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Venture Firms Count Police Funds Among Their Investing Partners

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For decades, venture capital and private equity firms have tapped public employee unions as a major source of funding for their investments in startups. Among those investors are the pension funds affiliated with police unions.

Dozens of venture firms, including NEA, Spark Capital and IVP, count police pension funds as limited partners, according to The Information’s analysis of financial reports published by these funds. That’s in addition to the hundreds of PE funds, including huge firms like Apollo and KKR, that have taken money from police unions. These investments illustrate the financial ties that link Silicon Valley and police workers at a time when civil rights advocates and some state lawmakers are pushing for police reform. The connections raise the possibility that venture firms could come under pressure to distance themselves from these limited partners. 

Source: https://www.theinformation.com/articles/venture-firms-count-police-funds-among-their-investing-partners

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Microsoft’s Talks to Buy TikTok Follow Headwinds for Investor Plan

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Microsoft is in serious talks to acquire TikTok, the hugely popular Chinese-owned video app, The Information has confirmed, after separate talks for a U.S. investor group to buy the app ran into headwinds on both political and business grounds.

Senior ByteDance executives see Microsoft as more able to afford Tiktok, which could be worth $30 billion or more, and to have a management team that could absorb the app more easily than if it was a standalone company. ByteDance founder Zhang Yiming also has ties to Microsoft, having worked there early in his career. TikTok’s global general counsel Erich Andersen also has a strong Microsoft connection: he joined TikTok in January after 20 years at the software giant.

Source: https://www.theinformation.com/articles/microsofts-talks-to-buy-tiktok-follow-headway-for-investor-plan

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Microsoft Talks to TikTok: The Information’s Tech Briefing

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News that Microsoft is in talks to buy TikTok raises all sorts of fascinating questions. Microsoft in recent years has been much more focused on selling to business customers than individuals; TikTok would take them in the opposite direction. The closest fit within Microsoft’s business would be its Xbox gaming division, although it isn’t that close. 

It also would raise Microsoft’s exposure to the advertising business, which isn’t ideal for Microsoft shareholders. One reason why Microsoft has skated through the pandemic largely unaffected is its lack of dependency on ad revenue. One big question is whether antitrust regulators would approve the deal. True, this is a new area for Microsoft. But one of the concerns expressed by politicians in recent days is the influence of big tech. A TikTok acquisition wouldn’t reduce a big tech company’s power.

It would, however, create a formidable rival to Facebook and Google’s YouTube, both of which compete with TikTok. For that reason alone, antitrust regulators may be happy.—Martin Peers

Source: https://www.theinformation.com/articles/microsoft-talks-to-tiktok-the-informations-tech-briefing

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The Information’s 411 — Cyberpunk Barons

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It was a big week for tech and politics as the four leaders of the major U.S. tech companies testified in front of the House Antitrust subcommittee. We spoke to Alex Heath and Chris Stern about which CEOs weathered the questions from lawmakers best and where the antitrust investigations go from here. Then Cory speaks to Anissa Gardizy about delivery startup GoPuff and the problems its skyrocketing growth has caused for its neighbors.

Source: https://www.theinformation.com/articles/the-informations-411-cyberpunk-barons

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