“G” is for gone Googlers. Google Ventures founder Bill Maris is stepping down, and the managing director, David Krane, is taking over. More details should filter out after a staff meeting later today, but this sounds like the course of natural selection. Maris, a neuroscientist by training, tells Recode: “Maybe I’ll become a magician, it’s hard to say.”
He has already worked some serious magic over the past eight or so years. GV (as the group is now known) ranks as the world’s biggest corporate venture capital organization, ahead of Intel Capital with $2.4 billion in investments as of early this year. Its investments during the first half of 2016 included Quartet, a software company addressing mental health care; immunotherapy specialist Armo Biosciences; and Juicero, which is making a juicer that can connect to the Internet.
Google’s parent Alphabet is getting familiar with damage control, seeing that this is second high-profile CEO departure of the summer. (Tony Fadell, CEO of Google’s home automation company Nest, left in early June after a “bittersweet” transition.) There has also been some high-level turnover within the technical leadership of Google’s self-driving car division.
Massive strategic shifts like creation of the Alphabet conglomerate last year tend to promote career soul-searching, so we may be shocked—but we shouldn’t be surprised.
Read on for more news, and have a terrific Thursday.
BITS & BYTES
Appeals court says states can restrict municipal Internet services. The ruling pertains to high-speed fiber networks in North Carolina and Tennessee, but it could affect projects in about a dozen other states. It is a big defeat for FCC and consumer groups pushing for faster, cheaper services. (Fortune, Ars Technica)
Palantir swallows data visualization startup. The CIA-backed data analytics company, valued at $20 billion as of late 2015, is paying an undisclosed sum for Silk, which specializes in chart and graph software. (Fortune)
Certain CVS customers can now pay for prescriptions via mobile app. The CVS Pay service is making its debut on Apple devices and Android smartphones in New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, and Delaware. It will also do things such as send refill alerts. (Fortune)
Major expansion for Square’s lending program. Under a new partnership, the mobile payments company will offer loans to merchants who aren’t using its point-of-sale technologies. (Fortune)
Proof that apps are alive and well. New research suggests the number of offerings in Apple’s App Store could double to more than 5 million by 2020. The big driver: machine learning technologies. (Fortune)
The downside of installing self-service checkout kiosks. In a newly released study, loss rates related to shoplifting (deliberate or accidental) were almost twice as high for retailers and grocers that are making use of the technology. (New York Times)
Banks excited about artificial intelligence but waiting to open their wallets. This comment from Ed Harbour, vice president of implementation for IBM’s Watson analytics services, sums things up nicely: “They want to get an immediate return and they see that coming more from ways to take costs out, rather than growing the top line.” (Reuters)
How 60-year-old brand Lilly Pulitzer became a social media darling. Over the past decade, the company has built a network of stylish, young women with large social media followings who post photos in which they’re decked out in the clothing brand’s distinctive prints. The collective image is one of sunlit, carefree, unfussy luxury, an updated spin on a privilege that, at its core, remains unchanged. This has drawn the brand criticism for being elitist, but for branding purposes that’s not a bad thing. More on its social strategy.
IN CASE YOU MISSED IT
Facebook Makes It Clear That Advertisers Are More Important Than You Are, by Mathew Ingram
Yes, Google Chrome Is Dumping Adobe Flash This Year, by Robert Hackett
HTC Will Use Alibaba’s Cloud to Popularize Virtual Reality in China, by Jonathan Vanian
Power Grid Tech Startup Varentec Raises Money From Bill Gates, by Katie Fehrenbacher
Box Expands Global Push, by Heather Clancy
ONE MORE THING
Check out Tesla’s new San Francisco store. The flagship location opens Friday, part of a plan to open new locations every four days for the rest of 2016. (Fortune)