• Tag Archives Silicon Valley
  • Morgan Stanley Builds Mortgage App To Try And Stay Relevant As Fintech Booms

    It’s no secret that Wall Street lives in constant fear of Silicon Valley. Bank CEOs probably wake up in a cold sweat after imagining that their clients have handed their money to some new startup that’s found a way to disrupt a financial service like, say, wealth management.
    To try and fend off the robo-advisers and other fintech companies trying to wrest every bit of market share away from the big banks, Morgan Stanley is launching its own suite of apps, meant to win over younger clients who prefer digital products. On Tuesday, the bank announced its latest offering: its very own digital mortgage application tool.
    Here’s Reuters:
    Morgan Stanley is developing a new digital mortgage application tool in a bid to get more of its existing clients to turn to it for home loans, its wealth management technology head said on Tuesday.

    This post was published at Zero Hedge on Jun 15, 2017.


  • Which Companies Have The Highest Revenue Per Employee?

    For many companies, the biggest cost is talent. This is especially true of Silicon Valley, where companies sell clicks and digital goods that do not have any material cost. So which companies’ workforces are able to generate the most revenue?
    We decided to analyze every company in the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index to see which ones had the highest and lowest revenues per employee. The Standard & Poor’s 500 Index (S&P 500′) includes the 500 largest American companies listed on the NYSE or NASDAQ. In 2016, S&P 500 companies generated $11 trillion in combined revenue and employed more than 25 million people worldwide.
    We found that Energy companies have the highest average Revenue per Employee, while Industrials and Consumer Discretionaries perform worst on this metric.
    Technology companies performed at the lower end of the range on Revenue per Employee; part of the reason for this however, is other companies in spaces like Energy and Healthcare have large non-employee costs that Technology companies do not have.

    This post was published at Zero Hedge on May 30, 2017.


  • Seeds, Unicorns, and the Value of Venture Capital

    Silicon Valley is a mystery to most people. So is technology in general, for that matter.
    We like our gadgets, but we don’t really understand where they originate. We like tech stocks as long as they go up.
    It doesn’t occur to us that when a tech stock goes public and millions of starry-eyed mainstream investors scramble to buy shares in the IPO, the ‘smart money,’ aka the early investors, are already cashing out and moving on.
    This week, I’m at our Strategic Investment Conference, so instead of current news, I have a movie review for you. As you’ll see below, it’s a good peek into early-stage venture investing and has some lessons we can all apply.
    First, a reminder: You can follow the conference action on our SIC Live Blog. We’ll be updating it frequently with session recaps, photos, and videos. Check out the agenda for speakers and times.
    Now, on with the show.
    Red Carpet
    Back in March, I went to the South by Southwest Conference in Austin, part of which is a film festival. Many aspiring filmmakers premiere their creations at SXSW. I’ve never paid much attention, but this year, I noticed one that looked economically interesting.
    Seed is a documentary by producer Andrew Wonder. The subject is AngelHack, a competition where teams of would-be tech entrepreneurs compete for venture capital funding. Here’s the official synopsis.
    Seed follows three start-ups from around the world as they descend on San Francisco for AngelHack’s Silicon Valley Week. For three intense days they’ll hone their pitches, tell their story, and face humiliation at the hands of mentors just to get the chance to present their start-up to a panel of judges who could change their lives… or destroy their dreams.

    This post was published at Mauldin Economics on MAY 23, 2017.


  • Silicon Valley ‘Tech-Slaves’ Forced To Live In Their Cars

    Faced with some of the most expensive rental housing in the nation, some Bay Area residents are feeling priced out and are seeking low-cost alternatives.
    As the Nasdaq soars to record highs on the back of Silicon Valley’s hub of computer and technology companies, some people are even turning to cars, vans and RVs for housing…

    This post was published at Zero Hedge on May 6, 2017.


  • It’s Turning Into A Very Interesting Week

    Authored by Mark St. Cyr,
    Back in days of yore (circa January 2017) I dared make the assertion that all that was ‘unicorn infatuation’ in the Valley was much more akin to ‘the old gray mare ain’t what it used to be.’
    In the article ‘Is 2017 The Year Silicon Valley Experiences The Dark Side Of ‘It’s Different This Time?’’ I posed the following. To wit:
    ‘Here’s the equation I believe will not only send shock waves, but will bring down many a valuation edifice within ‘The Valley’ in 2017. And here it is: ‘First: The Fed. And Second: Rate hikes.
    Two very short sentences containing nothing more than two words each but their implications could have exponentially explosive results. For what they portend is that ‘It’s different this time’ may indeed be exactly that.
    What I hoped you may have noticed during this discussion is the one thing myself and very few others pointed out would happen if the hypothesis we’ve been articulating over the last few years was correct. That hypothesis has always been ‘Without the Fed. pumping in unlimited funds via the QE programs, and a ‘death-grip’ to the zero bound (aka ZIRP) the first ones to show how much of a facade these ‘markets’ where would be seen directly in the ‘tech’ space.’

    This post was published at Zero Hedge on May 4, 2017.


  • Former Facebook Exec: “They’re Lying Through Their Teeth”

    Authored by Antonio Garcia-Martinez (former Facebook product manager), author of Chaos Monkeys: Obscene Fortune and Random Failure in Silicon Valley, originally posted at The Guardian,
    For two years I was charged with turning Facebook data into money, by any legal means. If you browse the internet or buy items in physical stores, and then see ads related to those purchases on Facebook, blame me. I helped create the first versions of that, way back in 2012.
    The ethics of Facebook’s micro-targeted advertising was thrust into the spotlight this week by a report out of Australia. The article, based on a leaked presentation, said that Facebook was able to identify teenagers at their most vulnerable, including when they feel ‘insecure’, ‘worthless’, ‘defeated’ and ‘stressed’.
    Facebook claimed the report was misleading, assuring the public that the company does not ‘offer tools to target people based on their emotional state’. If the intention of Facebook’s public relations spin is to give the impression that such targeting is not even possible on their platform, I’m here to tell you I believe they’re lying through their teeth.

    This post was published at Zero Hedge on May 2, 2017.


  • Does The Reality Of “It’s Different This Time” Get Tested This Week?

    If you were one of the myriad analysts, next-in-rotation fund managers, tech commentators, et al paraded across the financial/business media over this past week – you had a good week. The narrative of ‘earnings beats’ together with the so-called ‘relief rally’ emanating via the French elections helped propel the argument.
    However, if one (once again) peered passed the headlines of Non-GAAP reporting alchemy that would make Issac Newton envious one could clearly see that all was not ‘gold.’
    Both Amazon, and Alphabet (aka Google) beat handily, and yet, a few questions emerged via my reasoning. First:
    Has Google Ad revenue benefited from an increasing advertising pie? Or, are we seeing the first hints of rotation from platform to platform as advertisers dump one for another in a desperate attempt to obtain some form of return for their social or digital ad dollars?
    It’s possible it could be the latter, and if so it spells ‘it’s different this time’ just like it has before. i.e., circa early 2000.
    The reasoning for this is simple: Twitter.
    As I have stated on more occasions than I can count, the one company to watch for clues into what is the entire ‘tech’ or ‘Silicon Valley’ health of the ‘ads for eyeballs’ model is Twitter. And this once songbird of everything that was/is ‘The Valley’ did something that is the anathema of what is presumed to be the ‘holy of holies’ metric for the entire genre. To wit:
    It reported a surge in ‘ad engagement.’ They increased their monthly active users to 328 million, up 7 million beating expectations. And this resulted in a first ever 8% LOSS of advertising revenue.

    This post was published at Zero Hedge on May 2, 2017.


  • No Roads Needed: Google-Backed Flying Cars For Sale By End Of 2017

    Ever wanted to ride a flying drone? Well, if you’ve got the money, you might get the chance to by the end of the year.
    ABC News reported Monday that a Google-backed Silicon Valley startup has just completed testing on an ‘octocopter’ that’s all-electric, can seat one person, and fly up to 15 feet in the air.
    The company, Kitty Hawk, says all the necessary legal steps have been taken, and the Kitty Hawk Flyer – designed only for use over water – is just about ready for production. The company says it will begin selling the Flyer this year.
    ‘You don’t need a pilot’s license, and you’ll learn to fly in minutes,’ the company said in a statement, adding that the machine is ‘safe, tested and legal to operate in the United States in uncongested areas.’

    This post was published at Zero Hedge on Apr 27, 2017.


  • This bubble finally burst. Which one’s next?

    Like so many other high-flying Silicon Valley startups, Clinkle was supposed to ‘make the world a better place’.
    Founded in 2011 by a guy barely out of his teens, the company picked up early buzz after proclaiming they would disrupt mobile payments. Or something.
    Silicon Valley venture capital firms were apparently so impressed with the idea that they showered the company with an unprecedented level of cash.
    (Given that investing in an early stage company is high-risk, investors might provide a few hundred thousand dollars in funding, at most. Clinkle raised $25 million.)
    The company went on to burn through just about every penny of its investors’ capital.
    There were even photos that surfaced of the 21-year old CEO literally setting bricks of cash on fire.
    At the end of the farce, Clinkle never actually managed to build its supposedly ‘world-changing’ product, and the website is now all but defunct.
    This is rapidly becoming a familiar story in Silicon Valley.

    This post was published at Sovereign Man on April 26, 2017.


  • The Economy Is Imploding At A Faster Pace & You Need To Be Prepared – Episode 1248a

    The following video was published by X22Report on Apr 6, 2017
    Initial jobless claims magically surge. The real estate market is falling apart, reality and manipulated stats are going there separate way. Venture Capitalist in San Fran and Silicon Valley are drying up and office space is empty. 50% of Americans don’t have $500 in their account. NY Fed ready to bring down the economy. SocGen says the Feds actions are going to have the opposite effect. Everytime the Fed mentions overvalued the stock market comes down.


  • Startup Craziness Deflates, Hits Silicon Valley & San Francisco

    Venture Capital gets prudent – with consequences. Few areas in the US are as dependent economically on the startup ecosystem as Silicon Valley and San Francisco. And the crazy boom that peaked in 2014 and 2015 lifted all boats, but then the tide went out.
    It’s a larger US phenomenon, but San Francisco and Silicon Valley feel it particularly. Venture capital investments in the US ‘downshifted again’ in the first quarter, according to the current report by the National Venture Capital Association and PitchBook Data. It was the sixth quarter in a row of declines, and the number of deals dropped to the lowest level since Q3 2010,
    The startup funding industry ‘is likely reverting to 2012-2013 levels of investment after peaking during the past few years,’ the report says. It represents a ‘more disciplined approach with a much more critical eye on investment opportunities.’ With first financings declining and with VC-backed companies, such as Uber and Airbnb, staying private longer and thus not allowing their investors to exit, ‘venture investors are focusing more of their efforts on supporting existing portfolio companies,’ rather than funding new ones.

    This post was published at Wolf Street on Apr 6, 2017.


  • Meet Sally – Chowbotics’ Chef-Slaying Robotic Salad Bar

    Silicon Valley’s newest celebrity chef goes by just one name, Sally, and as Bloomberg reports, this chef has just one specialty: salad.
    Still, Sally will make you the most perfectly proportioned salad you’ve ever eaten: through science.
    Bloomberg goes on to note that Sally occupies about the same amount of space as a dorm room refrigerator, and uses 21 different ingredients – including romaine, kale, seared chicken breast, Parmesan, California walnuts, cherry tomatoes, and Kalamata olives – to craft more than a thousand types of salad in about 60 seconds, while the customer watches the process. The machine weighs in at 350 pounds, making it more appropriate for industrial settings than for home kitchens at the moment. ‘Sally will be going on a diet,’ said its creator, Deepak Sekar, 35, founder of Chowbotics Inc., looking into his and Sally’s future.
    The benefits of Sally are manifold, according to Sekar. ‘Sally is the next generation of salad restaurant,’ he claims, comparing it to chains such as Chopt and Fresh & Co. For one thing, a robot can make salad faster than a human can. Also, you will know precisely how many calories your salad is delivering; there won’t be the problem of consuming one piled high with garnishes that turn out to be more fattening than a burger. And it’s more hygienic to have a machine prepare your salad than to have multiple people working on a line – or worse still, a serve-yourself salad bar.

    This post was published at Zero Hedge on Apr 4, 2017.


  • Silicon Valley: From Rarified Air To Exhaust Fumes

    As we sit here today the IPO that was supposed to prove that the dream of ‘its different this time’ were still alive-and-well, has shown it is anything but. The real crush for the ‘crushing it’ crowd is this – the reality that proves that the party is over came from both a business and service whose main product did nothing more than augment reality as to add cartoon features to pictures then disappear into the ether. And this you were told was why it should be worth 10s of $BILLIONS of dollars in market cap.
    As inane as that was, what became all too surreal was when this concept was applied to its S-1 where the reality of its business plan appeared to be nothing more than a ‘pig in lipstick’ matching its core product features.
    And ‘The Valley’ along with the entire tech world in general not only believed it, but argued that this business was worth those $10’s of BILLIONS of dollars even though the company itself stated in its own business plan that not only was it not profitable – it may never be.
    Sounds logical only if you live in the augmented business view of ‘The Valley.’ Too the rest of us in the real business world? It’s crazy talk. Plain, and simple.

    This post was published at Zero Hedge on Mar 20, 2017.


  • The Death Of Venture Capital?

    Few business communities swing from boom to bust as reliably as Silicon Valley, but detecting shifts in this opaque world can be challenging. To help illuminate the field, Bloomberg created the U. S. Startups Barometer, a new weekly indicator that tracks the overall health of the business environment for private technology companies based in the U. S.
    So how ‘healthy’ is the American Venture Capital business?

    This post was published at Zero Hedge on Feb 21, 2017.


  • The Big Snapchat IPO Question: Will Investment Dollars Also Go Poof?

    If your head is still spinning made possible by last weeks news cycle? Congratulations – you’re normal. Trying to keep up with any news, even just one element (e.g., business) has been a near task in futility. Politics (understandably) in one form or another is currently dominating everything, even business. So with that said, it could be argued why the most anticipated, hailed, saving grace for all that is ‘The Valley’, IPO to save the IPO world Snap (aka Snapchat) filed its former ‘confidential’ papers on Thursday. And the reaction? (insert crickets here)
    Sure there has been the usual high-fiving chorus throughout the tech world, and in particular ‘The Valley’ world. That’s to be expected. However, with that said, I want to offer up the following headline as possibly the reasoning behind so little fanfare. It comes from none other than Vanity Fair and ask if you have the same reaction as I did. Ready?
    ‘Silicon Valley, Rejoice: Snapchat Files For Huge $3 Billion I. P. O.’
    My initial thoughts?: Silicon Valley dreams of working for ‘stock options’ and IPO riches meets its WTF moment into reality.

    This post was published at Zero Hedge on Feb 7, 2017.


  • Secret Service Is Dealing With Over 12,000 Tweets Calling For Trump’s Assassination

    As Silicon Valley’s tech billionaires continue their crack down on “fake news”, “hate speech” and dissenting conservative opinions of all forms (see this from last night: “Reddit Bans Three Alt-Right Forums As Users Blast ‘Leftist Intolerance’“), one thing they don’t seem to be that worried about is death threats to the President of the United States. In fact, just a quick search of Twitter reveals 1,000s of tweets calling for the assassination of Trump.

    This post was published at Zero Hedge on Feb 3, 2017.


  • There’s a Lot More at Stake in this IPO than Just Toxic Financials

    Silicon Valley hubris seeks third-class vote-less stockholder. Snap Inc., the parent company of SnapChat, filed for an IPO on Thursday. The filing revealed just how toxic this deal is going to be, not just from a financial point of view – a risk IPO investors are willing to take in order to grab the next Google or Facebook – but from a corporate governance and shareholder-rights point of view.
    This has implications far beyond Snap: If Snap’s current owners can pull it off and get away with it, other companies will start doing the same thing, and it will forever change what it means to be a screwed stockholder.
    Voting rights have already been diluted as our Silicon Valley heroes, such as Google and Facebook, have made a joke out of their common stockholders, but they still get to vote, even if in ludicrously diluted form.

    This post was published at Wolf Street on Feb 3, 2017.


  • Snap IPO: A Lot More at Stake than Just Toxic Financials

    Silicon Valley hubris seeks third-class vote-less stockholder.
    Snap Inc., the parent company of SnapChat, filed for an IPO on Thursday. The filing revealed just how toxic this deal is going to be, not just from a financial point of view – a risk IPO investors are willing to take in order to grab the next Google or Facebook – but from a corporate governance and shareholder-rights point of view.
    This has implications far beyond Snap: If Snap’s current owners can pull it off and get away with it, other companies will start doing the same thing, and it will forever change what it means to be a screwed stockholder.
    Voting rights have already been diluted as our Silicon Valley heroes, such as Google and Facebook, have made a joke out their common shareholders, but they still get to vote, even if in ludicrously diluted form.
    But Snap will take it to the ultimate level: new shareholders will get no voting rights at all. Zilch. That’s a first in the history of US IPOs. These will be the three classes of Snap shares:
    Owners of Class C common stock, which include co-founders Evan Spiegel and Robert Murphy, will get 10 votes per share.

    This post was published at Wolf Street on Feb 3, 2017.


  • H1b Abuse And Reform: Destroy Those Who Speak Against

    There’s a polemic going around that the “reform” we need with H1b visas, which are issued to “smart people” from other nations, is to greatly increase their numbers.
    This is a damned lie.
    The H1b allegedly allows employers to fill jobs that there are no Americans to fill with a given set of skills. It’s a goal that is on the surface good for the economy because the more innovation we have the more America advances, and if the gatekeeping factor on a particular innovation is that there are no Americans able to do a given set of work then allowing someone to come in from elsewhere to do it is a net positive — that person does a job otherwise unfilled, pays taxes, and contributes to America.
    The problem with the current H1b program is that it in fact does none of the above.
    The program allegedly requires that an employer must perform a diligent search for an American to do a given job before it can be filled by a foreigner, and that H1b employees cannot displace American workers. But there are exemptions to those two rules when it comes to having to prove compliance, and they’re ugly for American jobs:
    An immigrant with a Masters Degree is exempt OR An immigrant paid $60,000 or more is exempt. Here’s the problem with such exemptions: $60,000 is a spitting wage in places like Silicon Valley. It’s not much above the median family income nationally, which is outrageous when you think about it — especially in high-cost locales such as Silicon Valley, New York or Washington DC. Further, someone with a Masters Degree is exempt irrespective of wage.

    This post was published at Market-Ticker on 2017-02-02.


  • Stocks and Precious Metals – Forget it Jake, It’s Chinatown

    President Trump continues to rattle markets with change, or at least the proposals for them.
    Stocks were off a bit, as well as the dollar, as the Executive Orders started flowing, to dump the TPP among other things.
    No internationalist there. I suspect this will cause increasing displeasure in his own party, and the establishment of the Northeast power corridor and Silicon Valley in general.
    Otherwise, most of the markets seem to be locked into a fairly tight one percent trading range, with a back and forth motion chopping the off-footed daytraders.

    This post was published at Jesses Crossroads Cafe on 23 JANUARY 2017.