Good morning! This is the tech news you need to know this Wednesday.
Google recommended all North America employees work from home over coronavirus fears. Google had previously instructed workers at its offices in the San Francisco Bay Area, Dublin, and Seattle to avoid going into the office. Mark Zuckerberg and Priscilla Chan's charity wants to 'quadruple' the Bay Area's COVID-19 testing capacity in under a week by buying diagnostic machines. The task force will also include members from Stanford University and UCSF. Google set up a fund to offer paid sick leave to contractors and temp workers who can't work due to COVID-19 symptoms or quarantines. Google relies on roughly 120,000 such workers, who outnumber its 100,000 full-time employees, according to the New York Times. Elon Musk says Tesla is scouting locations for a Cybertruck factory in the 'central USA.' Musk also tweeted that the automaker is looking to produce its Model Y crossover SUV on the east coast. Snap's second-ever partner summit will now be online only, amid the cancelation of major tech events. In a statement to invitees seen by BI, Snap said it would make its keynote speech and product announcements online "out of an abundance of caution for the well-being of our partners and our team." Two attendees of the RSA cybersecurity conference in San Francisco tested positive with coronavirus, after it became one of the few big tech trade shows not to cancel. One of the employees, a 45-year-old man with a heart condition, is very ill, Bloomberg reports. Early Google and Apple backer Sequoia Capital hired its first partner in Europe, marking its formal expansion into the continent. The VC has poached Accel's Luciana Lixandru as its first European partner. Stock trading app Robinhood was crippled by another major outage as markets absorb the historic coronavirus related sell-off. Robinhood, popular with young investors, experienced another major outage on Monday amid market turmoil. Microsoft announced a coordinated takedown of Necurs, one of the largest spam and malware botnets known to date. The company worked with partners in 35 countries to take down the botnet which is believed to have infected more than nine million computers worldwide, according to ZDNet. Two prominent European investors say hedge fund-style alternative data will give them an edge over rival VCs. Jigsaw VC is a new $75 million early-stage investment vehicle founded by former Global Founders Capital investor Dan Jones and ex-Anthemis Exponential VC Dan Smith.
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Hello! The remote work movement is accelerating. Mark Zuckerberg announced Thursday that he expects up to...Hello! The remote work movement is accelerating. Mark Zuckerberg announced Thursday that he expects up to 50% of Facebook's employees to work remotely by 2030. Shopify boss Tobi Lutke tweeted that the company's offices would remain closed until 2021 and that most will permanently work remotely after that. "Office centricity is over," he said. Those statements follow Twitter and Square employees being told they could work remotely permanently. What does that mean for Silicon Valley's status as the tech hub? As Rob Price reported this week, a survey of thousands of San Francisco Bay Area techies found that two out of three would consider leaving if they could permanently work remotely, suggesting a huge amount of pent up demand to leave what is an incredibly expensive city. What does it mean for compensation and staff costs? Zuckerberg said that those who leave Silicon Valley might face pay cuts, which makes business sense but could be hard to pull off without damaging morale. What does it mean for hiring and employee retention? For commercial and residential real estate in the cities the employees are leaving and moving to? Silicon Valley's rivals certainly see this moment as a growth opportunity. We'll have lots more coverage on this in the coming weeks, but I'd love to get your take. What percentage of tech employees currently living and working in Silicon Valley would you expect to leave in the next five years? And where do you think they're likely to move to? Let me know. In the meantime, here's some of our best coverage on the topic from the past few days: The remote work boom will make it harder for big tech companies like Facebook and Google to recruit top talent, according to Rob. That's a good thing, he writes. Facebook's remote-working plan is doomed, according to David Plotz, who writes the Insider Today newsletter with our CEO Henry Blodget. Henry in contrast argues in the same article that some people will be stoked to work remotely forever. Meanwhile, Facebook is eyeing offices in cities like Dallas, Atlanta, and Denver to act as "hubs" to support 50% of its workers staying remote, Dan Geiger reports. It's a move that could upend Silicon Valley and NYC real estate. Long live the "dynamic" workplace, says Okta CEO Todd McKinnon, who's been experimenting with this new concept for a year and talked to Julie Bort. As Facebook, Twitter and others say OK to permanent remote work, these 6 startups building tools to work outside the office are Silicon Valley's new darlings, according to Bani Sapra. And Rob reported that a Sam Altman-backed housebuilding startup is trying to convince tech workers to abandon the high-priced Bay Area. Elsewhere in tech news: "I am truly sorry": Read the full email Uber's CEO sent employees after laying off 25% of the company's staff in 2 weeks IBM is cutting "several thousand" jobs, a month after new CEO Arvind Krishna withdrew its financial outlook Intercom, a $1.3 billion messaging startup backed by Mark Zuckerberg and Jack Dorsey, laid off 39 employees and is relocating 47 roles to Dublin SoFi just cut 7% of staff based on performance reviews, and is eliminating a team by automating it away. The moves come a month after the fintech announced a $1.2 billion acquisition Law firm drama Casey Sullivan and Meghan Morris have the inside track on drama at elite law firm Boies Schiller. From their story: Over the past six months, more than 30 partners have exited the firm, which was founded by superlawyer David Boies — best known for his role in cases like Bush v. Gore and the fight for same-sex marriage rights. Business Insider spoke with more than 50 people, including current and former Boies Schiller attorneys, about the key issues behind the turnover, and events that help explain the firm's shrinking. You can read the story in full here: Pay rifts, a partner divide, and a threat at the Ritz Carlton: 50 insiders reveal all on a massive shakeup at elite law firm Boies Schiller The most consequential startup of all time And Andrew Dunn has the untold story of Moderna, the biotech startup that has skyrocketed to global prominence, leading the world's race for a coronavirus vaccine. From his story: In its short corporate history, Moderna has grown accustomed to breaking records. A $450 million funding round in 2015 was a record for the biotech industry. Moderna raised even more the next year. And its 2018 initial public offering was the largest ever for a biotech. Then, this year, the coronavirus struck. Moderna lapped the drug industry in crafting a coronavirus vaccine candidate, zooming past Big Pharma competitors that dwarf the company in size and resources. Moderna's experimental serum was the first to begin human testing in mid-March. Now, the biotech is aiming to be ready this fall for emergency use, a development timeline without precedent. His story aims to answer a key question: In taking on the coronavirus, Moderna has gone mainstream and become of the most consequential startups of all time. Is it ready for the moment? You can read his story in full here: The untold story of Moderna as the biotech's coronavirus vaccine faces a test that could make it one of the most consequential startups of all time Below are headlines on some of the stories you might have missed from the past week. Enjoy the long weekend! -- Matt Wall Street poured billions into campus housing — thinking it was an easy win. With colleges sitting empty, here are the bets that could get hit the hardest. A Wall Street equity chief lays out 5 reasons why another 'significant drawdown' in stocks is coming right after the fastest crash in history Meet 23 rising star investors scouting the next breakout enterprise software startups in industries like 'boring AI' and 'SMBtech' Magic Leap just raised a $350 million investment round as it tries to secure its future — read the email CEO Rony Abovitz sent employees WPP PR giant Hill + Knowlton Strategies was starting to revive its US business. Now the pandemic threatens to unwind those efforts. Warehouse properties are suddenly red-hot, with Amazon snapping up space while ailing companies sell. Here's a look at key deals and market forecasts that lay out a huge opportunity for industrial real-estate. 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Robinhood is still trying to figure out what caused its latest outage, which crippled the stock-trading app during a historic day for markets
A Robinhood spokesperson told Business Insider that Monday's outage was not related to the issues that...A Robinhood spokesperson told Business Insider that Monday's outage was not related to the issues that sidelined customers for two days last week. The cause of the latest outage, which began shortly after trading started and plagued the app until 3:30 p.m. ET, is still unknown, according to the spokesperson. Robinhood's cofounders had posted a note last Tuesday night to the trading app's blog blaming last week's system-wide outages that infuriated users on "stress to its infrastructure" from an "unprecedented load." A Robinhood spokesperson said the company was now working internally and with its partners to understand the problem. In October 2018, Robinhood launched its own in-house clearing service, choosing to go it alone as opposed to working with a clearing brokerage, as is the case with many fintechs in the space. Click here for more BI Prime stories. Robinhood is still trying to figure out what caused its latest outage, which crippled the stock-trading startup for most of the trading day on Monday. All major US stock indexes plunged sharply at the start of the session, passing a 7% loss threshold that triggered a 15-minute market-wide trading halt. The Dow Jones Industrial Average lost 7.8% for the day, its sharpest one-day loss since October 2008. Fears over the spread of coronavirus had already been tanking stocks, and the latest session saw a selling frenzy as a global price war triggered the biggest drop in oil prices since 1991. A spokesperson for the startup, which was last valued at $7.6 billion, told Business Insider via email that the latest outage wasn't related to issues that plagued the trading app last week. Outages last Monday and into Tuesday hit all its 10 million accounts during volatile trading sessions, and furious users vented their outrage on social media. Robinhood's cofounders had posted a note last Tuesday night to the trading app's blog blaming last week's system-wide outages that infuriated users on "stress to its infrastructure" from an "unprecedented load." Robinhood again started experiencing issues shortly after trading began on Monday. And while trading was partially restored by 10:25 a.m., the platform wasn't fully functional until 3:30 p.m. At 1:20 p.m. ET, an update on the startup's status page indicated the app had been functional for new orders since 10:25 a.m. ET, except for Robinhood's recently launched fractional-share trading feature. A Robinhood spokesperson said that the new fractional share capability was not the cause of the latest outage. A Robinhood spokesperson said the company was working internally and with its partners to understand the problem. "This morning, trading on our platform was temporarily unavailable. We know this interruption was frustrating for our customers – especially after last week and on a day that trading was halted market-wide," a Robinhood spokesperson said in a statement via email. "Our platform is now fully operational and we're working hard to improve our service during these historic and volatile market conditions." In October 2018, Robinhood launched its own in-house clearing service, choosing to go it alone as opposed to working with a clearing brokerage, as is the case with many fintechs in the space. In December 2018 the startup had to quickly backtrack from an announcement it made for a planned cash management product after stating it would be SIPC insured despite not checking with the organization ahead of time. That same month Robinhood's options trading experienced an outage. The startup offered some of those affected $75 Amazon gift cards. In November 2019, some Robinhood users uncovered an "infinite leverage" glitch. Later that same month, Business Insider reported that Josh Elman, Robinhood's vice president of product left the company after less than two years in the role. The startup has not filled the role yet. The following month the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority fined the brokerage $1.25 million for not following "best execution" practices from October 2016 to November 2017. At the same time, industry incumbents such as Charles Schwab, Fidelity, TD Ameritrade, and E-Trade have dropped trading fees, announced plans to consolidate, and launched similar features as Robinhood. Got a tip? Contact this reporter via email at email@example.com, Signal (646-768-1650) or direct message on Twitter @dandefrancesco.SEE ALSO: The inside story of how Robinhood, a $6 billion investing app for millennials, blew a huge launch so badly that Congress got involved SEE ALSO: Robinhood, Fidelity, and Charles Schwab are racing to give customers the chance to buy $1 slices of stocks. We talked to a dozen insiders about who wins, who loses, and what it says about trading today. SEE ALSO: Everyone from Robinhood to Fidelity is hyping fractional share trading — here's why they want to get you hooked on $1 slices of stocks Join the conversation about this story » NOW WATCH: A Georgetown professor explains how Martin Luther King Jr. 'has been severely whitewashed'
A new poll shows that workers at companies like Amazon, Microsoft, or Google haven't seen their productivity suffer as they work from home amid the spread of coronavirus
The Seattle area is on high alert over the coronavirus and the large tech companies located...The Seattle area is on high alert over the coronavirus and the large tech companies located there have asked their employees to work from home. As many as 80% of the tech employees who participated in a poll on anonymous chat app Blind said they were currently working from home. And in another poll, 60% said their productivity wasn't being impacted thanks to the virus. But there are concerning signs that the worst is yet to come in the workplace. For instance, people of Asian descent are at increased risk for being stigmatized. Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories. Over 2,000 tech workers polled by anonymous chat app Blind indicate widespread concern about catching the coronavirus from their workplaces. The poll consisted of 2,068 people who work at Amazon, Microsoft, Google, Facebook, Expedia, LinkedIn or Uber. Blind does not collect the identities of workers but it does verify that they have corporate email addresses at whichever employer they claim. Over 80% of respondents who worked at Microsoft, Expedia and LinkedIn said they were working from home thanks to the outbreak of the coronovirus. At 76%, almost as many Amazon workers in this poll said the same. And a large number of workers polled from companies headquartered in the San Francisco Bay Area are working from home, too: 58% of Uber employees polled; 55% of Facebook employees, and 34% of Google employees. Amazon and Facebook have each confirmed a case of the virus in Seattle. They have shut down certain office locations, GeekWire reported, and advised employees in the region area to work from home. Microsoft has not confirmed cases as of yet but has told employees in Seattle and San Francisco to work from home in accordance with guidance from King County health officials, where Microsoft is located. Kings County has confirmed 31 cases of the virus and nine deaths, most of them residents from the LifeCare nursing home. The majority of tech workers polled said they were fairly satisfied with the measures their companies are taking to keep them safe. The two least satisfied groups, based on this limited poll of a tiny fraction of their workforces, worked at Google and Uber, at 41% and 50% respectively. Google and Uber were not immediately available for comment, but Google has now asked all employees in Washington state to work from home, as well. In another poll of just under 6,000 people on Blind, not restricted to specific tech companies, about 70% said that the coronavirus made them very or somewhat hesitant to go into their offices to work and their fear of working in an office is rising. No harm to productivity The biggest bright spot: given the work-from-home instructions, limits on travel and cancellations of major tech conferences, about 60% of those nearly 6,000 polled said that the virus has not significantly impacted their productivity. We'll see if that feeling holds. The work-from-home mandate in Seattle will continue until March 25 for Microsoft and March 31 for other offices. LinkedIn, owned by Microsoft but based in the Bay Area, has also told its employees to work from home. As of March 5, San Francisco's health department was reporting two confirmed cases of Coronavirus. Should that number rise, it is likely that more companies in the Bay Area will ask their employees to work from home as well. In fact, one well-known VC, Sequoia, wrote a memo today warning all startup founders that the virus could wreak havoc on their own employees' productivity, particularly sales and marketing, and that they should brace for tough times ahead. But perhaps the most concerning part is a third poll, taken by 7,311 respondents, about witnessing backlash to employees of Chinese in the wake of the coronavirus: 11% of respondents said they had witnessed such behavior. The CDC was so concerned about people of Asian descent being stigmatized by the illness that it issued a warning about it. The glass-half full view shows that 88% have not witnessed such behavior, but this data suggests that companies, employees as well as friends and mental health professionals would benefit from increased awareness. Are you an insider at Amazon, Google or Microsoft insider with insight to share? Contact Julie Bort at firstname.lastname@example.org or on encrypted chat app Signal at (970) 430-6112 (no PR inquiries, please). Open DMs on Twitter @Julie188. Now read: A startup CEO who relies on factories in China says his business won't be hurt by the coronavirus. Here's how he navigated the crisis. 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