Earlier this week, Uber announced progress toward a massive investment from the Japanese conglomeration SoftBank. If the deal goes through, it will be worth about $10 billion. But that’s not all. The deal would require changes to the board that would take power away from former Uber CEO Travis Kalanick. Marketplace Tech host Molly Wood talked with analyst and venture capitalist Paul Kedrosky about what the deal means and if it’s likely to move forward.
Smart-city technology is becoming more common, from Singapore to San Jose. The latest city to incorporate this technology into its infrastructure is Toronto. It recently partnered with Alphabet subsidiary Sidewalk Labs to redevelop a section of city waterfront. Lots of sensors will collect data on traffic, noise and temperature. Marketplace Tech host Molly Wood talked with Toronto Mayor John Tory about the city’s tech investments and how data collection will be regulated.
This week, venture capitalist Steve Jurvetson of Draper Fisher Jurvetson left that firm following allegations of inappropriate behavior and an internal investigation. The company said he left by mutual agreement. Ellen Pao is a venture capitalist who sued another well-known firm, Kleiner Perkins Caufield and Byers, for gender discrimination in 2012. She lost the case, but it inspired other women to come forward. Marketplace Tech’s Molly Wood talked with Pao about how her public battle shined a light on venture capital’s culture.
In the tech world, the word “unicorn” refers to a startup company that investors value at more than $1 billion. Unicorns include companies like Uber, Airbnb and Pinterest. But a group of women founders said venture capitalists are too focused on the exponential growth that unicorns provide. They’re pushing back, and have come up with a new term, “zebras,” which they call companies that are both profitable and good for society. Marketplace’s Amy Scott talks with Mara Zepeda, one of the founders of the Zebra Movement.
Businesses founded by women and people of color aren't just likely to have a diverse pool of employees — they might also be able to fill a gap in the market. Take Mayvenn, an e-commerce platform that allows hairstylists to sell hair extensions directly to their clients. Marketplace Tech host Molly Wood talked to its CEO, Diishan Imira, about the very lucrative market for hair products and how exactly his service works.
It’s no secret that the tech industry has a diversity problem. According to data from the Project Diane data initiative, less than 1 percent of venture funding goes to companies founded by African-American women, for example. Marketplace’s Amy Scott talks with Michael Seibel, the first African-American to become a partner at the tech accelerator Y Combinator, about making it a priority to fund companies run by women and people of color.