• Luma Tacks on $7 Million from Andreessen Horowitz and GV

    screen-shot-2016-09-18-at-8-51-56-pmLuma, an Atlanta-based company that makes a sleek router with a wide variety of bells and whistles, has tacked on $7 million in funding to its coffers from Andreessen Horowitz and GV. The funding comes fast on the heels of a $12.5 million Series A round that was co-led in April by Accel Partners and Amazon and included participation from Felicis Ventures.

    Seemingly, investors are trying to get a stake in the company before the router wars begin to heat up further. “Unlike a smart thermostat, a wireless router isn’t option; it’s something that everyone needs,” notes Luma cofounder Paul Judge.

    Customers want something that’s more sophisticated than the routers of yesteryear, too, given how much more advanced tech has grown in other aspects of their lives. “The consumer network and IT at home has just been broken, and there isn’t a device or product that people are excited about to be the backbone of the connected home,” Judge says.

    Established companies like Asus, D-Link, and Netgear definitely get it. In recent years, they’ve begun layering in features like parental controls and the ability to prioritize traffic based on network and device. But they face fresh entrants that are going after a piece of the market with their own next-generation features. And no wonder: Roughly 170 million wireless routers are purchased each year.

    More here.

  • Bill Maris Parts Ways with GV

    Screen Shot 2016-08-19 at 9.31.12 PMBill Maris, who founded GV (formerly known as Google Ventures) in 2009, is leaving the unit at the end of this week, according to a new report from Recode.

    Maris, a neuroscience student at Middlebury who cofounded an early web hosting company before joining Google, is reportedly being replaced by David Krane.

    Krane is a managing partner at GV; he joined the venture arm in 2010, after spending nearly 10 years as Google’s director of global communications and public affairs.

    This is quite a bombshell, and, as Recode notes, comes on the heels of a string of other recent, high-profile departures within Alphabet, parent company to GV and several other units.

    Android cofounder Rich Miner recently left GV to start an education project within Google.

    Alphabet also recently parted ways with Tony Fadell, the cofounder of Nest Labs (acquired by Google for $3.2 billion in early 2014), and several executives at Google’s self-driving car unit, including CTO Chris Urmson.

    Maris wielded a tremendous amount of power at GV, which, as he told this editor in an on-stage interview in February, currently invests $500 million a year.

    Not everyone realizes that despite GV’s bench of investors, every decision fell to Maris.

    As he explained the process during that sit-down: “[A]ll the investment decisions I make, going into a company or when and how to come out of it, is in collaboration with the partner who brings [the deal] forward. So we talk about all the opportunities as a team and everyone is invited to that discussion – not just the investing partners. And we don’t take a vote. It’s not like a democracy in any way. But everyone knows where people stand and we try and give each other good advice, and at the end of the day, the person who brings it forward and I decide whether to move forward or not.”

    Asked why GV wasn’t run more democratically, he told me, ” I have no idea, because I’ve never worked as a venture capitalist before. I masquerade as one now . .  . But basically it started out with just me. The buck stops with me. So if we succeed, credit all goes to the team. If we fail, the blame should fall all on me; that’s how management should work.”

    Whether that top-down process will change now remains to be seen.

    More here.

    (Pictured:Bill Maris at a StrictlyVC event in February. Photo courtesy of Brittany M. Powell.)

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