Lerer Hippeau is likely to take over Binary Capital’s portfolio after Justin Caldbeck’s departure

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Lerer Hippeau Ventures Managing Director Eric Hippeau

A deal is expected ASAP.

The New York venture capital firm Lerer Hippeau is poised to take over most of the stranded 25 companies in the portfolio of a competing firm that lost its partners in a sexual harassment scandal.

The remnants of Binary Capital, the firm run by Jonathan Teo and Justin Caldbeck, is expected to strike a deal with Lerer that will effectively allow Binary to assume the portfolio, Recode has learned. Lerer would inherit a group of early-stage companies that have had little to no guidance since last summer, when Caldbeck was accused of unwanted sexual advances on multiple women, leading to the closure of his fund.

Lerer is expected to take over and gain some equity in at least Binary’s first fund, according to a person familiar with the matter. Whether they take over Binary’s second fund has not yet been determined.

Lerer, led by Eric Hippeau and the father-and-son pair of Ken and Ben Lerer, will have an enormously difficult task: It will have to rush help to two dozen new companies that it does not know while also managing its existing group of 165 companies. And it will also likely have to rebrand the Binary name, which is only four years old and is now defined by scandal.

None of the companies in Binary Capital’s portfolio is particularly large. Multiple Binary-backed founders tell Recode they have heard next to nothing from the limited partnership advisory committee, the Binary LPs who were supposed to manage the investments, as they tried to find a way to save the companies.

After Caldbeck’s departure, Teo at first offered to resign, but his firm’s limited partners never officially accepted his resignation. The firm has since been bogged down in various legal matters, including an attempt by Teo to have his fate decided in arbitration.

Multiple funds in addition to Lerer sought to acquire the portfolio in recent months, according to sources. One portfolio company had publicly pushed Binary to hire a female partner to manage its investments, and several others privately told Recode that they hoped Binary would.

None of Lerer’s managing partners are female. Lerer Hippeau has typically focused on seed-stage deals in e-commerce, media and entertainment, especially those local to New York City. Prominent portfolio companies include BuzzFeed, Casper and Warby Parker.

A Lerer rep did not have any immediate comment. The pending deal was first reported by Axios.

Recode – All

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HPE aims new portfolio at enterprise AI deployments

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HPE, the hardware, software and IT services company, has revealed a number of new products and services that it hopes will help organizations across different industry sectors deploy artificial intelligence (AI).

NEWSBYTE: Enterprise technology and IT services company HPE has revealed a new product and service portfolio that it hopes will help organisations across different sectors deploy artificial intelligence (AI).

The company said it wants to help businesses exploit AI by making existing business processes more efficient.

“Global tech giants are investing heavily in AI, but the majority of enterprises are struggling, both with finding viable AI use cases and with building technology environments that support their AI workloads,” said Beena Ammanath, global VP for artificial intelligence at HPE Pointnext.

“As a result, the gap between leaders and laggards is widening.”

Read more: Dell: UK lagging well behind Europe on IoT, AI, digital

HPE Digital Prescriptive Maintenance Services, delivered by HPE Pointnext, is a product that prescribes and automates actions, with the aim of preventing industrial equipment from failing, as well as optimising productivity. It aims to capture all relevant data sources in the enterprise, including real-time and batch data from IoT devices, data centres, and the cloud.

Meanwhile, HPE has put together an Artificial Intelligence Transformation Workshop, a one-day initiative that aims to help enterprises begin their AI journey by identifying AI use cases that are tailored to their business needs.

HPE Pointnext AI experts will work with business and technology leaders to formulate a plan to help businesses move from exploring AI to implementing it.

In addition to these services, HPE is also releasing the Apollo 6500 Gen10 System hardware platform –  with support for up to eight NVIDIA Tesla v100 GPUs – to aid organisations in training deep learning models.

HPE said that this enables the system to deliver three times faster model training than previous generations of hardware.

In addition, HPE has embedded NVIDIA’s high-bandwidth NVLink 2.0 interconnect to increase the speed of communication between GPUs in the system – with up to 10 times faster data-sharing rates than traditional, PCIe Gen3 interconnects, said HPE.

• IBM recently unveiled a new data science platform which it hopes will also accelerate AI adoption.

Read more: Crypto mining: Why IoT users should worry about NVIDIA’s stock price

 

 

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Phillips expands healthtech portfolio with IoT, AI, cloud solutions

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Dutch technology company Phillips is working on a string of new connected technologies to improve patient outcomes and operational efficiency in the health sector.

Speaking ahead of the 2018 HIMSS (connected health) Conference in Las Vegas this week, the firm confirmed that it is working on a suite of new IoT, AI, health management, clinical informatics, cloud, and analytics solutions.

Phillips said it would be focusing on integration, interoperability, IoT, and AI systems, which will be delivered through a mix of cloud and on-premise infrastructure.

The technologies will “optimise care pathways, workflows, and system utilisation”, said the company, adding that they are “critical to operational, clinical and financial efficiency”.

New platforms

Phillips will showcase FocusPoint, a Web management system that helps organisations monitor and troubleshoot the health of equipment. Phillips said this is designed to “improve biomedical and IT department productivity”.

Meanwhile, HealthSuite Insights – which is built on the cloud platform – lets users tap into data science, big data analytics, and artificial intelligence to drive productivity in healthcare environments. It also sports blockchain security capabilities.

The Insights Marketplace is another new addition to the company’s health-tech ecosystem. Phillips said it offers “licensable AI assets” for healthcare organisations and vendors.

Data, people, and services

The string of announcements continued with the debut of operational performance system, PerformanceBridge. The company claims that it brings together “data, people, and services to bridge the gap between data and decision making”.

Carla Kriwet, CEO of connected care and health informatics at Phillips, said these new technologies are aimed at transforming the way healthcare organisations manage patient data.

“Philips’ deep expertise in healthcare information technology, including AI, combined with insights gained from our strong customer relationships, uniquely positions us to unlock the collective intelligence and insights across departments within the hospital to deliver the right information at the right time to clinicians,” she said.

“At the core of our HIMSS presence this year is our adaptive intelligence approach and open architecture technologies to help improve interoperability and to enable superior data-driven clinical decisions, improve staff and equipment productivity, and drive better patient outcomes and engagement.”

Internet of Business says

In December 2017, Phillips acquired Netherlands-based medical technology company Forcare, but Phillips has been tight-lipped about its plans for the acquisition. The fruits of that deal are now becoming clear. Phillips has “expanded its suite of intelligent solutions designed to enhance interoperability and data sharing”, aligning Forcare’s portfolio with its own. 

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NEWSBYTE: Qualcomm extends portfolio to support IoT apps

Qualcomm has introduced the Snapdragon 820E embedded platform, a computing solution designed for enterprise IoT applications. Its Qualcomm Adreno 540 GPU and quad-core Kyro CPU will provide multicore processing for computer vision, virtual reality, and AI applications.

The Snapdragon 820E platform aims to bring Qualcomm Technologies’ expertise in mobile connectivity to the commercial IoT market. The new embedded platform is designed to support connected computing and provide the powerful, energy-efficient processing required to handle some of the latest technologies.

Read more: MIT’s NanoMap helps drones to navigate safely at high speed

Targeting next-gen IoT

With the ability to power computer vision, artificial intelligence, and immersive media, the target applications are broad. According to Qualcomm, they include “the next generation of IoT applications, such as virtual reality, digital signage, smart retail, robotics, and more.”

“We are excited to introduce the award-winning premium tier Snapdragon 820 platform series to our extended life embedded portfolio, helping innovators everywhere to create exciting and innovative IoT products,” said Jim Tran, senior vice president of product management, Qualcomm Technologies.

“The Snapdragon 820E is a powerful and versatile embedded platform that is designed to support both complex connected computing and immersive visual graphics, while providing the ultimate in performance and power efficiency that is ideal for small form factors and a wide variety of cutting-edge IoT applications.”

Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 820E embedded platform is being introduced to the market via third-party distributors, and initially through Arrow Electronics.

Read more: Reuters’ AR & VR visions revealed

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The venture capital firm Lightspeed is trying to hold its portfolio companies accountable by asking them to sign a new diversity letter

The firm behind companies like HQ Trivia doesn’t have a perfect record on diversity issues. Does their new policy have enough teeth?

There have been internal investigations, Medium mea culpas and Decency Pledges — all part of how Silicon Valley venture capital firms have reckoned with a year of invigorated conversation about sexual harassment and diversity.

Now, here’s a new attempt to fix the problem: The side letter.

Lightspeed Venture Partners is asking its portfolio company CEOs to sign a letter affirming their commitment to consider women and other underrepresented groups for senior jobs and new spots on their board of directors.

The venture firm behind hits like Snap is requesting that its companies voluntarily sign the document at around the same time that Lightspeed wires money to their bank account, part of an attempt by Lightspeed to hold their own CEOs accountable.

It is a tactic that brings to mind the famous “Rooney Rule” that started in the NFL but has since spread to other industries, which required that teams interview at least one person of color for head coaching and other senior jobs. The thinking here is that merely interviewing a female candidate makes companies more likely to hire them — though this particular policy does indeed lack some of the teeth that is seen in the NFL, which has fined teams that disobey it.

“The question we’ve asked ourselves is how can we do something more than write blog posts about it and wring our hands,” Jeremy Liew, a managing partner at Lightspeed, said in an interview.

The one-page letter on Lightspeed letterhead asks its company CEOs to sign their name, acknowledging and affirming that the firm expects that “at least one candidate from an underrepresented background be considered for every open leadership and independent Board member position in the company,” according to the letter shared with Recode. Lightspeed is also asking that the company set goals and hire more women and other underrepresented employees than the industry average.

Lightspeed says 17 of its existing company CEOs have already signed the side letter — including CEOs from well-known companies like The Honest Company, Affirm and HQ Trivia, the white-hot quiz show app that had some difficulty raising money after investors unearthed questionable behavior toward women by one of its co-founders, Colin Kroll. Lightspeed is the main financial backer of HQ, and it is notable that Kroll, also the co-founder of Vine, is in the first batch of signatories of the letter.

Lightspeed is asking each of its new portfolio companies to sign the side letter — but it is not mandatory. Some portfolio companies also said weeks elapsed in between signing the term sheet and the actual letter. There are still more than 300 portfolio companies that not have yet signed it, though Lightspeed is approaching each CEO and asking them to do so.

Nothing about the letter is binding or punative. Lightspeed acknowledges that the document has no enforcement mechanism and effectively relies on company CEOs to honor their commitment. Furthermore, Liew said he and his partners have not yet decided whether a CEO’s reluctance to sign the side letter would mean that they would back away from a new deal entirely.

“Most entrepreneurs think of themselves as men and women of their word,” said Liew, who said that Lightspeed would be willing to have “reminder conversations” with CEOs who seem to be wavering on the understandings that they affirmed in the letter.

If the firm instituted something stricter — requiring the selection of women for certain roles, for instance, or vowing that CEOs would see personal consequences if they reneged on the agreement — Liew said they would be letting the perfect be the enemy of the good.

“If we did that with a prospective entrepreneur, it wouldn’t get signed at all,” he said. “We’re thought partners. We’re not their mom or dad. We’re not the police.”

Lightspeed’s own record on these issues is not perfect. The firm said last year that it “should have done more” after reports emerged that Justin Caldbeck, a former venture capitalist at Lightspeed, was accused of making unwanted advances toward women both when he worked at the firm and after his departure.

This side letter does not directly deal with harassment.

Some Lightspeed-backed CEOs who signed the document told Recode that they saw the document as a minor ask, and not one that required much deliberation. That raises the possibility that the letter could merely formalize what founders already intend to do, and not change behavior.

Max Levchin, the founder of the highly valued Affirm, which has been in Lightspeed’s portfolio for four years, said in an interview that it was a “no-brainer” to sign the sheet. Levchin said his company already had internal guidelines that asked for women and other underrepresented people to be considered for senior-level positions, so the Lightspeed instructions wouldn’t materially change how the company operates. He does like that leaders are being asked to commit, though.

Affirm is also planning to add up to four independent directors to its board later this year, Levchin said, and the recruiting firm that Affirm has hired to find candidates, Russell Reynolds, already had presented him with a majority-female list of candidates for him to choose from.

The guidelines on those interviewed for board positions only applies to independent directors — Lightspeed will not, for instance, be trying to influence who other venture firms name to their board seats.

Newer portfolio companies are being asked to sign the document as they prepare to accept funding (though, since it is not always being signed simultaneously with the term sheet, the funding is not contingent).

Sophia Amoruso, whose women-focused media company Girlboss announced it received $ 3.1 million in a seed round led by Lightspeed in December, said that the document “doesn’t impact my thinking” because she already planned to have a heavily female leadership team.

“It wasn’t a big conversation,” she said of Lightspeed’s ask, a couple of months after signing the term sheet, to also sign the side letter. “The agreement is not something that’s going to govern how I behave. My ethics will govern how I behave.”

Here’s the full text of the letter — this one sent to Levchin, for instance:

Max,

We are delighted to partner with Affirm to build a world-class company.

As you know, numerous groups that would contribute significantly to the success of a business have historically been underrepresented in technology companies, including women, disabled individuals, military veterans, and individuals from a number of underrepresented ethnic groups, including those that identify as African-American, Hispanic or Native American.

Lightspeed believes that the most successful companies benefit from employees, executives and Board members with diverse backgrounds and experiences. This diversity brings with it a broader set of viewpoints and ideas and a more informed decision-making capability, leading in our experience to the creation of stronger businesses.

In furtherance of our partnership, Lightspeed welcomes your commitment to build teams at every level of your organization that reflect the full diversity of all of the stakeholders in your business. Lightspeed requests that at least one candidate from an underrepresented background be considered for every open leadership and independent Board member position in the company. Lightspeed encourages the company to set specific goals regarding overall hiring rates of women and other underrepresented groups that are published internally and to which the company holds itself accountable. These goals should exceed the relevant industry average in a meaningful way, and progress against these goals should be actively measured.

Lightspeed looks forward to working with you on a regular basis regarding the company’s efforts in achieving a diverse and inclusive workforce.

Sincerely,

By: _________________________________________________________________________________

Jeremy Liew

ACKNOWLEDGED AND AFFIRMED:

Affirm

By: _________________________________________________________________________________


Recode – All

How to build a UX portfolio with no work experience


A lot of user experience professionals who are active in our industry today have faced the question “How to build a UX portfolio if I have never worked in UX?” when starting their career. Let’s be honest: it’s a bit unfair. “Portfolio” is a mandatory field in almost every job application form, regardless of the level you’re applying to. But wait. I’m only able to be hired as a UX Designer when I have a certain number of projects on my portfolio. But if I have never worked in UX, how am I supposed to build a portfolio of interesting and relevant…

This story continues at The Next Web
The Next Web

Huawei to integrate Android Messages across their Android smartphone portfolio

Over the coming months, Huawei will make it even easier for hundreds of millions of people to express themselves via mobile messaging by integrating Android Messages, powered by RCS, across their Android smartphone portfolio.

With Android Messages and RCS messaging, Huawei devices will now offer a richer native messaging and communications experience. Features such as texting over Wi-Fi, rich media sharing, group chats, and typing indicators will now be a default part of the device. Messages from businesses will also be upgraded on Huawei’s devices through RCS business messaging. And Huawei users will be able to make video calls directly from Android Messages through carrier ViLTE and Google Duo.

In addition, to help carriers accelerate deployment of RCS messaging across their networks, we’re collaborating with Huawei to offer the Jibe RCS cloud and hub solution to current and prospective carrier partners, as part of an integrated solution with Huawei’s current infrastructure. This will enable a faster process for RCS services so more subscribers can get access to RCS messaging.

Huawei will begin integrating Android Messages across their portfolio in the coming months. For more information, see the following release.

Android

Comcast buys Stringify to consolidate its smart home product portfolio

Comcast, a cable and television conglomerate will acquire Stringify, an automation service for the IoT products and services. The app enables people to connect all their physical products and digital services in one place.

Stringify Android App

Stringify operates in a manner similar to IFTTT, a popular web-based service that people use to create chains of simple conditional statements to automatically trigger rule-based actions. The upstart app acquired by Comcast supports over 600 physical products and digital services through its platform.

Users can either search for ‘things’ that the app supports, such as fitness trackers like Fitbit and Jawbone, and smart home assistants like Amazon Alexa or Google Assistant. Otherwise, the user may select ‘flows’ that combine different things around specific themes such as movie night, triggering the home, or smart alert. A typical flow may work this:

“Quick alarm system that turns on a light for 5 minutes and calls a phone number via IFTTT when your location is not at home and either a motion is detected or the door opens. Must be paired with the Stringify applet on IFTTT,” observes Stringify in its datasheet.

On the other hand, the acquisition of Stringify makes sense in Comcast’s case. The cable and telecom giant has been strengthening its smart home offerings with the addition of XFINITY Home and XFINITY xFi, a Comcast device that lets its internet customers set up their home WiFi and control it via a mobile app and an accompanying gateway.

Comcast also acquired iControl Networks in June last year. iControl provided smart home security solutions and was also used by Comcast to build its Xfinity Home platform.


Postscapes: Tracking the Internet of Things

SoftBank’s Vision Fund is the biggest technology investment portfolio ever. This is where its $93 billion has gone so far.

Uber would be its biggest deal yet.

SoftBank seems like it’s everywhere in tech. That’s because its Vision Fund — an investment fund backed by sovereign nations Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates as well as tech giants including Apple, Qualcomm and Sharp — has a lot of money to spend. Having raised $ 93 billion so far, it’s the largest technology investment fund ever.

Slack announced yesterday that it was receiving $ 250 million in a funding round led by the Japanese tech goliath’s Vision Fund. The fund has already extended money to WeWork, SoFi and Fanatics. Uber, the biggest startup in the U.S., could receive as much as $ 10 billion from the fund, making the ride-hailing company Vision Fund’s biggest beneficiary yet.

Here’s what we know so far about the value of investments and funding rounds led by SoftBank, according to its announcements and public disclosures.

Chart of SoftBank Vision Fund’s investments so far.

In the case of funding rounds, the Vision Fund isn’t on the hook for the entire amount but rather a sizable portion. Some of the deals (OneWeb, SoFi, Improbable, Nauto, ARM and OSIsoft) are intended for but are not yet officially part of the fund. Final deal values have not been disclosed.

And this is just the beginning. The Vision Fund hopes to raise a total of $ 100 billion that it will invest for up to five years after its final closing. Spending that much money will require massive investments — about $ 20 billion worth per year on average.

SoftBank is also investing plenty in technology outside of the Vision Fund, including investments in Uber competitor Didi Chuxing.


Recode – All

Trend Micro to nurture portfolio of IoT startups through new $100 million venture fund

IT security firm Trend Micro has launched a corporate venture fund with initial investments to the tune of $ 100 million.

It seeks to employ this venture arm to independently invest in and provide leverage to a portfolio of startups that are brimming with new ideas and innovations in technology, especially the IoT.

Trend Micro has always aspired to extend its reach globally and ensure safe digital exchange of information. With 26 billion devices estimated to connect to the Internet by 2020, as per Gartner, Trend Micro understands that the ecosystem is yet to evolve to ensure safe transactions and is channelizing its venture to offer companies financial backing, access to its world-class global threat intelligence, strategic alliances, as well as its channel of more than 28,000 partners.

The company seeks to learn through its collaborations with these startups and gain key insights in areas such as emerging ecosystem opportunities, disruptive business models, market gaps and skillset shortages to improvise them internally and augment its solutions.

Eva Chen, founder and CEO, Trend Micro, said: “We have a 29-year history of successfully anticipating technology trends to secure all types of environments. The first mega wave we caught was the growth of the PC marketplace; we committed early on to endpoint protection and remain a Leader in Gartner’s Magic Quadrant for Endpoint Protection Platforms today. The second mega wave was all about the cloud; we made a bet early on to securing the cloud and so far we have secured over two billion workload hours on Amazon Web Services (AWS) alone.

“Now, we believe the next wave has arrived with IoT; our fund will help us harness this opportunity.”

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