Unemployment claims drop, but Bay Area tech firms prep layoffs

SAN JOSE — Unemployment claims in California fell to their lowest levels since coronavirus-linked business shutdowns began in March — but a few Silicon Valley tech companies and at least one big services firm that caters to the tech sector have prepped new layoffs.

In November alone, Hitachi Vantara, Boston Scientific, Marvell Semiconductor and PayPal have revealed plans for job cuts in Silicon Valley, according to official state filings.

Despite the improvement in unemployment claims in California, the tech industry layoffs and weekly jobless filings that remain far higher than what is typical are disquieting reminders that the economy in the state and the Bay Area remains feeble.

“The California economy is in a suspended state,” said Michael Bernick, a former director of the state Employment Development Department and an employment attorney with law firm Duane Morris. “There is little new hiring and no economic uptick over the past two

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Can Bay Area startup’s firefighting drones save us from catastrophe?

With flame-ravaged Bay Area communities still mired in a tough recovery after California’s worst fire season destroyed more than 1,000 Bay Area homes, a Silicon Valley startup says its artificially intelligent firefighting drones could help stop future catastrophes.

If drones from Rain Industries had been in position around the Bay Area during this August’s lightning storms, the aircraft could have contained 72% of the fires within 10 minutes of ignition, the Palo Alto firm’s co-founder and CEO Maxwell Brodie said. “This is a transformative technology,” Brodie said. “If it is us or someone else that does this, it doesn’t really matter. This will happen.”

After starting out with a smaller, six-rotor prototype drone that successfully doused small fires by dropping balls full of retardant, Rain is now testing autonomous aircraft resembling small helicopters that it says can fly preemptively during potentially hazardous wildfire conditions and use their infrared sensors to

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Bay Area families furious as Good Eggs fails to deliver Thanksgiving meals

A system failure left some Bay Area customers of the San Francisco grocery delivery startup Good Eggs incensed that no one told them their Thanksgiving deliveries weren’t coming.

In a long Twitter thread, Good Eggs CEO Bentley Hall explained that early Wednesday morning, the company “experienced a multi-hour warehouse system outage.”

“On Tuesday, we fell behind on picking orders. This resulted in delivery delays early in the day, and a driver shortage later. To address this, we pushed some deliveries to early Wednesday morning,” Hall explained in a statement. “Early Wednesday morning, on our biggest batch of the year, we experienced a warehouse system outage for several hours. This created a cascading set of more material challenges during the day. We were unable to recover fully from them.

“I made some poor decisions earlier in the day that led to a lack of timely, clear communication. We left many

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Housing development proposed for Glenmore area again denied recommendation | Local Government

At a board meeting in October, Supervisor Donna Price, who represents the Scottsville District, asked the board to send the project back to the Planning Commission for a recommendation before it comes back before the board, which supervisors supported.

In addition to the decrease in density from two gross units per acre and 2.5 net units per acre to 1.6 gross units per acre and 1.9 net units per acre, the design and alignment of one of the main roads has been reconfigured to discourage traffic from entering and exiting Breezy Hill on Running Deer Drive.

More than 230 community members, nearly all against the proposed development, have reached out to commissioners and staff via email with concerns about the proposal. Many of the concerns were around language in the area’s Master Plan that says “it is essential that all of the U.S. 250 improvements be constructed before new development

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Google keeps growing in Seattle area, agrees to buy nearly 10 acres at a car dealership site in Kirkland

A Google building in South Lake Union, Seattle. (GeekWire File Photo / James Thorne)

Google’s footprint in Seattle just keeps on growing.

The Alphabet-owned tech giant signed an agreement to purchase land at a car dealership site in Kirkland, Wash., a spokesperson confirmed Thursday.

Business Insider and Bloomberg reported the news last week. King County records obtained by GeekWire show a sale of nearly 10 acres of land at 11845 NE 85th St., home of Lee Johnson car dealerships. There is no purchase price available yet.

Google did not provide more details. “The site is intended to support Google’s future growth in the area,” a spokesperson said.

It’s the latest expansion for Google this year, even amid the ongoing pandemic that has forced some companies to pull back on physical office space with a shift to remote work.

Death of the HQ? Pandemic hits commercial real estate, but long-term trends

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Cato Network snags $130M Series E on $1B valuation as cloud wide area networking thrives

Cato Networks has spent the last five years building a cloud-based wide area network that lets individuals connect to network resources regardless of where they are. When the pandemic hit, and many businesses shifted to work from home, it was the perfect moment for technology like this. Today, the company was rewarded with a $130 million Series E investment on $1 billion valuation.

Lightspeed Venture Partners led the round, with participation from new investor Coatue and existing investors Greylock, Aspect Ventures/Acrew Capital, Singtel Innov8 and Shlomo Kramer (who is the co-founder and CEO of the company). The company reports it has now raised $332 million since inception.

Kramer is a serial entrepreneur. He co-founded Check Point Software, which went public in 1996, and Imperva, which went public in 2011 and was later acquired by private equity firm Thoma Bravo in 2018. He helped launch Cato in 2015. “In 2015, we

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