In a true Valley twist, Hooli disrupted the VR market this week when they made the surprise purchase of Keenan Feldspar’s VR startup, Retinabyte, for a cool $2 billion. The deal consists of $1.3 billion in cash, and the remainder in Hooli stock. Rumor has it there are additional millions in potential earn-out in cash and stock if the tech meets certain benchmarks.
As lead partner at Raviga Capital Management, Laurie Bream ran a tight ship and was known for her supreme logic, attention to detail, and aversion to eye contact except when absolutely necessary. Now the savvy venture capitalist has created her own fund, Bream-Hall. As the name would indicate, she brings with her Raviga’s Monica Hall, who worked under Bream as an associate partner. Hall was long known as a driving force at Raviga, and she’s said to be one of the very few to work closely with late founding partner, Peter Gregory.
Dinesh Chugtai has barely launched PiperChat, and the startup is already looking like the Valley’s newest unicorn. The ingenious video chat continues to have strong user numbers with over 140,000 daily active users, high quality video across even weak cell connections, and an impressive interface designed by the CEO himself. The company has clearly benefitted from Chugtai’s decision to part ways with its predecessor Pied Piper, which also meant a separation from fraught Pied Piper CEO, Richard Hendricks.
When Hooli acquired Endframe, no one could wait to see what the tech giant would do with the revolutionary, middle-out compression technology. The wait is over: In a savvy pivot, Hooli took the software and created their newest hardware: the Hooli/Endframe Box. While initially conceived as a consumer-facing platform, the Endframe technology has been repurposed to “make the world a better place through secure, high-capacity enterprise data storage servers utilizing middle-out compression technology.”
Downtown San Francisco was awash in visionaries this week, when tech titans, business masterminds and creative icons met at the Serrano Hotel for this year’s Vanity Fair Summit. The event attracted the minds of everyone from Elon Musk to Lena Dunham, and attendees enjoyed stimulating talks, panels and of course, networking in the lobby.
Erlich Bachman sits before me in a disheveled suit. His eyes are tired. He reeks of marijuana smoke, sweat and a hint of ramen. Bachman has invested in many startups over the years, and he finally had a winner with hot compression play Pied Piper. The scrappy startup recently released the most-talked-about beta the Valley’s had in years, and its official launch has set off a whirlwind of press and notoriety. All signs point to Pied Piper being the next Dropbox, Facebook and Uber combined. But just before this launch—after the successful beta, the moment when the company was poised to skyrocket in value—Erlich Bachman walked away.
What would cause a man to give up on his golden goose? In Bachman’s case, idiocy and personal bankruptcy. Bachman’s idiocy is well-established. Beyond investing in such non-starters as Nip Alert and Smokation (rumored to be pedophile-oriented, making both of his most well known investments not just stupid, but also perverted), Bachman’s history of selling startups dates back to his very first company: Aviato. Before Frontiers Airlines bought the company, the possibilities were endless. Now Aviato will never fly higher than Frontiers’ fleet of airbuses. All because, as Bachman tells me, “My head is so far up my ass I can see the future.” The silver lining of the Aviato sale was that it allowed Bachman to run his incubator, where tech genius Richard Hendricks founded Pied Piper. It would seem Bachman’s endless stream of dumb, perverted apps was finally at its end, but his story wasn’t over.
Bachman recently founded venture capital firm Bachmanity Capital with tech icon (soon to be legend, I’m sure) Nelson “Big Head” Bighetti, and the pair hosted a lavish launch event, aptly titled “Bachmanity Insanity.” The party, like Bachman, was loud, extravagant and a bit of a farce. It was a luau. At Alcatraz. One for which Bachman chose to pay for all liquor at retail cost, and one where he lost a giant fiberglass Tiki head at the bottom of the bay. The expenses for fire dancers, flair bartenders and exotic caterers totaled over $1 million. Bachman maintains these were “practical costs for any groundbreaking business.”
While many, including this very publication, have had their doubts about Pied Piper’s viability in the saturated tech market, it turns out there’s always room for something that will truly change the world. Since their fire-hot beta was released, Pied Piper has made waves all across the valley. The compression software—with a Weissman score in the fives—is now fully realized. As if that wasn’t impressive enough, estimates indicate that with widespread use it could shrink the internet by 10 percent.
In a betrayal of public trust and an obscene display of vanity, Hooli’s CEO Gavin Belson has manipulated the Hooli-Search results that appear when you search his name. An un-named Hooli insider tells us the tech CEO was “really pissed” when a Hooli-Search of “Gavin Belson” led to a less-than-favorable list of links showcasing early dissatisfaction with the Nucleus platform. And so Belson felt it was time to give Hooli-Search a “Hooli-Scrub.”
Nelson “Big Head” Bighetti has joined forces with his old friend Erlich Bachman to form Bachmanity Capital, a microfund set to become “the Uber of VC firms, sure to be on the level—nay above—the likes of Greylock, Andreessen Horowitz et cetera and so forth.”
Hooli’s CEO Gavin Belson announced today that the tech giant has reached an agreement to acquire the middle-out compression startup Endframe. The sale closed at $250 million, and Endframe’s team will take the place of Hooli’s recently-dissolved Nucleus project. While many speculated Hooli was removing itself from the middle-out space, Belson’s motives in dissolving Nucleus now appear to have been well calculated as he scoops up the hottest middle-out compression play on the market.