Tech World: a $200m funding round, the return of Google Glass and more

Hello, I’m Emily. Welcome to Tech World, your
quick roundup of some the top technology news stories from across the globe. This month, we have a $200m funding round,
a controversial resignation, the return of Google Glass and more. For this episode’s
Hot Topic interview, we spoke with Richard Goold from EY about exit strategy. Indoor farming startup Plenty raised a whopping
$200m investment round led by SoftBank Vision Fund. The funds will help Plenty roll out
its vertical indoor farms globally. The farms can reportedly produce crops at yields 530
times greater than that of a typical field. July was also the month Dave McClure resigned
as general partner of 500 Startups. The news followed the publication of a New York Times
report claiming he had sent inappropriate messages to a female entrepreneur. Vantiv is to buy UK payment processing firm
Worldpay for £3.85 per share, which works out at around £7.7bn. The exact pricing will
depend on Vantiv’s share price when the deal closes. Assuming the deal does go through,
the company will be run by two CEOs and be co-headquartered between London and Ohio. Uber has formed a partnership with Yandex,
the Russian search giant and operator of the ride-hailing service Yandex.Taxi. The companies
will combine their taxi services in Russia and several other Eastern European countries
under a new, yet-to-be-named company. Meanwhile, Google Glass is back. The tech
behemoth’s smart glasses weren’t well received at all when they went on sale in 2014, but
the firm has released a new version nonetheless. This time, they’ve released Glass Enterprise
Edition, a version aimed not at consumers, but at workers. That’s it for our top global tech news roundup,
but keep watching to see this episode’s Hot Topics interview. We spoke with Richard Goold from EY about
exit strategy. Hi Rich, thanks for joining us. So we’re going
to speak about exit strategy today. So first of all can you tell us what the different
types of exit are? So most people think of an exit as a private
sale to a strategic buyer, but there are IPOs and we’re beginning to see some IPOs coming
back into the market again, but also increasingly we’re seeing partial exits, because growth-stage
investors come in and can buy part of an entrepreneur’s stake. Should exit be the ultimate goal for all tech
founders? Well it’s certainly true that some entrepreneurs
build their companies to sell them, but not all of them. I think many entrepreneurs just
want to build a company that’s going to change the world and do something really exciting.
In fact, most of the biggest exits are in that second category. And at what point should founders plan for
an exit? So I think, in many ways, planning starts
from day one. You need to have your house in good order and you need to have the systems
and governance in place so that if an acquisition were to happen, a buyer wouldn’t find problems
and, really, the relationships are fundamental, because many companies get sold to a company
they have had a relationship with for a very long time. So building strategic relationships
early is key for every entrepreneur. So once a firm feels like it’s at the stage
where it wants to exit, and it’s going through the process, how do they then decide on the
best buyer? Well, some of it is just around money, but
a lot of it is around culture as well. Your investors, your advisers are going to have
a view, but ultimately, an entrepreneur typically wants to have their company – their baby
– be successful in someone else’s hands. So finding some form of meeting of minds around
the cultures is really important. And how can a company know when it’s the right
time for them to exit? Well, I think there’s a lot of touch and feel
around that and, again, some of that will go to what your investors think, but taking
a lot of advice – taking advice from your advisory board or the broader professional
services community is important. I think much of it is driven around what they buyers want,
though, and the buyer’s timing. And to get the best value, what you really want to do
is get your startup just at the front of an innovation cycle. Because, typically, in a
new area, the best values are always going to be paid for early acquisitions in any new
technology area. Ok, fantastic, thank you Richard. Great to see you. That’s all for this episode. Thanks for
watching and see you next time.

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