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Data Sheet—Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Good morning, Data Sheet readers! Things wrap up today at Brainstorm Tech 2015 in Aspen, Colorado. Read on for Tuesday’s revelations. Plus, it looks like a Toshiba management overhaul is coming, but no one knows who’s behind the fake news story that sent Twitter’s stock soaring yesterday. Enjoy your Wednesday!


  1. Twitter cofounder Evan Williams is willing to leave its board, if that’s what it takes to hire a great new CEO.
  2. Yes, Silicon Valley is still “pathetic on diversity.” And Apple’s human resources chief predicts progress will continue to be slow.
  3. The future of the bitcoin digital currency may be questionable, but LinkedIn cofounder Reid Hoffmann thinks the underlying data processing technology blockchain will be a huge disruptor.
  4. “Never have a rough quarter.” That’s how Fitbit CEO James Park would get around Wall Street’s short-term mentality.
  5. Silver Lake loves “logic and linearity.” That’s why the private equity fund that took Dell off the public market avoids investing in unicorn startups.

There’s oodles more coverage, so here’s the entire Brainstorm Tech story feed. What’s forthcoming for the final day? Consult this link for a schedule and livestream of keynote interviews including Stripe’s cofounders, CEO-elect Dion Weisler (HP Inc.), and Softbank Vice Chairman Nikesh Arora. And don’t forget to lurk at the Twitter feed, @brainstormtech.


It was just a hoax. Twitter’s stock spiked 8% on Tuesday, courtesy of a bogus story suggesting that an unnamed suitor was prepping a $31 billion takeover.

Toshiba management shakeup coming. President Hisao Tanaka and several others are expected to resign in the wake of its accounting scandal, reports The Wall Street Journal.

Twilio won’t say when it will go public, but the company’s new share repurchasing program may be a sign of preparation, reports TechCrunch.

There’s a tentative settlement in Uber’s wrongful death lawsuit, but the terms weren’t disclosed.

Milestone in debate over Airbnb-inspired regulations. Also in San Francisco, the board of supervisors revamped how short-term rentals are regulated. But local voters still get a say in the matter later this year.

More Siri envy? Add Facebook to the list of companies developing virtual assistants.


Marketing startup that traces path to sales raises $125 million

Marketing analytics startup Zeta Interactive’s latest financing round disclosed Wednesday isn’t notable just for its size—a substantial $125 million from the GSO Capital Partners and Franklin Square subsidiaries of Blackstone Group. It’s how quickly it happened.

The deal, a combination of debt refinancing and cash, was negotiated and signed in a speedy three weeks. That was after Zeta considered an impressive 26 term sheets as part of a fundraising process managed by investment banker William Blair, according to the company’s co-founder and top executive.

“We didn’t expect to close this deal as quickly as we did,” admitted Zeta Chairman and CEO David Steinberg, who spoke to Fortune from his vacation in Greece.

Actually, it’s easy to see why Zeta is generating so much interest. Founded in 2007 by Steinberg along with ex-Apple and Pepsi-Cola CEO John Sculley, the New York-based company’s technology helps businesses identify which advertising and marketing touchpoints are actually influencing sales. In short, it’s really good at determining attribution. Then, it helps businesses use that knowledge to approach other prospects.

“Google is a great engine, it has such good attribution … We bring attribution everywhere else. We know where someone clicks and then buys,” Steinberg said. “For example, say a wireless customer pauses on a Facebook ad. Later, they buy the product from Walmart. We can match that up, and know right away.”

Last year, Zeta topped $168 million in revenue from approximately 720 customers, including accounts like Coldwell Banker, Quaker Oats, T-Mobile, Travelers, and US Airways. For 2015, it’s forecasting $200 million, Steinberg said. The company has been profitable for the past three years, he added.

Read more about Zeta’s business model and new funding at


This B2B marketing upstart starts sales conversations

The success of business-to-business marketing campaigns isn’t measured in clicks. It’s about making connections that can be followed up by humans, about surfacing account prospects willing to talk to enterprise sales teams.

DemandBase, a San Francisco-based marketing software company, just raised another $30 million led by SageView Capital to inspire those conversations.

The company’s account-based marketing technology automates three processes: identifying prospects with strong purchasing intentions, personalizing the message delivered to potential buyers, and notifying the appropriate sales representative when it’s time to act. “In B2B, it’s all about the quality of the accounts you’re trying to target,” said DemandBase founder and CEO Chris Golec.

Notable DemandBase reference accounts include Avery, Dell, General Electric, Kelly Services and a growing number of financial services organizations. It’s not unusual for customers to experience a twofold increase in engagement, while reducing the abandonment rate associated with campaigns, Golec said.

Read more about DemandBase’s funding deal.

Former Eloqua CEO tapped to lead security startup Code42. Joe Payne grew the marketing software upstart from $11 million to $125 million over six years, managed the IPO, and then sold the company to Oracle. Code42’s accounts include Expedia, Intuit, and Procter & Gamble.

Mobile analytics startup poaches Apple executive. Winston Crawford, who ran the tech giant’s advertising marketplace, is now chief operating officer for Drawbridge.

Meet Atomized, a marketing campaign management startup fronted by former Facebook and Instagram creative strategist Chris Gomersall.

This Hong Kong startup, fronted by Mozilla’s former leader, is developing an alternative to Google Android.


Land grab. Tesla has almost tripled the acreage dedicated to its Nevada battery factory.

Jaguar’s software-inspired recall. Please bring your late-model Range Rover to your nearest dealer at your earliest convenience for a critical update.

Amazon is happy to test your mobile apps, just as long as they aren’t for the iPad or iPhone. Or for Windows devices.

If your company invested a lot of money in Windows servers, Google’s cloud team has a new service designed with your needs in mind.

Breaking! More Americans use Twitter and Facebook as their source for news.


Pixar’s Ed Catmull: If something works, you shouldn’t do it again by Clifton Leaf

To keep your best tech workers, try doing ‘stay interviews’ by Anne Fisher

Treat recruitment like you treat your sales: build a talent funnel by Stacey Higginbotham

How swarming traffic lights could save drivers billions of dollars by David Z. Morris

Microsoft’s cool new folding keyboard is now available by Ben Geier

This spooky typeface automatically redacts NSA trigger words by Robert Hackett

New Wi-Fi technology will phones ‘aware’ of their surroundings by Kevin Fitchard


One reason your town council might not be so excited about self-driving cars. It won’t make as much money from parking tickets and traffic violations.


Esri Business Summit: Mapping the value of data. (July 18 – 21; San Diego)

LinuxCon North America: All about open source. (Aug. 17 – 19; Seattle)

SuccessConnect: Simplify the way the world works. (Aug. 10 – 12; Las Vegas)

VMworld: The virtualization ecosystem. (Aug. 30 – Sept. 3, 2015; San Francisco)

Gartner Customer 360 Summit: Strategies for digital engagement. (Sept. 9 – 11; San Diego)

Dreamforce: The Salesforce community. (Sept. 15 – 18; San Francisco)

.conf2015: Splunk’s “get your data on” gathering. (Sept. 21 – 24; Las Vegas)

Cassandra Summit: Largest gathering of Cassandra database developers. (Sept. 22 – 24; San Francisco)

AppSec USA 2015: Application security principles. (Sept. 22 – 25; San Francisco)

BoxWorks 2015: Cloud collaboration solutions. (Sept. 28 – 30; San Francisco)

Workday Rising: Meet and share. (Sept. 28 – Oct. 1; Las Vegas)

HP Engage: Big data, big engagement. (Oct. 4 – 6; San Diego)

Gartner Symposium ITxpo: CIOs and senior IT executives. (Oct. 4 – 8; Orlando, Florida)

I Love APIs 2015: Apigee’s annual conference. (Oct. 12 – 14; San Jose, California)

Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in Computing: World’s largest gather of women technologists. (Oct. 14 – 16; Houston)

DevOps Enterprise Summit: Lean principles meet technology management. (Oct. 19 – 21; San Francisco)

CX San Francisco: Forrester’s forum for customer experience professionals. (Oct. 22 – 23)

Oracle OpenWorld: Customer and partner conference. (Oct. 25 – 29; San Francisco)

TBM Conference 2015: Manage IT like a business. (Oct. 26 – 29; Chicago)

eBusiness Chicago: eBusiness and channel strategy. (Oct. 29 – 30)

QuickBooks Connect: SMBs, entrepreneurs, accountants and developers. (Nov. 2 – 4; San Jose, California)

CMO+CIO: Forrester’s summit on strategy collaboration. (Nov. 2 – 4; Sarasota, Florida)

Oktane15: Identity management trends. (Nov. 2 – 4; Las Vegas)