325 Lytton, $20m; their tenant you’ve never heard of, $1.3b

Random nobody’s pose in front of the building at 325 Lytton, built by Vance Brown, designed by Tony Carrasco, stones by Haussmann in 2009; the Biz Journal reports that a new tenant there Plume is now worth $1.3b aka a unicorn.

Smart-home technology provider Plume Design Inc. joined the Bay Area’s unicorns Tuesday with a $270 million funding round.

The Palo Alto company, which has largely flown under the radar despite its technology being used in some 22 millions homes, saw its valuation more than double to $1.35 billion as a result of the financing. The sole investor in the round — Plume’s Series E — was New York-based Insight Partners.


Plume plans to use the new funds to develop its technology and to invest in sales, marketing and partnerships, CEO Fahri Diner told the Business Journal in an interview this week. That will mean growing aggressively its workforce of 300, about half of which is based in the U.S. — mostly in Palo Alto. 

“We had about 180 people at this time last year, and I expect that we will be able to grow to around 600 by the end of this year,” Diner said.

“Before the pandemic, I spent about half my time here (in Switzerland) and half in Palo Alto,” he said. “Now it has been mostly here, but our global headquarters is back there, where we leased beautiful new offices on Lytton Avenue at the end of 2019 that most of us have never been to yet. We were supposed to move into them last spring, but the pandemic changed those plans.”


Apropos of the assertion, variations of which I’ve proferred since running for council (getting a mere 800 votes) 2009, that the flipside of our success is a challenge to our ability to self-govern as a Democracy: did we cede to special interests?

How do we run our $450m civic budget for 60,000 citizens while the billion per year ($50B on the tax rolls) real estate industry feeds its greed? And what is the effect of sharing the commons with the billionaires, those who ride or create in their labs Unicorns?

Valid questions — no one in leadership dares asking a follow up, let alone try to answer. 

Grand Jury Report?

Or, read Plastic Alto.


Maybe we need a Corton Beige or Moca Creme Counter Revolution. Is this stuff good for kitchens?

About markweiss86

Mark Weiss, founder of Plastic Alto blog, is a concert promoter and artist manager in Palo Alto, as Earthwise Productions, with background as journalist, advertising copywriter, book store returns desk, college radio producer, city council and commissions candidate, high school basketball player, and blogger; he also sang in local choir, fronts an Allen Ginsberg tribute Beat Hotel Rm 32 Reads 'Howl' and owns a couple musical instruments he cannot play
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