Life among the unicorns in their native habitat

Tom Paine

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The biggest layoff news in Pennsylvania this month came from Erie, where GE Transportation announced it would be laying off about 1500 of 4500 blue collar workers. The cuts had been expected due to a slow down in locomotive orders; in fact, one GE official says the cuts are not as bad as earlier expected. Nonetheless, considerable hardship is expected at the far end of the state.

Less of these / Source: GE website, Marc Lore's somewhat risky anti-Amazon startup, appears to have raised $500 million at a $1 billion pre-money valuation led by Fidelity, according to latest reports (though I'm not sure I've seen a confirmation that the round had closed.) But a Wall Street Journal report, citing a look at the startup's financials, said it was rapidly running short on cash and racing to close the round. Who allowed the Journal reporter to see so much of Jet's financials, and why, is a good question.

The Hoboken-based online retailer dropped its $50 upfront fee requirement in October, and I can only imagine what its breakeven projections might be now. Penn-related MentorTech Ventures, which made out well when Lore's previous venture, Quidsi, sold to Amazon, has a small seat on this ride too, although I would expect it to be a long and bumpy one. But MentorTech doesn't have much to lose, I would guess. did say last week that it had passed the one million customer mark, and a source told Fortune that’s total sales reached $20 million in September, and it beat its target for October by 11 percent, selling $33.2 million worth of items.

Alibaba, meanwhile, reportedly plans to invest $80 million in ecommerce retailer Boxed, which is sometimes described as a competitor to Jet. There is certainly some overlap betwwen the two, but Boxed concentrates on larger, bulky grocery store-type items. New York-based Boxed had already raised $30 million from investors including First Round Capital. Alibaba was already an investor in

What about the ongoing FanDuel/DraftKings saga? Well, FanDuel CEO Nigel Eccles opened up in an interview with Bloomberg.

He admitted that people saw the same advertising for too long, and got sick of it. For now, he saw less ads, more regulation, no merger (with DraftKings), and no IPO for the forseeable future. Comcast Ventures owns a stake in FanDuel.

The Telegraph (UK) cites DropBox as its poster child for an overvalued unicorn. DropBox, which was privately valued at $10 billion 2 years ago, hasn't done a great deal to live up to that valuation, the Telegraph implies, asserting that parts of its product line have been commodizised.

And then there's Square, Jack Dorsey's other company and also in First Round Capital's portfolio. The payment processsing startup set its preliminary IPO target at a valuation of around $4 billion, well short of its last private valuation of $6 billion.

But to Marc Andreessen, who's not an investor in Square, this pullback is an indication that there's no tech bubble, since in real tech bubbles of the past the excesses of the private markets were eagerly lapped up by the public markets.

Link 11/9: SAP HANA Must Be Hurting Oracle; but bring bug spray

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Salesforce Volume Deals Add New Twist to an Old Story

Oracle's Amazon-killer might really be 6 months away (Business Insider)

SAP HANA Must Be Hurting Oracle (SAP Hana Blog)

Dangerous bugs leave open doors to SAP HANA systems (Computerworld)

Wizards, Capitals owner to get equity stake in Comcast SportsNet Mid-Atlantic (Baltimore Businsss Journal)