The weekly tech tl;dr – 3rd June 2016

The Big Stories

Saudi Arabia invests $3.5 billion in Uber. This investment is the ridesharing company’s largest cash infusion from a single investor. Philipp Berner comments: “You could think it was a series A if it wasn’t for the ‘b.'”

KPCB released its Internet Trends 2016 report. Chris Harvey tweets: “It’s like taking a sneak peak into the future.”

Top News

Microsoft opens Windows Holographic to device makers and software developers in a bid to strengthen its position in the augmented reality market. Thomas Nigro tweets: “Microsoft missed the Mobile train, but they’re already on board for the next big things in Tech.”

Bitcoin price jumps 21% over four days, reaching a 21 month high of nearly $550. Nick Tomaino says, “The ‘blockchain not bitcoin’ narrative tends to quiet down when the price rises.”

Guido Vilariño says of Y Combinator: “They always put their money where their mouth is.” The early-stage startup accelerator recently launched a short-term study to see how people act when their basic expenses are covered.

Tech Drama

Governments can now spy on citizens right in their living rooms with commercial spyware. New York Times tells the story of Ahmed Mansoor, a human rights activist who discovered he was under surveillance by his government. Tim Shorrock comments: “Ah yes, ain’t the private sector great?”

Don Clark says there’s “big money on the line in Round Two of HP v. Oracle.” The five year legal battle continued as the two tech giants faced off on Tuesday.

“Since 2012 Alibaba spent $43.5 billion on M&A,” says Paul Mozur. It’s tangled web of acquired companies now faces a U.S. accounting inquiry.

French authorities raided Google’s Paris headquarters in a tax evasion investigation. Barbara Aversano tweets: “Data analysis from Paris Google raid will take months, possibly years.”

“Some exciting personal news: I’m now as wealthy as Theranos CEO Elizabeth Holmes!” Jeffrey Young tweets. Forbes revised Holmes’ net worth from $4.5 billion to zero.

Funding news

Barbara Fiala says “Congrats to longtime co-investors Rajeev Madhavan, Christopher Rust on launching Clear Ventures.” The Silicon Valley VC firm just launched a $120 million fund for early stage startups.

Ananda G tweets that “passengers in an autonomous taxi experience terror at first, quickly followed by acceptance and then boredom.” That’s probably a good thing because autonomous taxis may soon be a daily part of our lives. Nutonomy, a self-driving car startup, just raised $16 million with plans to launch autonomous taxis in Singapore this fall.

Bryan Bugfrog tweets that “lots of investors opening wallets” to uSens. The virtual reality and augmented reality startup raised $20 million to develop hand and head tracking.


Salesforce plans to buy Demandware for $2.8 billion in a bid for a piece of the e-commerce marketplace. Shira Ovide tweets: “Fancy. Code name for Salesforce-Demandware deal apparently was ‘Project Champagne.'”

Vista Equity Partners buys Marketo for $1.8 billion. The marketing software company went public in 2013 but is now going private again. “Big news in automation,” says Daniel Watson.

Nokia acquires Withings for $190 million with plans to use the health and fitness gadget maker’s tech to build on existing expertise in preventative healthcare. Berci Meskó says the acquisition “is brilliant if executed correctly.”


The high pressures of founding a startup can almost push you over the edge. These founders share how they de-stress. Gigster tweets one pro-tip: “@Happify can help #founders and others deal with stress.”

Paul Singh tweets: “Venture capital can be like a mortgage you can’t afford.” is offering founders an alternative to traditional venture capital funding.

Alexey Kistenev, the founder and CEO of Interweb shares how to launch a successful Slack bot. Joe Nekrasz comments: “Interesting info about launching Slack bots, still sort of surprised about slackbot startups.”

IT Professionals

Wondering how you’re going to have the bandwidth for an upcoming project? “When you don’t have the in-house resources for your project it might be time to consider a development shop,” says Gigster.

Simon Chandler writes that “technological innovation is often simply an innovation in how we think about technology.” Technological breakthroughs depend as much on change in thinking and action as they do pure innovation.

ADP has plans to help companies determine employee flight risk. The human capital management and payroll company hopes its proprietary algorithms will provide companies with valuable insight on how to retain employees. Nathan Wehr comments: “Access and understand your own data, but know the market too.”