US startups are shunning IPOs. That’s bad news for Americans

When industry powered US growth, companies grew by spending on capital investments like factories and machinery. Back in 1975, firms once spent six times more on capital investments than they did on research and development. But as the US shifted toward a services and knowledge-based economy, intangible investments became increasingly important. In 2002, R&D expenditures for the average firm surpassed capital expenditures for the first time. It’s stayed that way since; nowadays, average R&D spending is roughly twice that of capital expenditures.

Source: US startups are shunning IPOs. That’s bad news for Americans — Quartz

J.C. Penney’s troubles are reflected in satellite images of its parking lots

Orbital Insight, a venture capital-funded satellite intelligence startup based in Palo Alto, tracks 250,000 parking lots for 96 retail chains across the U.S.

Source: J.C. Penney’s troubles are reflected in satellite images of its parking lots | The Outline

Orbital Insight’s parking lot figures track pretty closely with J.C. Penney’s stock price.

Midwest Start-Up Achieves Rare $1 Billion Valuation

Uptake’s model is to partner with well-known companies in various industries — from construction to mining to aviation — and create software and special algorithms that help these customers collect and understand huge amounts of data. The company is already producing positive cash flow, according to a person with knowledge of the financials who spoke on the condition of anonymity.

Source: Midwest Start-Up Achieves Rare $1 Billion Valuation – The New York Times

The Dream of Delivery Drones Is Alive (And On A Truck)

But there’s hope yet for drone delivery. Cincinnati-based Amp Holdings is currently developing a drone, called Horsefly, that deploys from a compartment in the roof of an electric delivery truck. After each delivery, the aircraft would return to the truck for its next package. It’s strong enough to carry parcels as heavy as 10 pounds (double what Amazon is shooting for), and durable enough to fly through, wind, rain and snow on its appointed rounds.

via The Dream of Delivery Drones Is Alive (And On A Truck) | Popular Science.

I had this idea a couple years ago when Amazon announced this.  Launching from the truck is the most feasible both logistically and technically.  The truck does not need to be connected to the Internet.  All drone coms can be done via a local wifi and perhaps a server in the truck.  This can make the truck driver more efficient and less dangerous as he/she doesn’t have to get out of the truck in traffic.

Web privacy is the newest luxury item in era of pervasive tracking

Another is Ekko.net, a privacy-focused service that is currently invite-only. It gives users the ability to create policies that govern specific accounts or even communications, explains Ekko.net founder Rick Peters. For example, a user might decide to assign a password to protect a specific e-mail thread, text message, or social media communication. Or they might set a “self destruct” date for a message, causing it to be erased at a predetermined time.

via Web privacy is the newest luxury item in era of pervasive tracking – CSMonitor.com.

Will tools such as Blur and Ekko.net tilt the playing field in favor of consumers and their privacy?

Privacy experts say: Probably not.

MegaBots At New York Comic Con

The team hopes one day fans will root for bots the way they do for racing’s Jeff Gordon, ultimate fighting’s Ronda Rousey, and boxing’s Floyd Mayweather, Jr.

via MegaBots At New York Comic Con – Business Insider.

In a MegaBots battle, a two-member team sits inside the bot’s upper torso, where the controls systems are housed. Although the co-founders assure me that the pilot and gunner are well protected inside, the situation presents a heightened suspense.

Each 15,000-pound robot is equipped with six-inch cannons inside its arms that fire paint-filled missiles and cannon balls at 120 miles per hour. Good aim can cause enough damage to jam its opponent’s weapons system or shoot of a limb. “These aren’t Rock ‘Em Sock ‘Em Robots,” Stroup laughs.

Cloud darling Docker gets $40M in funding to push its container technology

Docker, the company that backs the open source Docker container platform, announced on Tuesday that it has raised a $40 million Series C funding round, bringing the company’s total funding to $66 million. Sequoia Capital led the investment along with existing investors Benchmark Capital, Greylock Partners, Insight Ventures, Trinity Ventures and Jerry Yang.

via Cloud darling Docker gets $40M in funding to push its container technology — Tech News and Analysis.

Who’s Getting Rich Off Profit-Driven ‘Clicktivism’

This reflects how today’s internet, despite its potential as a Democratizing Tool, is controlled by the few. Look at mobile—most apps have to go through Apple and Google’s not-always transparent approval process to be placed on their app stores and become visible to millions of smartphone users. The featured petitions on Change.org, currently a private “B” corporation, (a voluntary, non-binding certification which means they met the nonprofit B Lab’s standards for social and environmental performance) are similarly controlled not by its millions of users but its CEO and founder Ben Rattray, and, according to a spokesperson, a global “Leadership Team.”

via Who’s Getting Rich Off Profit-Driven ‘Clicktivism’ | Motherboard.

Service Drains Competitors’ Online Ad Budget

The service, which appears to have been in the offering since at least January 2012, provides customers both a la carte and subscription rates. The prices range from $100 to block between three to ten ad units for 24 hours to $80 for 15 to 30 ad units. For a flat fee of $1,000, small businesses can use GoodGoogle’s software and service to sideline a handful of competitors’s ads indefinitely. Fees are paid up-front and in virtual currencies (WebMoney, e.g.), and the seller offers support and a warranty for his work for the first three weeks.

via Service Drains Competitors’ Online Ad Budget — Krebs on Security.