Mark Zuckerberg is increasing his stock sales to fund the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative

Zuckerberg could sell as much as $ 13 billion over the next 13 months.

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has started to accelerate his funding of the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative, the philanthropic investment vehicle he set up with his wife, Priscilla Chan, in late 2015.

Zuckerberg sold $ 69.5 million worth of Facebook stock earlier this week, according to documents filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission on Wednesday. Zuckerberg has been selling stock regularly through a prearranged sales plan for almost two years, and this sale is not exceptionally large.

But the sale does have some special significance: A spokesperson for CZI confirmed that it marks the beginning of a sales process Zuckerberg outlined in September, when he announced plans to “accelerate” his stock sales over an 18-month period in order to “fully fund” CZI.

“These sales are the next step in a process Mark laid out in September to fund the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative’s work in science, education and issues related to justice and opportunity,” a CZI spokesperson told Recode. “The funds will go to support a range of CZI’s philanthropic activities and operations for many years to come.”

When CZI launched in 2015 at the same time Chan and Zuckerberg had their first daughter, Zuckerberg said he planed to “sell or gift no more than $ 1 billion of Facebook stock each year for the next three years.”

In two years, Zuckerberg has sold about $ 1.6 billion of Facebook stock to fund CZI.

But last September, Zuckerberg changed the plan: He would now sell between 35 million and 75 million shares of stock “in the next 18 months,” he wrote.

Wednesday’s sale is the first to count toward that new commitment, which means that if Zuckerberg stays to true to that plan, he could sell as much as $ 13.3 billion of stock in the next 13 months, given Facebook’s current stock price.

The revised sales plan came about after Zuckerberg and Facebook’s board tried and failed to split Facebook’s stock — an attempt to issue a new class of nonvoting shares into the market that would help Zuckerberg sell his own shares without losing voting control over Facebook in the process. As of last April, Zuckerberg controlled 59.7 percent of Facebook’s voting power.

Investors sued Facebook over the plan, and the company’s board dropped the stock split just a few days before Zuckerberg was set to testify publicly in court.

“Facebook’s business has performed well and the value of our stock has grown to the point that I can fully fund our philanthropy and retain voting control of Facebook for 20 years or more,” he wrote at the time.

Zuckerberg has not said anything publicly about his plans to sell Facebook stock after this accelerated plan is done sometime early next year. But he and Chan have pledged to give away 99 percent of their Facebook shares over their lifetime. Zuckerberg’s net worth is more than $ 72 billion.

Of course, even this plan could change. Zuckerberg’s plans are not binding in any way — they’re mostly guidelines to keep investors abreast of the fact that the CEO is offloading billions of dollars in stock.


Recode – All

First Look: Calldorado Announces $12 Million App Growth Fund

Ahead of the weekend, Copenhagen-based ad tech company Calldorado announced a substantial fund of $ 12 million to help talented mobile app developers and publishers by financially supporting their apps’ growth and success in the competitive Android app market.

“The Calldorado App Growth Fund is intended for publishers using the Calldorado Software Development Kit (SDK). It is designed to support the growth of existing apps by providing the funds for user acquisition to help grow and develop the user base for the app to ensure its longevity,” says Claudia Dreier-Poepperl, CEO and Founder of Calldorado, in a provided statement. “One of the key benefits is Calldorado’s unique funding model which, unlike other global investment companies, doesn’t require equity or ownership but instead is based on marketing budget in exchange for revenue share. Therefore, there is no financial risk to the publisher who still maintains full ownership, and rights to the app. This is a quick and easy way of securing capital to drive exponential growth.”

Along with the investment, publishers will benefit from Calldorado’s dedicated in-house team of specialists in user acquisition, asset creation and monetization. They will support the publisher to ensure long term sustainability of the app by expanding the user base to maximize revenue. They will also ensure that the app is fully compliant with relevant policies.

To find out more about the Calldorado App Growth Fund and how to apply, check out www.calldorado.com.

The post First Look: Calldorado Announces $ 12 Million App Growth Fund appeared first on Mobile Marketing Watch.


Mobile Marketing Watch

HQ Trivia is raising $15 million at a valuation of more than $100 million from Founders Fund

Founders Fund partner Cyan Banister is leading the round.

HQ Trivia, the popular trivia gameshow app, plans to raise money in a new round of financing that values the company north of $ 100 million, according to multiple sources.

Founders Fund, the venture firm founded by billionaire Peter Thiel, is expected to lead the round of $ 15 million, these sources say. Founders Fund partner Cyan Banister is spearheading the investment for the firm, and plans to take a seat on the company’s board.

A spokesperson for Founders Fund declined to comment. Jeremy Liew, an HQ investor and board member who works at Lightspeed Ventures, could not be immediately reached for comment on Thursday.

HQ, which has garnered audiences of more than 1 million people for some of its twice-daily trivia shows, has been out fundraising since at least November, but it has had trouble raising money after investors learned of alleged bad behavior by one of the company’s founders, Colin Kroll.

Kroll and fellow co-founder Rus Yusupov also started the video app Vine before selling it to Twitter in 2012. Both founders were eventually fired from Twitter, and had garnered reputations for being difficult to work with.

Kroll’s time at Twitter was particularly troubling to some investors. As Recode first reported, Kroll had developed a reputation for exhibiting behavior that made female colleagues uncomfortable. That reputation turned off potential investors who considered an investment in the company late last year, and HQ ultimately paused the funding process to regroup.

In December, Liew, an investor from a previous round, conducted his own investigation into the allegations.

“We heard back from a couple of firms that they were not going to move forward, specifically because of rumors of what was characterized as womanizing on Colin’s part,” Liew told Recode in December. “I was concerned that this might be code for sexual harassment. So in my capacity as a board member, I conducted an investigation to find out what actually happened. I spoke to about a dozen current and former Twitter execs. The investigation was exhaustive and included the most knowledgeable primary sources. I found a good deal of negative sentiment about Colin and the Vine team and some discomfort with his behavior, but I did not find evidence that warrants his removal from the company.”

Investor interest in HQ was high before the founders’ behavior became public — HQ was the app of the moment late last year, luring in hundreds of thousands of users twice a day thanks to a catchy trivia host and cash prizes.

Even after Recode’s story detailing the founders’ reputation, many investors were still interested in the deal but worried about the optics of leading the funding, numerous sources said. Multiple venture funds said they were eager to join the round as long as they did not have to lead it given the potential for negative publicity.

Given the recent and frequent allegations of sexual harassment against influential men in numerous industries, Silicon Valley investors are being more being more careful about which founders they support. Some firms that considered the deal did their own investigations into the founders’ history, including Founders Fund, the sources said.

It is notable that Banister, a female investor, is ultimately leading the round.

The deal, which came together in just the last couple of days, has not yet closed. But the new funding is needed. HQ’s cash prizes have increased, and on special occasions can be as high as $ 10,000 per game. The app also suffers from constant technical issues, and the games are often delayed while the company gets the video stream up and running. New funding should help in both cases.

The company had previously raised $ 8 million in funding to build other apps, including a separate mobile video app called Hype. None caught on. Kroll and Yusupov pivoted the business to the HQ Trivia app in late 2017.


Recode – All

Microsoft Mixer will offer more ways to fund game streamers

Microsoft is making it easier to stream on Mixer for a living. The service has outlined plans for multiple ways to reward streamers, starting with Direct Purchases. If a Mixer Partner is playing a game (including DLC), you can buy that content dire…
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