Billionaire LinkedIn founder tells businesses to stop funding politicians who support voting rights restrictions

Reid Hoffman
Reid Hoffman.

  • Reid Hoffman said businesses should halt funding to politicians limiting voting rights.
  • The billionaire cofounder of LinkedIn said voting is pro-American and pro-business.
  • Last week, hundreds of businesses declared opposition to restrictive voting laws in a statement.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Reid Hoffman, the billionaire cofounder of LinkedIn, told CNN that businesses should stop funding politicians who support limiting voting rights.

Protecting voting rights and accessibility is “pro-business” and “pro-American,” and not supporting those rights is an easy reason to stop funding any politician, he told the network in an email.

He added that employees should receive paid time off to cast their ballots and that companies should encourage workers and consumers to vote.

Hoffman did not immediately respond to Insider’s request for comment for the story.

Read more: Corporate America’s response to Georgia’s new voting laws isn’t benevolence. It’s about economics and profit, experts say.

Last week, hundreds of companies, law firms, and nonprofits united to oppose restrictive voter laws in an ad published in The New York Times and Washington Post.

Hoffman, now a partner at the venture capital investment firm Greylock, was one of the business leaders who signed the statement, which said in part: “Voting is the lifeblood of our democracy, and we call upon all Americans to take a nonpartisan stand for this basic and most fundamental right of all Americans.”

The ad came together after Black business leaders urged companies to speak out against a voting law that was enacted in Georgia last month.

The new law, known as the Election Integrity Act of 2021, made ballot drop boxes permanent, but only at select locations during limited hours, shortened the window for requesting absentee ballots, and banned ballot selfies, among other restrictive measures.

Following widespread claims of voter fraud in the 2020 election, legislators from nearly every state have introduced a total of 361 bills with restrictive voting measures, the Brennan Center for Justice at New York University said. Five of those have already been signed into law, with dozens more moving through legislatures, according to the center.

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A new Monopoly-style board game lets you pretend to be a billionaire tech CEO intent on saving the world at any cost – and one character seems to be based on Elon Musk

Evil Corp board game
The Visionary character appears to be based on Tesla and SpaceX CEO Elon Musk.

  • A UK-based activist made a board game that satirizes Big Tech.
  • Called “Evil Corp,” the game is intended to protest the power wielded by tech moguls.
  • Players can choose from six tech CEOs, including one that appears to be based on Elon Musk.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

A new board game let’s you pretend to be a billionaire tech CEO intent on saving the world.

Called “Evil Corp: The Board Game,” the game was created by UK-based activist Alfie Dennen to warn against the downsides of Big Tech and protest the power wielded by tech moguls.

The game was launched on Kickstarter in 2018, where it raised 25,088 pounds, or about $35,000. The company tweeted at Tesla and SpaceX CEO Elon Musk around the time it launched on the crowdfunding site, hinting that the “Visionary” character was based on him – that card reads “First, we take Mars,” which appears to be a reference to SpaceX’s plans to take humans to the planet.

Musk replied that the board game had a “great name” but that it was “a little on the nose.”

Evil Corp board game

Read more: From scrutiny of app stores, to competition in the ad market, these are the key investigations facing Big Tech in Europe

While the makers of “Evil Corp” appeared to want to get Musk’s attention back in 2018, they’re very clear that the game is not intended to be a flattering portrait of tech CEOs. In a press release about the game, the creators describe the characters as “evil billionaires” and say that the game is intended to protest Big Tech, not celebrate it.

The game is “a warning that the massive power to shape our collective future is held in the hands of a handful
of CEO billionaires, driven – regardless of their public-facing attitudes – by shareholder value,” the press release says.

In another dig at the tech giants, the slogan of the game is the same as Google’s original motto: “Don’t be evil.”

Evil Corp board game

The set up of “Evil Corp” is similar to “Monopoly,” the creators say. Up six players can play at a time, and they’ll each take on the persona of one of six CEOs: the Visionary, the Expansionist, the Technocrat, the Savant, the Utopian, and the Oligarch.

It’s not clear who, exactly, the characters are based on, but the Expansionist bears a striking resemblance to Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos, and the creators hinted in a follow-up tweet to Musk that another character was based on early PayPal employee and LinkedIn cofounder Reid Hoffman.

The only type of currency in the game is billion-dollar bills.

Evil Corp board game

The goal of “Evil Corp” is to “save the world, no matter the cost,” the creators say. Players will form a research and development team, build a prototype app, and then launch their “killer app.”

“And by killer, we do mean killer,” the creators write on the game’s website. “There are no CEO plans which don’t result in catastrophe for us mere mortals.”

After the game is over, players are encouraged to visit a URL on the back of their character card to find out the impact of their choices on humanity.

“Evil Corp” costs $70 and is available to buy on the game’s website.

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Nearly a dozen major tech firms can trace their roots to PayPal. From Palantir to Tesla, here are the companies launched by members of the ‘PayPal Mafia.’

Peter Thiel
Peter Thiel, left, and Elon Musk.

  • Early employees of payments company PayPal went on to create nearly a dozen major tech startups after leaving the company.
  • The PayPal Mafia, as its early employees came to be known, were directly responsible for Tesla, SpaceX, LinkedIn, Yelp, and more. 
  • The latest company with PayPal roots to make a major splash is Palantir, the big data company that went public on the New York Stock Exchange in October. 
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

Without PayPal, there may not have been Palantir. Or YouTube. Or SpaceX, LinkedIn, and Yelp. 

The payments company – launched as Confinity in 1998 by Peter Thiel, Max Levchin, and Luke Nosek – grew to become a Silicon Valley giant. It was acquired by eBay in 2002 for $1.5 billion in a deal that altered Silicon Valley history and helped spawn the careers of some of tech’s most famous names.

The PayPal Mafia, as its early employees came to be known, have gone on to become venture capitalists, tech founders, and even a US ambassador

Here are the tech companies that may not have gotten their start without the success of PayPal. 

Secretive data company Palantir was founded in part by Peter Thiel, PayPal’s cofounder.

NEW YORK, NY - NOVEMBER 01: Peter Thiel, Partner, Founders Fund, speaks at the New York Times DealBook conference on November 1, 2018 in New York City.
Peter Thiel.

When it was founded: 2003

What it does: Palantir creates software that manages and analyzes data. Its software helps other companies and agencies like law enforcement find patterns in large swaths of data.

How it’s related to PayPal: Thiel founded Palantir after PayPal’s sale to eBay, and the idea for the company was born out of Thiel’s experience dealing with credit card fraud at PayPal. 

Joe Lonsdale, who worked as a finance intern at PayPal while still in college at Stanford University, is also a Palantir cofounder. 

Affirm was launched by Max Levchin, a PayPal cofounder.

Max Levchin

When it was founded: 2013

What it does: Affirm offers instant lines of credit to customers shopping online, allowing them to buy a product and pay for it over time. The company raised a $500 million Series G round last month.

How it’s related to PayPal: Affirm is the brainchild of Max Levchin, one of the original PayPal founders. The company launched out of Levchin’s startup incubator, HVF — Levchin took over as CEO in 2014.

Levchin founded the company along with a team that includes Nathan Gettings, who also cofounded Palantir. 

Fertility tracking company Glow was also born out of Levchin’s startup incubator.

Max Levchin

When it was founded: 2013

What it does: Glow makes a family of apps that use data science to help track periods, ovulation, fertility, pregnancy, and children’s’ growth. 

How it’s related to PayPal: Glow was also founded in Levchin’s HVF startup incubator, and Levchin now serves as executive chairman. 

YouTube’s founders worked together at PayPal during the early days.

YouTube founders
YouTube founders Steve Chen, left, and Chad Hurley.

When it was founded: 2005

What it does: YouTube is a platform for hosting and sharing videos. It was sold to Google in November 2006.

How it’s related to PayPal: Founders Steve Chen, Chad Hurley, and Jawed Karim were all early employees at PayPal.

When PayPal sold to eBay for $1.5 billion, it sparked a “healthy competition” among the company’s alumni, early YouTube investor Roelof Botha told Business Insider earlier this year. When it came time for YouTube to sell, the team intentionally chose a price of $1.65 billion — 10% more than what eBay sold for. 

Elon Musk founded SpaceX after working at PayPal.

Elon Musk SpaceX Space X
Elon Musk.

When it was founded: 2002

What it does: The goal of SpaceX, short for Space Exploration Technologies, is to make space flight cheaper and eventually colonize Mars. 

How it’s related to PayPal: In 1999, Musk launched an online banking company called X.com. That company merged with Thiel’s Confinity in 2000, then became PayPal in 2001. Musk was briefly PayPal CEO before being replaced by Thiel. But when PayPal sold, Musk netted $165 million from the deal, which he used to start SpaceX. 

Musk was an early investor in and cofounder of Tesla.

Tesla Motors CEO Elon Musk introduces the falcon wing door on the Model X electric sports utility vehicles during a presentation in Fremont..JPG
Elon Musk.

When it was founded: 2003

What it does: Tesla manufactures electric vehicles, batteries, and solar panels. 

How it’s related to PayPal: Musk was an early Tesla investor and cofounder. He became CEO in 2008

Musk launched The Boring Company after becoming irritated by Los Angeles traffic.

Boring Company Hawthorne tunnel
The Boring Company’s Hawthorne Tunnel.

When it was founded: 2016

What it does: The Boring Company builds underground tunnels with the intention of housing high-speed transit systems to reduce traffic in cities. 

How it’s related to PayPal: Musk initially proposed The Boring Company in a white paper in 2013 and launched the company three years later. 

Musk also created OpenAI and Neuralink.

Elon Musk

When they were founded: 2015 and 2016, respectively

What it does: OpenAI is an artificial intelligence research lab, while Neuralink’s goal is to make computers that can be implanted in people’s brains.

How it’s related to PayPal: Musk founded both companies to fight against what he sees as the dangers of AI.

LinkedIn was founded by early PayPal exec Reid Hoffman.

reid hoffman
Reid Hoffman.

When it was founded: 2002

What it does: LinkedIn is a social network for professionals. 

How it’s related to PayPal: Hoffman was an executive vice president at PayPal in its early days. He founded LinkedIn and initially served as its CEO before later becoming executive chairman. 

Yelp was founded by two early PayPal employees, Jeremy Stoppelman and Russel Simmons.

Jeremy Stoppelman
Jeremy Stoppelman.

When it was founded: 2004

What it does: Yelp is a platform for hosting reviews and recommendations about local businesses. 

How it’s related to PayPal: Stoppelman and Simmons met while working at PayPal in the early 2000s — Stoppelman came from X.com and served as vice president of technology while Simmons worked as an engineer. Levchin provided the initial investment in the company. 

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