This is the first in a series of articles I am writing to bring more transparency and honesty to the field of venture capital. While many of the themes may be contrarian or controversial, I have two primary goals: First, I want to help entrepreneurs and startup enthusiasts understand what motivates investors. Second, I hope to draw attention to some of the fallacies venture capitalists use in their negotiations with entrepreneurs. Aligning the incentives of entrepreneurs and VCs will lead to much stronger relationships and innovation.
Entrepreneurs regularly come to Founders Fund asking us to lead or participate in their seed/angel round. They are often confused or shocked when I try to convince them that with very few exceptions, it is not in entrepreneurs’ best interest to raise seed capital from large venture…
With the advent of open data and new, powerful methods for analyzing it, we’re learning a lot that could challenge longstanding beliefs on public policy. Politicians, social workers and other civil servants have always had data, of course; they just never had as much and could never do with it what they can today. They should listen to what the computers tell them.
Recent HIV research from Brown University is a great example of what’s possible. Researchers formulated a computer model based on numerous factors relating to drug use, sexual activity and the medical aspects of HIV infection. To ensure it was accurate, they calibrated the model until it could accurately reproduce known HIV infection rates in New York City from 1992 until 2002. They ran the model thousands of times on a supercomputer.
They found that the rate of of HIV infection among New York City injection drug…
More apparent insecurity in the Android platform: apparently the Android operating system from version 3.0 though the present use the same password for unlocking the device that it uses for encrypting the data on the phone. This opens up data on the phone to a relatively simple brute force attack, as few people use complex passwords to unlock their phones.
In light of this revelation, it is clear that Android continues to be a questionable choice in platforms for businesses / enterprise use.
It is a common perception that IP litigation is exploding, in part because the patent system is allegedly broken. Enter Lex Machina, a Palo Alto based company providing IP litigation data and analytics to help companies “anticipate, manage, and win patent and other IP law suits,” which just closed another $2 million in a funding round led by X/Seed Capital.
“This funding will enable us to improve our existing SaaS product and develop more IP analytics products that will employ our proprietary data to predict litigation outcomes, inform transaction and investment decisions and value and monetize critical IP assets,” said Josh Becker, CEO of Lex Machina, in a statement.
Sounds good, here’s how:
Lex Machina’s crawler extracts documents and data…
A researcher at the University of Luxembourg has discovered that a weakness in the A-GPS location process used by smartphone can permit malicious wi-fi sites to re-route the phone’s A-GPS location queries to the malicious site even after the smartphone has disconnected from the malicious site, permitting hackers to track the phone from that point on.
Furthermore, on smartphones where A-GPS signals are processed on the phone’s main CPU, hackers can use this exploit to crash the phoe and possibly make use of other bugs to compromise the phone.
This exploit was demonstrated on a umber of different Android phones by several manufacturers.
A Nevada-based shell company has filed a lawsuit against Foursquare, claiming the popular app is violating two patents that cover familiar navigation features.
In a complaint filed Wednesday in Las Vegas, Silver State Intellectual Technologies Inc asked for an injunction and damages related to U.S .Patent 7475057 (“System and method for user navigation”) and U.S. Patent 7343165 (“GPS Publication Application Server”).
Both patents describe the process of pushing information from a remote server to a user based on the location of that user and show diagrams like this one:
Silver State’s short legal filing (embedded below) doesn’t describe how exactly Foursquare infringed on the patent. The popular app relies on location tracking technology to offer a service that lets users and their friends “check in” to restaurants, merchants and other physical locations.
The lawsuit comes at a time when so-called patent trolls like Silver State have become aggressive about suing promising young…
Another costly reminder of the liability that can stem from data breaches: Atlanta-based Global Payments suffered a breach in which 1.5 million account records were exposed i a hack attack.
Global Payments now reports that just the cost to fix the data breach has reached $85 Million, so far, resulting in a 91% drop in quarterly net income when compared to last year. This does not account for the damage to Global Payments’ reputation. Both Visa and Mastercard dropped Global Paymeents from their compliance lists after the revaluation of the data loss.
According to the Atlanta Jounral Constitution, last month, Global also warned that hackers also might have accessed the personal information of an unknown number of merchants who’d applied with Global for payment processing services.
Interviewedby the AJC, Adam Levin, an identity theft expert and chairman of Credit.com, said the Global breach is another wakeup call that governments and companies may not be doing enough and that consumers must protect themselves. His conclusion: “Companies have got to be more proactive,” he said. “Even the ones that are really good [at security] are finding that the bad guys still find a way to beat them.”