Tech's $1 billion unicorn startups are ready to party
Hello, and welcome to this week's edition of the Insider Tech
- Meet the 136 unicorns born in Q2
- Why Salesforce and Amazon are becoming each other's best allies
- The real story behind Elon Musk's beach tunnel
This week: The hot unicorn summer is here
Once upon a time a startup that attained a $1 billion valuation was a rare feat - rare enough that those that achieved it were called unicorns. Today, unicorns are seemingly everywhere and new ones are being created all the time.
In the second quarter of 2021, there were 136 new unicorns created. That's more than all the unicorns created in 2020. Is it the pent-up enthusiasm for re-opening? The ongoing result of low interest rates? A sign of trouble ahead? Check out the list of the 136 new unicorns and see if you can discern any pattern.
In other startup and VC news:
Here's a wild deal to ponder: Amazon Web Services buys Salesforce.
Impossible, right? After all, Amazon is currently facing the most intense antitrust scrutiny in its nearly three decades of existence. And the FTC's new chairwoman, Lina Khan, is an avowed Amazon skeptic (so much so that Amazon is trying to force her to sit out any proceedings involving the company).
But... If Amazon were to spin off its AWS cloud computing business, the latter could potentially acquire Salesforce, some analysts reckon.
Spinoffs and acquisitions are all just hypotheticals of course. Far less speculative is a stronger alliance between AWS and Salesforce, building on their 2016 partnership. That's because each party provides something the other doesn't currently have in their product offerings. Together (particularly once Salesforce's acquisition of Slack closes) they can offer a more well-rounded alternative to their mutual enemy: Microsoft.
Read the full story here:
Why Salesforce and Amazon are becoming each other's best allies in the battle against Microsoft - and how they could become even closer
In other Big Tech news:
The Big Read
Fort Lauderdale asked Elon Musk to build a commuter train tunnel. So how did it end up with a plan for a $30 million beach tunnel for Teslas instead?
Insider obtained emails and other documents through freedom of information requests to piece together the makings of a curious deal that raised eyebrows when it was hastily announced this month.
The documents show how starstruck city officials turned to a tech-industry celebrity to solve a difficult problem and - for the moment at least - ended up instead agreeing to buy something they hadn't been looking for, and may not really need.
Snapshot: Ukraine Crypto Bust!
You might think that shelves crammed with PlayStation consoles belong to an electronics retailer.
According to the Ukraine police however, the picture below is an underground cryptocurrency mining operation.
Some 3,800 Sony PlayStations were discovered in the facility, located in a town about three hours outside the capital of Kyiv, along with 5,000 computers, 50 processors and an assortment of notebooks, phones and flash drives.
"Such illegal activity could lead to power surges and left people without electricity," the Security Service of Ukraine declaimed in a press release announcing the big bust.
For their alleged theft of electricity, water and thermal energy, the crypto miners now face criminal proceedings. And investigations are underway to identify other conspirators.
"There's this idea that you need to be passionate about technology to be successful: That's actually not true. It helps, but it is not a requirement."
- Google cloud expert Kelsey Hightower, who taught himself computer science and has become one of the most sought-after speakers in the
Not necessarily in tech:
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