Weekly Refresh: SF Tech Reacts to Visa Ban, Amazon Buys Zoox, and More

by Joe Erbentraut
June 29, 2020
san francisco tech news
Photo: Shutterstock

Tech reacts to Trump’s worker visa ban. It didn’t take long after the president announced a ban on H-1B and H-2B visas for Silicon Valley to react. The executive order could have a large impact on tech companies well into 2021, an immigration lawyer TechCrunch spoke with said. SF founder Jyoti Bansal immigrated to the United States on an H-1B visa in 2000 and also railed against the move in a viral Twitter thread.

Silicon Valley falling far short on diversity. A new study from San Jose State University argues that “white supremacy is operating in most all of the institutions and systems in Silicon Valley.” For example, three large (unnamed) Bay Area tech companies have no Black employees, 10 employ no Black women and the tech companies in the region are almost exclusively white at the executive level. [SFGate]

Also in San Francisco9 Bay Area Startups, Led by Sonder, Raised $400M+ Last Week

Twitter makes election day a paid holiday. Jack Dorsey helped lead the way for tech’s recognition of Juneteenth as a company holiday, and now he could do the same by making November 3, election day, a paid holiday for all U.S. Twitter and Square employees. [CNBC]

Facebook’s media literacy push. The social media giant is facing a lot of criticism and calls for an ad buy boycott right now, but it also just announced a new initiative to improve seniors’ media literacy when it comes to information on critical matters like the presidential election and COVID-19. The initiative, called MediaWise for Seniors, is in partnership with the Poynter Institute. [Facebook]

Marqeta looks east. There’s been plenty of talk about the alleged tech exodus from the Bay Area, and one major company is taking a step in that direction. The Oakland-based fintech company just announced plans to open up its second U.S. headquarters in Denver, though it is continuing to grow in the Bay Area too. [Built In SF]

Zoox acquired by Amazon. The Bay Area-based autonomous vehicle startup has reportedly been snatched up by the tech giant under undisclosed terms. Zoox was founded in 2014 and has raised over $990 million in capital with an aim to offer access to autonomous vehicles to consumers through an app. The purchase price is said to exceed $1.2 billion. [VentureBeat]

Tanium lands Salesforce investment. Bay Area-based security software company Tanium has reportedly landed a new investment from Salesforce that brings its valuation to $9 billion. The new investment is estimated to be around $100 million, though an official amount has not been disclosed. [CNBC]

Cheetah offers prepared restaurant meals. The SF-based startup pivoted early in the pandemic to sell food directly to consumers instead of only to restaurants, and now the company is shifting again by offering prepared meals from restaurants to consumers. [The Spoon]

Slack unveils Connect. Slack has emerged as a category leader for internal communications, and now it’s setting its eyes on improving the ways in which companies communicate with other companies. In pilot mode for several months, Slack Connect is now available for paid plans and is aiming to allow companies to securely share internal communications with each other. [TechCrunch

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