Benchmark’s Mitch Lasky will reportedly step down from Snap’s board of directors

Benchmark partner Mitch Lasky, who has served on Snap’s board of directors since December 2012, is not expected to stand for re-election to Snap’s board of directors and will thus be stepping down, according to a report by The Information.

Early investors stepping down from the board of directors — or at least not seeking re-election — isn’t that uncommon as once-private companies grow into larger public ones. Benchmark partner Peter Fenton did not seek re-election for Twitter’s board of directors in April last year. As Snap continues to navigate its future, especially as it has declined precipitously since going public and now sits at a valuation of around $16.5 billion. Partners with an expertise in the early-stage and later-stage startup life cycle may end up seeing themselves more useful taking a back seat and focusing on other investments. The voting process for board member re-election happens during the company’s annual meeting, so we’ll get more information when an additional proxy filing comes out ahead of the meeting later this year.

Benchmark is, or at least was at the time of going public last year, one of Snap’s biggest shareholders. According to the company’s 424B filing prior to going public in March last year, Benchmark held ownership of 23.1% of Snap’s Class B common stock and 8.2% of Snap’s Class A common stock. Lasky has been with Benchmark since April 2007, and also serves on the boards of a number of gaming companies like Riot Games and thatgamecompany, the creators of PlayStation titles flower and Journey. At the time, Snap said in its filing that Lasky was “qualified to serve as a member of our board of directors due to his extensive experience with social media and technology companies, as well as his experience as a venture capitalist investing in technology companies.”

The timing could be totally coincidental, but an earlier Recode report suggested Lasky had been talking about stepping down in future funds for Benchmark. The firm only recently wrapped up a very public battle with Uber, which ended up with Benchmark selling a significant stake in the company and a new CEO coming in to replace co-founder Travis Kalanick. Benchmark hired its first female general partner, Sarah Tavel, earlier this year.

We’ve reached out to both Snap and a representative from Benchmark for comment and will update the story when we hear back.

from Social – TechCrunch https://techcrunch.com/2018/06/29/benchmarks-mitch-lasky-will-reportedly-step-down-from-snaps-board-of-directors/
via Superb Summers

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Tinder bolsters its security to ward off hacks and blackmail

This week, Tinder responded to a letter from Oregon Senator Ron Wyden calling for the company to seal up security loopholes in its app that could lead to blackmail and other privacy incursions.

In a letter to Sen. Wyden, Match Group General Counsel Jared Sine describes recent changes to the app, noting that as of June 19, “swipe data has been padded such that all actions are now the same size.” Sine added that images on the mobile app are fully encrypted as of February 6, while images on the web version of Tinder were already encrypted.

The Tinder issues were first called out in a report by a research team at Checkmarx describing the app’s “disturbing vulnerabilities” and their propensity for blackmail:

“The vulnerabilities, found in both the app’s Android and iOS versions, allow an attacker using the same network as the user to monitor the user’s every move on the app. It is also possible for an attacker to take control over the profile pictures the user sees, swapping them for inappropriate content, rogue advertising or other type of malicious content (as demonstrated in the research).

“While no credential theft and no immediate financial impact are involved in this process, an attacker targeting a vulnerable user can blackmail the victim, threatening to expose highly private information from the user’s Tinder profile and actions in the app.”

In February, Wyden called for Tinder to address the vulnerability by encrypting all data that moves between its servers and the app and by padding data to obscure it from hackers. In a statement to TechCrunch at the time, Tinder indicated that it heard Sen. Wyden’s concerns and had recently implemented encryption for profile photos in the interest of moving toward deepening its privacy practices.

“Like every technology company, we are constantly working to improve our defenses in the battle against malicious hackers and cyber criminals” Sine said in the letter. “… Our goal is to have protocols and systems that not only meet, but exceed industry best practices.”

from Social – TechCrunch https://techcrunch.com/2018/06/29/tinder-security-update/
via Superb Summers

Twitter gets a re-org and new product head

Twitter has a new product manager in the wake of a large re-org of the company announced this week. The changes will see Twitter dividing its business into groups including engineering, product, revenue product, design and research, and more, while also bringing on Kayvon Beykpour, the GM of video and former Periscope CEO, as product head.

Beykpour will replace Ed Ho, vice president of product and engineering, as Ho steps down into a part-time role. In a series of tweets, Ho explains his decision was based on a family loss, and says he hopes to return full-time in the future. He had been on leave from Twitter since May.

https://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js

As Recode noted, these change will make Beykpour the sixth exec to head up product since early 2014.

Meanwhile, Ho’s other role — head of engineering — will now be overseen by Mike Montano, who is stepping up from product engineering.

Twitter CEO’s announcement of the changes, below, was tweeted out on Thursday:

https://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js

from Social – TechCrunch https://techcrunch.com/2018/06/29/twitter-gets-a-re-org-and-new-product-head/
via Superb Summers