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Inside Founders (Aug 16th, 2019)

1. Cloudflare Inc. filed its IPO paperwork yesterday, and cited among its business risks the high-profile negative publicity it received for hosting websites 8chan and The Daily Stormer. The prospective notes the company experienced "significant adverse political, business, and reputational consequences" following both the Aug. 3 mass shooting in El Paso, Texas, and the 2017 protests in Charlottesville, Virginia, due to its hosting 8chan and The Daily Stormer, sites associated with those horrific events. Terminating the sites from use of Cloudflare also resulted in negative feedback, due to concerns about censorship. Nonetheless, a letter from co-founders Matthew Prince and Michelle Zatlyn states the company's mission has not changed since it began in 2010: "...We are helping to build a better Internet." — BLOOMBERG

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2. Artificial intelligence startup Engineer.ai faces claims that its platform, which allows users to create mobile apps, actually relies on human engineers rather than AI. One source claims the company is a year away from being able to utilize AI for its services. Engineer.ai, which is located in London and Los Angeles, raised $29.5 million last year, and represents both the growing investment in the sector, as well as the challenges of evaluating companies' claims regarding AI technology. Last year, venture funding of AI doubled from 2017 to $31 billion. In a wrongful-termination lawsuit filed against Engine.ai, its former Chief Business Officer Robert Holdheim says the company's founder, Sachin Dev Duggal, told investors the company was "...80% done with developing a product that, in truth, he had barely even begun to develop.” — WALL STREET JOURNAL

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3. Follow Friday: Rani Wise, @raniwise

Rani Wise is all about female founders. She curates articles about them on Twitter. On Instagram, she features woman-owned businesses from around the country and their founders' stories (I now feel a need for accessories from Wyoming Wild Rags despite being not very outdoorsy). But this is not a side passion for Wise: it's her own woman-owned business. Wise runs a Boston-based marketing company devoted to women-owned businesses, which makes her social media a great resource for learning about those female founders. This includes a Woman-Owned Woman-Operated podcast with featuring interviews with female entrepreneurs.

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4. Legal experts say WeWork, which filed its IPO prospectus on Wednesday, is giving founder Adam Neumann "unusual privileges." Securities and Exchange Commission paperwork states WeWork, valued at $50 billion, had $1.8 billion in revenue last year and lost more than $1.6 billion of it. WeWork "is pushing the outer bounds of what's acceptable for a public company," according to Glenn Davis, research director at the Council of Institutional Investors, who notes the company's intent seems to be to preserve Neumann's control. In addition to providing him shares with higher voting power, Neumann's wife Rebekah potentially could name his replacement as CEO should he die or become disabled. The Neumanns also can retain their high voting share by donating $1 billion to charities. — REUTERS

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5. WeWork's IPO filing this week prompts ReCode to examine what actually constitutes a tech company, and how identifying as a tech company helps startups draw investors. — VOX

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6. Oculus co-founder Nate Mitchell announced this week he is leaving Facebook, where he has been head of VR product, making him the third and final Oculus co-founder to depart since Facbook's acquisition in 2014. — WIRED

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7. Using fuel cells and electric motors, aviation startups Alaka’i Technologies and ZeroAvia are working to develop the first commercial hydrogen-propelled aircrafts. — FORBES

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8. Entrepreneur Vian Chinner says artificial intelligence startups in Africa face unique challenges, including securing good valuations, hiring people and explaining the technology to clients. — WORLD ECONOMIC FORUM

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9. BentoBox founder Krystle Mobayeni says her parents' sacrifice in emigrating to the U.S. from Iran helped push her through tough times with her company, which today serves 4,500 restaurants. — INC.

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10. San Antonio's newly opened 6,000-square-foot CANopener Labs will help tech founders through product development by providing advanced manufacturing tools, along with training. — SAN ANTONIO CURRENT

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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.

Editor: David Stegon (senior editor at Inside, whose reporting experience includes cryptocurrency and technology).

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