Quick Bytes – April 6th: Spotify’s Unorthodox IPO
A look at the most interesting startup and business-related news stories of the week.
Spotify’s Unorthodox IPO
No banks underwrote Spotify’s foray into IPO world a few days ago. Instead, for the first time on the NYSE, they did a direct listing with no set share price and no new stocks issued (employers and investors sell their existing instead). Their shares closed at $149 – up 12% from their initial reference price. While Spotify still has cashflow issues, their disruptive IPO model is largely being reported as successful and we may see the Ubers and Airbnb’s of this world follow suit.
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Latin America & China Team Up
The globalisation of the startup market is well and truly here and, as we’re seeing, will continue to be affected by US/China foreign policies. Latin America is one area that Chinese entrepreneurs are looking at, with startup competition increasingly fierce in China. Typically, Latin American startups don’t IPO, US investment is low and foreign startup acquisition of Latin American startups is also low. It’s still a risky market for Chinese entrepreneurs but increasingly they are seeing the opportunity, while the prospect of Chinese acquisition is an attractive exit strategy for some Latin American startups.
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Two years ago, Tang Xin had never set foot in Mexico and didn’t know a word of Spanish. While his grasp of the language hasn’t improved much since then, he has built one of the country’s hottest apps.
Noticias Aguila, which translates as News Eagle, now has 20 million users and became the No. 1 news app in Google Play’s Mexico store late last year, according to App Annie. That has come as Tang and his development team remain based in Shenzhen, the Chinese technology hub just across the border from Hong Kong. Read the Full Article Here
Google & The Business Of War
Project Maven – where Google’s AI technology will help the Pentagon to interpret video technology better and target drone strikes more effectively. More than 3,000 of Google’s 70,000 employees are interpreting their company’s motto “Don’t be evil” as being in direct opposition to this move. A signed letter to CEO, Sundar Pichai, is making the rounds, imploring Google to not be involved in the creation of warfare technology. Google has traditionally always encouraged internal dialogue about company decisions however their current stance is that their assistance is “non-offensive”.
The Full Story
Thousands of Google employees, including dozens of senior engineers, have signed a letter protesting the company’s involvement in a Pentagon program that uses artificial intelligence to interpret video imagery and could be used to improve the targeting of drone strikes.
The letter, which is circulating inside Google and has garnered more than 3,100 signatures, reflects a culture clash between Silicon Valley and the federal government that is likely to intensify as cutting-edge artificial intelligence is increasingly employed for military purposes. Read the Full Article Here
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