5 Technology Observations: 20 March 2015

Good morning, I.T. entrepreneurs. Here are five technology news updates, insights, perspectives and stories of inspiration (or not) to start your day for Friday, March 20, 2015.

Actually, today's update involves six items.

6. Bezos Cleared for Takeoff: The FAA has cleared Amazon to test drones outdoors, as long as they fly below 400 feet. Riddle me this: If I buy a drone from Amazon, does another drone deliver it... or will it deliver itself?

5. GoDaddy IPO: Take a look at the web hosting company's IPO plan and you'll see "small business services" as a major theme. GoDaddy is seeking to raise $418 million -- delivering a market value of $2.9 billion. But alas, the money won't go to R&D. Instead, it will go to private equity firms that purchased GoDaddy in 2011 and are seeking to double their money through the IPO. Disclosure: After Nines Inc. uses GoDaddy for email and additional services we've yet to announce.

4. Managed Services I've Never Covered Before: As some readers may know, I spent a previous chapter of my career covering managed services providers (MSPs) -- as the co-founder and former co-owner of MSPmentor. But a completely different type of managed service is emerging now. And I've never covered it before. More details later today. (Or not...)

3. From Multi-Touch to Zero Touch: Tesla says it will offer self-driving cars in the U.S. by summer. It isn't quite the Google car, but a software update for the Model S Tesla will allow the cars to navigate highways without you needing to touch the wheel or pedals. The New York Times wants to know: Is it legal?

2. Fresh Funding

  • HonestDollar (Austin, Texas), which built a low-cost platform to help small businesses with retirement funds, has raised $3 million in seed funding. Expansive Ventures led the round. I've been in touch with a range of I.T. entrepreneurs about this startup and small business retirement funding issues. Pundits like Arlin Sorensen and Scott Scrogin sent me some key insights. At some point, I'll get all the feedback organized and share it with you... But for now, mum's the word.
  • Protonmail (Switzerland), focused on encrypted email, has raised $2 million from Charles Rivers Ventures and others.
  • Twin Prime (Redwood City, Calif), focused on smartphone app optimization, has raised $9.5 million. Om  Malik, founder of the recently shuttered Gigaom, is an investor and will join the company's board.
  • Vidder (Campbell, Calif.), focused on cyber attack avoidance, has raised $12 million in Series B funding. LDV Partners led the round.

1. Put On Side Two of Led Zeppelin IV: So, I'm driving my nine-year-old son and his pals to lacrosse practice last night. Led Zeppelin comes on the radio. "What is that noise?" one of my son's friends blurts out. After regaining my composure... no children were harmed, ejected or evicted from the car. 

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