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Archivo del Autor: Belen De Leon

10 life-changing CES 2019 lessons I wish I could unlearn – CNET

The world is heading towards oblivion.
Source: CNET

At CES 2019, there's a camera that records videos from your baby's point-of-view – CNET

The Babeyes camera records those special moments with mom and dad.
Source: CNET

Your Old Tweets Give Away More Location Data Than You Think

Researchers built a tool that can predict where you live and work, as well as other sensitive information, just by using geotagged tweets.
Source: Wired

Mayfield gets a new partner as it celebrates 50 years in the business

Venture firms can come and go, as anyone who lived through the boom and bust of the late ’90s internet bubble can attest. Some firms have staying power, however, and among these is Mayfield, founded 50 years ago, just ahead of Kleiner Perkins and Sequoia Capital (both founded 47 years ago) and Menlo Ventures and New Enterprise Associates, which celebrate their 43rd and 42nd birthdays this year, respectively.

Indeed, to ensure it continues to stick around, Mayfield decided it was time to strengthen its bench as it sailed into 2019, and its newest partner toward that end is Patrick Salyer, most recently the CEO of Gigya, a Mayfield-backed company where Salyer started as a VP and who, on his 30th birthday, three years into his tenure with the company, was asked by its board to take over as CEO.

Given that SAP spent $350 million in 2017 to acquire Gigya —  it helped online properties manage customer identities and profiles and raised roughly $100 million from investors) — that decision seems to have panned out. We had a quick exchange with Salyer earlier this week about the experience, as well as asked what he’ll be focused on now as a first-time VC.

TC: Why were you asked to take over Gigya three years into career with the company, and what was that transition like?

PS: I had been one of the first employees and had established myself as a business leader on the team.  We were going through a pivot from an advertising focused business to a SaaS enterprise business, and the previous CEO had stepped down for personal reasons. This was an incredible opportunity but a trying one as a first-time CEO, as I was suddenly in charge of people that used to be my peers or even senior to me.

TC: Any interesting details you can share about how that acquisition by SAP came together a year and a half ago?

PS: We also found ourselves working together on a long list of shared customers. As time went on, we both realized that what we could accomplish together outweighed what we could do apart.

TC:  When did you start talking with Mayfield about joining as a partner, and have you ever invested before as an angel investor?

PS: I’ve been 100 percent focused on running a startup for the past seven years. This next  career move is as much about the opportunity to work with the team at Mayfield as it is about joining venture. Along my journey, I realized how lonely the founder-CEO role can be. I couldn’t have imagined navigating this without great people surrounding me and in particular, the investors at Mayfield, so when Navin [Chaddha], Mayfield’s managing director and one of my previous board members, brought up the idea of joining Mayfield, I was super excited about the opportunity to take my own learnings and serve other entrepreneurs in the same way.

TC: Will your focus be on cyber security? What’s your mandate at Mayfield?

PS: I’m going to focus on B2B companies, primarily in the applications versus the infrastructure space, given my experience over the last decade.

Beyond that, I want to keep an open mind and follow great entrepreneurs who want to grow into world-class CEOs.  There are many interesting areas of focus I’ll look forward to digging into. For example, I’m very intrigued on the impact of privacy, including regulation like GDPR and changing consumer sentiment, and how that creates opportunities within B2B.

TC: How many deals will you be expected to lead each year?

PS:  The firm makes 8 to 10 investments a year, but there’s no target or quota for each partner.

TC: How will your own experience as a CEO of a venture-backed company influence how you talk with founders?

PS: It starts with empathy.  Running a startup is the hardest job in the world. My own experience was anything but a straight line, requiring multiple product pivots, go-to-market changes, management team rebuilds, and tough fundraises.  This can be the case even during the ‘ups,’ where you know something bad can happen around the corner, but it especially can happen during down periods, when you think it’s all your fault. I am hoping to encourage CEOs to take the long view.

I also learned so much from being part of a CEO coaching group — both through guidance from the leader and from my peers — and I plan to
share that playbook with other CEOs.

Finally, I had the opportunity to get a deep understanding of achieving product market fit and go-to-market approaches, as Gigya went through multiple pivots; I hope to draw from those experiences.

TC: What did you learn as the CEO of a venture-backed company that you want to avoid doing as a VC?

PS:  I’m fortunate to have a wealth of operating experience as a startup CEO to draw upon, but I also need to realize that every business and market is different.  It’ll be important to keep a beginner’s mind as I meet with entrepreneurs.

Source: TechCrunch

How to get your money’s worth from your startup lawyer

You will never know as much as your lawyers do about the legal services they provide to you. It is a classic asymmetry of information, where the party that knows less gets the worse deal. In this case, that is you, the startup founder.

As an attorney and a co-founder of a venture-backed startup that made it over the finish line, I have been on both sides of the table. Through that experience, I’ve adopted an approach for managing legal spend which you can use to help ensure that you get the most from the money you put toward legal fees.

Have you had a great experience with a startup lawyer? Tell us in this brief survey.

Overview of Common Fee Structures

There are really only three legal fee structures: flat, hourly and contingency. In addition to these, attorneys may charge differently for consultations (free vs. paid), may or may not require a retainer to be paid before starting work, and perhaps will entertain certain forms of deferred compensation, such as delayed payment or equity in lieu of cash (though most will not, knowing that odds are well stacked against your startup).

Flat fees. Always good for self-contained, relatively routine legal tasks, such as business formation and subsequent stock issuance, standard IP assignments, employee handbooks, employee compensation plans, trademarks, etc. In the ideal case, you are paying your lawyer to do something they have done a hundred times before, with only minor tweaks along the way – it is predictable work that comes at a predictable price. Recent changes to the California Rules of Professional Conduct (effective 11/1/2018) have provided further guidance to lawyers and clients concerning flat fee structures, making them relatively more transparent in theory, if not in practice.

The key question for flat fees, of course, is how much should your particular matter cost? The most accurate answer here, unsurprisingly, is that “it depends” – on the experience of the attorney, on the particular legal task at hand, on your unique business circumstances, etc. While the typical business incorporation might be $2,000 all-in, a seed financing (assuming common forms are used) could be anywhere between $5,000 and $20,000).

What are the exact flat fees you should pay? We’ll have more on that soon.

Hourly fees. This is the preferred method of billing for most attorneys, not necessarily because it results in more total fees, but because the lawyer has at least some assurance she will not end up working “for free” when the client inevitably has additional questions, makes unexpected changes, or requires counsel on ancillary topics. The particular hourly rate you pay depends primarily on the experience of the attorney, usually measured in years (the absolute minimum I would suggest you consider is three years), with most solo practitioners charging somewhere between $175 to $300 per hour, boutique firms charging between $300 and $500 per hour, and large firms charging anywhere between $400 (junior associates) to $950 (experienced partners) per hour — though everything in Manhattan is more expensive.

Contingency fees. While conceptually intriguing to some, contingency fees (usually 30 percent to 40 percent of the amount potentially awarded in a given legal matter, hence the contingency) are not typically relevant for early-stage startups where the goal is generally to avoid litigation. For that reason, I will focus mostly on flat versus hourly fees.

Finally, when it comes to retainer fees, it is helpful to know that lawyers must follow strict trust accounting practices (see Rules of Professional Conduct 4-100; and also Rule 4-200 for attorney fees in general). You can even reference these rules if you ever find yourself in a fee dispute. Remember, too, that government administrative or filing fees (e.g. the cost of filing for a trademark) are always distinct from the fees paid to compensate your lawyer and therefore should be itemized separately on any billing statement you receive.

How to Keep the Fees Down

Given that background, there are a number of things you can do to help keep your lawyer fees in check:

1. Hire lawyers who have experience with the particular task you are asking them to perform. Most lawyers have a specialty of some sort (however broadly defined) in which they are most adept and therefore efficient. The last thing you want to do is pay a lawyer to educate themselves in a new practice area. Lawyers will generally list their core practice areas on their website, and it is in these areas they are most likely to be proficient. It would be a mistake in my opinion to hire a lawyer to do any work outside the explicitly enumerated practice areas shown on their website. If you are considering hiring a true business generalist, then at least try to get a sense for the practice areas in which he or she most often provides counsel and be sure there is significant overlap with your needs, including experience working with startups specifically; also, consider ratcheting up the required minimum level of experience to at least 7-10 years.

2. Educate yourself and then let your lawyer know you understand the basics. Today there are numerous high-quality, free templates and other resources available for the most common legal tasks facing startups (see links below). If you need new Terms of Service, for example, carefully read one of the many templates available, insert comments where you see fit, and pass on this marvelous example of intellectual aspiration to your attorney for final drafting. This will let the attorney know you have a basic understanding of what the assignment entails and at the very least reduce perceived asymmetries of information, improving your relative bargaining position.

a. Startup documents: Docracy, Upcounsel, Cooley Go.
b. Financing documents – Y Combinator, NVCA, SeriesSeed.

3. Ask to be notified when a certain dollar amount has been billed, or to receive an informal billing update at the end of each week (even if the billing is not strictly itemized). When subject to hourly billing, it is always a good idea to stay informed of where exactly you stand. While providing detailed off-cycle billing can be a burden for lawyers, providing an informal billing update to a client generally is not and most attorneys will oblige. Also, it never hurts to ask your lawyer for time/cost estimates before starting an assignment — here again you can request the attorney notify you when they surpass their estimate; if only subconsciously, you have anchored the amount the attorney believes is appropriate to bill on the matter, which can provide you leverage on future assignments if they ultimately exceed that amount.

4. Ask for an “emerging company” discount. Most lawyers who work with startups are willing to provide discounts to smaller companies: in the case of large firms, to attract the most well-funded startups; and in the case of smaller firms or solo practitioners, to better serve their primary client type — small, undercapitalized enterprises. Remember, too, most solo practitioners are themselves entrepreneurs who have taken the risk of launching their own businesses (albeit a law firm) so they can be surprisingly sympathetic to other founders in the same situation.

5. Consider deferred fee structures. Deferred fee structures generally involve payment in something other than cash, or payment at a time in the future; there are two primary types: (a) payment of fees delayed until close of pending investment; and (b) equity (or other consideration) offered in lieu of cash. I once heard of an attorney who accepted a vintage Martin acoustic guitar as full payment for fees in the high four-figure range. Although I would very carefully consider any deferred fee structures — because they can create a misalignment of incentives (or worse, an outright conflict of interest) — they can in certain situations be a workable choice for cash-strapped startups and risk-tolerant attorneys.

6. Get clarity on costs, expenses, billing rates for administrative assistants, paralegals, etc. One advantage to working with firms who staff assistants, paralegals, junior and senior associates — all of whom support the partners of a firm — is that billable rates generally range from lowest to highest, respectively. Whenever possible, you can request that paralegals and junior associates do the most routine (yet time-consuming) work, leaving critical negotiations to the partners and high-level drafting to senior associates. Finally, make sure you understand in advance what costs and expenses the firm will pass on to you (e.g. photocopying, postage, couriers, travel) and whenever possible, ask if these costs can be waived or reduced.

Follow these tips from the outset and with some experience, you can be sure that you will efficiently allocate resources against your legal service needs.

On that note, have you already had a great experience with a startup lawyer? TechCrunch is looking for the ones founders love to work with the most. Fill out this quick survey to tell us about your experiences and we’ll share the results with you.

Daniel T. McKenzie, Esq., manages the Law Offices of Daniel McKenzie, specializing in the representation of startups and startup founders. Prior to establishing his law offices, Daniel McKenzie co-founded and served as lead in-house counsel for Reelio, Inc., backed by eVentures, and acquired in 2018 by Fullscreen (a subsidiary Otter Media and AT&T).

DISCLAIMER: This post discusses general legal issues, but it does not constitute legal advice in any respect. No reader should act or refrain from acting on the basis of any information presented herein without seeking the advice of counsel in the relevant jurisdiction. TechCrunch, the author and the author’s firm expressly disclaim all liability in respect of any actions taken or not taken based on any contents of this post.

Source: TechCrunch

GM is smartening up its Bolt EV smartphone app

GM is sprucing up its smartphone app for owners of the all-electric Chevrolet Bolt through a collaboration with charging network companies EVgo, ChargePoint and Greenlots.

The idea is to take aggregate dynamic data from each of the EV charging networks so owners can have a “more seamless charging experience.” In short: GM wants to make it easier and more intuitive for Bolt EV owners to find and access charging. Removing hurdles from the charging experience can go a long way in convincing more people to buy the Bolt EV, or any EV for that matter.

The partnership with EVgo, ChargePoint and Greenlots is a notable start considering that collectively that means more than 31,000 charging ports.

“GM believes in an all-electric future, and this is a significant step to make charging easier for our customers,” said Doug Parks, General Motors vice president of Autonomous and Electric Vehicle Programs. “By collaborating with these three companies, we expect to reduce barriers to create a stronger EV infrastructure for the future. This is an important step toward achieving GM’s vision of a world with zero emissions.”

GM plans to take the aggregate charging data from EVgo, ChargePoint and Greenlots and use it to improve the myChevrolet app. For instance, owners will be able to see if a charging station is available and compatible with the Bolt EV. It also will provide real-time data on charge stations to report if a charging station is working.

GM plans to create an app interface that will streamline the enrollment process for each of these networks. The automaker wants owners to be able to activate a charging session using the app instead of a membership card, but didn’t say when that feature would be rolled out.

GM recently made a few updates to the myChevrolet app that lets owners project the energy assist to the vehicle’s infotainment system via Apple CarPlay and Android Auto for drivers with model year 2017 or newer Bolt EVs.

This means Bolt EV drivers can access information through their infotainment system, like vehicle range, charging station locations and search, as well as route planning that takes into consideration charging stops along the way if the destination is out of range.

Original purchasers of new Bolt EVs will have access to these features at no additional cost for five years from the vehicle delivery date, according to GM.

GM doesn’t provide updates about the Bolt EV, and more broadly its electric vehicle program, at the same pace and frequency as say Tesla. But the company is still ramping up and expanding. GM recently expanded a battery lab, and a new LG Electronics plant in Michigan has come online.

The LG Electronics facility in Hazel Park started making battery packs this fall to supply GM’s Orion Assembly Plant, where the automaker builds the all-electric Chevrolet  Bolt.

GM’s plan to launch 20 new all-electric vehicles globally by 2023 and increase production of the Chevy Bolt.

Source: TechCrunch

Jeff Bezos' Divorce Could Cost Him Billions in Amazon Stock

Also: The new Dune movie has found its villain, and Lady Gaga wants her R. Kelly collaboration to step off of streaming services.
Source: Wired

Holoride’s in-car VR solution is the best thing at CES 2019

After days of demos and announcements and miles of walking, I’m confident in declaring Holoride the best thing at this year’s CES. The designation of “The best thing at CES 2019” is my badging. This isn’t an official award handed out by a governing body. This is just me saying Holoride is the best thing I’ve seen at the show.

This year’s CES is fine, I guess. The main theme is connecting services around the smart home. There’s a huge range of devices that now support services from Amazon, Google and Apple. CES 2019 also featured the launch of new silicon chipsets and self-driving platforms. But the thing that impressed me the most is from Holoride, a startup from Audi that wants to put VR in cars to entertain and reduce motion sickness.

Iron Man needs help, Rocket told me. And like that I was thrust into a space battle against Thanos’ bad guys. There was an Oculus on my head and my body was dipping and diving, shooting through space, while I was waving my hands around, blasting the enemy. It was straight out of Disney World (partly because Disney helped with the content). Except I was in Vegas, in the back of an Audi SUV hitting speeds of 90 mph on a track.

After two laps around the track, I walked away fine. I didn’t feel sick at all, even though I’m the sort of person who can’t look at their phone in a car.

Matching the VR content to the vehicle’s movements is key to the Holoride experience. In short, when the car moves, the content moves in the same way. This reduces motion sickness, and, from my demo, I can confirm it works — at least on me.

The technology comes from a small startup recently spun out of Audi in a play to put VR in every car. The founders have been working on the technology behind the in-car VR system for several years. The automaker holds a minority interest through subsidiary Audi Electronics Venture, which helped develop the technology. Audi will license the technology to Holoride and the startup will use an open platform to allow any automaker as well as content developers to create whatever reality formats they desire.

I’ve experienced countless VR experiences, and this was one of the best demos I’ve had. The use case is compelling too. Not only does it provide entertainment, but it also solves motion sickness. It’s easy to imagine this in an ad-supported format in the back of an Uber or while on a long-distance bus. It could work in planes too. It could improve long car rides with the kids.

Holoride is a longshot and there are countless questions around the content, consumer outreach and compatibility. In order for it to take off, the company needs to build an ecosystem complete with developers, auto makers and consumers. Building amazing experiences is one thing; selling amazing experiences is even harder.

CES 2019 coverage - TechCrunch

Source: TechCrunch

CES 2019 Liveblog Day 4: Thursday’s News and Photos, Live From Las Vegas

This year’s CES, one of the biggest consumer tech showcases in the world, continues Thursday. Join us for live updates from the show in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Source: Wired

Lyft partners with Segway to deploy more durable scooters

Lyft is gearing up to roll out its next generation of shared scooters in partnership with Segway Ninebot. This comes on the heels of Segway Ninebot’s announcement of its newest scooter, the Model Max.

The Model Max was designed with the realization that wear and tear is a major issue for shared electric scooter services in mind. It’s supposed to be stronger, have a better rider experience and more operational efficiency, with a battery that can last 37.5 miles on a single charge, compared to just 15 miles.

To help with bumpy roads, the Model Max features air-filled, 10-inch front and rear wheels, versus 8-inch ones. The scooters also feature a wider baseboard.

Lyft first launched its electric scooters in Denver, Colo. back in September. Since thenLyft has brought its scooters to eight additional markets in the U.S. Lyft plans to deploy its new scooters “in the coming months,” Lyft Head of Brand for Bikes and Scooters Ethan Eyler told TechCrunch at a Lyft Hub in Las Vegas. More specifically, Eyler said it’d be the latter half of Q1 or early Q2.

Lyft also plans to deploy some Segway-Ninebot scooters with swappable batteries “soon,” Eyler said.

“I think we’re learning, you know,” Eyler said. “I mean, this scooter is the result of a lot of learnings that we’ve done and seeing how the scooters hold up. And with the entire strategy behind charging and swappable batteries and charging, we’re learning from all of that to kind of get to our ultimate plan.”

Swappable batteries can be a useful way to increase vehicle availability and overall vehicle downtime spent charging batteries. Last month, Skip unveiled a new scooter with swappable batteries for those exact reasons.

When Lyft first launched its scooters, it relied on ones from Xiaomi. Not too long after, in October, Xiaomi sent a cease-and-desist letter to Lyft, demanding the company stop using its scooters. Lyft now says it doesn’t have any plans to add any additional Xiaomi scooters to its fleet.

It’s worth noting Xiaomi is a minority shareholder in Segway-Ninebot, and one of its early strategic investors, but Segway operates independently of Xiaomi.

Other scooter companies that rely on Segway-Ninebot include Lime, the now Ford-owned Spin, and Uber’s JUMP bike and scooter brand. Meanwhile, Bird has a partnership with Xiaomi for its electric scooters. Moving forward, Lyft has yet to determine if it will work with additional manufacturing partners.

“I think it’s still to be determined,” Eyler said, “Looking at all the potential partners, Segway-Ninebot, in our opinion, builds the best scooters in the market.”

In addition to new scooters, Lyft is working on docking systems for scooters. This was inspired by Lyft’s acquisition of dock-based bike-share system Motivate, Eyler said.

“A lot of the cities we’ve spoken with are very excited about this concept,” Eyler said.

That’s because docks can be a way to provide some order to electric scooter parking, while also providing some assurance to riders that there will be scooters where they expect them to be, Eyler said. Still, riders won’t be required to dock scooters in these stations. They also won’t be required to lock the scooters, despite concerns of theft.

“I mean, [theft] definitely occurs,” Eyler said. “You’re never going to be able to stop all bad actors. We also think this is just a much more prominent vehicle and it feels less of something you could pick up and carry off. Our hope is that will cut down on [theft].”

Locks are not completely off the table, Eyler said, but Lyft is not currently developing locking mechanisms.

To read about how we got to where we are today, check out a recap of the year of scooters below.

Source: TechCrunch