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NJ Tech News: VC Scene, Newark's Up, Brooklyn's Down, Tech Giants Bet on VR, more

This news roundup was contributed by Tal Lel, CFO at Newark Venture Partners.  Learn more about Tal and NVP, here.

The VC scene

Fidelity’s re-valuation chop (Snapchat, Zenefits, Dataminr, also here) suggests that for some Unicorns there might be less value than capital raised. Food for thought: quite safely assuming LIFO liquidation preferences in recent mega rounds, what are the implications to the value of the early stage VCs' holdings in those Unicorns, which are in turn arguably the drivers of return in their portfolios? To the value of common? 

Non-tech Companies Launch Innovation Labs for fear of being Uber'd.  We think there are many other reasons for these initiatives (e.g., access to certain talent, morale and retention of existing employees), yet - as the recent scale-down at Nordstrom and Amazon's Lab126 suggest - this is not an easy road to take.  We at NVP believe that partnering with VCs and accelerators offers corporations much higher ROI at significantly lower risk.  As the WSJ's excellent investigative story onSequoia's scout program suggests, VCs are much better adept at recruiting and early identification of ideas.

Talent shortage in India is pushing up comp to near-U.S. levels, with early-career software developers commanding over $45k, senior technical staff salaries at $200k, and annual raises of 30%-40%.

Newark / NY news

Drip, drip... Burg Coming to Newark's Military Park "...trying to blaze a trail in a city that appears to be poised to grow its gourmet scene beyond the long-established cluster of restaurants in the Ironbound neighborhood... Ultimately, Mr. Siversen believes Newark may succeed as a new culinary hot spot." That's the WSJ talking, not the Newark Star-Ledger.

Similar to recent posts about Manhattan, insufficient development poses a threat to Brooklyn's Tech Triangle: "the space shortfall could translate into a loss of 18,000 jobs and $4.8 billion to the area’s economy by 2025." Newark's relative abundance of available and upcoming commercial space and warehouses is shaping up to be a huge future competitive advantage and "moat."

Traditional Newark public schools, converting to charters, show convincing same-student performance, defying criticism that their performance advantage comes from skimming the best students.  

Tech news: Mobile, FinTech and [bandwidth-heavy] Virtual Reality

Mobile: In the second installment of our "where's the value" series,Fred Wilson's thought-provoking argument on supply vs. value of the yet-another "hot" B2C app.

FinTech (our Pru connection): in further evidence that FinTech is getting hot, Rakuten's new $100 mm FinTech fund.

In Virtual reality (where our 10 Gbps doesn't hurt):
- Media giants Comcast and Time Warner wage VR bets
- Microsoft HoloLens now expected to ship to developers in Q1:

Digest's Fun Chart of the Week: The Relative Joy of Entrepreneurship

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