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Data Sheet—Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Good morning, Data Sheet readers. Predictive analytics are creeping into venture funding decisions. GE is testing its own cloud service, and the private equity firm that took Dell private is now putting $1 billion into Motorola Solutions. This newsletter is officially one year old this week. Celebrate its birthday. Encourage a colleague to subscribe!

TOP OF MIND

Do algorithms make for a better venture capitalist? The current odds of finding a “hit” startup are about one in 10, believes the legendary William Hambrecht. His own hit rate is pretty darn good, with early investments in Apple, Genentech, and Google.

The problem: Historically, selections are highly personal. Improving the odds to just 50-50 would save literally millions if not billions, if you consider the $48 billion invested in 2014.

Hambrecht’s solution: a formula fueled by predictive modeling technology developed in collaboration with upstart Growth Science, founded by former Intel manager Thomas Thurston. “There’s no human subjectivity involved anywhere along the line,” Thurston told Fortune. “All the algorithms converge on a discrete yes or no.”

Skeptics argue that it’s difficult to predict the course of human relationships that mold a successful entrepreneur. What’s more, there’s little data on the returns. Still, several companies funded using this approach could go public within the next year. Among them, mobile unicorn Tango.

TRENDING

GE’s latest descriptor: cloud service provider. It doesn’t think existing platforms can handle the new industrial applications inspired by the Internet of things. It may be right.

Apple has no interest in being your wireless carrier. It has very little to gain, and plenty of customer goodwill to lose.

This man will lead Alibaba’s expansion outside of China. Michael Evans, the Olympic gold medalist, was once considered a candidate to become the next CEO of Goldman Sachs. His official title is president.

$1 billion infusion for Motorola Solutions. Dell’s buyout partner Silver Lake is making one of its biggest private investments ever. The tech company seeks to extend its leadership in public emergency response systems into commercial accounts.

Google is a logical suitor for Twitter, now that it’s backed off Google+. But antitrust considerations might keep it from courting. Plus, Twitter is testing a news tab feature, which sounds a lot like a response to Facebook’s new “Instant Articles” service.

It’s lonely at the bottom. Sprint is taking drastic measures to regain status as the nation’s third biggest wireless carrier. It lost that title to T-Mobile in the latest quarter.

Now hear this. It took a decade to pay out the first $1 billion in digital music royalties to stations like Pandora. The latest $1 billion mark took barely one year. “Now we’re one of the top accounts at most recorded music companies,” SoundExchange President Michael Huppe told The New York Times.

 

THE DOWNLOAD

Do Amazon and Google public clouds need to work nicely with others?

One question swirling around public cloud providers like Amazon and Google? How well they can connect to customers’ existing information technology—and whether that technology comes in the form of a private cloud or a traditional data center. After all, even Amazon still runs some computing functions on private servers. Fortune senior writer Barb Darrow reports on how Google and Amazon are evolving their cloud-first positions to become more accommodating to this “hybrid” cloud worldview—one that IBM wields as a strategic differentiator.

 

ALSO WORTH SHARING

Netflix adopts unlimited parental leave, during the first year after a birth or adoption.

Foxconn fancies India. The controversial contract manufacturer, known for its role in iPhone production, has gotten over the country’s tough taxes and regulations but hasn’t picked a city yet, reports the Wall Street Journal.

PayPal has a new CFO. Plus the old one just got an intriguing new title—”Senior Vice President of Simplicity, Quality and Productivity.”

Need to turn survey data into marketing content? SurveyMonkey just bought a company that automates the process.

Facebook concedes on mobile data disclosure. It won’t cut off device-level metrics after all, appeasing advertisers.

Sorry, you’ll have to reboot that satellite. Hackers have figured out a way to infiltrate the global positioning system.

Death to printer cartridges! Epson’s latest model uses ink wells instead.

Etsy’s loss doubles. Results for its latest quarter were abysmal, and current one isn’t likely to look better.

Big funding round for upstart storage appliance maker. Tintri, which often competes with NetApp for accounts, has raised another $125 million led by Silver Lake Kraftwerk.

Speedier network traffic. Fastly is getting $75 million to build out its global content delivery network. Customers include Vogue publisher Conde Nast, Vimeo, and Business Insider.

MY FORTUNE BOOKMARKS

A low-cost way to hire a more diverse team by Anne Fisher

This Apple patent could change the way you use your iPhone by Claire Groden

Microsoft borrows playbook from fantasy sports leagues to inspire your sales team by Heather Clancy

Baseball’s quiet tech company is about to get a lot louder by Daniel Robers

Gawker’s lawyer is proud of Hulk Hogan fight, regrets outing exec by Jeff John Roberts

ONE MORE THING

If it seems, sometimes, like your smartphone can read your mind, you’re not mistaken.

MARK YOUR CALENDAR

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: “Get your data on” with Splunk. (Sept. 21 – 24; Las Vegas)

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

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

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

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

Minds+Machines: GE’s annual industrial Internet event. (Sept. 29 – Oct. 1; San Francisco)

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

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

AWS re:Invent: The global Amazon Web services community. (Oct. 6 – 9; Las Vegas)

I Love APIs: 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)

Dell World: Global conference for customers and partners. (Oct. 20 – 22; Austin, Texas)

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: 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)

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

FutureStack: Define your future with New Relic. (Nov. 11 – 13; San Francisco)