Author: Katie Roof

HBO’s “Silicon Valley” cast hints about upcoming season

They’re back! HBO’s “Silicon Valley” is set to return to television, with the fourth season debuting this Sunday. We had a chance to watch the first two episodes at the premiere and can confirm that they’re very funny (and filled with TechCrunch references). We also sat down for a video with the stars of the show, and got a few hints about what to expect this year. “Richard branches out on his own outside of Pied Piper and pivots on his own,” Thomas Middleditch said about his character leaving the company he founded. We’ll see some “special stress on the relationship with he and Jared,” the character played by Zach Woods. There’s also “drama between Richard and Dinesh,” Kumail Nanjiani’s role. Previous seasons of the show follow the trials and tribulations of “Pied Piper,” a startup that changes course multiple times to stay alive. The personalities of the startup characters and also the venture capitalists they encounter are eerily similar to some of the real people in the community here. Executive Producer Mike Judge, known for past comedies like “Office Space,” “Beavis and Butt-Head,” and “Idiocracy,” was inspired by the brief time he spent working in Silicon Valley after college. While the show definitely has a cult following here in Silicon Valley, we asked them why the story resonates throughout the world. “Everybody uses technology. Everybody uses these apps,”...

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MakeSpace raises $30 million to store your belongings

If you live in New York, you’ve seen the subway ads. MakeSpace wants to free your apartment of clutter. And now the self-storage startup is getting $30 million to execute on their vision. This follows another $17.5 million raised last year. Venture capitalists from 8VC, Upfront Ventures, Harmony Partners and Summit Action believe that there’s a $30 billion market opportunity for clothing and furniture storage, and that startups like MakeSpace will continue to take their share of it.  Celebrity investors like Carmelo Anthony and Nas have also bet on MakeSpace. “The growth has been impressive,” said Mark Suster, managing partner at Upfront Ventures. “I love...

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EBay unveils first quarter earnings results

EBay reported first quarter results after the bell on Wednesday. The company posted an adjusted 49 cents per share, when Wall Street was forecasting 48 cents. EBay reported revenue of $2.2 billion, when analysts were expecting roughly the same at $2.21 billion. This is up 4% from last year. Gross merchandise volume, a measure of the total sales transactions of the platform came in at $20.9 billion, slightly beneath the $21.06 billion analysts had been expecting. EBay is facing a 24.6% annual decline in its operating margins, because it is spending more on marketing to help grow its business,...

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Cloudera expects market cap to be less than half private valuation

Cloudera, the enterprise big data company that’s received significant backing from Intel, has released the expected price range for its IPO. The company says it plans to price its shares between $12 and $14. The price will get finalized the night before Cloudera debuts on the stock market, which is expected to happen later this month. The proposed price is a significant disappointment for some of the investors and employees of the company because it will mean it has gone down in value since its last private round. If it prices at the top of the range, the Cloudera will be valued at $1.8 billion, significantly less than the $4.1 billion valuation from its 2014 round. This scenario has become known as a “down round IPO.” The company has raised at least $1 billion, dating back to 2008. Intel is the largest shareholder, owning 22 percent of the company, prior to the IPO. Accel owns 16.3 percent and Greylock Partners owns 12.5 percent. The company’s filing, which was unveiled last month, gave us a glimpse at their financials. Revenue is growing, totaling $261 million for the fiscal year ending in January. Cloudera brought in $166 million for the same period last year. Losses were $186.32 million, down from $203 million in the same timeframe the year before. The risk factors section of the filing says they “expect to continue to incur net losses for the foreseeable future.” Competition could...

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Yext finishes the day up 21% as IPO window remains wide open

Yext, the company which helps businesses power their location data, went public on the New York Stock Exchange today. After pricing shares above the expected range at $11, the price rose 21% to $13.29 by the end of the first day of trading. With a client list that includes Best Buy, McDonald’s and Marriott, Yext is responsible for the location results that appear on search engines, maps and social media. The company recognized early on that consumers would prefer to find nearby locations without visiting brand websites. In an interview with TechCrunch, CEO Howard Lerman emphasized that Yext plans to evolve beyond location data. They want...

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LVH and 55 Capital raise $10 million to build investment solutions for financial advisors

LVH, the parent of 55 Capital, has raised $10 million in Series A funding to build out its technology platform for investors and further its financial research. Point72 Ventures, the venture capital fund associated with billionaire Steven Cohen, is participating in the round. Others include Calibrate Management and Tectonic Ventures. 55 Capital has been working on a product that makes it easier for asset managers and other investors to build custom algorithms. They specialize in evaluating ETFs and the team has significant prior experience in the category. LVH co-founder Lee Kranefuss previously started iShares. There’s a “big gap between the investment science getting done and...

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Eniac Ventures closes $100 million fund

[embedded content] Eniac Ventures is announcing the close of a $100 million venture fund, the fourth since the group formed in 2009. The seed-stage firm plans to use the money to invest in augmented reality, virtual reality, bots, robotics and other software-enabled technologies. “VR is really a pathway to mixed reality,” said Vic Singh, founding general partner at Eniac. It’s “very early days and we’ll see how it shakes out, but investing in the tools layer is where we’re focused on.” The $100 million is the largest fund for Eniac, which closed its previous $55 million fund a little over...

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Okta finishes up 38% in stock market debut

Okta, the identity management software company, went public on the Nasdaq today, continuing a wave of tech IPOs. After pricing its IPO at $17, Okta raised $187 million by selling 11 million shares in the offering. And the company was greeted with strong investor reception, closing up 38% at $23.51 on Friday. While it’s a good omen for its performance in the stock market, it also means the company could have sold its shares for more than $17 and raised more money. But it was exciting for Okta to reach this milestone, with CEO Todd McKinnon saying that they see this moment as a “step on...

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