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Google Ventures Europe team at TechCrunch disrupt London

The members of Google's new European VC fund were gathered in one place for the first time Monday morning at TechCrunch's Disrupt Europe conference. The new fund has $100 million to spend each year, compared to the $300 million that the US arm has to play with. From left to right, here's who they are:

Eze Vidra

Vidra is best known as the former head of Google's London Campus, a workspace for early-stage tech startups. On stage at Disrupt, he explained that the Google Ventures fund is looking to "do something different in Europe," remarking that "there's a lot to learn from our colleagues in the US." 

Interestingly, Vidra explained the unorthodox way that Google Ventures is being contacted by companies. There's no contact form on its website, he says "because then there’s an expectation that we will get back to you in a timely manner." According to Vidra, startup founders are getting in touch with the team by post, social media, or through introductions.

MG Siegler

Former TechCrunch writer MG Siegler joins Google's new European team after working for their US venture capital fund. He explained that "Google Ventures has been going for five years, people know we're doing a pretty good job over there." Siegler went on to say that the new European team will be working closely with their US counterparts: "Europe is the next logical step. This is Google Ventures as an entire team, we all just spent the past couple of weeks in the US getting to know the rest of the team."

Peter Read

Read is one of Europe's most prolific VCs, having invested in a large number of both early stage and established companies. On stage at Disrupt, he explained that he joined Google Ventures in order to gain a "much bigger check book" to play with. Additionally, he said, the new fund offers a "suite of services" around engineering, recruitment and design. 

Avid Larizadeh

Larizadeh is a former startup founder and employee, having worked for Skype and eBay before founding fashion startup Boticca. She explained that she wants to help tech startups through the downtimes of the startup cycles, helping startups shed employees and restructure, as well as the ups.

Tom Hulme

As well as a design director at IDEO London, the legendary design company, Hulme is now a partner at Google Ventures Europe. He explained that design teams are often the most important part of startups. Additionally, he went on to mention that the morning after the announcement came that he was joining Google Ventures, he woke up to 700 emails.

SEE ALSO: Google Will Open a $100 Million Venture Capital Fund In London

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Ginni Rometty

Good morning! It's going to be a cloudy day in New York and London. Here's the weekend's tech news that you might have missed.

1. IBM has reportedly reached a deal to sell its chip manufacturing unit. The company said that a major announcement is coming alongside its Q3 earnings today.

2. Apple has removed all Bose headphones and speakers from its stores. It's likely linked to the Beats acquisition.

3. The CEO of Whisper has asked concerned users to email him. This follows a Guardian report that accused the anonymous app of tracking its users.

4. The British government has outlined new laws that could see internet "trolls" sentenced to two years in prison. This follows a series of high-profile incidents of online abuse in the UK. 

5. Apple's software chief says that the company has no plans to make touchscreen desktop computers. He says it would be "awkward and uncomfortable."

6. Snapchat has debuted its first ads. The first ad was a trailer for the horror movie Ouija.

7. Details have leaked of three new Fitbit wearable devices. Expect to see the Fitbit Surge announced in the coming weeks.

8. Microsoft is planning on entering the wearables market. Sources say it's a wearable watch with a two-day battery life.

9. Facebook has hit back at the DEA for creating fake profiles on the site to use in drug stings. It says the government agency has committed a "serious breach" of the site's policies.

10. One man claims that his iPhone bent in his pocket and caught fire. The iPhone 6's alleged flexibility may have caused the battery to puncture.

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Nucky suffers astronomical losses from his war with Charlie "Lucky" Luciano and Meyer Lansky, but will he redeem himself by next week's series finale? Read the rest of this entry »

Satya Nadella Microsoft

Microsoft plans to launch a smartwatch within a few weeks, Parmy Olson of Forbes reports.

The watch will reportedly have fitness-tracking capabilities, including a heart rate monitor. It'll also work with other mobile platforms, not just Windows Phones, Olson reports.

This isn't the first time we've heard about a Microsoft wearable computer. Reports of a Microsoft watch began as early as April 2013. Tom's Hardware reported in June that Microsoft's watch will be focused mostly on fitness. Instead of a device that looks like other smartwatches we've seen, including the Apple Watch, Microsoft's gadget is said to be more like a fitness band such as the FitBit or Jawbone UP.

SEE ALSO: Microsoft is finally fixing the disaster that is Windows 8

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There will be a protest of the new war at 10 a.m. Tuesday in front of the White House. Some thoughts on the context of this latest decision to bomb yet another country are below. Read the rest of this entry »
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Marissa Mayer

Douglas MacMillan of the Wall Street Journal says Marissa Mayer will announce a "new plan" for Yahoo this week.

Yahoo will hold its third quarter earnings call this Tuesday.

Citing a source briefed on Yahoo's plan, MacMillan says Mayer will discuss the following on the call:

  • A change in acquisition strategy. MacMillan says Mayer will defend her decision to spend $200 million or so on "aqui-hires" — those deals where Yahoo bought failing startups in order to hire their engineering teams. After defending acqui-hires, Mayer will promise to do fewer of them — in favor of larger acquisitions that might be able to help grow Yahoo revenues.
  • Cost-cutting plans. "Ms. Mayer is expected to outline cost-cutting efforts. Mayer is also likely to explain her recent decisions to lay off nearly 500 employees in India and Jordan as part of a broader effort to cut costs."

Mayer is currently under pressure from activist shareholder Jeff Smith. Smith, of Starboard Value, wrote an open letter a couple weeks ago, saying that Mayer should quit making acquisitions altogether, find a tax efficient way to monetize its Asian assets, and sell to AOL. 

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Here's a mystery!

IBM just made this announcement:

ARMONK, N.Y.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--

IBM (IBM) will make a major business announcement and separately release its third-quarter 2014 earnings results on Monday, October 20 at 7:00 a.m. EDT.

Martin Schroeter, IBM senior vice president and chief financial officer, will host the company's quarterly earnings conference call on Monday, October 20 beginning at 8:00 a.m. EDT.

The Webcast may be accessed via a link at http://www.ibm.com/investor/events/earnings/3q14.html.

Guesses?

UPDATE: Bloomberg says IBM will announce that it's paying $1.5 billion to Globalfoundries inc. to take its chip manufacturing biz off its hands.

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Empire State Marathon and Half Marathon complete results in a searchable database: Find out how your relative, friend, co-worker did. Read the rest of this entry »
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