Politics

Ro Khanna: 'This is not some large bailout for the startups'

Ro Khanna, in conversation with Protocol, says startups have to be included in the economic stimulus package to save jobs.

On Thursday, California Rep. Ro Khanna sat down for a Virtual Meetup with Protocol senior reporter Issie Lapowsky to explain why he thinks it is important for startups to be included in Congress' economic stimulus plan, his view on a universal basic income, and what more the FCC can be doing to address the digital divide.

Khanna said that including startups in the small-business loans will save thousands of jobs. "The affiliation rules make no sense" as they have been written, Khanna said. Currently, venture capital-backed startups may be excluded from the economic stimulus plan. Khanna said he, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy have all been working to convince Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin to draft guidance extending the stimulus to startups.

Earlier Thursday, McCarthy told Axios that Mnuchin had agreed to "solve" the problem. "That is a big deal, if true," Khanna told Protocol. He was still awaiting new guidance from Mnuchin. "It will make a difference for thousands of jobs if this rule is changed."

"The rule waiver will allow [startups] to actually keep the employees," Khanna added. "That's my focus. It's not just saving startups, it's saving the many people employed in startups." He noted that these include both blue collar and science and technology jobs.

Khanna added that the rule waiver should include both venture capital and private-equity-backed firms. "This is not some large bailout for the startups," he said. "We're just talking about giving people a two-month loan that could become a grant to keep people employed."

When asked about his position on a universal basic income, Khanna said that while he supports government-funded mechanisms such as unemployment benefits and cash infusions, he still believes in the "dignity of work."

"People are not going to be fine with a bunch of tech leaders making money and mailing everyone a check," Khanna said. "We need something that gives them work and job opportunities." Khanna suggested expanding the earned income tax credit, supplementing workers who are not making enough, and expanding Social Security disability for people who cannot work for qualifying reasons.

He also noted that the FCC could be doing more to address the digital divide, which has become more dire as schools have switched to remote learning during the coronavirus outbreak. He said the FCC should require or incentivize tech companies to provide more internet access.

Hirsh Chitkara
Hirsh Chitkara (@ChitkaraHirsh) is a researcher at Protocol, based out of New York City. Before joining Protocol, he worked for Business Insider Intelligence, where he wrote about Big Tech, telecoms, workplace privacy, smart cities, and geopolitics. He also worked on the Strategy & Analytics team at the Cleveland Indians.

The way we work has fundamentally changed. COVID-19 upended business dealings and office work processes, putting into hyperdrive a move towards digital collaboration platforms that allow teams to streamline processes and communicate from anywhere. According to the International Data Corporation, the revenue for worldwide collaboration applications increased 32.9 percent from 2019 to 2020, reaching $22.6 billion; it's expected to become a $50.7 billion industry by 2025.

"While consumers and early adopter businesses had widely embraced collaborative applications prior to the pandemic, the market saw five years' worth of new users in the first six months of 2020," said Wayne Kurtzman, research director of social and collaboration at IDC. "This has cemented collaboration, at least to some extent, for every business, large and small."

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Kate Silver

Kate Silver is an award-winning reporter and editor with 15-plus years of journalism experience. Based in Chicago, she specializes in feature and business reporting. Kate's reporting has appeared in the Washington Post, The Chicago Tribune, The Atlantic's CityLab, Atlas Obscura, The Telegraph and many other outlets.

Hirsh Chitkara
Hirsh Chitkara (@ChitkaraHirsh) is a researcher at Protocol, based out of New York City. Before joining Protocol, he worked for Business Insider Intelligence, where he wrote about Big Tech, telecoms, workplace privacy, smart cities, and geopolitics. He also worked on the Strategy & Analytics team at the Cleveland Indians.

Why Coda thinks documents are the internet's next big platform

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Image: Microsoft

The way Shishir Mehrotra sees it, digital documents haven't really changed in 50 years. Since the days of WordStar, Harvard Graphics and VisiCalc, the basic idea of what makes up a document, presentation and spreadsheet haven't really changed.

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David Pierce

David Pierce ( @pierce) is Protocol's editorial director. Prior to joining Protocol, he was a columnist at The Wall Street Journal, a senior writer with Wired, and deputy editor at The Verge. He owns all the phones.

Protocol | Enterprise

Why Segment is central to Twilio’s path to enterprise software stardom

Given Apple's recent changes to third-party tracking technology and Google's looming changes, the customer data platform provider is poised to play a central role in Twilio's product vision moving forward.

The launch of Engage points to the critical role Segment will play in Twilio's future.

Photo: David Paul Morris/Bloomberg via Getty Images

This week at Twilio's annual conference, it's Segment, the company it acquired last year for $3.2 billion, that's poised to take center stage.

Signal kicks off on Wednesday. Alongside Michelle Obama, one of the highlights of the two-day event is bound to be Twilio Engage, a new product that showcases the combined capabilities of the cloud communications provider and Segment, the customer data platform vendor that Twilio bought last November.

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Joe Williams

Joe Williams is a senior reporter at Protocol covering enterprise software, including industry giants like Salesforce, Microsoft, IBM and Oracle. He previously covered emerging technology for Business Insider. Joe can be reached at JWilliams@Protocol.com. To share information confidentially, he can also be contacted on a non-work device via Signal (+1-309-265-6120) or JPW53189@protonmail.com.

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