Posts Tagged ‘Julie Bort’

50 startups that will boom in 2018, according to VCs

50 hot startups 2018BI Graphics

2018 is almost upon us and so it is once again time to predict which startups will take the tech industry by storm next year.

Who better to ask than the startup experts, the VCs that watch the industry, guide the startups, hear their pitches, and invest in them?

We reached out to a number of top VCs and asked them which startups will boom in 2018. We invited participation from investors from a variety of backgrounds and investing philosophies. This includes some of the top VCs in the Valley (Accel, Andreessen Horowitz, Battery Ventures, Bessemer, Greylock Ventures, Kleiner Perkins, Sequoia).

We included VCs of note who specialize in seed and early rounds (8VC, Bloomberg Beta, BBG Ventures — which backs startups with at least one female founder.) We also asked some top VCs from the startup nation Israel (JVC, OurCrowd) and VCs that have been known for picking hits (like IVP’s Somash Dash).

We asked them to name a company they’ve backed that’s on track to have a great 2018. After all, they believed in those companies so much they invested. But we also asked them to name another startup they think is cool that they don’t have any financial interest in.

As startup lovers, they gave us this list chock full of amazing up-and-comers creating tech for businesses, gamers, personalized health, robots, high-tech money, new forms of super computers, and even outer space.


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LinkedIn is working on a project that should terrify Cisco and the rest of the $175 billion hardware industry

LinkedIn Zaid Ali Kahn, data center Zaid Ali Kahn at LinkedIn’s flagship data center, in Oregon. LinkedIn

In the shadow of its acquisition by Microsoft, LinkedIn has quietly begun talking about an internal project that has the potential to shake up the roughly $175 billion data-center hardware market.

LinkedIn’s plan is somewhat similar to what Facebook is doing with its Open Compute Project. OCP is creating brand-new “open source” data-center hardware, in which the engineers from different companies work together and everyone freely shares the designs.

In its five years, OCP has upended the data-center market and generated a cultlike following so big that when Apple forbade its networking team to join OCP, the whole team up and quit.

Likewise, LinkedIn is designing and building nearly all the pieces and parts of software and hardware that it needs for its data centers, poaching key people from Facebook and Juniper to do it.

“We are not building servers and switches and all these things because we want to be good at it. We are doing it because we believe it gives us an advantage to control our own destiny,” Zaid Ali Kahn, senior director of infrastructure architecture and operations at LinkedIn, told Business Insider.

This is a terrifying trend for vendors like Cisco and Juniper. In the past, only the biggest internet companies like Amazon, Google, and Facebook have gone this route: designing their own IT infrastructure from scratch.

LinkedIn isn’t as big as those guys. It has a handful of data centers in California, Texas, and Virginia — most of them using leased space at a hosting provider — and only recently started designing and building its own in Singapore and Oregon. The one in Portland, Oregon, is its crown jewel, and the other data centers will eventually be upgraded with the new technology.

Internally, this is known as Project Altair, and the plan to build its own network software to run on dirt-cheap commodity network hardware is known as Project Falco.

A superfast network for $1

The story begins with a Facebook network hardware engineer named Yuval Bachar. He was part of a Facebook team in 2013 that had a big goal: reducing the price of building a super-high-speed computer networks tenfold. Facebook had stolen him from Cisco, and he did a stint at Juniper, too.

LinkedIn Yuval Bachar Yuval Bachar. YouTube/@Scale

He wanted to pay $1 per gigabyte, or $100 for each piece of network equipment that normally costs $2,500 — and he publicly announced the goal at an industry conference.

He then went on to help Facebook build its industry-changing, l0w-cost, open source Wedge switch that put market leader Cisco on notice. Earlier this month, Facebook announced the second generation of that switch.

About the time Bachar announced his goal, the LinkedIn networking team was struggling with its own network, which wasn’t handling the company’s user growth very well.

“The Production Engineering Operations (PEO) team found it very difficult to meet the demands of our applications when network routers and switches are beholden to commercial vendors, who are in control of features and fixing bugs,” Kahn wrote in a blog post.

In early 2015, the team began to build its own switch, called Pigeon. In the fall, it hired Kahn to help do it. It began testing the switch early this year.

LinkedIn's Pigeon switch LinkedIn’s Pigeon switch. LinkedIn

Deja vu

In the meantime, having been a part of OCP, Bachar came up with a similar plan for LinkedIn. OCP started by creating a rack that holds stacks of computers, storage drives, and network switches.

Open19 rack The Open 19 rack. Open19.org

As a company grows, it simply adds more switches, servers, and disk drives to the rack. But the racks themselves can be expensive, including all sorts of bells and whistles that LinkedIn didn’t need.

Facebook had the same problem, so it built a stripped-down 21-inch rack, then designed its own servers and storage to put in it.

But hardly anyone else uses a 21-inch rack. “Probably 99.5% [of companies] are using a 19-inch rack,” Kahn told us.

That means for LinkedIn (or anyone else) to use Facebook’s rack, it had to renegotiate supply deals with its vendors to get gear in different sizes.

It was deja vu. Bachar led an initiative called Open 19 to create an open standard for a low-cost 19-inch rack. This rack can be stuffed with 96 servers for $50,000 total, saving $25 million across a 500-rack data center, the organization says.

Having seen the impact of OCP, vendors jumped on board, including some of the Chinese contract manufacturers that have made a killing supporting OCP. Hewlett-Packard Enterprise, which was late to OCP, is also a member.

Full-steam ahead, no turning back

Microsoft, which expects its $26.2 billion acquisition of LinkedIn to close by the end of this year, is a member of OCP and has standardized its 21-inch racks and other OCP technology.

Kahn wouldn’t comment on the impact of the acquisition, but Microsoft has promised to let LinkedIn operate independently. A person with knowledge of the situation told us projects Altair, Falco, and Open 19 are still full-steam ahead.

This person points to the fact that in September, three months after the merger was announced, the company hired Doug Hanks from Juniper Networks.

LinkedIn Doug Hanks Doug Hanks. LinkedIn/Doug Hanks

Hanks was Juniper’s director of product management and strategy, and has written a number of books on Juniper’s tech. He’s now LinkedIn’s director of engineering.

“Doug Hanks reports to me,” Kahn said. “He recently joined and we’re delighted to have him.”

“His focus is to build the network engineering team and take it to the next level and help execute a number of initiatives, understanding the blend between software and networking,” he said.

Our source said that with Hanks on board, LinkedIn plans to be almost fully reliant on its own home-grown network gear in 18 to 24 months, and then “it’s no turning back at that point.”

Kahn insists that LinkedIn’s goal differs from Facebook’s. He’s not looking to pick a public fight with the network industry led by Cisco.

In fact, he’s still buying network gear from a number of commercial vendors — as long as they allow him to ditch their software so he can install his own, he said.

“A lot of vendors are open to that, to meet the needs of a web scale company,” he said.

LinkedIn also hasn’t fully committed to giving away all of its home-grown infrastructure software, the designs of its switch, or other hardware, as OCP has. But Kahn hasn’t ruled out openly sharing its technology either.

“LinkedIn’s culture is open source, so when the time is right we will be open to that,” Kahn said.

In fact, LinkedIn was a founding member in Hewlett-Packard Enterprise’s open source project, called OpenSwitch, to build a Linux-based switch. OpenSwitch is now run by the Linux Foundation (and word is that the initiative is floundering and LinkedIn is looking for alternatives).

Meanwhile, LinkedIn has also been sharing technical articles about its network software.

Big money at stake

Internet companies using commercial network gear often spend $40 million to $140 million a year on it with vendors like Cisco, Arista, and others, one person who ran a large internet network recently told Business Insider.

Seeing a company LinkedIn’s size roll its own, they could be encouraged to try that themselves.

One person not associated with LinkedIn who built a huge data center for one of the world’s largest tech companies said that after his company starting building its own network equipment, it drove the costs down by a factor of 10: from $40,000 per Cisco switch to $4,000 per cheaper “commodity” switch capable of running home-grown software.

“Arista, Cisco, Juniper, they are all s—ing themselves about this trend,” said someone familiar with LinkedIn’s project. “The big guys, Google, Amazon, Facebook, are all doing this for economies of scale. For them, it’s all about money. It’s cheaper to build their own. At LinkedIn, cost is not the No. 1 priority at all. They want to have complete control over the user experience, to own everything in the stack. Then they can standardize it.”

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mickeys-brain-1How To Find Great Business Ideas From All Over The World by Julie Bort

YouTube/Mickey Hart

Do you want to start a company or come up with that genius idea for your current company?
Of course you do.

But if it was easy to come up with the Next Big Thing, we would all do it. So here’s a secret. There are two websites created by the same guy, Reinier Evers, that have some 17,000 thousand people worldwide scouring the world for the coolest, most creative business ideas and reporting on them for all to see and be inspired: Springwise and trendwatching.com.

For instance:

Former Grateful Dead drummer Mickey Hart is using a mind-reading EEG headset to create thought-controlled visuals and music for his Superorganism tour.
A smart scale and Kickstarter project called the Prep Pad is a chopping board and weighing scale that can determine the exact nutritional content of the meal being prepared, and tracking users’ eating habits.
Yahoo! Japan has created Hands On Search, a machine that allows users to search by voice and receive a result in 3D-printed form.
A new 3D printer called LumiFold is designed to be folded, so it can fit in a backpack.
A clothing designer Elizabeth Fraguada, founder of the Jorge & Esther studio, has created a collection of clothing that embeds LED lights into the fabric (like color or cuff) and these lights can change color via a smartphone app.
We recently caught up with Chris Kreinczes, managing director for the Springwise blog, to ask about the business of trend spotting.

Business Insider: Why have two sites that seem to do basically the same thing?

Chris Kreinczes: The companies are actually very different in what they do. Trendwatching.com focuses on trends, offering free monthly trend briefings and, as part of their Premium service, access to their Innovations Database, Industry Bulletins, Trend Reports and an Apply Toolkit.

Springwise differs in both its content and its delivery of that content. The site is designed as an online magazine for daily viewing, and we deliver free weekly and daily newsletters (170,000+ subscribers total). The content consists primarily of overviews of innovative startups (we feature three a day), and we offer an interview series with founders.

We also offer a service for professionals called Springwise Access, giving access to our database of over 4,000 innovative business ideas, a personalized homepage tailored to our clients interests, and bookmarking and folder sharing features.

BI: How many spotters/Trendwatchers do you have currently?

CK: There are now slightly over 15,000 Springspotters and 2,500 Happy Spotters (the trendwatching.com equivalent).

BI: Can anyone be a spotter/trendwatcher, or are these contract, trained, paid jobs?

CK: Anyone can sign up to be a Springspotter and they will be automatically accepted. To become a Happy Spotter, applicants must first meet certain criteria. Both sets of spotters can earn points for accepted spottings, redeemable in our gift galleries.

BI: In 2013, what would you say are the big tech trends that define the year so far?

CK: According to the trendwatching.com team, a tech trend we highlighted last December as being key for 2013 was “Mobile Moments,” how consumers would look to their mobile devices to maximize every single moment.

We’ve since seen an explosion of innovations that tap into micro pockets of time, from the boom in mini video sharing (including Vine and Instagram), to the high adoption of ephemeral messaging platforms such as SnapChat or Frankly.

Another trend that broke from the lab and into the consumer market was what we call “Emotive Tech,” technologies that read and respond to emotions. It is a strand of the larger trend of “Intuitive Interfaces” where devices are designed to be natural, and therefore more pleasant, to use.

An example of Emotive Tech would be the Japanese-developed Mico headset, a pair of headphones that measures the wearer’s brainwaves and selects music to fit their mood. Another is the recently funded Kickstarter project PIP, a stress detecting biosensor that helps users relax through gameplay.

Read more: http://www.businessinsider.com/find-great-ideas-from-all-over-the-world-2013-9#ixzz2jJc4p9kA

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Tech More: Apple iWatch Steve Wozniak
Here’s The New-Product Wishlist Apple’s Wozniak Is Begging CEO Tim Cook To Make
Julie Bort


Apple cofounder Steve Wozniak has a wish list of stuff he’d like Apple to make.
When Reuters’ Sareena Dayaram asked during a video interview what advice Woz would give to CEO Tim Cook, Woz smiled and said, “I wouldn’t dare because I have a feeling the comeback would be more like a fight. And I’m really a non-conflict type of person.”

But, he said, “I can talk about what I want.”

He grabbed his wrist and said, “I want my wearable devices that are basically as complete as my iPhone in their functionality.”

He also wants larger screens on iPhones and other features that iPhone competitors have that are “better” than what the iPhone offers (though he didn’t name those features).

Most importantly, he wants Apple “dreamers” thinking up products that change the world “with some new product you wouldn’t even call a phone.” (The Apple iGlass perhaps?)

Here’s the full interview. Skip ahead to 3:50 to hear his Apple wish list.

Read more: http://www.businessinsider.com/apple-cofounder-steve-wozniak-begs-apple-for-the-iwatch-2013-8#ixzz2dJBJnkbQ

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