Is Lyft looking for a buyer?
Ride-hailing startup Lyft Inc. has hired Qatalyst Partners, and the speculation is that the company is looking for more money - or a buyout - from carmakers.
According to the Journal, Frank Quattrone, founder and executive chairman of Quatalyst, has contacted companies including large auto makers about buying a stake in Lyft. It's not clear whether Lyft wants to sell itself or raise new money, the report says.
The move comes as some highly valued startups, known as unicorns, are struggling to raise new funding from investors. Lyft, which was last valued at $5.5 billion and operates only in the U.S., has been overshadowed by Uber, which runs a global service.
As we all know, both Lyft and Uber pulled out of Austin in May after voters rejected the Proposition 1 ballot measure. It remains to be seen whether they will negotiate agreements to reenter the market.
Google wants to make finding song lyrics easier
Searching for song lyrics is still more time consuming than it should be, with the quest often leading to obscure sites that are heavy on ads and possible malware.
Through a multi-year licensing deal with Toronto-based LyricFind, Google will now be able to display lyrics in their entirety on its search results pages.
The deal also means that musicians, songwriters, and publishers will have an additional source of revenue.
"I can’t get into the rates, but we expect it to be millions of dollars generated for publishers and songwriters as a result of this," said Darryl Ballantyne, LyricFind co-founder. "It’s all based on usage. Royalties are paid based on the number of times a lyric is viewed. The more it’s viewed, the more publishers get paid."
Airbnb takes San Francisco to court
A new ordinance set to take effect in late July would require all Airbnb hosts to register with the city. If they do not, Airbnb would be fined up to $1,000 a day for each listing, putting the burden on the company to make sure each listing is legal.
Airbnb, which is based in San Francisco, described the action as an unprecedented step for the company, but said it believes "it's the best way to protect our community of hosts and guests."
Silicon Valley's new calling: Revamping cities
The story points to Y Combinator's announcement yesterday of a new research project to solicit ideas for building “new, better cities.”
In a blog post, the Silicon Valley incubator said: "Some existing cities will get bigger and there's important work being done by smart people to improve them. We also think it’s possible to do amazing things given a blank slate. Our goal is to design the best possible city given the constraints of existing laws."
Recode points out that the tech industry's effort to leverage "smart city" initiatives to bring change isn't new. But the latest projects focus on ways that new technology, such as sensors and self-driving cars - could change urban life.
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