Mark Bivens

The flaw in Uber’s surge-pricing algorithm

Last week witnessed a lot of excitement around chauffered car services in France. On Monday Paris taxi drivers held a general strike, blocking airports and roads with their idle cars and in several incidents allegedly attacking competitive private car services. This comes on the heels of France’s introduction of its ’15-minute law’ designed to thwart […]

Predictions for Tech in 2014 from People who know what they’re talking about

Predictions for Tech in 2014 from People who know what they’re talking about

Good news: I’m not going to bore you with my own uninformed predictions this year. Even better news: the best visionaries I know have agreed to share their insight for 2014. These brilliant individuals, all within my portfolio and board network, represent that rare breed of visionary that also possess lucidity on the short-term, i.e. […]

RudeVC: 2013 landing on a good note

RudeVC: 2013 landing on a good note

Various topics have been tumbling around my brain about which to write in this last post of 2013 on France’s startup ecosystem. There’s the alarming passage of a wide-reaching French surveillance law, or yet another French fiscal flap like the Eckert proposal, and of course the depressing pronouncements by Arnaud Montebourg at LeWeb last week. […]

RudeVC: Know when to hold ’em, know when to fold ’em

During a panel at a tech conference several years back, a seasoned and respected French early-stage VC that I will not name boasted about how he (of course it’s a ‘he’) had never had a portfolio company go bankrupt. Needless to say, this remark was an eyebrow-raiser for me about France’s venture capital sector. My […]

RudeVC: Why the latest RBS scandal smells so rotten

If claims in a UK government report published last week have any basis, then the latest scandal surrounding the Royal Bank of Scotland makes LIBOR manipulation look like just a rainy start to the cricket season. The Tomlinson report, established by UK Business Secretary Vince Cable, found evidence that RBS intentionally forced small and medium […]

RudeVC: Investing in competing firms

The other day my partner received a fundraising teaser from an intermediary which contained a section on the project’s competitive landscape. The competition mapping followed the common quadrant format, yet to my partner’s astonishment, included one of our existing portfolio companies smack in the sweet spot of this project’s competition. To solicit us for fundraising […]

RudeVC: The latest local example of how business model can go from sweet to bitter

It seems that almost on a weekly basis these days an emblematic French company falls into financial distress. The most recent which caught my attention is Hédiard. It’s impossible to wander through a chic quartier of Paris without seeing a Hédiard store. The venerable French brand synonymous with French gourmet foodstuffs counts nearly 200 years […]

RudeVC: Disruption here, there, everywhere

So with the announcement of PriceWaterhouseCoopers’ acquisition of Booz & Co. (formerly Booz Allen & Hamilton) the other day, another strategy consulting firm joins one of the Big 4 accounting firms. This announcement spurred me to think about the indisputable trend of the Big 4 scooping up strategic advisories. In 2010 PWC purchased Diamond Management […]

RudeVC: Maybe Local matters after all

Two years ago I wrote a short blurb entitled, “Does Local Matter?” in which I provocatively questioned the future relevance of the Local network component in the overhyped buzzwords of Social / Local / Mobile. We even jumped on the bandwagon by launching a tax-optimizing holding vehicle called SoLoMoCo to focus on this fad. So […]

RudeVC: Don’t shoot the messenger (App)

In continuity of last week’s piece on the arrival the Japanese mobile game models to Europe, I thought it appropriate to discuss another tech trend in Asia which makes me enthusiastic for potential investment opportunities, even here on the old continent: the next-generation of mobile messaging apps. Most Europeans are familiar with WhatsApp, Viber, Kik, […]