Startup News Digest: 6/16/17

Our weekly take on some of the biggest stories in startup and tech policy. To receive this weekly digest in your inbox, sign up at

The Venue Debate isn’t Over Yet. The House Judiciary Committee held a hearing on the Supreme Court’s decision in TC Heartland v. Kraft Foods LLC. In his opening statement, Chairman Goodlatte stated that he hoped the decision will close the loophole that has allowed patent trolls to haul startups and innovators to the Eastern District of Texas. Several Members of Congress were extremely supportive of the Court’s decision and stated that they hoped startups would see relief from abusive patent litigation. Several of the witnesses testified that the decision will see a substantial curb in forum shopping and will restore order to a broken patent system.  

Snap Makes its Advertising Process More Accessible. On Monday, Snap, Inc. (the parent company of SnapChat) rolled out its self-serve advertising platform to everyone. Previously, ads could only be placed on SnapChat through coordination with the Snap sales team or another Snap advertising partner. Now, ads can be purchased on the company’s webpage. This move comes on the heels of a disappointing Q1 for Snap, Inc., which went public in March. Many believe this new offering is an attempt by the company to drive the revenue it was previously expected to generate.

The White House Tackles Tech Issues in June. The White House will be hosting a “Tech Week” in Washington, DC next week. The schedule will include executives from Apple, Amazon, Facebook, Google, Intel, Oracle and others to discuss ways to modernize government and the service it offers its citizens. Additionally, the White House will host a summit on June 22nd devoted to drones, driverless cars and the 5G wireless technologies that enable the Internet of Things. This event comes at a time when the tension between the Administration and the Valley is palpable. Peter Thiel, one of Trump’s earliest supporters and a Silicon Valley heavyweight, is expected to play a role in the event.

Tech Tops the Most Admired Employers List. Online publication, Morning Consult, published a list of America’s most admired employers this week. The rankings, which were based on the survey results of over 220,000 adults, listed Google at the top across most demographics. Other employers who frequently ranked in the top ten included Apple, Amazon, Tesla, and Microsoft. Check out the full list here.

This Week’s #StartupsEverywhere Profile: Jess Knox (Portland, ME). While Maine may be better known for its picturesque landscapes and fresh lobster rolls, it is also home to a thriving entrepreneurial ecosystem in Portland. This week, we talked to Jess Knox, co-founder of Venture Hall, among other efforts to grow innovation in the region. Jess told us about the accessibility of Maine’s state and congressional representatives, how recent investments have allowed for dramatic growth in the innovation sector, and the difficulties Maine-based entrepreneurs encounter when they scale their businesses. Read the full profile here.