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Tech’s $1 billion unicorn startups are ready to party

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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.

Unicorn



Friso Gentsch/Picture Alliance via Getty Images


In other startup and VC news: 

Garrett Camp’s VC fund is breaking all the rules with a new accelerator for fledging founders. Here’s how it’s different.

Tech startups can’t hire fast enough. Here are 25 important people to know if you want to land one of those jobs.

Meet Shift5, the 50-person security startup quietly hiring execs away from hot startups like Tanium and Armis and landing millions in military contracts

Money app Revolut’s valuation has jumped 500% to $33 billion after raising $800 million from SoftBank and Tiger Global


Deal Watch…

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

Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff and Amazon Web Services CEO Adam Selipsky

(L to R) Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff, Amazon Web Services CEO Adam Selipsky

Salesforce


In other Big Tech news: 

Confessions of Google employees: the company is too big and needs to be broken up

Oracle insiders say a key cloud VP is out after about a year. Here are the details on the big changes at Oracle’s important cloud security business.

Facebook’s chief diversity officer reveals how she’s increasing BIPOC leadership at the tech giant

TikTok’s search algorithm has been auto-suggesting potentially harmful eating disorder content when users type the first few letters of banned keywords


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?

Tesla CEO Elon Musk with a hardhat.JPG

Elon Musk

Michele Tantussi/Reuters


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.

Click here to read the full story


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.

Metal racks with Sony Playstation consoles in a Ukraine crypto mine

Gaming consoles in Ukraine.

Security Service of Ukraine


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. 


Quote of the week:

Kelsey Hightower, principle engineer at Google and self-taught developer. His arms are crossed and he's wearing a grey shirt in front of a textured brown background.

Kelsey Hightower, principle engineer at Google and self-taught developer.

Kelsey Hightower


“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 enterprise tech field. According to Hightower, the key is optimizing your skills for the jobs that people are hiring for. 


Not necessarily in tech:

We found Jeffrey Epstein’s other little black book from 1997. Search all 349 names in our exclusive database.


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— Alexei

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