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The largest buys of tech’s Big Five: a look at M&A deals

In startup land, the mandate is to get bought, go public or die trying. And, as far as getting bought goes, one of tech’s Big Five could be a desirable acquirer. They have a lot of weight to throw around. Alphabet (the parent company of Google), Amazon, Apple, Facebook and Microsoft account for a titanic amount of market value — close to $3.9 trillion at time of writing. At least, that’s according to Crunchbase News’s dashboard of notable tech stocks. When challenged by one another, these hulking behemoths of the tech sector more often fight than flee. And when challenged by a scrappy upstart, it is likely that they will gobble up the talent, technology and business of any aspiring competitor. It’s the circle of life. And it’s those acquisitions we’re going to look at here. Taken together,...

LinkedIn’s AutoFill plugin could leak user data, secret fix failed

Facebook isn’t the only one in the hot seat over data privacy. A flaw in LinkedIn’s AutoFill plugin that websites use to let you quickly complete forms could have allowed hackers to steal your full name, phone number, email address, ZIP code, company and job title. Malicious sites have been able to invisibly render the plugin on their entire page so if users who are logged into LinkedIn click anywhere, they’d effectively be hitting a hidden “AutoFill with LinkedIn” button and giving up their data. Researcher Jack Cable discovered the issue on April 9th, 2018 and immediately disclosed it to LinkedIn. The company issued a fix on April 10th but didn’t inform the public of the issue. Cable quickly informed LinkedIn that its fix, which restricted the use of its AutoFill feature to whitelisted s...

Facebook moves to shrink its legal liabilities under GDPR

Facebook has another change in the works to respond to the European Union’s beefed up data protection framework — and this one looks intended to shrink its legal liabilities under GDPR, and at scale. Late yesterday Reuters reported on a change incoming to Facebook’s T&Cs that it said will be pushed out next month — meaning all non-EU international are switched from having their data processed by Facebook Ireland to Facebook USA. With this shift, Facebook will ensure that the privacy protections afforded by the EU’s incoming General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) — which applies from May 25 — will not cover the ~1.5BN+ international Facebook users who aren’t EU citizens (but current have their data processed in the EU, by Facebook Ireland). The U.S. does not have a comparable data pr...

Facebook, Microsoft and others sign anti-cyberattack pledge

Microsoft, Facebook and Cloudflare are among a group of technology firms that have signed a joint pledge committing publicly not to assist offensive government cyberattacks. The pledge also commits them to work together to enhance security awareness and the resilience of the global tech ecosystem. The four top-line principles the firms are agreeing to are [ALL CAPS theirs]: 1. WE WILL PROTECT ALL OF OUR USERS AND CUSTOMERS EVERYWHERE. 2. WE WILL OPPOSE CYBERATTACKS ON INNOCENT CITIZENS AND ENTERPRISES FROM ANYWHERE. 3. WE WILL HELP EMPOWER USERS, CUSTOMERS AND DEVELOPERS TO STRENGTHEN CYBERSECURITY PROTECTION. 4. WE WILL PARTNER WITH EACH OTHER AND WITH LIKEMINDED GROUPS TO ENHANCE CYBERSECURITY. You can read the full Cybersecurity Tech Accord here. So far 34 companies have signed up to th...

Lessons from cybersecurity exits

Dear F0und3r: What a month this has been for cybersecurity! One unicorn IPO and two nice acquisitions – Zscaler’s great debut on wall street,  a $300 million acquisition of Evident.io by Palo Alto Networks and a $350 million acquisition of Phantom Cyber by Splunk has gotten all of us excited. Word on the street is that in each of those exits, the founders took home ~30% to 40% of the proceeds. Which is not bad for ~ 4 /5 years of work. They can finally afford to buy two bedroom homes in Silicon Valley. Evident.IO Investment Rounds and Return estimates Date Select Investors Round Size Pre Post Dilution Estimated Returns / Multiple of Invested Capital Sep 2013 True Ventures $1.5m $5.25m $6.75 m 22% 44X Nov 2014 Bain Capital $9.8 m $18.1m $28.0 m 35% 10.7X Apr 2016 Venrock $15.7 m $35.0 m $50...

Coinbase has hired LinkedIn’s M&A boss to spearhead new acquisitions

Coinbase is continuing its executive hiring spree as the company has announced that Emilie Choi is joining Coinbase as Vice President of Corporate and Business Development. Choi comes from LinkedIn where she was Vice President of Corporate Development and oversaw a total of 40 M&A-related transactions. Prior to that she worked in business development roles at both Warner Brothers and Yahoo!. The hire makes sense for Coinbase, a fast-growing startup that has had trouble keeping up with user growth and activity – both from a customer service and technical perspective. Having someone to spearhead acquisitions could help on this front – with limited engineering talent in the crypto space it can often make more sense to acquire or acquihire a startup either as as a way to onboard a bunch of...