The Pinterest investment [$225 million to push the company’s estimated value up to $3.8 billion] is also an opportunity to see how big, outside money is added to the mix in Silicon Valley. While the latest Pinterest round included Valley heavyweights like the venture capital firm Andreessen Horowitz, the bulk of the money came from Fidelity Investments, the mutual fund giant in Boston.
That said, it can be hard to figure how these valuations add up.
Take Square, the mobile payments start-up best known for its slick credit card reader. Last year, it raised a reported $200 million from investors that valued the company at $3.25 billion.
Square is expected to process $15 billion in transactions in 2013. Compare that with MasterCard, which processes more than $3.6 trillion in credit card transactions annually. MasterCard is valued at $90 billion on the public market. If the market were applying valuations based on transaction volume alone, MasterCard would be valued at almost $800 billion.
Not surprisingly, “unlike Square’s previous financing rounds, which prominently featured big venture capital names like Sequoia Capital and Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers,” its most recent round was not led by a traditional Silicon Valley backer, The New York Times reported at the time.
Instead, the majority of the financing came from Suhail Rizvi, the head of Rizvi Traverse Management, a private equity group. Rizvi Traverse and Square both declined to comment about the company’s financing.
— In China, excess capital builds cities that no one will every live in. In America, it funds tech companies that will never turn a profit.
12:22 pm • 28 October 2013 • 2 notes
School districts across the country are increasingly adopting digital technologies that collect details about students’ achievements, activities, absences, disabilities and learning styles in an effort to tailor instruction to the individual child. The hope is that personalized, data-driven education will ultimately improve students’ graduation rates and career prospects.
Many school districts, however, are using student assessment software and other services without placing sufficient restrictions on the use of children’s personal details by companies, experts in education privacy law say. Parents may not be aware of the security and privacy risks to their children, these experts say, because schools are not required to notify parents or obtain their consent before sharing student’s details with vendors who perform institutional functions.
New research on how school districts handle the transfer of student data to companies, for instance, has found that administrators have signed contracts without clauses to protect personal details like children’s contact information, age ranges or where they wait for school buses every morning…
Schools are sharing student data with more educational technology providers and with other companies, he said, partly to keep up with mounting student testing and reporting requirements and partly to keep down internal technology costs. That outsourcing has been made easier because of changes to federal regulation under the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act.
That law requires schools to obtain a parent’s permission before sharing information in their children’s records. But the Education Department updated its rules in 2008, allowing schools to disclose student information to contractors and other outside parties to whom they outsource school functions — without notifying parents.
— "Group Presses for Safeguards on the Personal Data of Schoolchildren" NYT, 10/14 B2
7:20 pm • 14 October 2013 • 6 notes
im excited to say that i have an essay — a long take on Avicii’s new LP, the “Wake Me Up” music video — in the new issue of maura magazine, my first maura magazine contribution since it because available to those without smartphones. if you subscribe, read it here (and read other awesome articles from this week’s issue here). if you don’t, content yourself to gazing longingly at the above #cameraphone screenshot, and start saving pennies. maybe read this drake review i wrote for emusic.
1:29 pm • 25 September 2013