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The Democratic National Committee has embraced an app that Edward Snowden says he uses every day

snowdenscreenshot/HBO

The Democratic National Committee has apparently embraced the smartphone app that ex-National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden says he uses every day, according to Vanity Fair’s Nick Bilton.

It’s called Signal, an app designed for secure text messages and phone calls, and it’s easy to see why it would be beneficial.

In June, at least two different hacker groups tied to the Russian government were expelled from the servers of the DNC, where they had burrowed in and downloaded reams of data for roughly a year. Much of that data, in the form of leaked internal emails, were later posted to the website WikiLeaks.

A month before the hacking revelations, Bilton reported, DNC staffers were told they should use this “Snowden-approved” app whenever they were mentioning Donald Trump, especially if their message was disparaging.

Signal is an incredibly easy-to-use app for iPhone and Android that allows both encrypted text and voice communications. Founded by Moxie Marlinspike in 2014, it requires no sign-up, registration, or exchange of information between parties. You just download the app, install it on your phone, and call whoever you want to talk to, using regular phone number.

It features end-to-end encryption — meaning there is no middleman able to intercept — and it just works. “Even if we wanted to, we can’t hand your information over to anyone,” Marlinspike told TechCrunch.

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San Francisco, August, 2016
“Terminating/Restructuring Prohibitive Real Estate Leases, Licenses, Payables & Contingent Liabilities”
Gerbsman Partners has been involved with numerous national and international equity sponsors, senior/junior lenders, investment banks and equipment lessors in the restructuring or termination of various Balance Sheet issues for their technology, life science, medical device, cyber security, solar and cleantech portfolio companies. These companies were not necessarily in Crisis, had CASH (in some cases significant CASH) and/or investor groups that were about to provide additional funding. In order stabilize their go forward plan and maximize CASH resources for future growth, there was a specific need to address the Balance Sheet and Contingent Liability issues as soon as possible.

Some of the areas in which Gerbsman Partners has assisted these companies have been in the termination, restructuring and/or reduction of:

  1.  Prohibitive executory real estate leases, computer and hardware related leases and senior/sub-debt obligations – Gerbsman Partners was the “Innovator” in creating strategies to terminate or restructure prohibitive real estate leases, computer and hardware related leases and senior and sub-debt obligations. To date, Gerbsman Partners has terminated or restructured over $810 million of such obligations. These were a mixture of both public and private companies, and allowed the restructured company to return to a path of financial viability.
  2. Accounts/Trade payable obligations – Companies in a crisis, turnaround or restructuring situation typically have accounts and trade payable obligations that become prohibitive for the viability of the company on a go forward basis. Gerbsman Partners has successfully negotiated mutually beneficial restructurings that allowed all parties to maximize enterprise value based on the reality and practicality of the situation.
  3. Software and technology related licenses – As per the above, software and technology related licenses need to be restructured/terminated in order for additional capital to be invested in restructured companies. Gerbsman Partners has a significant track record in this area.

About Gerbsman Partners

Gerbsman Partners focuses on maximizing enterprise value for stakeholders and shareholders in under-performing, under-capitalized and under-valued companies and their Intellectual Property. Since 2001, Gerbsman Partners has been involved in maximizing value for 94 Technology, Life Science, Medical Device, Solar, Digital Marketing/Social Commerce companies and their Intellectual Property, through its proprietary “Date Certain M&A Process” and has restructured/terminated over $810 million of real estate executory contracts and equipment lease/sub-debt obligations. Since inception, Gerbsman Partners has been involved in over $2.3 billion of financings, restructurings and M&A transactions.

Gerbsman Partners has offices and strategic alliances in Boston, New York, Washington, DC, McLean, VA, San Francisco, Orange County, Europe and Israel.

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GERBSMAN PARTNERS
Phone: Cell: +1 415 505 4991
Email: steve@gerbsmanpartners.com
Web: www.gerbsmanpartners.com
BLOG of Intellectual Capital: blog.gerbsmanpartners.com

10 things in tech you need to know today

no mans sky The PlayStation 4 game “No Man’s Sky.” Hello Games / wanderon1

Good morning! Here’s the tech news you need to know to start your week:

1. Lyft reportedly tried to sell itself to Uber and several other companies, but failed. The ride-hailing startup is refusing to comment on the report.

2. Facebook has made a surprising move that could save its one shrinking business. Revenue from payments and fees has been trending downward, but its new “all-new PC gaming platform” could help to reverse that.

3. The National Security Agency hack proves Apple was right to fight the NSA. Some security experts view the recent leak of NSA spying tools as a vindication of Apple’s stance on user privacy.

4. The CEO of $3.8 billion (£2.9 billion) Slack has a smart idea to help people get off work early. Stewart Butterfield thinks chat bots will help Slack become “the browser and the command line for enterprise.”

5. We interviewed the Microsoft exec who made a computer so good that even Apple wanted to copy it. Panos Panay, Microsoft’s corporate vice president of devices, is behind the Surface Pro 4 and the Surface Book.

6. Lyft made a huge bet on Apple’s secret smash hit, Swift, and it paid off in a big way. The ride-hailing startup rewrote its app in Swift, a programming language created by Apple.

7. Samsung is closing down Milk Music, its music streaming service. Variety reports it will shutter on September 22.

8. Photos of what looks like a new, smaller PlayStation 4 have appeared online. Sony is expected to launch the the PS4 “Neo” in the coming weeks.

9. A Chinese selfie app is getting ready for a $1 billion (£770 million) initial public offering, The Wall Street Journal reports. Meitu is going to go public on the Hong Kong stock exchange.

10. Apple is losing its lead in smartphones. Samsung is outdesigning and outperforming Apple’s iPhone.

11 reasons to be excited about the future of technology

In the year 1820, a person could expect to live less than 35 years, 94% of the global population lived in extreme poverty, and less that 20% of the population was literate. Today, human life expectancy is over 70 years, less that 10% of the global population lives in extreme poverty, and over 80% of people are literate. These improvements are due mainly to advances in technology, beginning in the industrial age and continuing today in the information age.

There are many exciting new technologies that will continue to transform the world and improve human welfare. Here are eleven of them.

1. Self-Driving Cars

Self-driving cars exist today that are safer than human-driven cars in most driving conditions. Over the next 3–5 years they‘ll get even safer, and will begin to go mainstream.

 

The World Health Organization estimates that 1.25 million people die from car-related injuries per year. Half of the deaths are pedestrians, bicyclists, and motorcyclists hit by cars. Cars are the leading cause of death for people ages 15–29 years old.

Just as cars reshaped the world in the 20th century, so will self-driving cars in the 21st century. In most cities, between 20–30% of usable space is taken up by parking spaces, and most cars are parked about 95% of the time. Self-driving cars will be in almost continuous use (most likely hailed from a smartphone app), thereby dramatically reducing the need for parking. Cars will communicate with one another to avoid accidents and traffic jams, and riders will be able to spend commuting time on other activities like work, education, and socializing.

dixon graphicTech Insider

2. Clean Energy

Attempts to fight climate change by reducing the demand for energy haven’t worked. Fortunately, scientists, engineers, and entrepreneurs have been working hard on the supply side to make clean energy convenient and cost-effective.

Due to steady technological and manufacturing advances, the price of solar cells has dropped 99.5% since 1977. Solar will soon be more cost efficient than fossil fuels. The cost of wind energy has also dropped to an all-time low, and in the last decade represented about a third of newly installed US energy capacity.

Forward thinking organizations are taking advantage of this. For example, in India there is an initiative to convert airports to self-sustaining clean energy.

Tesla is making high-performance, affordable electric cars, and installing electric charging stations worldwide.

Tesla Charging A Tesla, charging. Tesla

There are hopeful signs that clean energy could soon be reaching a tipping point. For example, in Japan, there are now more electric charging stations than gas stations.

And Germany produces so much renewable energy, it sometimes produces even more than it can use.

3. Virtual and Augmented Reality

Computer processors only recently became fast enough to power comfortable and convincing virtual and augmented reality experiences. Companies like Facebook, Google, Apple, and Microsoft are investing billions of dollars to make VR and AR more immersive, comfortable, and affordable.

People sometimes think VR and AR will be used only for gaming, but over time they will be used for all sorts of activities. For example, we’ll use them to manipulate 3-D objects.

To meet with friends and colleagues from around the world. And even for medical applications, like treating phobias or helping rehabilitate paralysis victims.

VR and AR have been dreamed about by science fiction fans for decades. In the next few years, they’ll finally become a mainstream reality.

4. Drones and Flying Cars

“Roads? Where we’re going we don’t need… roads.” — Dr. Emmet Brown

GPS started out as a military technology but is now used to hail taxis, get mapping directions, and hunt Pokémon. Likewise, drones started out as a military technology, but are increasingly being used for a wide range of consumer and commercial applications.

For example, drones are being used to inspect critical infrastructure like bridges and power lines, to survey areas struck by natural disasters, and many other creative uses like fighting animal poaching.

Amazon and Google are building drones to deliver household items.

Amazon Drone Smaller Reuters/Gus Ruelas / Amazon

The startup Zipline uses drones to deliver medical supplies to remote villages that can’t be accessed by roads.

There is also a new wave of startups working on flying cars (including two funded by the cofounder of Google, Larry Page).

Flying cars use the same advanced technology used in drones but are large enough to carry people. Due to advances in materials, batteries, and software, flying cars will be significantly more affordable and convenient than today’s planes and helicopters.

5. Artificial Intelligence

It may be a hundred years before a computer beats humans at Go — maybe even longer. — New York Times, 1997

Artificial intelligence has made rapid advances in the last decade, due to new algorithms and massive increases in data collection and computing power.

AI can be applied to almost any field. For example, in photography an AI technique called artistic style transfer transforms photographs into the style of a given painter.

Google built an AI system that controls its datacenter power systems, saving hundreds of millions of dollars in energy costs.

The broad promise of AI is to liberate people from repetitive mental tasks the same way the industrial revolution liberated people from repetitive physical tasks.

Some people worry that AI will destroy jobs. History has shown that while new technology does indeed eliminate jobs, it also creates new and better jobs to replace them. For example, with advent of the personal computer, the number of typographer jobs dropped, but the increase in graphic designer jobs more than made up for it.

Master of Go Board Game Is Walloped by Google Computer Program” — New York Times, 2016

It is much easier to imagine jobs that will go away than new jobs that will be created. Today millions of people work as app developers, ride-sharing drivers, drone operators, and social media marketers— jobs that didn’t exist and would have been difficult to even imagine ten years ago.

6. Pocket Supercomputers for Everyone

By 2020, 80% of adults on earth will have an internet-connected smartphone. An iPhone 6 has about 2 billion transistors, roughly 625 times more transistors than a 1995 Intel Pentium computer. Today’s smartphones are what used to be considered supercomputers.

vatican mobile Crowds watching the pope in St. Peter’s Square in 2005 and 2013. Notice anything different? AP

Internet-connected smartphones give ordinary people abilities that, just a short time ago, were only available to an elite few:

“Right now, a Masai warrior on a mobile phone in the middle of Kenya has better mobile communications than the president did 25 years ago. If he’s on a smart phone using Google, he has access to more information than the U.S. president did just 15 years ago.” — Peter Diamandis

7. Cryptocurrencies and Blockchains

Protocols are the plumbing of the internet. Most of the protocols we use today were developed decades ago by academia and government. Since then, protocol development mostly stopped as energy shifted to developing proprietary systems like social networks and messaging apps.

Cryptocurrency and blockchain technologies are changing this by providing a new business model for internet protocols. This year alone, hundreds of millions of dollars were raised for a broad range of innovative blockchain-based protocols.

“If you asked people in 1989 what they needed to make their life better, it was unlikely that they would have said a decentralized network of information nodes that are linked using hypertext.” — Farmer & Farmer

Protocols based on blockchains also have capabilities that previous protocols didn’t. For example, Ethereum is a new blockchain-based protocol that can be used to create smart contracts and trusted databases that are immune to corruption and censorship.

8. High-Quality Online Education

While college tuition skyrockets, anyone with a smartphone can study almost any topic online, accessing educational content that is mostly free and increasingly high-quality.
Encyclopedia Britannica used to cost $1,400. Now anyone with a smartphone can instantly access Wikipedia. You used to have to go to school or buy programming books to learn computer programming. Now you can learn from a community of over 40 million programmers at Stack Overflow. YouTube has millions of hours of free tutorials and lectures, many of which are produced by top professors and universities.

The quality of online education is getting better all the time. For the last 15 years, MIT has been recording lectures and compiling materials that cover over 2000 courses.

As perhaps the greatest research university in the world, MIT has always been ahead of the trends. Over the next decade, expect many other schools to follow MIT’s lead.

9. Better Food through Science

Earth is running out of farmable land and fresh water. This is partly because our food production systems are incredibly inefficient. It takes an astounding 1799 gallons of water to produce 1 pound of beef.

Fortunately, a variety of new technologies are being developed to improve our food system.
For example, entrepreneurs are developing new food products that are tasty and nutritious substitutes for traditional foods but far more environmentally friendly. The startup Impossible Foods invented meat products that look and taste like the real thing but are actually made of plants.

Impossible Foods An Impossible Foods burger. Screenshot / YouTube

Their burger uses 95% less land, 74% less water, and produces 87% less greenhouse gas emissions than traditional burgers. Other startups are creating plant-based replacements for milk, eggs, and other common foods. Soylent is a healthy, inexpensive meal replacement that uses advanced engineered ingredients that are much friendlier to the environment than traditional ingredients.

Some of these products are developed using genetic modification, a powerful scientific technique that has been widely mischaracterized as dangerous. According to a study by the Pew Organization, 88% of scientists think genetically modified foods are safe.

Another exciting development in food production is automated indoor farming. Due to advances in solar energy, sensors, lighting, robotics, and artificial intelligence, indoor farms have become viable alternatives to traditional outdoor farms.

Compared to traditional farms, automated indoor farms use roughly 10 times less water and land. Crops are harvested many more times per year, there is no dependency on weather, and no need to use pesticides.

10. Computerized Medicine

Until recently, computers have only been at the periphery of medicine, used primarily for research and record keeping. Today, the combination of computer science and medicine is leading to a variety of breakthroughs.

For example, just fifteen years ago, it cost $3B to sequence a human genome. Today, the cost is about a thousand dollars and continues to drop. Genetic sequencing will soon be a routine part of medicine.

Genetic sequencing generates massive amounts of data that can be analyzed using powerful data analysis software. One application is analyzing blood samples for early detection of cancer. Further genetic analysis can help determine the best course of treatment.

Another application of computers to medicine is in prosthetic limbs.

Soon we’ll have the technology to control prothetic limbs with just our thoughts using brain-to-machine interfaces.
Computers are also becoming increasingly effective at diagnosing diseases. An artificial intelligence system recently diagnosed a rare disease that human doctors failed to diagnose by finding hidden patterns in 20 million cancer records.

11. A New Space Age

Since the beginning of the space age in the 1950s, the vast majority of space funding has come from governments. But that funding has been in decline: for example, NASA’s budget dropped from about 4.5% of the federal budget in the 1960s to about 0.5% of the federal budget today.

The good news is that private space companies have started filling the void. These companies provide a wide range of products and services, including rocket launches, scientific research, communications and imaging satellites, and emerging speculative business models like asteroid mining.

The most famous private space company is Elon Musk’s SpaceX, which successfully sent rockets into space that can return home to be reused.

SpaceX A SpaceX launch. SpaceX
Perhaps the most intriguing private space company is Planetary Resources, which is trying to pioneer a new industry: mining minerals from asteroids.

If successful, asteroid mining could lead to a new gold rush in outer space. Like previous gold rushes, this could lead to speculative excess, but also dramatically increased funding for new technologies and infrastructure.

These are just a few of the amazing technologies we’ll see developed in the coming decades. 2016 is just the beginning of a new age of wonders. As futurist Kevin Kelly says:

“If we could climb into a time machine, journey 30 years into the future, and from that vantage look back to today, we’d realize that most of the greatest products running the lives of citizens in 2050 were not invented until after 2016. People in the future will look at their holodecks and wearable virtual reality contact lenses and downloadable avatars and AI interfaces and say, ‘Oh, you didn’t really have the internet’ — or whatever they’ll call it — ’back then.’

“So, the truth: Right now, today, in 2016 is the best time to start up. There has never been a better day in the whole history of the world to invent something. There has never been a better time with more opportunities, more openings, lower barriers, higher benefit/ risk ratios, better returns, greater upside than now. Right now, this minute. This is the moment that folks in the future will look back at and say, ‘Oh, to have been alive and well back then!’

FENWICK & WEST

AUGUST, 2016

AUTHORS:
BARRY KRAMER
KHANG TRAN
STARTUP & VC

SECOND QUARTER 2016

Venture Capital Survey

Set forth below is the link to Fenwick & West 2Q16 venture survey.

Second Quarter 2016 Silicon Valley VC Survey

We hope you find this information useful and would be happy to answer any questions you might have regarding the survey.

Regards,
Barry Kramer
Khang Tran

 

 

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San Francisco, August, 2016
Successful “Date Certain M&A” of Uptake Medical, Inc. its Assets and Intellectual Property – Gerbsman Partners, Financial Advisor
Steven R. Gerbsman, Principal of Gerbsman Partners, Kenneth Hardesty and Dennis Sholl Members of Gerbsman Partners Board of Intellectual Capital announced today their success in maximizing stakeholder value for Uptake Medical, Inc. Uptake Medical, Inc. focused on developing innovative, therapeutic bronchoscopic devices to treat advanced heterogeneous emphysema and lung cancer.

Gerbsman Partners provided Financial Advisory leadership to Uptake Medical, Inc., through its proprietary Date Certain M&A Process, facilitated the sale of the business unit’s assets and its associated Intellectual Property and closing of the sale. Due to market conditions, the board of directors of Uptake Medical, Inc. made the strategic decision to maximize the value of the business unit and Intellectual Property. Gerbsman Partners provided leadership to the company with:

  1.  Business Consulting and Investment Banking domain expertise in developing the strategic action plans for maximizing value of the business unit, Intellectual Property and assets;
  2. Proven domain expertise in maximizing the value of the business unit and Intellectual Property through a Gerbsman Partners targeted and proprietary “Date Certain M&A Process”;
  3. The ability to “Manage the Process” among potential Acquirers, Lawyers, Creditors Management and Advisors;
  4. Communications with the Board of Directors, senior management, senior lenders, creditors, vendors and all stakeholders in interest.

About Gerbsman Partners

Gerbsman Partners focuses on maximizing enterprise value for stakeholders and shareholders in under-performing, under-capitalized and under-valued companies and their Intellectual Property. Since 2001, Gerbsman Partners has been involved in maximizing value for 94 Technology, Medical Device, Life Science, Mobile, Solar, Fuel Cell and Digital Marketing companies and their Intellectual Property and has restructured/terminated over $810 million of real estate executory contracts and equipment lease/sub-debt obligations. Since inception in 1980, Gerbsman Partners has been involved in over $2.3 billion of financings, restructurings and M&A transactions.

Gerbsman Partners has offices and strategic alliances in San Francisco, Orange County, Boston, New York, Washington, DC, McLean, VA, Europe and Israel.

GERBSMAN PARTNERS
Phone: +1.415.456.0628, Cell: +1 415 505 4991
Email: steve@gerbsmanpartners.com
Web: www.gerbsmanpartners.com
BLOG of Intellectual Capital: blog.gerbsmanpartners.com

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San Francisco, July, 2016
Successful “Date Certain M&A” of Palmaz Scientific, Inc. its Assets and Intellectual Property to Vactronix Scientific, Inc. – Gerbsman Partners, Financial Advisor
Steven R. Gerbsman, Principal of Gerbsman Partners, Kenneth Hardesty and Dennis Sholl Members of Gerbsman Partners Board of Intellectual Capital announced today their success in maximizing stakeholder value for Palmaz Scientific, Inc. through a 363 Chapter 11 sale to Vactronix Scientific, Inc. Palmaz Scientific Inc., focused on disruptive technology platforms which will change the medical device industry by creating unique ways of designing and developing medical implants.

Gerbsman Partners provided Financial Advisory leadership to Palmaz Scientific, Inc., through the Chapter 11 and Date Certain M&A Process, facilitated the sale of the business unit’s assets and its associated Intellectual Property and closing of the sale. Due to market conditions, the board of directors of Palmaz Scientific, Inc. made the strategic decision to maximize the value of the business unit and Intellectual Property.   Gerbsman Partners provided leadership to the company with:

  1.  Business Consulting and Investment Banking domain expertise in developing the strategic action plans for maximizing value of the business unit, Intellectual Property and assets;
  2. Proven domain expertise in maximizing the value of the business unit and Intellectual Property through a Gerbsman Partners targeted and proprietary “Date Certain M&A Process”;
  3. The ability to “Manage the Process” among potential Acquirers, Lawyers, Creditors Management and Advisors and the Chapter 11 process;
  4. Communications with the Board of Directors, senior management, senior lenders, creditors, vendors and all stakeholders in interest.

About Gerbsman Partners -Gerbsman Partners focuses on maximizing enterprise value for stakeholders and shareholders in under-performing, under-capitalized and under-valued companies and their Intellectual Property. Since 2001, Gerbsman Partners has been involved in maximizing value for 93 Technology, Medical Device, Life Science, Solar, Fuel Cell and Digital Marketing companies and their Intellectual Property and has restructured/terminated over $810 million of real estate executory contracts and equipment lease/sub-debt obligations. Since inception in 1980, Gerbsman Partners has been involved in over $2.3 billion of financings, restructurings and M&A transactions.

Gerbsman Partners has offices and strategic alliances in San Francisco, Orange County, Boston, New York, Washington, DC, McLean, VA, Europe and Israel.

GERBSMAN PARTNERS
Phone: +1.415.456.0628, Cell: +1 415 505 4991
Email: steve@gerbsmanpartners.com
Web: www.gerbsmanpartners.com
BLOG of Intellectual Capital: blog.gerbsmanpartners.com

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