Day: February 8, 2020

Motorola puts out a foldable Razr test video in response to durability concerns

Motorola puts out a foldable Razr test video in response to durability concerns

After Motorola’s reborn Razr seemed to fail a recent durability test, the company fired back with a response and a test of its own.

The Razr broke after only 27,000 folds from FoldBot, a tool developed to literally fold and unfold devices to test its durability. CNET planned to put the device through 100,000 folds, a goal well below the Samsung Galaxy’s record of 120,000 folds. The site tested it during what was supposed to be a 12-hour livestream, but it was cut short when the Razr’s hinge got stuck and the FoldBot was unable to continue … folding. 

Motorola responded with a statement and the below video, which shows its own folding machine fully opening and closing the phone. The FoldBot only partially closes the phone before opening it again.  Read more…

More about Motorola, Flip Phone, Tech, and Consumer Tech

Startups Weekly: Asana numbers likely to be what the market wants

[Editor’s note: Want to get this weekly review of news that startups can use? Just subscribe here.] 

Asana may get more attention than the average SaaS company due to the Facebook pedigrees and outspoken views of its founders, but in practice it’s a low-profile, cash-efficient machine. Today, the productivity toolmaker does not need to raise cash via a traditional IPO, as we explored this week following its filing for a direct listing, even though it hasn’t raised that much money compared to other unicorns.

Alex Wilhelm dug into public numbers on Extra Crunch to make an educated guess about its pricing prospects:

Let’s presume that Asana crossed the $100 million ARR mark as 2018 came to a close. And, for the sake of discussion, that its eight quarters of revenue growth acceleration left the company with a 60% expansion rate. Then, Asana would have closed up 2019 with $160 million in ARR. (You can easily change up the numbers by tweaking when the company reached the nine-figure ARR mark and its ensuing growth rate.). …

Asana is likely worth more than its final private valuation of $1.5 billion. Presuming it can get a bog-standard 12x multiple on its ARR, the company would be worth $1.8 billion. If it can do better, or is larger than that, the value of the firm quickly rises.

Unlike Casper’s struggles, and One Medical’s somewhat surprising consumery pop, Asana is a straightforward bet for a good public performance based on traditional SaaS metrics. Stay tuned for more next week.

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VCs are still pouring money into open source

In this week’s investor survey, Arman Tabatabai talked to 18 of the most active and successful investors in open-source and devops software about the latest trends. The money going into the sector has grown by 10% CAGR over the last five years, and nobody he talked to plans to slow down — in fact, many said the market was under-heated, or just halfway there. Why? Every company is trying to become more of a software company, developers now get to make more adoption and purchasing decisions, and there are countless software problems yet to solve.

The investors in Part 1 of the survey on Extra Crunch:

The investors in Part 2:

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The latest startup funds are even more meta

It seems like everyone wants to invest in tech startups these days, including any large company or government body — and even tech startups. In the latest news on this long-running trend, cap table management unicorn Carta is starting its own fund to invest in companies. Given its in-house data and broad relationships in the industry, this seems like great positioning for some hot deals (as long as the clients on the platform don’t mind, of course).

Meanwhile, a couple of successful, currently active founders will also be ramping up their seed investments. Superhuman founder and CEO Rahul Vohra and Eventjoy founder Todd Goldberg are teaming up to create “The Todd & Rahul Angel Fund” which will put $7 million from an LP base of other founders and operators to work. The dollars involved may be small, but the signaling is likely to be very high.

Organized (tech) labor

Silicon Valley investors and founders have avoided unions for decades by giving employees a cut of the ownership directly. But is this arrangement changing? The rise of gig work, the questions about high valuations and future stock prices, the grind of life at many unicorn startups, and general concern about tech culture and ethics have combined to make some workers look harder at unions, as Megan Rose Dickey covered this week in an ongoing series.

Other workers, meanwhile, are striking out to form tech coops that share ownership from the start. She talked to a couple folks on this front as well, including one coop that is helping ride-share drivers to make more money.

Around the horn

Here’s why so many fintech startups are loaning to small businesses (EC)

Europe risks squandering its global advantage in deep tech innovation (TC)

What to expect when pitching European VCs (TC)

Dear Sophie: My H-1B was renewed, but I’m getting laid off (EC)

Latin America takes the global lead in VC directed to female co-founders (TC)

Why VCs are dumping money into insurance marketplaces (EC)

As a top manager leaves amid fundraising woes, SoftBank’s vision looks dimmer — and schadenfreude abounds (TC)

Why this VC thinks we’re heading for a cloud slowdown (EC)

#EquityPod

In this week’s episode, Alex and Danny sat down with Rick Yang of NEA, examined Casper and One Medical in more detail, and covered a few new funds and fundraises — including more thoughts on the Asana numbers. Check it out!

Facebook’s Twitter account compromised, hacker group claims credit

There’s this brilliant feeling on Fridays if you’re a reporter when you think that all the things you have to write about are complete. You kickstart some work for Monday. Maybe you tighten up a to-do list. Hell, you might even read some email.

But then on Fridays like today, something eye-catching happens and the Great Content Gods demand written sacrifice and here we are.

Facebook’s Twitter main page and Messenger were temporarily vandalized by a person or persons claiming to be from the OurMine hacker collective. The action, and the group, should sound slightly familiar as it hacked a bunch of sports-related Twitter accounts just this January.

Trawling the TechCrunch archives turns up the OurMine name more times than I reckoned it would. For example, OurMine also hacked the Twitter account of Niantic’s CEO back in 2016. Later that year, OurMind also hacked several media-related Twitter accounts. Hell, OurMine actually hacked TC once — a fact that this episode brought to my attention.

TechCrunch has reached out to Facebook for comment on the compromise. We’re not expecting to hear back anything of substance but, if we do, we’ll update this post. Twitter provided public comment regarding the hack, saying that it “locked the compromised accounts and are working closely with our partners at Facebook to restore them” when it noticed the matter.

What was posted? The following, per a screenshot taken by TechCrunch’s security sage Zack Whittaker:

lol, what is this, 2016? pic.twitter.com/G59Z5gnZfp

— Zack Whittaker (@zackwhittaker) February 7, 2020

As you can see from the screenshot, the tweet appears to have been posted via Khoros. Khoros, in case you also didn’t know, sells software to help companies use social media to interact with customers and users. So, perhaps the Folks With Time On Their Hands got in that way. Either way it was taken down quickly. (Khoros is based in Austin and has raised no known venture capital, per Crunchbase.)

And with that, Friday really is a go.