Nvidia aims for ubiquity with Arm deal, Stripe offers relocation bonuses and investors are hot on cloud IPOs from Snowflake and Sumo Logic

09/17/2020 - Jin Woo

Published every Thursday, The Blue Print recaps the industry’s most intriguing news, unexpected shifts and developing trends that are defining the business and technology landscape.


Wired: Nvidia’s Arm Deal Would Make It the Center of the Chip World
In recent years, Nvidia has ridden one of the biggest waves in technology, selling chips needed to build increasingly clever artificial intelligence algorithms. Now, the company plans to catch another big swell—mobile computing—with a $40 billion acquisition of Arm, which designs the chips found in virtually all smartphones. The deal would reshape the chip industry overnight—putting Nvidia at the center of much of the action. But it will face regulatory scrutiny in the UK, Europe, the US, and China, because it would give Nvidia control over the chip blueprints used by multiple tech companies, including its competitors.

Why It Matters: While Intel remains dominant in the data center, Nvdia is established in the gaming community as well as its efforts around AI. It’s deal in April for Mellanox and its deal now for ARM gives them an established footprint for cloud and mobile. This is expected to help Nvdia become much more relevant as 5G unleashes a wide spectrum of new possibilities.

Tags: Nvdia, ARM, Intel, RISC-V, Mellanox


CNBC: Snowflake more than doubles in market debut, largest ever software IPO
Cloud company Snowflake shares surged more than 111% in its market debut on the New York Stock Exchange on Wednesday in the largest ever software IPO. The stock began trading at $245 per share and closed at $253.93. A day earlier, Snowflake priced shares at $120, higher than the $100 to $110 range it estimated on Monday, and a huge bump from the $75 to $85 range it proposed last week.

Why It Matters: The company raised more than $3 billion dollars based on its opening price, which is the largest ever for a software company. Part of this can be attributed to Salesforce agreeing to buy $250 million in stock with Berkshire Hathaway doing the same and also agreeing to purchase an additional 4.04 million shares. Despite the pandemic, the market remains bullish on cloud-based companies that allows users to quickly share and analyze data.

Tags: Snowflake, IPO, Frank Slootman


MarketWatch: Sumo Logic’s IPO prices above the expected range
Sumo Logic Inc.said late Wednesday that its initial public offering priced at $22 a share, above the expected range of between $17 and $21, as the California-based software company raised $325.6 million. The company sold 14.8 million shares in the IPO, and if the underwriters exercise all of the options to buy 2.22 million additional shares to cover overallotments, the company could raise up $374.44 million. With 98.69 million shares outstanding after the IPO, the pricing values Sumo Logic at $2.17 billion.

Why It Matters: While Sumo Logic has not been profitable, it has increased its revenue by more than half in the most recent quarter. The market is bullish on cloud and its primary competitor Splunk has seen its revenue grow rapidly, which also gives investors hope.

Tags: Sumo Logic, IPO, cloud, analytics, operations


Bloomberg: Pure Storage Nears Deal to Acquire Portworx
Pure Storage Inc., which provides data storage and cloud services, is nearing a deal to buy Portworx Inc. for as much as $400 million, according to people familiar with the matter. Pure Storage is set to pay $350 million to $400 million for Portworx, a cloud storage software company, the people said. An announcement could come as soon as Wednesday, said the people, who asked not to be identified as the information is private.

Why It Matters: While Pure Storage, the flash-based storage vendor, completed its IPO in 2015, its stock price has fallen more than 10 percent this year. Its acquisition of Portworx will give the company a footprint inside the fast-growing cloud-native storage landscape, popularized by the adoption of Kubernetes and multi-cloud.

Tags: Pure Storage, Portworx, cloud-native, storage


Forbes: Stripe Is Offering $20,000 Bonus To Employees Who Relocate To Less Expensive Cities, But It Comes With A Pay Reduction
Stripe is offering a $20,000 bonus to employees who move away from San Francisco, New York City or Seattle but it comes with a 10% pay reduction, spokesman Mike Manning told Forbes, making the e-commerce and mobile payment processor the latest tech company to implement pay cuts for workers who chose to relocate to less expensive cities as remote work policies are extended because of the pandemic.

Why It Matters: Many company employees have left expensive cities, including San Francisco, as benefits such as nightlife have disappeared, to move in with family during the pandemic. As companies realize that remote workers are a viable long-term alternative, many companies are allowing employees to move anywhere but with a pay cut that is commensurate with cost-of-living. This movement comes as quality of life in big cities are deteriorating, cost of living increases and millennials value work life balance more than any previous generation.

Tags: Stripe, pandemic, remote workers, cost-of-living


Orlando Sentinel: SpaceX set to launch another batch of Starlink satellites
SpaceX is set to launch the next batch of 60 Starlink satellites atop a Falcon 9 rocket from Kennedy Space Center on Thursday with a targeted liftoff at 2:19 p.m. The launch is the 13th Starlink mission for SpaceX so now the company will have more than 750 of the orbiting satellites in place, about 6% of its approved plans to get 12,000 of the 570-pound satellites flying around the globe in an effort to provide cheap internet and fund the company’s bigger plans to eventually colonize Mars.

Why It Matters: While the launch of Starlink satellites may be delayed a day due to Hurricane Sally, the significance of this effort offers many benefits including cheaper internet for many, especially for those in areas where traditional spectrum signals have a hard time penetrating including remote locations in Alaska where mountains prevent signals from traveling far. Another potential benefit is the possibility of space exploration that will lead to inhabiting Mars in the future.

Tags: SpaceX, Starlink, satellite


SiliconAngle: AWS details how tech firms use its cloud to aid COVID-19 response
Companies in multiple markets are using Amazon Web Services Inc.’s platform to build products that can aid the global response to COVID-19, and the cloud giant today shared details about some of its customers’ efforts.

Why It Matters: While Brain Corp, iViu, Elenium Automation are a few of the companies that are mentioned, the cloud is a great enabler for companies pivoting or doubling down during the pandemic to help make life a just a little easier during these uncertain times.

Tags: Amazon, AWS, Brain Corp, iViu, Elenium Automation


ZDNet Between the Lines: IBM plots quantum computing roadmap, eyes 1,121-qubit system in 2023
IBM outlined its roadmap for its quantum computing development that includes a 1,121-qubit device for release in 2023 as well as components and cooling systems. Big Blue released images of a 6-foot wide and 12-foot high cooling system being built to house a 1,121-qubit processor called IBM Quantum Condor. According to IBM, the goal is to build a million-qubit quantum system. The company views the 1,000-qubit mark as a tipping point to overcome the hurdles limiting the commercialization of quantum systems.

Why It Matters: Quantum computing has the potential to solve complex problems to improve performance, efficiency and radically transform entire industries but we’re still years away due to shortages in components and skilled researchers.

Tags: IBM, Quantum Condor, Honewell, Google, System Q, Microsoft, Intel, AWS, Quantum Osprey


TechCrunch: The Chainsmokers just closed their debut venture fund, Mantis, with $35 million
Alex Pall and Drew Taggart are best known as The Chainsmokers, an electronic DJ and production duo whose first three albums have given rise to numerous Billboard chart-topping songs, four Grammy nominations, and one Grammy award, for the song “Don’t Let Me Down.” Soon, they hope they’ll be known as savvy venture investors, too. They already have some major-league believers, including investors Mark Cuban, Keith Rabois, Jim Coulter and Ron Conway, who are among the other individuals who provided the Chainsmokers’s new early-stage venture firm, Mantis, with $35 million in capital commitments for its debut fund.

Why It Matters: While the Chainsmokers aren’t traditional venture capitalists, it’s noteworthy that they are diversifying their investments and building an experienced team including Base Ventures Milan Koch and celebrity NBA owner investor Mark Cuban.

Tags: Alex Pall, Drew Taggart, The Chainsmokers, Grammy, Mark Cuban, Base Ventures, Milan Koch