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Yale may have just turned institutional investing on its head with a new diversity edict - techcrunch

Yale may have just turned institutional investing on its head with a new diversity edict

It could be the long-awaited turning point in the world of venture capital and beyond. Yale, whose $32 billion endowment has been led since 1985 by the legendary investor David Swensen, just let its 70 U.S. money managers across a variety of asset classes know that for the school, diversity has now moved front and […]
techcrunch - 7 hours ago
Facebook and Twitter CEOs to testify before Congress in November on how they handled the election - techcrunch

Facebook and Twitter CEOs to testify before Congress in November on how they handled the election

Shortly after voting to move forward with a pair of subpoenas, the Senate Judiciary Committee has reached an agreement that will see the CEOs of two major social platforms testify voluntarily in November. The hearing will be the second major congressional appearance by tech CEOs arranged this month. The Republican-led Senate Judiciary committee is chaired […]
techcrunch - 12 hours ago
The RIAA is coming for the YouTube downloaders - techcrunch

The RIAA is coming for the YouTube downloaders

In ye olden days of piracy, RIAA takedown notices were a common thing — I received a few myself. But that’s mostly fallen off as tracking pirates has gotten more difficult. But the RIAA can still issue nastygrams — to the creators of software that could potentially be used to violate copyright, like YouTube downloaders. […]
techcrunch - 13 hours ago
Daily Crunch: Uber and Lyft defeated again in court - techcrunch

Daily Crunch: Uber and Lyft defeated again in court

A California court weighs in as Prop. 22 looms, Google removes popular apps over data collection practices and the Senate subpoenas Jack Dorsey and Mark Zuckerberg. This is your Daily Crunch for October 23, 2020. The big story: Uber and Lyft defeated again in court A California appeals court ruled that yes, a new state […]
techcrunch - 14 hours ago
Boston startups expand region’s venture capital footprint - techcrunch

Boston startups expand region’s venture capital footprint

This year has shaken up venture capital, turning a hot early start to 2020 into a glacial period permeated with fear during the early days of COVID-19. That ice quickly melted as venture capitalists discovered that demand for software and other services that startups provide was accelerating, pushing many young tech companies back into growth […]
techcrunch - 15 hours ago
The short, strange life of Quibi - techcrunch

The short, strange life of Quibi

“All that is left now is to offer a profound apology for disappointing you and, ultimately, for letting you down,” Jeffrey Katzenberg and Meg Whitman wrote, closing out an open letter posted to Medium. “We cannot thank you enough for being there with us, and for us, every step of the way.” With that, the […]
techcrunch - 17 hours ago
OnePlus’s 8T handset brings faster charging and a 120Hz display for $749  - techcrunch

OnePlus’s 8T handset brings faster charging and a 120Hz display for $749 

OnePlus continues its twice-yearly smartphone cycle with today’s arrival of the 8T. The latest device isn’t a huge upgrade over April’s OnePlus 8, but continues the company’s longstanding tradition of offering some of the most solid Android handsets at a reasonable price point. The cost has edged up a bit in recent years, but $749 […]
techcrunch - 17 hours ago
CA appeals court upholds ruling that Uber and Lyft must classify drivers as employees - techcrunch

CA appeals court upholds ruling that Uber and Lyft must classify drivers as employees

Uber and Lyft must classify their drivers as employees, an appellate court ruled yesterday evening. However, the decision will be stayed for 30 days after the court issues the remittitur, which has not happened yet. That means depending on how ballot measure Proposition 22 goes, this case may not end up being the deciding factor […]
techcrunch - 19 hours ago
Calling Brussels VCs: Be featured in The Great TechCrunch Survey of European VC - techcrunch

Calling Brussels VCs: Be featured in The Great TechCrunch Survey of European VC

TechCrunch is embarking on a major new project to survey the venture capital investors of Europe, and their cities. Our <a href=”https://forms.gle/k4Ji2Ch7zdrn7o2p6”>survey of VCs in Brussels will capture how the city is faring, and what changes are being wrought amongst investors by the coronavirus pandemic. (Please note, if you have filled the survey out already, […]
techcrunch - 21 hours ago
Google removes 3 Android apps for children, with 20M+ downloads between them, over data collection violations - techcrunch

Google removes 3 Android apps for children, with 20M+ downloads between them, over data collection violations

When it comes to apps, Android leads the pack with nearly 3 million apps in its official Google Play store. The sheer volume also means that sometimes iffy apps slip through the cracks. Researchers at the International Digital Accountability Council (IDAC), a non-profit watchdog based out of Boston, found that a trio of popular and […]
techcrunch - 23 hours ago
Huawei reports slowing growth as its operations “face significant challenges” - techcrunch

Huawei reports slowing growth as its operations “face significant challenges”

Huawei announced earnings results today showing that its growth has slowed significantly this year as the Chinese telecom equipment and smartphone giant said its “production and operations face significant challenges.” While Huawei did not specify trade restrictions in its brief announcement, the company has been hit with a series of commercial trade restrictions by the […]
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Nordic challenger bank Lunar raises €40M Series C, plans to enter the ‘buy now, pay later’ space - techcrunch

Nordic challenger bank Lunar raises €40M Series C, plans to enter the ‘buy now, pay later’ space

Lunar, the Nordic challenger bank that started out life as a personal finance manager app (PFM) but acquired a full banking license in 2019, has raised €40 million in Series C funding from existing investors. The injection of capital follows a €20 million Series B disclosed in April this year and comes on the back […]
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France rebrands contact-tracing app in an effort to boost downloads - techcrunch

France rebrands contact-tracing app in an effort to boost downloads

Don’t call it StopCovid anymore. France’s contact-tracing app has been updated and is now called TousAntiCovid, which means ‘everyone against Covid’. The French government is trying to pivot so that it’s no longer a contact-tracing app — or at least not just a contact-tracing app. Right now, TousAntiCovid appears to be a rebranding more than […]
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India’s Flipkart buys over $200 million stake in Aditya Birla Fashion and Retail - techcrunch

India’s Flipkart buys over $200 million stake in Aditya Birla Fashion and Retail

Flipkart is acquiring a 7.8% stake in Aditya Birla Fashion as the Walmart-owned Indian e-commerce firm makes further push into the fashion category in one of the world’s largest retail markets. The e-commerce group will pay $203.8 million for its stake in Aditya Birla Fashion and Retail, a conglomerate that operates over 3,000 stores including […]
techcrunch - 1 day ago
Senate subpoenas could force Zuckerberg and Dorsey to testify on New York Post controversy - techcrunch

Senate subpoenas could force Zuckerberg and Dorsey to testify on New York Post controversy

The Senate Judiciary Committee voted in favor of issuing subpoenas for Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg and Twitter’s Jack Dorsey Thursday, meaning that there might be two big tech CEO hearings on the horizon. Republicans in the committee declared their interest in a hearing on “the platforms’ censorship of New York Post articles” after social networks limited […]
techcrunch - 1 day ago
Representatives propose bill limiting Presidential internet ‘kill switch’ - techcrunch

Representatives propose bill limiting Presidential internet ‘kill switch’

A pair of U.S. Representatives — one from each party — are proposing a law that would limit the President’s ability to shut down the internet at will. That may not strike you as an imminent threat, but federal police disappearing protestors into unmarked vans probably didn’t either, until a couple months ago. Let’s keep […]
techcrunch - 1 day ago
Quibi says it will shutdown in early December - techcrunch

Quibi says it will shutdown in early December

Quibi is shutting down — we know that much for sure. But when? If you’re looking to blast through all 25 episodes of the Reno 911 revival series before Quibi calls its quits, how long do you actually have? While it seems even Quibi isn’t 100% certain yet, they’ve at least now given users a […]
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Extra Crunch Partner Perk: Get 6 months free of Zendesk Support and Sales CRM - techcrunch

Extra Crunch Partner Perk: Get 6 months free of Zendesk Support and Sales CRM

We’re excited to announce an update to the Extra Crunch Partner Perk from Zendesk. Starting today, annual and two-year Extra Crunch members that are new to Zendesk, and meet their startup qualifications, can now receive six months of free access to Zendesk’s Sales CRM, in addition to Zendesk Support Suite, Zendesk Explore and Zendesk Sunshine. […]
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Daily Crunch: Facebook Dating comes to Europe - techcrunch

Daily Crunch: Facebook Dating comes to Europe

Facebook’s dating feature expands after a regulatory delay, we review the new Amazon Echo and President Donald Trump has an on-the-nose Twitter password. This is your Daily Crunch for October 22, 2020. The big story: Facebook Dating comes to Europe Back in February, Facebook had to call off the European launch date of its dating […]
techcrunch - 1 day ago
Here’s why Intel’s stock just dropped 10% after reporting earnings - techcrunch

Here’s why Intel’s stock just dropped 10% after reporting earnings

The third-quarter earnings cycle is just getting underway, but we’ve already seen a few companies post numbers that investors did not like. Netflix missed on several metrics yesterday and was punished, and today Intel is joining the video streaming giant in stock-market purgatory. Intel shares are off around 10% in after-hours trading after the chip […]
techcrunch - 1 day ago
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techcrunch
Benchmark’s Peter Fenton: “10 to 20 years of innovation just got pulled forward”

Benchmark’s Peter Fenton: “10 to 20 years of innovation just got pulled forward”

techcrunch - 1 month ago

Earlier today at TechCrunch Disrupt, venture capitalist Peter Fenton joined us to talk about a variety of issues. Among them, we discussed how he’s putting his stamp on Benchmark now that, 15 years after joining the storied firm, he’s its most senior member.

Fenton said that he’s mostly focused on ensuring that firm doesn’t change. It wants to remain small, with no more than six general partners at a time. It wants to keep investing funds that are half a billion dollars or less because its small team can only work closely with so many founders. He also made a point of noting that Benchmark’s partners still divide their investment profits equally, unlike at other, more hierarchical venture firms, where senior investors reap the biggest financial benefits.

We also talked about diversity because (hint hint) Benchmark — which is currently run by Fenton, Sarah Tavel, Eric Vishria and Chetan Puttagunta — is hiring one to two more general partners. We talked about why Benchmark, a Series A investor in both Uber and WeWork, seemingly took so long to address cultural issues within both companies. And we talked about the opportunities that has Benchmark, and Fenton specifically, most excited right now.

If you’re curious about any of these things, read on or check out our full conversation below.

On whether Benchmark, which historically had all white male partners and now counts Fenton among its only white partner, might hire a Black partner on his watch, given the dearth of Black investors in the industry combined with the changing demographics of the U.S.:

“That’s a personal issue for me, which is going to be measured in the outcomes, just like we have companies that take on initiatives that matter and then measure them and hold themselves accountable. I won’t feel good about our failure if we don’t continue to tilt towards diversity. It’s not enough that I’m the only white male partner. The industry is so systematically skewed in the wrong direction, and we’ve gotten so good at rationalizing how it ended up here, that I don’t think we can tolerate it anymore.”

Benchmark is looking to reinvent itself through “three interfaces” he continued. “It’s who are we talking with and spending time with in terms of [who we might invest in] — that has to change; who are the people making investment decisions, [meaning] the partnership; and then what’s the composition of the companies we’ve invested in, meaning the executives and the boards.

“Before I’m done with the venture business, I want to be able to point to empirical outcomes . . .”

As for why Benchmark waited for the public to rally against its portfolio companies Uber and WeWork before taking action to address cultural issues (in Uber’s case, in reaction to former engineer Susan Fowler’s famous blog post and, in the case if WeWork, in reaction to its S-1 filing):

“I can’t give you a crisp answer because ultimately, what happens in the public eye isn’t the whole story of what was going on between Benchmark and those CEOs.” It’s  “far more complicated, far more nuanced, far more engaged.”

Said Fenton: “What you start with in any partnership is this idea that we’re all flawed and providing what feels like unconditional support to a founder to nurture them and help them to understand in ways they might be able to from their direct reports where they are going to get in trouble, where they’re going to fall short, and then buttress them.

“I can say, having watched both [Benchmark investors] Bruce [Dunlevie] and Bill [Gurley] in those roles that they give their heart and soul to enable to full potential of those entrepreneurs and in each case, it wasn’t enough.

“I don’t know what to say other than, I don’t envision another individual in that [board] role being able to do a better job because what they gave was everything, and those companies built enormous organizations, great success, delight and joy for customers, and they had, in each of their cases, pathologies in their culture. A number of companies that I’m involved with have pathologies in their culture. Every organization can build them. What motivated both Bill and Bruce was the constituencies that go beyond the CEO, the employees, the customers, and in the case of Uber, the drivers . . .

“You could say Susan Fowler was the reason it all happened; I can assure you that the work that was being done far preceded [the publication of her blog post]. Could we have done more, more quickly? You always look back and say, ‘Yeah.’ I think you learn as an organization. We’re not perfect.”

As for the trends that Fenton is watching most closely right now, he suggested a world of opportunities have opened up in the last six months, and he thinks they’ll only gain momentum from here:

“What I’m most excited about is, we’re not going back to normal. What’s so amazing is this shock to the system is really a big opportunity for entrepreneurs to come and say, ‘What do we need to build to recreate and unlock all these things we lost when we stopped going into workplaces?’

“So I think this opportunity to build the tools for a world that’s ‘post place’ has just opened up and is as exciting as anything I’ve seen in my venture career. You walk around right now and you see these ghosts towns, with gyms, classes you might take [and so forth] and now maybe you go online and do Peloton, or that class you maybe do online. So I think a whole field of opportunities will move into this post-place delivery mechanism that are really exciting. [It] could be 10 to 20 years of innovation that just got pulled forward into today.”

sauce: techcrunch
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