Few people in the country today have had such up-close and personal experiences with the founding of successful tech ventures as serial entrepreneur and financier Shervin Pishevar. Now in his 40s, Shervin Pishevar has been at the forefront of the tech industry since the mid-90s. He has been personally responsible for the founding and incubation of tech startups ranging from Airbnb and Uber to Social Gaming Network and Virgin Hyperloop.
Shervin Pishevar is also one of Silicon Valley’s thought leaders. He runs one of the most popular Twitter feeds of any venture capitalist in the Bay Area. It’s a safe bet that when Shervin Pishevar tweets on a topic of national importance, the most influential leaders in the country are hanging on his every word.
In a recent barrage of tweets, Pishevar laid down some solid arguments for why tech monopolies should be watched very carefully and why it’s likely that they will eventually need to be broken up. As someone who was there throughout the entire early stages of both Airbnb and Uber, Pishevar has seen, up close, the immense perils that new startups face. He says that the tendency of the top five tech monopolies —Google, Apple, Microsoft, Amazon and Facebook — to run out or buy out any competitor that looks like they may even possibly pose an eventual threat to their business has become a major problem.
One of the means by which these tech giants can push out competitors or make their businesses non-viable is through the use of a little-understood but highly effective weapon: lawfare. Pishevar cites the ongoing legal battles that Uber has been forced to deal with due to nuisance lawsuits filed by autonomous-vehicle rival Google. Pishevar points out that Uber is a far smaller company, and it has been compelled to waste tens of millions of dollars defending itself in court from spurious claims made by Google.
While Google has virtually unlimited resources, the millions spent by Uber are seriously cutting into its bottom line, taking money away from operations and research and development programs. Through exploiting these asymmetries, the big tech monopolies can drive incipient competition out of markets.