Author: Connie Loizos

Jina Choi, SF Regional Director of the SEC, is coming to Disrupt to talk ICOs and more

TECHCRUNCH The Securities & Exchange Commission, the federal agency responsible for protecting investors and maintaining fair and orderly functioning of our securities markets, has 11 regional offices, including in Miami, New York, Boston, and Chicago, None has quite the workload as the SEC’s San Francisco regional office, where a major area of focus in recent years has been investor fraud in pre-IPO companies, particularly the many startups that in an earlier era would have either have gone public or else out of business, but which today linger as privately held outfits because there’s so much money sloshing around. Among the...

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These 50 founders and VCs suggest 2018 may be a tipping point for women in tech: Part 2

TECHCRUNCH On Friday, we featured 25 founders and VCs who are having a notable 2018 — and who happen to be women. Herewith, 25 more who deserve some kudos for getting it done in the first half of this year. This list, meant to highlight the growing number of women with interesting companies or starting venture firms to watch, could easily be several times longer, we’re gleefully aware. Please feel free to tweet us or nominate in our comments section other women who’ve reached a particular milestone in 2018 and should be included in future profiles of female leaders who are on the rise, along with their organizations. Shan-Lyn Ma, founder and CEO of Zola Shan-Lyn Ma has huge ambitions for her wedding registry startup Zola, and her investors clearly trust her instincts. Indeed, Ma — a former executive with the e-commerce companies Gilt Groupe and Chloe + Isabel  — originally started Zola to reinvent the traditional registry process. Now, Ma sees instead an opportunity to eventually address every need a young couple may have, from caterers to Cuisinarts, to eventually, perhaps, even home mortgages. It’s well on its way, connecting engaged couples to 600 brands and 60,000 products. With the $100 million in Series D funding that Zola closed last month, its technology will presumably only grow more efficient — and ubiquitous. “Right now, we’re investing for growth. But...

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It’s official: Lyft Bikes is now a thing

TECHCRUNCH Lyft, the ride-share giant that last week closed on $600 million in fresh funding, just announced the latest move in its ongoing chess match with its older and better-funded competitor Uber. It has acquired Motivate, the oldest and largest electric bike-share company in North America, for undisclosed terms. Motivate, which operates in New York as CitiBike; in Washington, D.C., as capital bikeshare; and in San Francisco as Ford GoBike, was reportedly on the cusp of selling to Lyft several weeks ago, with Motivate said by the outlet The Information to be likely to fetch $250 million or more. Final terms of the deal aren’t being disclosed, but certainly, the deal seemed inevitable after Uber paid a reported $200 million in April for Motivate’s most direct U.S. competitor, the bike-sharing startup Jump (renamed in recent years after operating previously as Social Bicycles, or SoBi). Whether bike sharing will provide a lucrative new stream of revenue for either company remains a question mark. While bike-share companies have long insisted that they make their bikes as efficiently and cost-effectively as possible in partnership with China-based manufacturers, they haven’t proven lucrative businesses to date. As of last year Motivate — which bought Citi Bike from Alta in 2014 — which oversees many thousands of  bikes across bike-sharing programs in nine U.S. cities and recorded more than 1.8 million rides in New York City alone...

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These 50 founders and VCs suggest 2018 may be a tipping point for women: Part 1

TECHCRUNCH For the last several years, we’ve compiled profiles of women founders and investors at the end of each year because they’ve either raised substantial amounts of money or otherwise achieved notable milestones. This year, we don’t want to wait until December. We’re too excited about the progress we’re witnessing, with women-led startups getting seed, Series A or later-stage funding each week — all while top venture firms grow more serious about pulling women into their most senior ranks, female VCs band together to fund female founders and other women go about launching their own funds. Some of you will note that this list is far from comprehensive, and we’ll readily agree with you. But we think it’s better to celebrate the accomplishments of some of the women who deserve attention than try to capture every last person we’d include if only there were more hours in the day. Herewith, a list of 25 founders and investors who’ve had a pretty good 2018 so far, with a second list of women in the industry coming shortly, so stay tuned. Brynn Putnam, founder and CEO of Mirror Harvard grad Brynn Putnam was once a professional ballet dancer, but she may eventually find more fame as a serial founder. Two years after her last performance in 2008 with a ballet company in Montreal, Putnam started a New York-boutique fitness studio, Refine...

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Ben Horowitz is coming to Disrupt SF

TECHCRUNCH It’s been more than four years since “The Hard Thing About Hard Things” was published and it remains — including to minds of many of us at TechCrunch — one of the best, most authentic, most instructive business books ever written. It’s partly for this reason that we’re so excited to announce its author, Ben Horowitz, cofounder of the venture firm Andreessen Howoritz, is coming to Disrupt this September. Why do people care about Horowitz’s management advice, as opposed to many other venture capitalists? Much of it boils down his operating experiences and his candid descriptions of his ups and downs on the job. Horowitz, for example, was the cofounder and CEO of Opsware (formerly Loudcloud), which was acquired by Hewlett-Packard in 2007 for $1.6 billion. But as Horowitz has very publicly elucidated, Opsware looked like a goner more than once, including when one of its biggest clients shut down in the aftermath of the dot.com bubble’s implosion. Horowitz also ran several product divisions at Netscape Communications when the company was still very young yet was already publicly traded. (It IPO’d an astonishing 16 months after it was founded.) While a thrilling ride, Horowitz has been frank about pissing off Netscape’s young cofounder, Marc Andreessen, after complaining that Andreesseen gave away too much of Netscape’s strategy to a reporter ahead of a public launch that Horowitz and others...

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Doug Leone, the global managing partner of powerhouse Sequoia Capital, is coming to Disrupt

TECHCRUNCH Sequoia Capital has been at the top of its game in the U.S. for decades, thanks to early investments in Google, Yahoo, LinkedIn, and PayPal, as well as, more recently, its stakes in the messaging startup WhatsApp, the payments company Stripe, and the video conferencing unicorn company Zoom. Yet unlike a lot of top tier firms in Silicon Valley, Sequoia is far from reliant on the Bay Area companies for huge returns. Instead, a dozen years ago, anticipating that the most impactful tech ideas could come from anywhere and be built around the world, the firm founded Sequoia...

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Confirmed: Sequoia has already secured three-quarters of what will be an $8 billion global fund

TECHCRUNCH Sequoia Capital, the 46-year-old venture firm, has secured $6 billion in capital commitments for an $8 billion global fund, according to a new report in the Financial Times. The report echoes a late April piece in the Wall Street Journal that reported Sequoia investors had already committed “roughly” $6 billion to the new fund. A source familiar with the matter confirms for us that both stories are accurate. The capital commitments thus far have come from investors with no prior relationship to Sequoia. The firm intends to turn to its previous investors for the rest of the capital...

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Andreessen Horowitz has a new crypto fund — and its first female general partner is running it with Chris Dixon

TECHCRUNCH Silicon Valley powerhouse Andreessen Horowitz has some big, and bigger, news today. First, it closed a dedicated crypto fund late last week from a subset of its limited partners, who’ve provided the firm with $300 million in capital commitments. The fund had become the worst-kept secret in the venture industry, largely because so many other venture firms are trying to figure out their own related strategies and have been watching closely AH’s slow but growing number of investments in crypto-related startups over the past five years. Nine-year-old Andreessen Horowitz has also, at long last, brought aboard its first...

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