At a party the other day, one start-up founder told me the secret of Silicon Valley’s sky-high valuations. “I’ve had investors tell me, you can name any valuation you want, we’ll just make up for it in the terms,” he said.
His comment points to the fact that in the world of tech start-ups, the word “valuation” means something a bit different than it does for public companies. The favourable terms and generous downside protections that accompany many investments help limit the risk that venture investors take. Read more
Will.i.am, the futuristic frontman of The Black Eyed Peas, established his Silicon Valley bona fides long ago.
The “technology obsessed” rapper made a viral video for Barack Obama in 2008, sent his music back from Mars via the Curiosity rover, and is Intel’s “director of creative innovation.” He drives an all-electric Tesla, is partnering with Steve Jobs’ widow, Laurene Powell Jobs, and markets a $300 high-tech iPhone case.
But in a song on his poorly-reviewed new album #willpower, will.i.am takes his infatuation with startup culture to another level.
Called “Geekin’”, the track begins with a thudding chorus in which he repeats: “Get my geek on, get my, get my geek on.” Read more
Is Silicon Valley drying up? David O Sacks, founder and CEO of enterprise social network service Yammer, certainly seems to think so. Others, like Marc Andreessen, disagree. That makes for a lively debate, and it is taking place on perhaps the most apt forum of all – Facebook, writes Vinjeru Mkandawire and Robin Kwong.
“I think Silicon Valley as we know it may be coming to an end,” wrote Sacks on his Facebook page over the weekend, just before the social networking site’s shares sank to half its initial offering price. Read more
A delegation from Russia’s proposed ‘Silicon Valley’ development, Skolkovo, came to the UK this week in an effort to persuade UK businesses to invest in the high-tech hub being built on the outskirts of Moscow.
They faced awkward questions, however, about the political landscape that companies might face if they transferred operations to Russia. Denis MacShane, Labour MP for Rotherham, wrote to Lord Green, the trade minister, criticising the UK’s Department of Trade and Industry for hosting the conference, and pointing to the difficulties that many UK companies had faced in Russia. Read more
Tech news from around the web:
Google has officially launched games on its social network, Google+, ZDnet reports. The launch, which will roll out gradually, includes games like Angry Birds, Bejeweled Blitz and Zynga Poker, the company said on its blog. Read more