It was just a regular Tuesday afternoon in Mountain View’s Red Rock coffee shop: rows of young entrepreneurs sitting behind their MacBook screens, working on what they hope might be the next WhatsApp.
The low-key cafe served as an office for Brian Acton and Jan Koum, WhatsApp’s founders, when they were starting out back in 2009. It was here that Sequoia’s Jim Goetz met them in 2011 before becoming their only venture-capital investor. WhatsApp’s modest, unmarked offices are still just around the corner. Read more
Technological utopians have been predicting for years that the internet will weaken the dominance of superstar artists in the music industry and enrich the teeming masses of smaller, niche creators.
But new research suggests that this “long tail” theory is wrong: superstars are capturing the vast majority of music revenues and their share is increasing – not decreasing – because of the rise of digital services like iTunes and Spotify.
The top 1 per cent of artists – the likes of Rihanna and Adele – accounted for a whopping 77 per cent of recorded music income in 2013, according to research by Mark Mulligan of Midia Consulting. Read more
Almost five years after launching, crowd-funding platform Kickstarter has received pledges worth $1bn. Half of the money has apparently been in the past twelve months (see chart below).
If Kickstarter were a venture fund, it would be a fairly significant player. So how exactly has humanity been enriched, for its money? Read more
Nok Nok? Who’s there? Usually someone with a terribly easy to guess password, a cyber criminal’s dream. But perhaps not for long.
Lenovo, the Chinese PC and phone manufacturer, has invested in Nok Nok Labs, a cyber security start up which aims to transform the industry by replacing passwords with a new technology which works with everything from fingerprints to voice recognition.
Nok Nok Labs raised $16.5m from Lenovo as well as venture capitalists DCM and Onset Ventures on Thursday to create a platform which will support the latest authentication technology. Lenovo will join the board of Nok Nok – and the assumption is, use the new tech in its devices from laptops to smartphones. Read more
The Wall Street analysts waiting eagerly for details of Tesla Motors’ planned “Gigafactory” will have been disappointed by the cursory treatment the project got on Wednesday, as the company announced plans to raise $1.6bn.
After all, this is the massive battery-making plant that is meant to cement Tesla’s rise as the world’s first mass-market electric car maker. According to an expansive report by a Morgan Stanley analyst earlier in the week, it could also make it the dominant player in a $1,500bn market for selling energy storage devices to electric utilities. Read more
It must have been galling to Microsoft when Hewlett-Packard brought back Windows 7 “by popular demand” last month. But it reflected a reality that has been hard to ignore: the vast majority of PC users who still manipulate a mouse and tap on a keyboard have little to gain from the touch-centric tiled interface of Windows 8.
Now, Microsoft is ready to make more concessions to the keyboard-and-mouse crowd – while insisting that it is still committed to touch. Read more
Facebook is paying up to $19bn in cash, stock and earnouts to acquire WhatsApp Messenger, the world’s most popular mobile chat app with more than 450m regular users. Here Tim Bradshaw and Hannah Kuchler brought live reaction and comment from Facebook’s conference call.