision by the day. The company closed on $325 million in new funding in June in a round that brought its total equity funding to $645 million to date — and its valuation to more than $2 billion. The company has also raised $1.75 million in debt, and two sources tell us more funding from SoftBank is imminent. Opendoor’s cofounder and CEO, Eric...

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At Sounding Board, an executive coaching startup, the coaches get coaching, too

TECHCRUNCH Everyone could use an executive coach — even executive coaches. Such is the thinking of Christine Tao and Lori Mazan, cofounders of Sounding Board, a two-year-old, San Francisco-based startup focused around leadership coaching that has so far raised $1 million in seed funding led by Bloomberg Beta, with participation from Precursor Ventures and numerous angel investors. Some of these investors are people who Tao had met while an SVP at the mobile advertising startup TapJoy. TapJoy is also where Tao met Mazan, who has been helping companies develop their talent for more than 20 years. “Lori started out...

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The SEC has never been busier investigating both private and public companies in the Bay Area, suggests agency head

TECHCRUNCH Yesterday at TechCrunch Disrupt, Jina Choi, the longtime head of the SEC’s San Francisco unit, declined to confirm that her agency is investigating Tesla CEO Elon Musk for his now infamous tweet about securing funding for a take-private maneuver. Choi did pull back the curtain substantially with regard to how the agency — which has never worked harder as it relates to private company investigations — operates. The uptick in activity is no surprise. As companies linger as private entities for longer periods of time — often raising hundreds of millions, if not billions, of dollars along the...

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Bay Area VCs agree that Silicon Valley may be losing its gravitational pull after all

TECHCRUNCH Earlier today, we took the stage at TechCrunch’s Disrupt event with top VCs Megan Quinn of Spark Capital, Sarah Tavel of Benchmark Capital, and Aileen Lee of Cowboy Ventures to explore some of the trends rippling through the startup investing ecosystem. Think megafunds, SoftBank’s $93 billion Vision Fund — even whether Silicon Valley is losing some of its gravitational pull, as suggested in a recent Economist piece that’s been making the rounds. On the last front, and a little to our surprise, the VCs seemed to agree that a shift is afoot, if we aren’t already past a...

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23andMe underscores that privacy-loving customers need to opt out of its data deal with GlaxoSmithKline

TECHCRUNCH 23andMe, the genetics testing company, is in a state of constant evolution, as you’d expect any 12-year-old company would be. But that also means that customers need to be aware of how the company is using data that users may have earlier consented to give without anticipating its newer initiatives. One new tie-up was a particular point of interest here at TechCrunch’s massive Disrupt show, taking place this week in San Francisco. Specifically, CEO and cofounder Anne Wojcicki was asked a series of questions about 23andMe’s pact with pharmaceutical giant GlaxoSmithKline, which announced in July that it acquired...

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JD.com’s CEO was arrested, then released, by Minneapolis police this weekend on suspicion of alleged sexual misconduct

TECHCRUNCH JD.com’s billionaire CEO Richard Liu was arrested by Minneapolis police late Friday night on suspicion of alleged sexual misconduct. He was released yesterday afternoon around 4 p.m. Today, JD.com, one of China’s largest online retailers, issued the following statement: “During a business trip to the United States, Mr. Liu was questioned by police in Minnesota in relation to an unsubstantiated accusation. The local police quickly determined there was no substance to the claim against Mr. Liu, and he was subsequently able to resume his business activities as originally planned.” John Elder, public information officer for the Minneapolis Police Department,...

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Paul Graham on why he doesn’t like seeing college-age and younger founders

TECHCRUNCH Yesterday, as part of some of its newest programming for startup founders, the startup incubator Y Combinator posted a new interview with its widely revered founder Paul Graham. The apparent idea was for Graham to share some deep thoughts about startups with fellow founder and current YC partner Geoff Ralston, though the two spend much of the (entertaining) interview discussing Graham’s formative career and his cofounders in his early startup Viaweb, and no wonder; one of them is famous hacker Robert Morris, who became the first person convicted under the then-new Computer Fraud and Abuse Act. Much of the...

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Tesla’s drama, China-based companies are listing in the U.S., and SurveyMonkey is (finally) going public

TECHCRUNCH Hello and welcome back to Equity, TechCrunch’s venture capital-focused podcast where we unpack the numbers behind the headlines. This week, we were a man down, with the excellent Alex Wilhelm of Crunchbase News on a vacation that someone seems to have sanctioned, though it was not us, as we don’t believe in vacations. (Wilhelm, get back here.) We did, happily, have the very knowledgeable Kirsten Korosec of TechCrunch join us on the line; we were also joined by this week’s personable in-studio guest: Lauren Kolodny, a partner at the San Francisco-based, early-stage venture firm Aspect Ventures. It was...

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