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Uber Clocks In With A $17B Valuation

on Friday, Jun. 6th

In the world of start-ups no name is more polarizing than Uber. The car service “disruptor,” which has become the poster child of the so-called “sharing economy” has drawn the ire of pundits and regulators alike as it seeks to redefine urban ground transportation.

It has also drawn boatloads of cash. Today Uber announced a funding round of $1.2 billion against a massive $17 billion valuation. The Street believes in Uber, despite a string of nasty regulatory battles and a string of lurid reports about the actions of some of its drivers.

And Uber? Uber totally believes in itself:

Uber is changing the fabric of these cities. At our current rate, Uber is responsible for directly creating 20,000 new jobs per month and powering billions in economic impact in cities around the world – while also improving the environment, reducing DUI rates and fueling urban economic development.

Of course, that 20,000 doesn’t run the math on how many taxi drivers Uber puts out of business or flips. Nor does it cop to the fact that the service built out its infrastructure on the back of a long standing rivalry between cabbies and black town car drivers. It also fails to mention the Uber ambition of adding driverless cars to its fleet.

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Erik Moore, Venture Capitalist, ‘Unapologetically Black’

on Monday, Mar. 17th

Erik Moore’s career in venture capital began with a hot tub.

It sounds like the ultimate Bay Area cliché, perhaps even more vividly so when you hear that the hot tub in question was destined for the downtown building once sought after by flashy former San Francisco mayor Willie Brown.

It was 1999, and Tony Hsieh, one of the building’s well-to-do tenants, had just sold his first company to Microsoft. Hsieh wanted to install a Jacuzzi in his penthouse apartment – but it was against policy in the building, where Moore lived, too. After the fellow tenants ran into each other one night, Hsieh drafted Moore onto the homeowner’s association. They got the sought-after hot tub installed, and became friends.

Good enough friends that Moore invested in Hsieh’s company, one called Zappos.

At the time, he told Hsieh, “I’m not sure I have ever heard of a more stupid idea than selling shoes online.” But, deciding that Hsieh’s obvious talents as an entrepreneur outweighed the apparent dead-end nature of the internet service that became Zappos (which was later acquired by Amazon for $1.2 billion) Moore made the investment that eventually provided the seed money for his venture capital fund, Base Ventures. (more…)

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Crowdfunding Platform Patreon Pulls In Big Venture Capital

on Friday, Aug. 2nd

On last week's episode of The CrowdCrowd, Seed & Spark founder Emily Best brought the crowdfunding platform Patreon to our attention. Patreon has some news of its own this week, and Tubefilter's Sam Gutelle has the details:

Patreon, a site launched back in May, also allows YouTube creators to set up regular fundraising drives to fuel their videos. The brainchild of YouTuber Jack Conte, Patreon has big plans of its own; Conte just raised more than $2 million in venture capital, which will help him bring the system of patronage to the forefront of the online video space.

Expect even more platforms and models to show up in the coming months. Heck, if you could see my inbox right now…

Follow Noah Nelson on Twitter (@noahjnelson)

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To Build The VR Education of Tomorrow One Scholar Turns To The Past

There are plenty of folks in the education technology field who are excited about virtual reality as the next great educational tool.

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We’re Closer To Our Photorealistic VR Future Than You’d Think (INTERVIEW)

A look into the virtual world of tomorrow with USC researcher Paul Debevec.

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Prepare Yourselves For The Personal VR Video Revolution

Virtual Reality is rapidly approaching a watershed moment.

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Spoiler Alert: Hollywood Isn’t Taking Cyber Security Seriously (LA Film Fest)

Tonight at the Los Angeles Film Festival, squeezed in between movies and red carpet events, a symposium on Cyber Security is being held at the Grammy Museum.

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Rent Video Straight From Social Media Via Gumroad

The people who brought the “Buy Now” button to Twitter are going all-in on film distribution.

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