Dozens of tech companies sign ‘Tech for Good Call’ following French initiative

A couple of years ago, French President Emmanuel Macron initiated the Tech for Good Summit by inviting 50 tech CEOs to discuss the challenges in the tech industry and make some announcements.

Usually, tech CEOs meet ahead of Viva Technology, a tech event in Paris. This year, Viva Technology had to be canceled, which means that tech CEOs couldn’t get together, take a group photo and say that they want to make the world a better place.

In the meantime, dozens of tech CEOs have chosen to sign a common pledge. Despite the positive impact of some technological breakthroughs, they collectively recognize that everything is not perfect with the tech industry.

“Recognizing that such progress may be hindered by negative externalities, including unfair competition such as abuse of dominant or systemic position, and fragmentation of the internet; that, without appropriate safeguards, technology can also be used to threaten fundamental freedoms and human rights or weaken democracy; that, unless we implement appropriate measures to combat it, some individuals and organizations inevitably use it for criminal purposes, including in the context of conflicts,” the pledge says.

Among other things, companies that sign the pledge agree to cooperate when it comes to fighting toxic content, such as child sexual abuse material and terrorist content. They promise to “responsibly address hate speech, disinformation and opinion manipulation.”

Interestingly, they also agree that they should “contribute fairly to the taxes in countries where [they] operate.” This has been an ongoing issue between the French government and the U.S. government. The OECD and the European Union have also discussed implementing a tax on tech giants so that they report to tax authorities in each country where they operate.

Other commitments mention privacy, social inclusiveness, diversity and equity, fighting all sorts of discriminations and more. As the name suggests, the pledge revolves around using technology for good things.

Now let’s talk about who signed the pledge. There are some well-known names, such as Sundar Pichai from Alphabet (Google), Mark Zuckerberg from Facebook, Brad Smith from Microsoft, Evan Spiegel from Snap and Jack Dorsey, the CEO of Twitter and Square. Other companies include Cisco, Deliveroo, Doctolib, IBM, OpenClassrooms, Uber, etc.

Some nonprofit organizations also signed the pledge, such as the Mozilla Foundation, Simplon, Tech for Good France, etc.

But it’s more interesting to see who’s not on the list. Amazon and Apple have chosen not to sign the pledge. There have been discussions with Apple but the company eventually chose not to participate.

“Amazon didn’t want to sign it and I invite you to ask them directly,” a source close to the French president said. The French government is clearly finger-pointing in Amazon’s case.

This is an odd move as it’s a non-binding pledge. You can say that you want to “contribute fairly to taxes” and then argue that you’re paying everything that you owe — tax optimization is not tax evasion, after all. Worse, you can say that you’re building products with “privacy by design” in mind while you’re actually building entire companies based on personalized ads and micro-targeting.

In other words, the Tech for Good summit was created for photo opportunities (like this photo from 2018 below). Tech CEOs want to be treated like heads of state, while Macron wants to position himself as a tech-savvy president. It’s a win-win for them, and a waste of time for everyone else.

Some nonprofit organizations and governance groups are actually working hard to build digital commons. But big tech companies are using the same lexicon with these greenwashing-style campaigns.

In 2018, hundreds of organizations signed the Paris Call. In 2019, the biggest social media companies signed the Christchurch Call. And now, we have the Tech for Good Call. Those calls can’t replace proper regulation.

Image Credits: Charles Platiau / AFP / Getty Images

Startups – TechCrunch

How good payment solutions can help your business grow (Sponsored)

As a small business owner, you may consider payment processing another line item on your operating costs. Think of it this way. For entrepreneurs, every platform, and every cost is an opportunity to expand. How? You can actually use payment processing beyond a simple way of doing business as part of your company’s growth strategy….

This content is for members only. Visit the site and log in/register to read.

The post How good payment solutions can help your business grow (Sponsored) first appeared on EU-Startups.


[The Bouqs in The Cut] The Florist Using Bouquets for Good

For Kaylyn Hewitt, the path to becoming a full-time florist bloomed just as organically as one of her bouquets. She was pursuing a master’s degree in child development when she decided to pivot and start her own floral-design company, True Vine. Now, she’s the Bouqs Company’s lead floral designer and working to promote equity in a predominantly white industry. 

Read more here.

The post [The Bouqs in The Cut] The Florist Using Bouquets for Good appeared first on OurCrowd Blog.

OurCrowd Blog

I Have 75K to Invest and i found a startup to invest i need an advice if its a good choice.

Hey Guys,

So as the title states i found a startup here in Cyprus to invest for a child care system similar to Brightwheel.

Basically the guy who coded the whole child care system in Cyprus is a developer and owns a web development agency for 15 years, i met him through the gym i go to and since then i know him for around 2 months. We had dinners i met his wife and kids so we have a good bond so far. So far the guy seems solid and smart.

He told me he found a gap in the Cyprus market so he created this child care system he has been developing this for 2 years and its not done yet. Iv seen it tested it and it looks pretty damn good very functional and there is no system like this in Cyprus.

So he asked for 60k investment in return of around 35% of equity in the company.

He sended me a partnership agreement that he will invest initially 30k and i will invest 30k. The initial 30k i will invest are not refundable and the next 30k will be invested after 6 months from my side possibly when the system will be done and that will be refundable so a total of 60k.

My role will be a partner in the company and decision maker with him.

Now the question is it really worth it?

Well from my market analysis there is no competition i even called some kindergartens to ask if they would use a system like this and there was a positive reaction.

The transition of this to work he told me i can leave my current job and go there to his current web agency work with him so i will have also an aspect of work with the agency i will have my own office as the system develops and i will get half o a salary from him and half from my own money (the investment money) until the system starts to be profitable.

The goal is to go abroad and make it big.

What do you guys think?

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Startups – Rapid Growth and Innovation is in Our Very Nature!

Equity Monday: Good vaccine news, three rounds, and why IPOs are trending

Hello and welcome back to Equity, TechCrunch’s venture capital-focused podcast where we unpack the numbers behind the headlines.

This is Equity Monday, our weekly kickoff that tracks the latest big news, chats about the coming week, digs into some recent funding rounds and mulls over a larger theme or narrative from the private markets. You can follow the show on Twitter here and myself here — and don’t forget to check out last Thursday’s main ep, and our bonus episode that went out on Saturday.

If you like Equity, your cup runeth over.

So, what did we get into this morning? A grip of things, which I’ve listed below in order:

Please stay safe this week, America. Do something boring and unfun, so that we can keep more of us alive into next year.

Equity drops every Monday at 7:00 a.m. PDT and Thursday afternoon as fast as we can get it out, so subscribe to us on Apple PodcastsOvercastSpotify and all the casts.

Startups – TechCrunch

[Surgical Theater in New Electronics] VR can be good for your health

In other areas of surgery, VR is being used by surgeons to plan procedures. Stanford Medical Center, the school of medicine at Stanford University, opened its Neurological Simulation Lab in 2017, using a VR system by Surgical Theater. The software creates a 3D model of the brain, compiled using MRIs (magnetic resonance images), CT (computed tomography) scans and angiograms (where dye is injected to show the paths of blood vessels).

Read more here.

The post [Surgical Theater in New Electronics] VR can be good for your health appeared first on OurCrowd Blog.

OurCrowd Blog

Good company values have trade-offs

I have one large pet peeve with company culture or values. They do not express what you actually value. In fact, I don't consider most values I read to be a company value. Take, for example, the value of being ethical. Being ethical isn't a value. That is a minimum bar you must meet to get in the door, like having a pulse. If a company has to call out and list being ethical as a value, you got bigger problems.

Good company values, to me, have trade-offs. What does the company value when given two good choices? What tradeoffs are we willing to make because we value one thing over the other.

For example:
Speed vs. Quality. Do we want to respond the fastest to our customer's needs but run the risk of releasing things that might break? Would we rather put our best foot forward and be proud to release polished features?

Mentorship vs. Deadlines. Is it ok that some tickets slip into the next sprint because Sally spent two whole days helping John, who is new to the team, set up a new API? Is it better to trade missing a deadline because the team is collectively investing in itself, thus making the whole team better? Should the team be more self-reliant and independent, or do we have a culture of relying on each other?

If this makes sense to you, I am curious if anyone else has examples of good values with tradeoffs. Values where you are presented with opposing but equally good options.

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Startups – Rapid Growth and Innovation is in Our Very Nature!

I can’t find a good enough problem to solve for someone on the internet.

I'm 18, from Bulgaria, I'm a programmer/tech guy and I've attempted to start startups before. My biggest mistake has always been building something that nobody wants. Fortunately, after many fails, books read and time wasted, I've learned my lesson. Now instead of looking for ideas, I'm trying to solve a problem for someone or improve something substantially that already exists.

I'm limited to making an impact only through my computer (internet). Bulgaria doesn't have the business culture, opportunities, and growth potential that I'm looking for and I don't have intentions of establishing myself here. Nevertheless, until I finish high school and move, I only have a computer to start a startup with.

Why do I want to start a startup now? Because schooling is online, I have time and I'm motivated to try the startup scene again. I've always been building things from an early age – from Minecraft servers to video games, to websites, etc. I want to try again and learn new things from the experience.

There's a part of me that's wondering if my time now (until I finish high school) is better spent learning things, reading, improving my programming skills, learning machine learning… and wait until I'm in the right environment to start a startup (where I can make real-life connections), or try to build a business now only through the internet and the connections I can form there. The benefit of the latter is that if I succeed, I'll be getting into the world with at least one source of income under my arm, and if I don't succeed, I will at least have gained more useful business insights and lessons. Give me your opinions and advice on that.

But I'm stuck. I don't know where to find problems to solve. I just can't come up with an idea that makes sense. I'm trying to read Reddit, look for frustrations there… How much time is it okay to spend looking for problems and things to improve?

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Startups – Rapid Growth and Innovation is in Our Very Nature!

Square and PayPal earnings bring good (and bad) news for fintech startups

Earnings season is racing past us, with the big ride-hailing companies’ numbers in, all of the Big Five having wrapped their reporting and lots of SaaS numbers in the market. But amidst all the noise, The Exchange has kept an eye on two companies in particular: PayPal and Square.

We’re not really concerned with their overall revenue and profit metrics. Instead, we’ve been hunting around in their numbers for hints and notes about what is going on inside of fintech itself. Why? There are a host of hugely valuable fintech unicorns that have to go public in the future that also share some market space with one or both of our public charges.

What can we learn from looking at what PayPal and Square reported to their own investors?

The Exchange explores startups, markets and money. Read it every morning on Extra Crunch, or get The Exchange newsletter every Saturday.

Lots, it turns out.

As TechCrunch reported when PayPal dropped its Q3 numbers, the public company had bullish results from its Venmo service, payment processing and consumer activity metrics. The numbers pointed to strong consumer adoption of fintech services during the pandemic, something that we presumed was not unique to PayPal itself, but was likely indicative of a generally warm environment for consumer fintech services.

Square continued the trend, posting a set of results that contains nearly all positive data for consumer fintech activity — with one critical caveat for Q4 that we’ll get to at the end.

Still, what the majors tell us about the fintech space indicates a warmth in activity that explains why Chime, Robinhood and others have had such fun in 2020, accreting tectonic capital to keep their growth hot.

Digging through Square’s earnings gives us a window into consumer payment activity, card usage, stock purchases and more. Let’s see what we can learn, and to which unicorns it might apply.

A very fintech 2020

Let’s start by talking about the broader fintech market before niching down.

Startups – TechCrunch

Software companies are reporting a pretty good third quarter

What a difference a week makes.

This time last week, in the wake of earnings from tech’s five largest American companies and early results from other software companies, it appeared that tech shares were in danger of losing their mojo.

The Exchange explores startups, markets and money. Read it every morning on Extra Crunch, or get The Exchange newsletter every Saturday.

But then, this week’s rally launched, and more earnings results came in. Generally speaking, the Q3 numbers from SaaS and cloud companies have been medium-good, or at least good enough to protect historically stretched valuations when comparing present-day revenue multiples to historical norms.

This is great news for yet-private startups that have had to deal with a recession, an uneven and at-times uncertain funding market, an election cycle and other unknowns this year. Wrapping 2020 with a market rally and strong earnings from public comps should give private software companies a halo heading into the new year, assisting them with both fundraising and valuation defense.

Of course, there’s still a lot more data to come in, markets are fickle and many SaaS companies will report next month, having a fiscal calendar offset by a month from how you and I track the year. But after spending time on the phone this week with JFrog’s CEO, BigCommerce’s CEO and Ping Identity’s CFO, I think things are turning out just fine.

Let’s get into what we’ve learned.

Growth and expectations

Kicking off, Redpoint’s Jamin Ball, a venture capitalist who unconsciously moonlights as the research desk for the The Exchange during earnings season, has a roundup of earnings results from this week’s set of SaaS and cloud stocks that reported. As you will recall, last week we were slightly unimpressed by its cohort of results.

Here’s this week’s tally:

As we can see, there was a single miss amongst the group in Q3. Unsurprisingly, that company, SurveyMonkey, was also one of three SaaS companies to project Q4 revenue under street expectations. My read of that chart is seeing a little less than 80% of the group that did project Q4 guidance that bests expectations is bullish, as were the Q3 results, which included a good number of companies that topped targets by at least 10%.

Inside of the data are two narratives that I want to explore. The first is about COVID-related friction, and the second is about COVID-related acceleration. Every company in the world is experiencing at least some of the former. For example, even companies that are seeing a boom in demand for their products during the pandemic must still deal with a sales market in which they cannot operate as they would like to.

For software companies, reportedly in the midst of a hastening digital transformation, the question becomes whether or not the COVID’s minuses are outweighing its pluses. We’ll explore the matter through the lens of three companies that The Exchange spoke with this week after they reported their Q3 results.

Ping Identity

Of our three companies this week, Ping Identity had the hardest go of it; its stock fell sharply after it dropped its Q3 numbers, despite beating earnings expectations for the period.

The company’s revenue fell 3%, while its annual recurring revenue (ARR) rose by 17%. Why did its stock fall if it came in ahead of expectations? You could read its Q4 guidance as slightly soft. In the above chart it’s marked as a slight beat, but its low-end came in under analyst expectations, creating the possibility of a projected miss.

Investors, betting on Ping’s move to SaaS being accretive both now and in the long-term, were not stoked by its Q4 forecast.

Startups – TechCrunch