Amazon is acquiring home Wi-Fi start-up Eero

CNBC.com reported, Amazon said on Monday that it’s acquiring Eero, a developer of internet routers that can be easily connected in the home. Terms of the deal weren’t disclosed.

It’s Amazon’s latest push into the smart home, following the acquisition of video doorbell maker Ring last year for $1 billion. Amazon’s primary home device is its own Echo smart speaker, powered by Alexa.

In the router market, Google has a competing product called Google Wifi. Apple discontinued AirPort home routers last year, and Cisco sold Linksys to Belkin in 2013. Netgear stock was down as much as 5 percent after hours following the announcement.

Eero, based in San Francisco, was founded in 2014 by Nick Weaver, Amos Schallich and Nate Hardison with the goal of making Wi-Fi simple to use, easy to install and effective across many rooms in a house. In 2015, the start-up sold $2.5 million worth of products in its first two weeks after the company began accepting preorders, CNBC reported earlier.

“We have a shared vision that the smart home experience can get even easier, and we’re committed to continue innovating on behalf of customers,” Dave Limp, senior vice president of Amazon devices and services, said in a statement.

A single Eero device costs $199 and covers up to 1,500 square feet. Users can add a so-called beacon for another room for an additional $149 or can buy both combined for $299. The company also sells a security service for $99 a year.

“You have to be able to react quickly to customers, and at the same time, you have to think far enough ahead to think about what the hardware needs to do in the future,” Weaver said in a 2016 interview. A graduate of Stanford University and former venture capitalist, Weaver has been fixing home networking systems since he was 10.

More than 150 people are listed as Eero employees on LinkedIn. The company raised at least $90 million from investors including Index Ventures, Playground Global and Redpoint Ventures. Eero laid off one-fifth of its employees last year, TechCrunch reported.

Amazon previously dabbled in the Wi-Fi market as an investor. In 2016, the company backed a start-up called Luma as part of a $12.5 million round. Luma, which also raised money from GV (formerly Google Ventures), was acquired last year by First Alert, a unit of Newell Brands.

McMahon: President Trump Encourages Congress to Work Together to Unlock the Extraordinary Promise of America’s Future

WASHINGTON – Feb 5th, U.S. Small Business Administration Administrator Linda E. McMahon issued the following response to President Donald J. Trump’s 2019 State of the Union Address:

“President Trump delivered an optimistic vision for American greatness that included a bold and inclusive agenda rooted in shared values. He extended a good-faith offer to Congress to work with him to lower the cost of health care and prescription drugs, rebuild American infrastructure, establish safe and legal immigration, protect American workers from unfair trade practices, and strengthen national security. The booming Trump economy provides irrefutable validation of the President’s pro-growth governing philosophy. The agenda he proposed will expand prosperity for all Americans, while providing innovative solutions to some of the most important challenges facing small businesses.”

U.S. employers added 304,000 jobs in January, soaring past expectations

Treasury yields jumped on Friday after the Labor Department said the American economy added more than 300,000 jobs and more people entered the workforce in the month of January.

U.S. employers added 304,000 jobs in January, soaring past Wall Street’s expectations for an increase of 165,000 jobs, seemingly brushing off a 35-day government shutdown as investors braced for mixed results. It was the 100 straight month of gains.

The unemployment rate climbed to 4 percent from 3.9 percent, while the labor force participation rate rose slightly to 63.2 percent. Average hourly earnings, meanwhile, rose by 3 cents to $27.56. Over the year, average hourly earnings have increased by a total of 85 cents, or about 3.2 percent.

The report is also indicative that despite recent geopolitical turmoil — US-China trade tensions and uncertainty over the Brexit deal in Europe — the U.S. economy will manage to shake off any market volatility, according to Josh Wright, the chief economist for iCIMS and a former Federal Reserve staffer.

Wright, however, warned that the better-than-expected number could complicate the dovish narrative the Fed is currently pushing.

On Wednesday, policymakers at the U.S. central bank unanimously voted to keep the benchmark federal funds rate unchanged, while signaling a patient approach to future interest rate hikes.

“We still see sustained expansion of ecnomic activity, strong labor conditions and inflation near 2 percent,” Fed Chair Jerome Powell said at the time. “But the crosscurrents suggest a less favorable outlook.”

But the blowout jobs number could convince the Fed to reverse course before the end of the year, according to Wright.

“As the shutdown fades into the past (and if another one doesn’t do more damage), the Fed will lose one of its arguments for pausing, leaving it to rely on global headwinds, trade and Brexit uncertainty,” he said. “Financial conditions have already improved considerably. It’s going to be a rocky quarter or two for the U.S. central bank, with a lot of risk to its credibility. Yet if markets find the Fed credible, implied interest-rate volatility should be restrained.”

Jobs numbers follow a report released on Wednesday from payroll processing firm ADP, which revealed the private sector added 213,000 jobs in December, beating analysts’ expectations of 178,000 jobs.

Analysts anticipated that unemployment would hold steady at 3.9 percent, one of the lowest numbers in nearly 50 years, while forecasting the creation of 165,000 jobs, according to economists polled by Refinitiv (formerly Thomson Reuters). In December, job creation was revised to 222,000, down from the original better-than-expected 312,000.

Initially, the White House was bracing for a potentially negative jobs number in January when the Department of Labor releases the payroll data. However, U.S. labor officials said last week they would count the once-furloughed workers as employed because they’re getting paid retroactively once the government is up and running again.

However, the job creation was not coupled with robust wage growth; average hourly earnings rose just three cents on the month, or 0.1 percent, well below the 0.3 percent expected gain. Yields also jumped after the Institute for Supply Manufacturing said activity in the manufacturing sector expanded in January.

The short-term 2-year rate rose 5 basis points to 2.504 percent. The yield on the long-term 10-year Treasury note rose to 2.677 percent at 10:12 a.m. ET. Yields fall as bond prices rise.

MBDA Awards Nearly $2 Million to Historically Black Colleges and Universities

WASHINGTON (December 3, 2018) – The U.S. Department of Commerce’s Minority Business Development Agency (MBDA), is announcing grant awards of nearly $2 million to four Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs). In June 2018, MBDA invited HBCUs to propose projects that will achieve one or more of the following objectives: increase their ability to compete for and receive Federal research and development funds; establish partnerships with Federal laboratories and other technology resources; increase Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) entrepreneurship; and compete for Federal contracts.

“Historically Black Colleges and Universities served as the catalyst to creating the black middle class in America and will continue to be the incubator for minority business talent, innovation, and leadership. These important schools generate billions in economic impact annually and are engines for job creation in their local economies across the United States,” said MBDA National Director Henry Childs II. “These grant awards will provide seed money for these institutions to pursue innovative projects and to build more revenue-generating infrastructures to better serve our nation’s future entrepreneurs and workforce.”

The HBCUs that received grant awards include:

Clark Atlanta University ($499,497) to develop a STEM entrepreneurship curriculum that increases student interest in the innovation economy at three Atlanta University Center Consortium campuses.

Howard University ($359,891) to design a technical support model for 11 HBCUs in the mid-Atlantic region to compete for Federal research and development funds and leverage partnerships with Federal laboratories.

South Carolina State University ($404,992) to launch regional training sessions for HBCUs to compete for Federal research and development funds.

Tougaloo College ($695,412) to establish a partnership among multiple HBCUs, private companies, federal labs, and research institutions to increase capacity for HBCUs to participate in federal research and contracting opportunities.

These programs are part of the 2018 MBDA Broad Agency Announcement, a new initiative this year. More than $13 million was awarded for 35 projects focused on Department of Commerce and MBDA priorities from resources that increase disaster preparedness and relief to programs that increase access to capital. For a full listing of MBDA’s 2018 grant awards, visit http://www.mbda.gov/news.

The United States Signs a Stronger Trade Agreement with Mexico and Canada

REBALANCING OUR TRADE RELATIONSHIP: President Donald J. Trump kept his promise to deliver a modern and rebalanced trade deal to replace NAFTA.

  • Today in Argentina, the United States is joining Canada and Mexico to sign a new trade agreement that will better serve the interests of American workers and businesses.
    • This follows the President’s announcement in October that a deal had been reached.
  • The new United States–Mexico–Canada Agreement (USMCA) will replace the outdated, failed North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA).
  • With the signing of this agreement, President Trump has delivered on his promise to renegotiate NAFTA and protect American farmers, ranchers, businesses, and workers.

SECURING A STRONGER DEAL FOR AMERICAN INDUSTRIES AND WORKERS: USMCA is a stronger deal for American farmers, ranchers, businesses, and workers.

  • USMCA will help incentivize billions of dollars in additional vehicle and auto parts production in the United States.
  • The agreement includes updated rules of origin that require 75 percent of auto content to be produced in North America.
  • American autoworkers will benefit from rules that incentivize the use of high-wage manufacturing labor in the auto sector.
    • This includes a requirement that 40-45% of a vehicle consist of content manufactured by North American workers making at least $16 per hour.
  • USMCA’s labor and environment chapters are fully enforceable and represent the strongest labor and environmental provisions of any trade agreement ever negotiated.
    • Mexico agreed to historic labor reforms to provide for genuine collective bargaining.
    • The agreement prohibits the importation of goods produced by forced labor.
  • The agreement includes provisions that allow agriculture products to be traded more fairly.
    • Canada will end its “Class 6” and “Class 7” programs that allow low-priced dairy products to undersell American dairy producers.
    • Canada will increase market access for United States dairy products, eggs, and poultry.

REFORMING TRADE FOR THE 21st CENTURY: USMCA modernizes our trade relationship with Canada and Mexico to reflect the realities of the 21st century. 

  • The new agreement includes a modernized chapter that provides stronger and more comprehensive intellectual property protections than any prior United States trade agreement.
    • These protections are vital to promoting innovation and economic growth.
    • USMCA includes robust copyright protection, 10 years of data protection for biologic drugs, and new protections against the theft of trade secrets.
  • USMCA includes the strongest digital trade and financial services provisions of any United States trade agreement.
    • New rules ensure that data can be transferred cross-border and that limits on where data can be stored are minimized.
  • USMCA will cut red tape at the border, streamline trade, and reduce regulatory uncertainty.
  • The agreement includes a currency chapter that will help reinforce transparency and stability.

U.S. Secretary of Commerce Announces Minority Business Development Agency Grant Awards

Minority Business Development Agency Issuing $13 Million in Grants through Broad Agency Announcement

Today, U.S. Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross announced that the Minority Business Development Agency (MBDA) of the Department of Commerce awarded over $13 million to 35 projects in communities across the country. The grants, which are part of MBDA’s new Broad Agency Announcement initiative, reflect critical Department of Commerce priorities including space commerce, aquaculture, disaster relief, and entrepreneurship efforts.

“Under the guidance of President Trump, American businesses have reached unparalleled heights,” said Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross. “These grant awards will help ensure that all Americans across the spectrum continue to reap the benefits of our thriving economy.”

“Minority business enterprises each have a unique and critical role to play in the national economy as well as in countless local communities nationwide,” said MBDA National Director Henry Childs, II. “Through these grant awards, we are directly impacting those who MBDA was created to serve.”

The Minority Business Development Agency is expanding its former use of the Broad Agency Announcement approach to fund projects in these Departmental priority areas that, in turn, promote and ensure the inclusion and use of minority enterprises. Businesses, nonprofits, state and local governments, Indian Tribal governments, as well as educational institutions were all eligible to receive awards.

As a result, the projects that received funding were geographically and commercially diverse. Organizations such as the United States Space Foundation , Howard University, the Asociación Productos de Puerto Rico, and the El Paso Hispanic Chamber of Commerce were all grant recipients.

The Minority Business Development Agency’s mission is to link minority-owned businesses with the capital, contracts, and markets they need to grow. Serving as subject matter experts and advocates for the minority business community, they conduct high quality research and help minority-owned businesses cultivate domestic and international relationships. MBDA is the only Federal agency created specifically to foster the establishment and growth of minority-owned businesses in America.

Upcoming Event: Discover Global Markets

Indo-Pacific
Opportunities at the Convergence of Aerospace + Defense + Security
Dec. 10-12, 2018 | Salt Lake City, UT

About Discover Global Markets

Discover Global Markets is the U.S. Department of Commerce’s flagship event series for U.S. exporters.

In just a few days, attendees will uncover new exporting opportunities, learn from seasoned exporters, and connect with hundreds of networking contacts.

Sign up for e-mail updates to learn about upcoming events in the Discover Global Markets series.

At Each Discover Global Markets Conference, you will:

  • Meet one-on-one with U.S. Commercial Diplomats visiting from abroad
  • Participate in panel discussions on the latest industry trends
  • Identify new and emerging markets of opportunity ahead of your competition
  • Learn about U.S. export programs designed to cut your time to market
  • Network with U.S. trade officials, leading private sector experts and like-minded U.S. businesses active in overseas markets