sequoia capital

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Views from America’s National Parks

The United States has 59 protected areas known as national parks that are operated by the National Park Service, an agency of the Department of the Interior. National parks must be established by an act of the United States Congress.

The first national park, Yellowstone, was signed into law by President Ulysses S. Grant in 1872, followed by Mackinac National Park in 1875 (decommissioned in 1895), and then Rock Creek Park (later merged into National Capital Parks), Sequoia and Yosemite in 1890. The Organic Act of 1916 created the National Park Service “to conserve the scenery and the natural and historic objects and wildlife therein, and to provide for the enjoyment of the same in such manner and by such means as will leave them unimpaired for the enjoyment of future generations.”

Many current National Parks had been previously protected as National Monuments by the President under the Antiquities Act before being upgraded by Congress. Seven national parks (including six in Alaska) are paired with a National Preserve, areas with different levels of protection that are administered together but considered separate units and whose areas are not included in the figures below.

Photo credits: Jim Urquhart/Reuters (4), Phil Hawkins/Reuters, Charles Platiau/Reuters, Erin Whittaker/Reuters, Jonathan Ernst/Reuters

See more photos of national parks and our other slideshows on Yahoo News.

4

App-Hungry in India                                          

When Harsh Vardhan Mandad and his Mumbai flat-mates brainstormed ideas for the next killer app, they fueled the sessions with late-night deliveries of local fare. The curry rice and spicy wraps inspired their big breakthrough.

They started Tiny Owl, a smartphone application that helps hungry city-dwellers scour nearby eateries for deliveries. The service now handles 2,000 orders each day and has caught the interest of venture funds including Sequoia Capital, an early backer of technology giants such as Apple Inc. and Oracle Corp.

India is becoming the land of the errand app. A growing number of startups cater to people who want to avoid the poor roads and polluted air, and can afford to do so because of the plentiful cheap labor. Almost anyone can use an app to have someone pick up groceries, drop off a letter at the post office or prepare a lunch that runs 75 rupees ($1.20) with delivery.

Read more in the Bloomberg Business story by Adi Narayan. 

Photographer: Dhiraj Singh/Bloomberg

© 2015 Bloomberg Finance LP

Funding Bubble? Yes.

Months ago I had been using Whatsapp and thought it was good but not great. One key thing missing was knowing whether the person saw your message or not, like it does on BBM. Soon Kik launched and had the promise of blowing Whatsapp out of the water. Shoot, it was founded by key guys from the BBM team, good sign right?

Well, I tried the Kik after it launched with that heavy, and I mean very heavy, press coverage. What happened? Kik didn’t work that great, especially with the initial load on their system, so I decided to go back to Whatsapp. Simply put, it lost the bake off.

Bear with me as this story continues. While Whatsapp was missing the “read” message feature that Kik launched with, I decide to write in Whatsapp and tell them they won the bake off against Kik (congrats!) but was curious when they might update their app with the “read” feature that Kik had. I happened to get a response from Whatsapp hours later.

Their response: “What’s Kik?”. I figured…hmm, can’t be good if you don’t know you have a new competitor with heavy backing and coverage and huge initial growth but okay. Maybe it’s asking too much but I’d at least expect them to know about it but Whatsapp wasn’t funded by anyone and seemed to be just humming along.

Well not anymore. Whatsapp recently raised $8 million in funding from Sequoia among others. 8 million! And they didn’t even know who Kik was! Am I expecting too much from a startup or is it kinda worrisome that their response to my question was so…blank?

Watch on adriangrant.org

Fireside chat between Roelof Botha (Sequoia Capital) and Michael Arrington at TC Disrupt in NYC, May 2011