Tag Archive | "state"

Thanks To A Grant From Montana, Submittable Has Now Raised $1M+ For Submission Management

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When I first wrote about Y Combinator-backed startup Submittable in 2012, the company said it had raised $450,000 in funding. Submittable has continued raising since then, and with a recent $100,000 grant from the state of Montana, the total is now more than $1 million. Compared to some of the other fundings we cover here at TechCrunch, that might not seem enormously impressive, but keep in… Read More

Article courtesy of TechCrunch

Tesla Strikes Deal To Keep Dealerships In New York

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Tesla can keep its dealerships in the state of New York. An agreement was made between the auto maker and New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo that will allow Tesla to keep its five direct-to-consumer retail stores as long as it doesn’t open any more. Tesla took the deal and ran to the bank. As the WSJ reports, any new dealerships Tesla wishes to open would have to abide by a “strengthened… Read More

Article courtesy of TechCrunch

Researchers Create Diamond “Wires” That Could Power Future Computers

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Physicists at Ohio State University have successfully sent an electron “down” a wire made of diamond, a first that could mean new methods of transferring data inside computer chips. As you can imagine, these aren’t wires in a traditional sense in that they conduct electricity. Instead, the physicists were able to pass a magnetic spin effect down the wire “like a row of… Read More

Article courtesy of TechCrunch

Kickstarter’s Yancey Strickler To Talk Crowdfunding 2.0 At Disrupt NY

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We’re thrilled to announce that Kickstarter CEO Yancey Strickler will be joining us onstage at Disrupt NY 2014 when he will school us on crowdfunding and the state of the startup industry. Strickler co-founded Kickstarter in 2009 with Perry Chen and Charles Adler. Since then, the company has helped fund nearly $1 billion in successful projects from companies big and small, and plays a prominent… Read More

Article courtesy of TechCrunch

Car-Sharing Startup RelayRides Hit With $200K Fine From New York State For Insurance Violations

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RelayRides, the startup that runs a peer-to-peer marketplace for people to share their cars, has been ordered to pay a $200,000 fine to New York State after an investigation by the state’s Department of Financial Services found that the company “put New Yorkers at risk through false advertising, unlicensed insurance activity, and other violations,” Governor Andrew Cuomo’s… Read More

Article courtesy of TechCrunch

The Head Of Sony Computer Entertainment Steps Down

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Jack Tretton has left the game. The longtime Sony executive is stepping down from his role as President and CEO of Sony Computer Entertainment America where he was essentially in charge of the state-side PlayStation division. The news comes from a late-day press release that doesn’t reveal any details about the departure. It simply states that “this is a result of a mutual agreement… Read More

Article courtesy of TechCrunch

Plan To Make Silicon Valley Its Own State Gets Green Light To Collect Votes

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Back when we first found out about investor Tim Draper’s plan to break California into six different states (including one for Silicon Valley), we weren’t sure how far the unorthodox plan would go.

But, just this week, Draper got the green light from the state to go ahead and collect signatures to put his plan on the California ballot.

To be sure, he’ll still need to gather about 800,000 signatures to put it before the voters; and, even if it were successful at the ballot box, it could face opposition from federal authorities.

Without a groundswell of support, Draper will have to pay an army of signature gatherers to stand outside grocery-store parking lots and bus stations to wrangle residents for their approval. Such campaigns can pay $3 a signature or more to signature gatherers (a.k.a. the folks that sit outside grocery stores with a clipboard), but Draper told me that he’s willing to put money into a campaign to see this project through.

Earlier this year, the state of California put out an official analysis of what would happen to California if Silicon Valley became its own state. Given the Valley’s high concentration of wealth, a lot of funding for schools and social services would be stripped away from the less financially successful parts of the state if it somehow succeeded.

But Draper says that California has become too unwieldy in its current form and needs to be decentralized. Specifically, the proposed six new states are Silicon Valley, West California, Jefferson, South California, Central California and North California.

It’s still a long shot, but Draper seems to have made it through the first hoop.

Article courtesy of TechCrunch

Sellsy, The French Sales Management Platform For SMBs, Is Opening New York Office

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Sellsy, a French startup that offers a nifty suite of online tools to help businesses manage sales, is making its first push into the U.S. via opening a New York office. Its Software-as-a-Service combines multiple functionality — CRM, ERP, invoicing, purchase management, POS, time tracking and help desk — to enable companies to manage the entire sales process and to monitor key indicators in real-time.

Its pitch to SMBs is that by combing what would typically be separate apps and moving them to the cloud, it’s able to offer a much simpler and more cost-effective solution.

Founded in 2009 in the French coastal city La Rochelle, Sellsy claims 3,700 paying customers, totalling 15,000 users. It says much of its growth currently comes from the international version of its SaaS business management solution, which already accounts for “over” 10% of customers in thirty or so countries. The decision to set-up-shop in the Big Apple is designed to meet and further grow this demand and “provide a quality support” to the startup’s English speaking users.

“We chose New York for its attractiveness, its affinity with Sellsy model (SaaS and mobile) and local target markets (entrepreneurs, startups, web agencies, design, fashion, technology, communication, etc.). In addition, the State of New York is a market the size of France for the number of companies from which we can spread internationally and provide responsive support in English” says Sellsy co-founder Alain Mevellec in a statement.

Situated in the heart of Manhattan, Sellsy says its U.S. office will open this April where it will initially recruit 2-3 staff.

Article courtesy of TechCrunch

Tech Industry, Activists Talk Past Each Other At The Crunchies

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Inside San Francisco’s Davies Symphony Hall was a packed hall with hundreds of tech’s well-to-do in ties, slacks and cocktail dresses for the so-bad-it’s-good awards show, The Crunchies.

Outside, there were about 50 protesters, beating drums and awarding toilet plungers as trophies to activists posing as Ron “The Con” Conway and Marissa Mayer for “The Crappies,” their own unofficial version of the event.

While both sides called for solutions, it seemed like the activists and the tech community were largely talking past each other, not with each other.

Here’s what each had to say:

The Tech Side

Ron Conway, the hyper-connected angel investor and “Godfather of Silicon Valley” who has delved into politics recently by founding advocacy non-profit sf.citi, pull out a call to action.

“I want to make sure every person in our region has an opportunity to be part of the new economy. We may not agree with everything the protesters outside have to say, but they do represent anxiety over a widening income gap. My message tonight is that we — that means all of us — must be leaders in tackling the challenges of housing, transportation and education.”

He went on, “We are in this together. Our entire city is in this together.”

Conway had a couple big goals for the tech community this year.

First, he wants tech companies to donate 1 million hours of community service to the region. (Salesforce is already projecting 125,000 hours of service this year.)

He also wanted 1,000 companies to join Marc Benioff’s 1-1-1 effort, where they donate 1 percent of their equity to form a foundation by the time they IPO, 1 percent of their employee hours to community service and 1 percent of their product (if applicable).

He also mentioned two new efforts where tech companies will able to “adopt” a school, and respond to requests for help from the principal or teachers. ”We’ll let the educators tell us what to do,” he said. There are already non-profits around like DonorsChoose, which lets donors respond to specific requests from teachers for help with funding trips or materials, and MissionBit, where developers can teach free after-school programming classes to San Francisco high school and middle school students.

Another effort from Sf.Citi is a matching program where tech companies can donate their extra office space to local San Francisco non-profits.

“Many non-profits are being pushed out of their offices because of costs,” Conway said.

In a report last year from the city’s budget and legislative analyst, there are about 6,000 non-profits in the city of San Francisco. In the last two years alone, commercial rental rates have risen by 32.8 percent per square foot, according to the report. About one-third of the non-profits the city surveyed last fall said their leases would be up at the end of 2013, meaning that rising commercial rents would likely eat into their budgets or they would have to move.

The Activists’ Side

Meanwhile, the protesters outside focused on two issues: 1) displacement of longtime San Francisco residents because of rising rents and Ellis Act evictions and 2) a call for tech companies to pay more in taxes to the city.

Tony Robles, who came from San Francisco’s Senior & Disability Action and whose family has lived in the city for five generations, wanted help from the tech community to overturn the Ellis Act at the state level.

“My family has lived through many waves of displacement. We’re from communities that are under attack,” he said. “If you’re an elder living on a fixed income, and you’re evicted, you’ll have nowhere to go.”

The Ellis Act was originally designed for landlords to go out of business, but housing activists say it is being abused in San Francisco by real estate interests who evict longtime rent-controlled tenants in favor of bringing in new, more affluent tenants at higher market rates or turning these units into tenancies-in-common or condominiums.

Ellis Act evictions rose 170 percent to 116 in 2013, from 43 in 2010, according to an October report to San Francisco’s Board of Supervisors. Activists say that case numbers might be four or five times higher because tenants with little ability to protect themselves like illegal immigrants get pressured into taking under-the-table Ellis buyouts.

Overturning or amending the law is a politically challenging task, however, because it only drastically affects two rent-controlled markets in the state: San Francisco and Santa Monica. That may not create enough political will to overcome the powerful real estate lobby in Sacramento. Nevertheless, state senator Mark Leno is introducing a bill this year to amend the law by allowing cities more flexibility to regulate Ellis Act evictions.

Robles’ wife Lisa Gray-Garcia, an editor at Poor Magazine, also had a long list of suggestions for people in the tech community, including: taking public transportation instead of the private shuttle buses, urging employers like Google, Apple and Facebook to stop offering the buses and spending a percentage of their wealth to buy back housing for the elderly and low-income residents who have been evicted.

The second issue frustrating activists was the Twitter tax roll break, which protesters claimed cost the city as much as $600 million in foregone revenues, according to a flyer they passed out.

In 2011, the city’s Board of Supervisors voted to offer companies with at least $1 million in payroll taxes a partial exemption from the city’s tax if they moved to the Mid-Market area. Twitter and other tech companies like Spotify, One King’s Lane and Zendesk took the deal. At the time, Twitter was threatening to leave the city, in part because payroll tax was the only one of its kind for a city in the state of California (especially the part where the city taxed employee stock options).

The city subsequently reformed the tax to focus on a business’ gross receipts, instead of their payroll size. That new tax structure will be eased in over the next few years.

Opponents of the tax exemption say the city has potentially foregone tens of millions of dollars in revenue from those employee stock options.

But proponents of the exemption say Twitter and other growth-stage tech companies could have moved slightly south, meaning San Francisco would have missed out on these business taxes entirely. (Many of their employees probably would have continued living in San Francisco too, which means there would still be pressure on the city’s housing market.)

San Francisco’s chief economist Ted Egan told the San Francisco Chronicle that the initial deal preserved at least $10 million in base revenue from the company for the city over six years. With unemployment also dropping by half from 2010, San Francisco was able to close a $124 million budget deficit last year, thanks in part to $55 million more from business payrolls and property taxes.

But activists still took issue with taxes, saying that the tech industry has to do more to preserve the city’s socioeconomic diversity and combat a widening income gap.

“There’s a new industry in town and it’s got a lot of money. We have to work for new possibilities in closing the wealth gap,” said Kathy Lipscomb, a Noe Valley resident who has lived in San Francisco for 22 years. “There were 1,600 millionaires created by Twitter. We need money for low-income housing and teachers.”

Lipscomb added that she didn’t necessarily blame individual tech workers.

“Many people in the tech community are very sincere,” she said, adding that she has a nephew-in-law who works for Salesforce. “It’s very nice to give computers. It’s very nice to give time. But what we need is for CEOs to pay their taxes.”

Article courtesy of TechCrunch

What Happens To California If Silicon Valley Became A State, In 7 Charts

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At least one wealthy tech investor wants to encourage California’s latent separatist tendencies and slice California into six different states, including one State of Silicon Valley. Per California law, no matter unlikely or odd a proposed ballot proposition is the Secretary of State and the Legislative Analysts Office release a report to voters on a bill’s potential economic impacts [PDF]. Usually, ballot proposition analysis is pretty dry, but making Silicon Valley it’s own state? This was one was a lot more interesting.

Here’s what California thinks could happen if voters approve Tim Draper’s proposition to split California into six states.

What California Would Like And The New Populations

Silicon Valley, comprised of San Jose, San Francisco and its cousin to the East, Oakland, would consist of approximately 6,000,000 citizens. “West California,” whose capital will be Los Angeles, would be the biggest state, with 11,000,000 residents.


The slicing and dicing would be directed by 12 commissioners, two from each state. Congress would have to approve it by 2019. If Congress’s current productivity is any indicator, we would need to get them the paperwork next week and then threaten to shut down California every month for the next 5 years to get any forward momentum.


Most Of The Rich People Would Move

Silicon Valley would become the richest state in all the Union, with a 63,288 average yearly income which would be enough to make a down payment on an apartment.


California would lose 28% of its income tax base ($14.5 billion) but the Valley would be a pretty nice place to live.


The Rest Of The State Would Need More School Funding

Silicon Valley requires almost half the state-aid per pupil as Central California ($3,031 vs. $5,321), partly because of high property taxes. The other states would either need to raise revenue, or enact a Hunger-games style competition to select which students received lunch.


Doctor! We Need A Lot Of Doctors!

The middle of the state has sufficient medical or law schools, which means they would need to be imported to train more residents. Silicon Valley also comprises about half the State’s share of Medi-Cal recipients. The federal government would need to allocate more resources to the needy residents. Alternatively, Silicon Valley could teach the poor residents to code, so that they can pay their super-sized medical bills.


Silicon Valley Would Need Water, Or Be Sponsored By Dasani


California has a torrid love-affair with water; frequent droughts and a complicated management system have always tentatively balanced each region’s needs. Silicon Valley may have money and talent, but it imports ~60% of its water needs. So, Silicon Valley could trade a few doctors and teachers for running water. Or, as most tech companies do, just snag a corporate sponsor.

The Road Ahead

There are also a few loose ends. Each state would need a new capital, pay a transition team, and figure out where to put prisoners. I presume Governor Larry Page would get to live out his life-long fantasy of a Burning Man-type experimental zone, and turn Oakland into a drug-induced rave for Googlers to run all sorts of experiments on. I’d live there if he also offered Google’s salad bar to the residents.

Article courtesy of TechCrunch

April 2014
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