Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Bay Area Tech Wire - May 2

BAY AREA TECH WIRE -- May 2, 2017
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o Oakland-Based Wavedash Raises $6 Million for Esports Fighting Games
San Francisco-Based Docker Names Steve Singh as Chairman and CEO
o White House Launches New Council to Modernize Federal IT Systems
Santa Clara-Based Lunera Names John Bruggeman as CEO
American Farm Bureau Launches $145K Rural Entrepreneurship Challenge
o Briefly Noted:
Hitachi Data Systems, eHealth, Symantec, Qualys

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--8 Habits of Effective Critical Thinkers
--Baird Global Technology Investment Banking

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o Oakland-Based Wavedash Raises $6 Million for Esports Fighting Games

Oakland -- Wavedash Games, an Oakland-based independent game publisher focused on esports, said on Tuesday it has raised $6 million in its first round of funding, led by March Capital Partners. Lowercase Capital, Advancit Capital, CourtsideVC, Machine Shop Ventures, Luma Labs and Cherrytree VC also took part in the round, which the company will use to grow its staff and complete the development of its new fighting game. Wavedash is focusing on a genre called platform fighters, fighting games where victory is achieved by knocking an opponent off the stage rather than by depleting health bars. Popularized by Nintendo's Super Smash Bros., the genre has become popular as a competitive esport, where players compete for prizes. "The platform fighter community is one of the most vibrant in gaming," said co-founder and CEO Matt Fairchild. "But it has yet to reach its full potential." The company said it plans to offer its new game, which has yet to be titled, for free, while selling customization options. Wavedash plans to reveal gameplay this summer.

o San Francisco-Based Docker Names Steve Singh as Chairman and CEO

San Francisco -- Docker, the San Francisco-based company behind the popular open source platform that lets users build, ship and run distributed applications, on Tuesday named Steve Singh as its new chairman and CEO. He succeeds former CEO Ben Golub, who will remain on the company's board of directors. Singh previously served as the CEO of Concur, before it was acquired by SAP in 2014. At SAP, he then served as president of the business networks and applications group. He joined Docker's board late last year. "Steve's success in building a software business from nothing to over a billion in revenue sets him apart, both as a strategist and a leader," said Peter Fenton, a general partner at investor Benchmark Capital.

White House Launches New Council to Modernize Federal IT Systems

Washington, DC -- President Trump on Monday signed an executive order creating a council charged with modernizing federal IT systems. According to the order, the American Technology Council (ATC) will "coordinate the vision, strategy and direction for the federal government's use of information technology and the delivery of services through information technology." Trump, himself, will chair the ATC, which also will include Vice President Mike Pence, the Secretaries of Defense, Commerce and Homeland Security and more than a dozen other officials. "Americans deserve better digital services from their government," the order states. "To effectuate this policy, the federal government must transform and modernize its information technology and how it uses and delivers digital services." In March, the White House also created the Office of American Innovation (OAI), which aims to bring private-sector tech experience to the federal government through input from prominent executives such as Apple CEO Tim Cook, Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates, Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff and Tesla founder and CEO Elon Musk.


o Santa Clara-Based Lunera Names John Bruggeman as CEO

Santa Clara, Calif. -- Lunera, a Santa Clara-based provider of smart building services focused on energy, property and resource management on Tuesday named John Bruggeman as its CEO. Bruggeman most recently served as the CEO of Traxpay, and previously was the chief marketing officer (CMO) at Cadence Design Systems and Wind River. "John's software experience and track record of success will accelerate Lunera's leadership in the emerging Smart Building Services market," said Chairman Gary Dillabough. Lunera develops industrial Internet of Things (IoT) technology for the commercial and industrial buildings market, The company embeds IoT-edge technology, sensors, controls, modems and microprocessors into standard LED lightbulbs.

o American Farm Bureau Launches $145K Rural Entrepreneurship Challenge

Washington, DC -- The American Farm Bureau Federation on Monday opened online applications for its fourth Rural Entrepreneurship Challenge, which will award $145,000 to individuals with ideas and business innovations that benefit rural regions of the U.S. It's the first national rural business competition focused exclusively on entrepreneurs working on food and agriculture businesses. "Rural entrepreneurs typically face hurdles that make it challenging to develop successful businesses, including lack of capital, business networks and business training," said Lisa Benson, AFBF's director of rural development. "Through the challenge, we're helping food and agricultural entrepreneurs take their businesses to the next level." Submissions are due by June 30 at the link below. The top 10 teams, to be announced in October, will have the opportunity to pitch to potential investors.

o Briefly Noted:

(Santa Clara, Calif.) Santa Clara-based Hitachi Data Systems, a unit of Japanese electronics giant Hitachi providing data and analytics tools, on Tuesday named David Turner as the president and CEO of its Virginia-based HDS Federal unit. He succeeds Mike Tanner, who departed the company in October. Turner most recently served as president of the applied technology and operational services group at Akima, and previously was a senior vice president at ACS Government Solutions..

(Mountain View, Calif.) Mountain View-based eHealth, developer of a private online health insurance exchange, on Tuesday named Ian Kalin as its chief data officer. Kalin, a former Presidential Innovation Fellow, previously served as the first chief data officer at the U.S. Department of Commerce.

(Mountain View, Calif.) Mountain View-based cybersecurity giant Symantec on Tuesday named Fredrik Torstensson as the senior vice president of global sales and field marketing for its consumer business. Torstensson, who will be responsible for driving consumer revenue growth for the company's LifeLock and Norton businesses, most recently was the senior vice president of global sales at Wacom, and previously served in senior level sales and general manager positions with LifeProof, Comarco Wireless, Kyocera Wireless and Ericsson.

(Redwood City, Calif.) Redwood City-based Qualys, a developer of cloud-based security and compliance tools, on Tuesday named Mark Butleras its chief information security officer. Butler previously served as the vice president, chief information security officer and enterprise security information officer at Fiserv.

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> 8 Habits of Effective Critical Thinkers

Critical thinking - the ability to make decisions, solve problems, and take appropriate action - has been identified as a key skill by educators, business leaders and governments. Here are eight ways to become a better critical thinker at work and in life.


> Baird Commentary: How the IoT Revolution Is Driving Consolidation

In a recent commentary on the ever-evolving Internet of Things (IoT) revolution, Baird's senior technology bankers discuss how the proliferation of IoT-enabled software and services and ongoing industry consolidation. Today's sophisticated IoT software and systems not only connect disparate devices, they collect, verify and cleanse data -- diminishing the long-time challenge of cutting through "noise" inherent to data aggregation and facilitating in-depth analysis and application of the collected information into actionable intelligence. This IoT revolution is quickly catching up to its hype by transforming businesses across many sectors. The value of IoT technology has become imperative, and growing demand is fueling tremendous acquisition interest from a diverse range of buyers, pushing competition higher and accelerating consolidation in the space. Read Baird's insights into this rapidly evolving space and the related M&A activity: http://www.rwbaird.com/news/Unlocking-Intelligence 


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