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San Jose Mayor Simply ‘Excited’ That PwC Chose to Move into a Building That Was Vacant for Eight Years

Considering this hunk of metal and glass has been empty since before the Iraq War started, San Jose Mayor Chuck Reed could probably muster a little more enthusiasm than this:

San Jose Mayor Chuck Reed said Wednesday that he was “excited” that PwC was staying in San Jose.

Something along the lines of “OMG! OMG! OMG! OMG! PwC, we are so grateful that you saved this building from becoming overrun by cobwebs and rats plus, it won’t be the laughingstock of our skyline anymore!”

No, Mayor Reed kept things fairly tepid:

“It’s a big relief for me,” said Reed. “I was worried about a major tenant moving out of downtown.”

Plus, you know, having this eyesore remain empty for a few more years.

KPMG Silicon Valley Office Dangles “November Jeans Month” To Help Boost Poor Employee Survey Response Rate

Last week John Veihmeyer asked everyone at KPMG to share their thoughts on what the firm does well but also what the firm can do to improve its awesomeness.

Well, apparently some of you in the Silicon Valley office didn’t get the hint. Your pathetic response rate of 23% (as of this writing) has some people worried that you’re not taking this shit serious. In order to get you to spring into action, the office honchos have dangled two carrots in the form of five lucky ducks winning a $200 AMEX gift card but the big opportunity here is the possibility (albeit a longshot) for wearing denim EVERY SINGLE DAY in the month of November.

2010 Employee Work Environment Survey & Jeans Month!


As you know, the 2010 Employee Work Environment Survey is underway and will run through Monday, October 25.

The Silicon Valley Office currently has a 23% response rate.

If you have not already responded, I encourage you to do so as your feedback helps us to identify our strengths and our weaknesses and provides us with ideas on how we can become an even better place to work and a higher performing organization.

On October 11, you received an e-mail from John Veihmeyer and Henry Keizer with personal login information to access the electronic survey. If you haven’t done so, please review that e-mail and access and complete the survey before October 25.

Please note that all participants’ responses will remain confidential, and will go directly to our external survey provider, Kenexa, for tabulation. Kenexa will not report aggregate scores for departments with less than 10 responses.

Remember that all employees who complete the survey have the opportunity to enter a drawing in which five randomly selected respondents will receive a $200 American Express gift card. The survey site will provide instructions to enter. The winner will be announced after October 25.

Last year, the Silicon Valley office’s survey response rate was 70%. In order to establish a wider range of views and suggestions, I’d like to set a goal of 80% this year. So we are giving you an added incentive to respond to the survey. If the Silicon Valley office receives an 80% response rate, then the month of November will be “Jeans Month” and you can wear jeans to the Silicon Valley Office every day next month.

Thank you for participating, and we will share results with you later this year.

So for those of you that are ruining it for everyone else, do you not recognize what is at stake here? Are you not interested in providing exquisite client service in the cool, comfort of denim for 30 straight days? Do you really want to be standing around the water cooler in khakis explaining to someone that you didn’t complete the survey? If so, we hope you can sleep well.

PwC Report: Venture Capital Activity in New York Jumps While Silicon Valley Sees a Slide

This story is republished from CFOZone, where you’ll find news, analysis and professional networking tools for finance executives.

Silicon Valley is still central headquarters for venture capital activity in the US. But it looks like the New York City area is trying to play catch up.

A new report shows an increase in the region both in the amount of startup funding and the number of deals for two consecutive quarters, while activity in Silicon Valley dropped.

The report, from PricewaterhouseCoopers and the National Venture Capital Association, found that financing for companies in and around the Big Apple increased to $566 million in the first quarter. That was an 18.9 percent rise from the previous quarter, also a 34 percent year-over-year increase. A total of 75 firms received money in the first quarter, up 13.6 percent.

In Silicon Valley the story was very different. Investment dollars and numbers still won out over New York, of course. But the trend was down. Total funding of $1.5 billion in the first quarter represented a 21.4 percent drop from the fourth quarter 2009, while the number of deals fell 24.6 percent over the same period.

Overall share of VC money also rose in New York and fell in Silicon Valley. In New York, it reached 12 percent, up from 9.2 percent in the fourth quarter 2009, compared to 32.3 percent for Silicon Valley, down from 37.5 percent.

This New York- area investment growth reflects recent efforts by venture capitalists and the New York City government to rev up funding.

A few examples:

Last spring, New York law firm Lowenstein Sandler started First Growth Venture Network, which provides mentoring for newbie CEOs from venture capital firms, angels and more-seasoned executives.

Last fall, they announced the first 15 CEO mentees. Late last year, seven successful entrepreneurs launched the Founder Collective to make $50,000 to $1 million investments in very early-stage ventures in New York, as well as the Boston area.

In early 2009, NYC Seed, a partnership of venture capital, non-profits and universities, made its first investments in several seed-stage ventures.

Last week, I wrote about trends in angel investing and noted that such financing provides more money for startups than venture capital. Still, although VCs invest in a small percentage of all new companies, they do support enterprises with potential to become real powerhouses. So, the New York area economy clearly benefits both in the short and long-term from this financing activity.

Although it’s doubtful these firms will ever match the contribution in tax dollars and jobs provided by Wall Street.