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Inside Founders (Feb 5th, 2019)

1. Slack is the latest tech startup going public. The San Francisco-based messaging service filed paperwork Feb. 4 for an initial public offering. Slack is keeping the details of that offering secret for now, but an unnamed source told The New York Times the company plans to follow Spotify's path in its 2018 public offering by choosing a direct listing rather than a standard IPO. Direct listings differ from standard IPOs in a variety of ways, but most significantly allow companies to sell their shares directly without an underwriter, and eliminates a waiting period for investors to cash out. The same source told the Times that investors have recently agreed to buy Slack shares at a $13 billion valuation price. Slack's initial popularity five years ago with other startups quickly expanded—the company says it currently has more than 10 million users. — THE NEW YORK TIMES

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2. China tech startups are suffering in the economic downturn. The country's trade conflict with the U.S. is causing layoffs and funding woes for the previously robust sector. The so-called "freezing winter" is hitting startups harder than established companies. Examples of the downturn include layoffs at bike-sharing startup Beijing Mobike Technology Co., smaller bonuses at short-video app TikTok and broken leases at Beijing-based co-working startup Inncube. Venture capital investment in China also fell 13 percent last year. —WALL STREET JOURNAL

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3. Flipkart co-founder Binny Bansal is focusing on a new startup to help other startups in India. Bansal's high-profile departure from e-commerce company Flipkart three months ago came shortly after its $16 billion acquisition by Walmart. Bansal resigned after Walmart investigated allegations of sexual assault against Bansal; while those allegations were found to be untrue, questions remained regarding Bansal's lack of transparency. After months of silence, Bansal still isn't talking about that incident, but has lots to say about his new startup, xto10x Technologies. Bansal says the company is geared at providing resources—from technological to legal—to help early to mid-stage entrepreneurs in India scale up. — BLOOMBERG

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4. Australian cybersecurity startup Kasada is gaining traction with its anti-bot platform Polyform. In an interview this week with TechCrunch, Kasada cofounder Sam Crowther explains the company's strategy of occupying site-targeted bots with other tasks that thwart their original purposes—be those data scrapping, cyber-attacks or theft. Polyform's tasks are time intensive and drain the bots' cloud resources, racking up bills for the outfits behind the malicious bots. Founded in 2105, Kasada is one of a growing number of startups in the cyber-security realm as companies seek solutions to the costly problem bots present. —TECHCRUNCH

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5. Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg pushed back against critics in a note on the company's 15th anniversary, also commemorated by The New York Times with a scathing video memorializing the tech titan's issues with data mining, democracy and hate speech. — MASHABLE

6. Startups geared at human resources are using artificial intelligence—robot recruiting—to streamline hiring processes. —CRUNCHBASE

7. Visa's new "State of Female Entrepreneurship" annual report shows continued financial challenges despite increased feelings of empowerment, among other statistics. — THE BUSINESS JOURNALS

8. Financial technology startup Enigma's data sets and algorithmic work is attracting corporate clients across the world. —FORBES

9. Squadhelp.com founder Darpan Munjal predicts illustrations, minimalism and millennial influence will trend for startup branding in the coming year. — ENTREPRENEUR

10. Investments in space startups continued to rise last year—29 percent—with $3.25 billion in venture capital. — SPACENEWS

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Julia Goldberg is a journalist and author living in Santa Fe, New Mexico. She writes regularly about the intersection of technology and culture, and is the executive director of MIX Santa Fe, a networking organization for entrepreneurs. She writes the Inside Founders newsletter and can be found on Twitter @votergirl.

Editing team: Lon Harris (editor-in-chief at Inside.com, game-master at Screen Junkies) and Susmita Baral (editor at Inside, recent bylines in NatGeo, Teen Vogue, and Quartz. Runs the biggest mac and cheese account on Instagram).

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