Tech 5: blacklivesmatter prompts change in tech

Welcome back to Roaring Mouse’s roundup of B2B technology news. This week’s biggest stories include…

1. A shift in Silicon Valley.

No stranger to disruption, the rigid demographics of Silicon Valley might be starting to change under pressure from the black community. After years of calls for progress, VCs have committed to changing the predominately white, predominantly male scene. Initiatives like Softbank’s Opportunity Growth Fund and Andreessen Horowitz’ Talent x Opportunity Fund will fund businesses started by BME entrepreneurs, opening the space to new voices and new ideas. 

2. Face-off.

The momentum of protests in America has also called into question several tech giants’ relationships with law enforcement and facial recognition technology. A promising area of tech development faces accusations of privacy erosion, racial profiling and misuse. IBM, Google and Amazon have all stopped offering their technology commercially in the last week. Microsoft is yet to move away from the technology but hundreds of employees have asked executives to take action.

3. Musk’s mixed bag.

A mixed week for Elon Musk. Tesla shares soared past $1,000 after an internal memo leaked plans to bring the Tesla Semi commercial truck into “volume production”. However, Musk’s public defiance of social distancing might not have paid off. Two anonymous workers told the Washington Post that “several cases” of Covid-19 had been confirmed at both the company’s Fremont production plant and its smaller seat-assembly factory nearby.

4. Big banks wrestle back.

Traditional banks are beginning to wrestle some market share back from fintechs as a result of the pandemic. Morgan Stanley’s CEO said that customers are looking to the “biggest, stable institutions.” With the current environment of unpredictability making reliability an even bigger priority, there are fears that glitches in startup services might have driven users away.

5. A cloud on the horizon.

European companies are looking to end their reliance on US cloud platforms with the development of Gaia-X. The non-profit platform is being worked on by a group of 22 German and French companies. By ending reliance on services like Google Cloud Platform and Amazon Web Services, there’s renewed hope that European tech companies can scale-up to compete on more equal terms with the giants of Silicon Valley.