Ready for a SpaceX IPO?

Ha ha, just kidding, the company denied it had plans for an IPO back in May.

But that hasn’t stopped Morgan Stanley’s Adam Jonas from sizing up SpaceX with a valuation.

The company is planning some capital-intensive projects — a speedier pace of satellite launches, as reported by the WSJ — so “it seems reasonable to consider whether the company could look to … public markets,” he writes in a note.

And why not?

Public markets have a near-masochistic willingness to fund Elon Musk’s other company, Tesla. And unlike Tesla, SpaceX reportedly posted an operating profit several years in a row (from 2011-2014).

Of course, before an IPO could happen, banks and investors would be tasked with trying to figure out how much the company is worth.

And, well, this is a start, I guess:

For this report, we built a hypothetical DCF range for SpaceX, valuing the company somewhere between ~$5 bn and $120 bn+, with a Base Case of ~$50 bn.

What a range!

Part of this depends on whether SpaceX actually does reinvent itself into a satellite-internet company, as Morgan Stanley predicts. (The $5bn figure is their ballpark valuation if it doesn’t.)

The rest of the “hypothetical DCF-based valuation range” analysis is screen-grabbed below:

Mars missions don’t appear to factor into their model.

But the note does spend 133 words on the analysts’ belief that “SpaceX is serious about attempting a mission to Mars”.

Now, we got the usual assurances the separation of equity research and investment banking from Jonas.

But we’d be remiss if we didn’t point out that Morgan Stanley was one of the lead underwriters on that $1.8bn bond offering from Tesla in August.

The other lead underwriter was Goldman Sachs, which set off the space-analysis race back in April. They did a comprehensive analysis of the industry, but didn’t include any analysis of Musk’s company (at least that we could find in their 98-page report).

So… your move, Goldman?

Find the Morgan Stanley note in the usual place.

Related link:
‘While the psychological barrier to mining asteroids is high…’ — FT Alphaville

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With product sales about to explode, the Apple Enjoy is completely ready for its iPod moment – BGR

For as iconic and profitable as the iPod went on to grow to be, early product sales of Apple’s preferred MP3 player were significantly from intellect-blowing. Initially introduced in Oct of 2001, it was not till 2005 that iPod product sales actually started to explode on a huge scale.

Reality be informed, a quantity of aspects experienced to fall into location ahead of the iPod was able to appear into its personal, with the start of the iTunes Tunes Shop in 2003 and the 2004 release of the more cost-effective iPod Mini getting two notable illustrations. In short, some Apple products simply just need to have time to evolve ahead of getting completely ready to enter the mainstream and get started producing severe revenue. With that in intellect, there is a excellent chance that the addition of LTE to the Apple Enjoy is the requisite characteristic that will, at extended last, just take product sales of Apple’s wearable to the subsequent degree.

The Apple Enjoy may possibly be a powerful machine now, but that hasn’t always been the situation. The 1st iteration of Apple’s wearable was a novel machine, to be positive, but it was plagued by a clunky interface and a decent, but not great, processor. More than time, nevertheless, Apple completely revamped the watchOS interface and gave the machine a more capable and deserving processor. Even so, the Apple Enjoy remained almost nothing more than a powerful companion accessory for the Apple iphone. That is not a dig towards the Apple Enjoy, but relatively a sensible evaluation of the device’s earlier limitations.

The addition of LTE, on the other hand, is an absolute game-changer, the unsightly red dot on the electronic crown notwithstanding. For the 1st time, Apple Enjoy users have the means to discipline and make calls, connect through textual content, and stream songs with no getting tethered to an Apple iphone. LTE functionality allows the Apple Enjoy to breathe on its personal for the 1st time and need to outcome in a huge spike in product sales. Not only will LTE convince future Apple Enjoy purchasers to just take the plunge, LTE is powerful adequate that it may possibly also convince many existing Apple Enjoy owners to upgrade.

What’s more, the LTE-equipped Apple Enjoy as a conditioning-oriented machine is totally jaw-dropping and need to have impact on product sales. As anyone who likes to run each and every now and yet again, I individually delight in getting access to the world’s library of new music at my fingertips. Nevertheless some men and women may possibly be written content with a playlist of, say, 300 songs to select from, other people like to keep their musical choices open up and practically limitless, especially for extended distances. As a outcome, I hardly ever discovered the 1st couple of Apple Enjoy types excellent adequate to training with. An Apple Enjoy that can stream tens of tens of millions of songs from Apple Tunes — a characteristic which need to hopefully be rolling out soon — and affords users the freedom of keeping their Apple iphone at residence, on the other hand, is the long run we have all been waiting for.

Coupled with an at any time-increasing choice of bands, a new and improved heart price app and more, the price proposition presented by Apple’s prime of the line Apple Enjoy is huge. Nevertheless Apple however refuses to release formal Apple Enjoy product sales figures, after Apple releases its earnings report from its upcoming holiday getaway quarter, anticipate to see a massive soar in revenue emanating from the “other products” group.

To this issue, reputed analyst Ming-Chi Kuo has previously stated that overall need for the Apple Enjoy Sequence 3 is more powerful than even Apple predicted. What’s more, Kuo originally forecasted that the LTE version of the Apple Enjoy Sequence 3 may possibly comprise 30-40% of product sales. The moment pre-orders went reside, on the other hand, Kuo adjusted the variety to 80-90%.

The Apple Enjoy may possibly have debuted as a market products, but an iPod-esque product sales explosion is very likely just all around the corner.

NVIDIA Releases 387.92 WHQL Game Ready Driver: Fast Sync for SLI

Ahead of tomorrow’s launch of Middle-earth: Shadow of War, today NVIDIA has released driver version 387.92, featuring support for four Game Ready titles: Middle-earth: Shadow of War, The Evil Within 2, Forza Motorsport 7, and ARKTIKA.1 (VR). This release also introduces the new 387 driver branch, bringing along feature updates such as Fast Sync under SLI and OpenGL 4.6. Several bugs were also addressed, making 387.92 a rather extensive update.

For Shadow of War, the driver brings Ansel and SLI support. As a reminder, until October 16th select GTX 1080 and 1080 Ti cards will come with a copy of the game as a bundle.

As far as the new features go, 387.92 adds Fast Sync support for SLI, with some caveats. Introduced with Pascal in 2016, Fast Sync is a v-sync mode roughly analogous to triple buffering, aimed at mitigating the high latency of traditional v-sync. For 387.92, Fast Sync under SLI is only available for bridged Maxwell GPU configurations at resolutions less than 4K, and bridged Pascal and later GPU configurations at any resolution.

The 387 branch also sees NVIDIA GameStream support for HDR under Windows 10. However, NVIDIA does note a relevant open issue: on notebooks using hybrid graphics, where the discrete GPU drives the primary display, there is graphical corruption before a streaming game goes into full-screen.

In addition, the 387 branch brings OpenGL 4.6 support, as well as DirectX Intermediate Language (DXIL) support for Kepler and later GPUs, which includes full support for DX12 Shader Model 6.0. NVIDIA has also implemented improvement in full-screen Vulkan applications for 32-bit Windows swapchains.

For bug fixes in 387.92, NVIDIA has resolved the following issues:

  • Low GPU usage for SLI configurations on X299 platforms, resulting in poor performance
  • With Fast Sync enabled, moving the cursor causes twitching in full-screen YouTube videos
  • Share FPS overlay appears in Discord
  • HTC Vive VR view jumps at random times
  • Custom resolutions in NVIDIA Control Panel are not preserved after updating driver
  • For ASUS 4K displays, “Use NVIDIA Color Setting” in NVIDIA Control Panel is not saved after updating or rolling back driver
  • Lines flash across the screen while booting into Windows

Wrapping things up, NVIDIA has also added or updated the following SLI profiles:

  • Earthfall
  • Lawbreakers
  • Middle-earth: Shadow of War
  • Nex Machina
  • ReCore
  • RiME
  • Snake Pass
  • Tekken 7
  • The Evil Within 2
  • We Happy Few

The updated drivers are available through the GeForce Experience Drivers tab or online at the NVIDIA driver download page. More information on this update and further issues can be found in the 387.92 release notes.

iPhone X finally receives FCC certification; ready for sale

Apple unveiled its iPhone X along with iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus on September 12. While the iPhone 8 duo is already up for sale, we still have to wait for some time for the iPhone X.

iPhone X finally receives FCC certification; ready for sale

The phone’s pre-order opens starting from October 27 and it will be available on November 3. Usually, the mobile devices get certified by different agencies before launch, but it is not the case with iPhone X. Recently, the smartphone visited TENAA, revealing its key specs. Now the 10th anniversary model from Apple has passed through FCC (Federal Communications Commission).

This means the smartphone scaled through all the essential inspections and its ready to be sold. FCC approval is necessary for all radio-transmitting devices prior to sales in the US. It is needed to ensure that the devices are safe to use and operates within FCC’s defined limits.

Talking about the iPhone X, it is the most expensive iPhone from Apple so far. It has two storage variants: 64GB and 256GB. The device features thin bezels around the screen, features an edge-to-edge OLED screen with Super Retina Display and a new biometric feature called Face ID for authentication purposes.

iPhone X run on iOS 11 out of the box and are powered by the new and most powerful Apple A11 chipset.

In terms of optics, the smartphone boasts of a vertically arranged rear-facing dual camera setup. The camera setup is comprised of an f/1.8 12MP wide-angle lens and another f/2.4 12MP telephoto lens. The camera comes with Quad-LED True Tone flash for photos with low noise.

Moreover, The cameras at the rear are calibrated for augmented reality and accurate motion tracking. The selfie camera on the iPhone X is the TrueDepth camera with the ability to click Portrait mode photos with Portrait Lighting as well. 

Courtesy to all these features, the iPhone X comes with a whopping price tag. 

Google may be ready to unleash a Google Home ‘Max’ with stereo sound

Google Home is about to get a lot bigger, according to tips from two sources speaking to 9to5Google. Maybe it’s ready to raise a family, and just can’t deal with the smaller space of the current Home.

The new smart speaker is currently being called the Google Home “Max,” though that will likely change when (and if) it’s officially unveiled at Google’s upcoming October 4 event.

Unfortunately, we don’t know much about the Google Home Max other than the fact that it (probably) exists, will be higher-end than the current Home, and that’ll feature stereo sound. 

But that feature alone likely means Google intends for it to serve as an alternative to the Amazon Echo, which just received a second-generation update earlier today. 

For Amazon, the leak of the Max probably feels like a little more salt rubbed in the wound in the wake of the recent news that Google cut off YouTube access for Amazon’s video-focused Echo Show.

Max and Mini

For that matter, the Google Home Max looks as though it will compete with high-end speakers like those from Sonos and Apple’s highly anticipated HomePod, both of which feature high-quality music playback and an attractive design. 

The leak is but one of many we’ve seen ahead of Google’s rapidly approaching event next week. Earlier rumors, for instance, suggested that Google wants to go small as well as large, as one of the rumored devices is the Google Home Mini

Unlike the so-called Max, which appears to place a specific emphasis on audio quality, the Mini is aimed more at folks who want access to Google Assistant above all else. It’s essentially what the Amazon Echo Dot is to the Amazon Echo.

Google is also expected to unveil two new versions of the its smartphone, namely the Pixel 2, as well as a Pixelbook 2-in-1 laptop that runs on Chrome OS.

NVIDIA Releases 385.69 WHQL Game Ready Driver

After last month’s game-heavy 385.41 update, today NVIDIA has followed up by releasing driver version 385.69 with no less than nine Game Ready titles: Project CARS 2 (9/22), Call of Duty: WWII Open Beta (9/29), EVE: Valkyrie – Warzone (9/26), FIFA 18 (9/29), Forza Motorsport 7 (10/3), From Other Suns Open Beta (9/29), Raiders of the Broken Planet (9/22), Star Wars Battlefront II Open Beta (10/6), and Total War: Warhammer II (9/28). This includes Game Ready VR support for EVE and From Other Suns. And as far as bug fixes go, NVIDIA has resolved 14 known issues, making this a rather large update.

Where the original EVE: Valkyrie was only playable with VR headsets (Oculus Rift, HTC Vive, PlayStation VR), EVE: Valkyrie – Warzone is a cross-platform compatible revamp that supports standard desktops with monitors. In turn, this brings the GameWorks graphics technologies found in EVE: Valkyrie to the desktop: volumetric lighting (“God Rays”) and Multi-Sample G-Buffer Anti-Aliasing (MSGAA). Lens Matched Shading has been substituted with Multi-Res Shading, where the resolution on the outer edges of frames is decreased by 30% in order to increase performance.

NVIDIA has also brought ShadowPlay Highlights and Ansel support to Raiders of the Broken Planet. First introduced in LawBreakers, the ShadowPlay Highlights functionality now supports a total of four games: LawBreakers, PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds, Final Fantasy XV Windows Edition, and Raiders of the Broken Planet.

Bug Fixes and SLI Profiles

On the more mundane side of matters, 385.69 brings security updates for driver components. For bug fixes, NVIDIA has resolved the following issues:

  • Severe flickering in DOOM after pressing Alt+Tab with SLI enabled and either ShadowPlay instant replay is on or manual capture is in progress.
  • The Ctrl+Alt+S keyboard shortcut does not toggle Surround for the GTX 1070
  • Low frame rate and lagging in The Binding of Isaac: Rebirth when in full-screen mode on GTX 1050 Ti
  • Stuttering when playing games on external display with G-Sync enabled, on notebook GTX 1080s
  • HitFilm Express does not respond properly on GTX 970M
  • Low frame rates when playing Minecraft in full-screen mode on Optimus notebooks
  • Heavy flickering during any OpenGL applications (e.g. Unigine Heaven) on Optimus notebooks
  • FPS overlay erroneously appears in Discord if enabled in GeForce Experience
  • Low frame rates in Runescape
  • Video playback from Windows Store apps stutter and eventually freeze with G-Sync enabled in full-screen mode
  • Start menu loads sluggishly when switching focus between a UWP game and Start menu while using Windowed G-Sync
  • HDR TV/displays have distorted colors after changing resolution in Windows Control Panel
  • NVENC bitrate overshoot occurs at over 240 fps
  • Enabled updated .exe for Ansel in Aven Colony

Wrapping things up, NVIDIA has also added or updated the following SLI profiles:

  • Dishonored: Death of the Outsider
  • Fortnite
  • JX3 Online
  • Project CARS 2
  • Raiders of the Broken Planet
  • Total War: Warhammer II

The updated drivers are available through the GeForce Experience Drivers tab or online at the NVIDIA driver download page. More information on this update and further issues can be found in the 385.69 release notes.

iOS 11 release date THIS WEEK – New features and how to make sure your iPhone is ready | Tech | Life & Style

Apple iOS 11 release date APPLE

Apple iOS 11 release date is coming this Tuesday

Apple announced its iOS 11 update back in June at its yearly WWDC developers conference.

Now, after months of waiting, this major update is being pushed out to devices across the globe.

iOS 11 brings a number of new features to the iPhone with updates to Apple Maps, Photos, Siri and Apple Pay.

But perhaps the biggest change is coming to the iPad which now gets a dock to store all your favourite apps and features improved multitasking.

So, if you want to grab this download here’s how to make sure your device is ready.


Apple has announced that iOS 11 will be available on Tuesday September 19.

If previous years are anything to go by, the update should go live at around 6pm BST – although Apple never confirms an exact release time.

It’s also worth noting that it can take longer to download the update on launch day as millions of fans attempt to install it on their devices at the same time.


Once the update is available you should see an alert appearing in the settings menu.

You can also check for the update by tapping Settings > General > Software Update.

If iOS 11 is available on your device you should then see an upgrade option.


Before you update you should make sure your iPhone/iPad is fully charged or you are near a plug.

It’s also worth checking you have some free storage available on your device as this is often needed before an installation can take place.

It’s unclear how big iOS 11 will be but emptying some memory before Tuesday will save any frustration on the day.

Finally, Apple always advises backing up your iPhone or iPad before installing any new updates.

You can either backup to the iCloud or plug your iPhone into your PC to make sure any important data is stored and saved.

Apple iOS 11 release dateAPPLE

iOS 11 brings a number of new features to the iPad


It’s worth noting that this latest operating system isn’t compatible with all iPhone and iPad models and if you own an older device, such as the iPhone 5c, you’ll have to stick with iOS 10.

Here’s a full list of compatible products:

iPHONE – iPhone 8, iPhone 8 Plus, iPhone 7, iPhone 7 Plus, iPhone 6s, iPhone 6s Plus, iPhone 6, iPhone 6 Plus, iPhone SE, iPhone 5s

iPAD – iPad 12.9‑inch iPad Pro, 10.5‑inch iPad Pro, 9.7‑inch iPad Pro, iPad Air 2, iPad Air, iPad 5th generation , iPad mini 4, iPad mini 3, iPad mini 2

Apple iOS 11 release date revealedAPPLE

Apple iOS 11 release date revealedAPPLE

Apple iPad owners will get a huge set off new features


• Customise Control Center 

Go to Settings —> Control Center to customise your iPhone or iPad for your preferences. Remove, add or rearrange priority items like your calculator and alarm for easy access.

• Multitasking 

Drag an app out of the dock and use Slide Over or Split View to accomplish two things at once – like scrolling through the News app, while also typing a note in Messages. 

• Document Scanner

Scan single or multiple-page documents with the new document scanner, which automatically finds the edges of your page from any angle and centers your document for the perfect crop. Add annotations to your document using Markup with Apple Pencil on iPad Pro, making it super easy to sign and return forms without having to print them out.

• Drag and Drop

With drag and drop on iPad, use the power of Multi-Touch to quickly and easily move text, images, and files between apps and select multiple items with just a few taps. Soon, you may notice many of your favorite apps add this capability too!

• Files app

With the all-new Files app there’s one central location to browse, search, and organise files that are stored on your iPad, in iCloud Drive, and even on other cloud services. 

• Instant Notes on iPad

Need to jot something down quickly? Simply tap Apple Pencil on iPad Pro and open Notes instantly from the Lock Screen. Use the search tool to easily navigate your handwritten text, when you need to find specific notes. 

• Do Not Disturb while driving

Eliminate all distractions while driving by automatically blocking notifications with the Do Not Disturb while driving feature. 

Apple iOS 11 release dateAPPLE

Apple’s iOS 11 will be available on Tuesday

• Indoor Maps

Navigate your way through major malls and airports with ease using Apple Maps’ detailed indoor maps feature.

• Siri 

Siri is the world’s most popular intelligent assistant, helping you get more done throughout your day. With iOS 11, Siri has a new, more natural voice, can translate US English into Mandarin, French, German, Italian or Spanish, and offers more proactive suggestions based on personal usage.

• Redesigned App Store

The App Store is redesigned to make discovering apps and games easier than ever before. The Today tab offers in-depth features and interviews curated by the App Store’s global team of editors to share the stories behind the apps and games that change the way we live and the developers whose ideas push and shape the world as we know it.

• Do more with Photos

Effects like Bounce, Loop and Long Exposure offer more options for editing Live Photos and capturing all of those special moments. Memories is enhanced with more memory types, better curation, and new portrait-oriented Memory Movies. People is easier to use, more accurate, and syncs across your devices via iCloud Photo Library.

Hawthorne not ready to green-light dense apartment building near SpaceX, Amazon

An extremely dense apartment building proposed for a site near SpaceX’s rocket manufacturing headquarters and a new Amazon delivery hub in Hawthorne provoked passionate arguments from supporters and critics this week before city leaders sidestepped a final decision.

After residents debated the issue for an hour Tuesday night, the City Council decided to more thoroughly study the proposal before revisiting the project on Sept. 26

“Approval of this project would set a precedent which would open the door to other developers who will seek to obtain density similar to this project,” resident Andrea Santana said. “The complex would place 274 rental units on less than 3 acres of land. It would increase traffic and congestion along already congested Crenshaw Boulevard and 120th Street.”

Virginia-based Blackwood Real Estate argues that the development is a perfect example of the kind of transit-oriented housing development needed across the region. It would be on Crenshaw Boulevard between El Segundo Boulevard and 120th Street, just south of the 105 Freeway.

“This is the type of high-quality housing we’ve been waiting for,” said resident Jason Gromski. “This is resort-style living, transit-oriented, popular with young professionals. We shouldn’t be held to the sins of the past and hold ourselves down.”

‘More traffic’

The six-story apartment project would include one ground-level restaurant and a public plaza. But, among other diversions from city code, its commercial portion would be only 8 percent of the overall development rather than the 40 percent required for mixed-use developments.

“I hate to rain on the parade but I disagree with this project,” resident Leatrice Tanner Brown said. “Just consider there is going to be so much more traffic and so many more people here.”

Dubbed the Green Line Mixed-Use Project because it’s a half-mile from a Metro transit facility, the site also is walking distance to Hawthorne Municipal Airport, Target, Lowe’s, PetSmart, 9 to 5 Seating, and other commercial and industrial businesses. The rear abuts active railroad tracks and the Dominguez Channel.

“I’ve long said to members of this council that area needs some type of development and I welcome this project,” said the Rev. John Jefferson, pastor of Del Aire Baptist Church. “Our community needs a complete overhaul and makeover.”

SpaceX officials, however, said the industrial location is not suitable for housing.

“While we do believe there is an absolute need for affordable housing in the city of Hawthorne, we do not think that this specific site is the place for it,” said Brett Horton, SpaceX’s senior director of facilities and construction.


Amazon is now completing its delivery hub — a warehouse and shipping facility — at Crenshaw and El Segundo boulevards.

Assemblywoman Autumn Burke, whose district includes Hawthorne, Los Angeles International Airport, and Inglewood, sent a representative to express her support at the meeting.

“At this critical moment during our regional housing crisis, I applaud your vision in moving this project forward,” Burke wrote in a letter to council members. “Being less than one-half mile from Crenshaw Line station, projects like (this) allow for less vehicle traffic and more utilization of light-rail alternative transportation.”

New standards

The city’s Planning Commission approved the plan in July on a 3-1 vote.

But Planning Director Brian James has carefully outlined its dramatic changes from existing policy — triple the amount of density allowed, smaller unit sizes and balconies, reduced parking spaces and exposure to noise and odors from nearby industry.

“There’s been talk about a transit-oriented development,” James said. “These are basically employment or housing centers within walking distance of a transit station — it’s not just housing near transit. It can be jobs or a mixture. The goal is to increase mobility.

“The question you need to ask yourselves is: Is this project an acceptable trade-off for the loss of industrial-designated lands and the economic loss those represent,” James said.

Though the routine sounds of truck traffic, overhead aircraft, and trains aren’t the most welcoming neighbors, Blackwood officials said it’s the way of the future for dense urban areas.

“The arts district in Los Angeles is probably one of the most expensive places to rent in L.A. right now,” said Blackwood representative Gilad Ganish. “It’s a cool mix of restaurants, breweries, industrial, commercial, creative and residential. This is an area very similar in characteristics.”

But former Mayor Larry Guidi said all the round-the-clock trucking operations nearby would make for a terrible place to live.

“If you had any common sense, you would know that’s an industrial zone,” Guidi told the council. “SpaceX is against it. Our mozzarella factory has no interest in it. You need to stop it. You need to end it.”

Developer perks

To sweeten the deal, Blackwood has promised to pay for at least $100,000 in public art projects along Crenshaw, near the 105 Freeway. The company also said the project would generate $400,000 in city revenue annually and $11 million over 20 years.

New residents would be offered two years of free Metro passes and Zipcar car-sharing services. The address also would be a designated pick-up and drop-off zone for ride-hailing services Lyft and Uber.

“I would not be speaking against this project if it was (houses), but these are apartments,” said resident Mario Chiappe. “The problem we have here is mainly from high-density apartments. We have 82 police in this city. So what do you expect with this development?”

Councilwoman Angie English said the proximity to industry shouldn’t be a concern.

“If people are looking at the area for a potential lease or potential living, they would make their due diligence by looking at where they’re at with regard to the rail right next to them and any other issues,” English said. “I’m sure these people would know whether or not this is a fit for them.”

Hurricane Irma: How SpaceX Got Its Rockets Ready

As of noon Saturday, Patrick Air Force Base and Cape Canaveral Air Force Station were completely evacuated in anticipation of Hurricane Irma, according to an Air Force news release.

Despite the record-breaking storm’s rapid trajectory towards the Florida coast earlier this week, SpaceX and the U.S. Air Force still decided to move ahead with the planned launch of a Falcon 9 rocket carrying the mysterious X-37B spaceplane back into orbit. The unmanned space plane is a reusable space craft, and the Air Force has been generally tight-lipped on what exactly its doing up there in the sky, but this was the Falcon 9’s first launch carrying an X-37B.

Following the launch, the Falcon 9 rocket landed safely down at Cape Canaveral, and was recovered and secured by SpaceX personnel.

Immediately following the launch of the Falcon 9, SpaceX and their Air Force partners began securing the launch pads and facilities of Cape Canaveral, which sits near the middle of the Florida coast. According to a SpaceX press release regarding Hurricane Irma prep, wing personnel assigned to SpaceX’s hurricane response teams — which is about 215 people — and their crisis action teams will be riding out the storm in designated safe buildings. They will be tasked with assessing the damage of the storm and making an educated decision about when it will be safe to resume work at SpaceX. “We have a professional team with the right knowledge and expertise to execute what is necessary to ensure the safety of our people, our bases and our assets,” the release reads.

The Air Force said it will also have several hurricane ride-out teams remaining around the region. They are tasked with keeping the bases and all their assets secure, as well as assisting with reconnaissance around the area following the storm. The 45th Space Wing says they plan on keeping lines of communication open throughout Hurricane Irma and following it as recovery begins.

You can follow storm updates from Cape Canaveral and Patrick Air Force Base via their Facebook]( page, or by texting “follow 45SWAlert” to 40404.

As of Saturday afternoon, it was predicted that the storm will make its way from the Florida Keys up the coast towards Tampa. Winds could be higher than 100 mph could rip through regularly populated areas of Florida’s west coast, with flooding of up to fifteen feet on dry land.

Photos via SpaceX

Is Symantec getting ready to buy Splunk?

Yesterday, Symantec CEO Greg Clark flexed his M&A biceps, saying that Splunk could be an attractive target at a $9+ billion valuation.

Clark definitely plans to go whale hunting to regain Symantec’s long-lost security position. Symantec expects to grow 3 percent to 5 percent in 2018. Compare that to Splunk, which projects to grow upwards of 20 percent this year and generate $1.2 billion revenues, up from $950 million last year, and it’s not hard to see why Clark is interested.

In the second quarter 2017 results, Splunk’s revenues grew by 30 percent quarter on quarter. Analysts gushed with “congratulations on a great quarter,” as Doug Merritt, CEO and David Conte, CFO fielded the calls, digging into Splunk’s security opportunities and trends. Splunk has handily kicked the backsides of all the legacy security players — Symantec, Cisco, IBM and HP, each of which were mired in their own corporate challenges. CEO transitions, acquisitions and divestitures kept them distracted. IBM’s security revenues are growing at 5 percent. Cisco’s security business grew 9 percent in FY 2017. HPE’s software revenues have been dropping by 8 percent to 11 percent in the first two quarters of 2017.

While they are eating dust, Splunk has continued to grab security market share at an enviable pace. By some estimates, Splunk will pull in upwards of $400 million from its security division this year — which is more than 40 percent of its annual revenues. Splunk is rapidly becoming the de facto SIEM replacement product, causing heartache for HP-ArcSight as well as IBM. But Splunk never started out to be a security company. How did it even get here?

Let’s do something — like cure cancer, or… aggregate machine data

While hunting for ideas for his third startup, Erik Swan, co-founder of Splunk, started to think big: cure cancer. He most probably googled “how to cure cancer” and even confessed that he bookmarked web pages on genomics research. After all, curing cancer has so much cachet to it. But a week later, reality set in. Instead of cancer, he decided to solve a problem that’s aligned more closely to his universe.

He found that IT operations teams struggled with troubleshooting — gathering and analyzing relevant data to get to the bottom of the issues was nearly impossible. Erik and his co-founder, Rob Das, polled more than 50 potential users over a period of nine months and found this to be a pressing problem. People were writing all kinds of scripts.

To access data, the database administrator would often get involved. No one person had access to all the data. Each corporate silo — IT, BizDev, Ops — was doing their own thing. Analytics was another growing nightmare. And so they started to build an engine that gobbled up machine data. Spelunking, or exploring caves is a hobby for some. IT teams were used to digging into the caves of data to identify patterns. For the two founders, the vision was simple — all machine data within any enterprise could be gathered, stored, searched and analyzed. Every user they polled said they need, and they’d pay for, something like this. It sure sounded like a Google appliance for machine data.

As it got off the ground, the company raised around $5 million at a pre-money of $5.7 million. David Hornik of August Capital invested in the first round. Fourteen years later, he still serves on the board of the company. “As the longest-standing member of the Spunk team, I recall the pitch as ‘search engine for log files’ — whatever that meant,” he says. “But this was one of the first few teams to to hit the nail on the head on several fronts — they understood the importance of gathering ever-burgeoning machine data well in advance of anyone else. The ability to store this data easily and then conduct arbitrary searches on top of it blended together into a compelling opportunity.” And Splunk did not know back then that the security team would love such a central repository of all data. The company consumed less than $50 million in venture capital and completed its IPO eight years later.

For the modern-day unicorn, this is an interesting challenge — can you get to an IPO on less than $50 million?

Splunk’s revenue growth (actual and 2018 full year projections)

First the culture, then the people

Merritt joined the company when it was pulling in $348 million in revenues and worked his way up to become its CEO in 2015. His mantra for growth is simple — freedom and accountability, with a healthy dose of humility. In a day and age when CEOs often exude an air of invincibility, complete with chest-thumping braggadocios, Merritt is quite the opposite. While he establishes the overarching guidelines and framework, he often tells his team, “I am dependent on you. Please guide the way.”

Splunk’s cultural DNA — “low on politics and high on accountability” — combined with intellectual rigor and  humility, has become Splunk’s strong suite. Its team stays nimble, innovative and keeps an ear close to the customer. These characteristics allow the ship to move into unchartered waters. Splunk never started off to build a security platform, but rather, it evolved into one of the leading solutions of the day.

The technology stack was evolving rapidly. At one one end of the spectrum, the perimeter dissolved in cloud and mobility wave. Data storage became cheaper, unstructured data sources grew and Hadoop clusters were being evangelized. Words like Big Data popped up everywhere, but very few knew what it exactly meant, or what would anyone do with all this data.

Merritt recalls, “With processing power, new schema and ability to rapidly query, the nightmarish days of data warehouse, data lakes and swamps could come to an end. Data sets and pairings can be made very rapidly to draw conclusions.” Splunk soon became one of the first companies to help make sense out of the big data madness.

David Hornik of August Capital says, “There were a lot of ways Splunk could grow — the team was savvy. Even though they did not have the magic key, they studied the user engagement closely. The security use-case was a natural extension of debugging  and traffic analysis/compliance became the drivers.”

Security revenue growth has sextupled in three years

As customers gathered data, security teams started to poke around to analyze patterns and trends. The best part — everyone was working off the same repository. There were no multiple silos, hidden copies and master copies. Everyone was looking at the same data set, yet from different angles.

By 2014, as much as 20 percent of Splunk’s revenues, or upwards of $50 million, were coming from security markets. Splunk soon formed a Security Market Group to dig deeper. Haiyan Song came on board as SVP of Security Markets. Previously, she had spent nine years at ArcSight, driving the product strategy of its security event and information management (SIEM) product line.

Legacy SIEMs were unable to adapt to market changes and the shift from ArcSight to Splunk was a well-calculated move. Between 2014 and 2017, Splunk started to pull in as much as 40 percent of its revenues, or close to $350 million from security markets. That’s a 6X ~ 8X growth in three years. While there is no easy way to measure innovation, a 6X revenue growth speaks to the culture, hunger and drive of Splunk’s security team.

Show me the ROI

DJ Goldsworthy, director of Security Operations and Threat Management at AFLAC, has more than 100 team members in his infosec department. He says, “I heard about Splunk when I was trying to build a similar internal system using .net code. I tried it and in 10 minutes, I could do everything I needed. I got buy-in very quickly to replace our legacy systems. Today, I can gather my security metrics and offer them to our board of directors in record time. We can manage and measure our security posture and protect our clients.”

A chief information security officer (CISO) of a publicly traded company who uses Splunk SIEM in the cloud says, “We monitor 12 billion events and before Splunk, we had all these data silos, time-consuming reporting and manual troubleshooting. After Splunk, my dashboard has 12 billion events reduced to 140 actionable alerts. I have a great ‘helicopter’ view and much efficient use of my team’s time.”

One security executive told me that “thanks to the false positives, our Intrusion Detection Systems (IDS) had become somewhat of an internal joke, so we started using Splunk. Our data had an interesting pattern. The operations and applications data clocked at 20 percent each, while security data was as high as 50 percent of the volume and our application / SaaS data was only 5 percent. Splunk is now our de facto security platform.”

Despite that, its largest customers are indexing less than 25 percent of their total data. While the average selling price is around $75,000, most people I spoke with were clear of the ROI they see.  Security analysts were moving up the productivity chain. They were doing bigger and better things. Morale and team dynamics were up and customers continue to pump in more data. One customer pumps in 10X more data from when they started five years ago. Yet some large customers struggled with costs, which increase with volume of data ingested. The company has now developed an array of pricing options, away from volume of data, even though AWS is its largest expense.

Competition from Sumo Logic (which aims for an IPO), Loggly for cloud native offerings and Log Rhythm is heating up. Open source offerings like Elk stack (Elastic Search, Kibana, Logstash) are a growing threat. Elastic (backed by Benchmark, Index, NEA) acquired Prelert for  its machine learning and Opbeat for application performance. And then there is adjacent pressure from the likes of New Relic / AppDynamics (now Cisco). All of these impact Splunk’s growth rate. For those who think Amazon will eat up Splunk, it’s unlikely to happen as long as customers’ data floats on-prem or the hybrid cloud.


Capital Raised

Year Started

Select Investors

Sumo Logic

$230 million


Accel, Greylock, Sequoia, Sapphire

Log Rhythm

$126 million


Access Ventures, Adams Street, Grotech


$47 million


Trinity Ventures, Data Collective, Cisco, True Ventures


$40 million


(IPO in 2012)

August Capital, Ignition Partners