The shutdown’s toll on tech

A shutdown banner across the US capital
A shutdown banner across the US capital

The shutdown’s toll on tech

Planned initial public offerings have stalled as they wait to receive feedback from the SEC.
January 11, 2019

After 20 days, the government shutdown is getting a bit old – not just for the employees furloughed or working without pay, the depressed lawmakers and frustrated citizens, but for those in the tech community who were hoping to start the new year on stronger footing.

Uber and Lyft, two ride-hail companies that ended 2018 with hefty valuations for their planned initial public offerings, have seen those plans stalled by the shutdown as they wait to receive feedback on their confidential filings with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.

Additionally, the many tech companies that depend on revenue from government business are hit by the stalemate, as are the government’s own cybersecurity agencies. A new division of Homeland Security called the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency has seen more than half of its staff furloughed since opening in November.

And then there’s the Consumer Electronics Show. Attendees at the annual Las Vegas product showcase may not feel the acute pain of the shutdown as they revel in new gadgets like flying cars and foldable phones, but when CES ends today and companies attempt to market and sell their new technologies, they’ll be looking for official approval from the Federal Communications Commission, which is also on furlough. As frustrating as it can be to deal with government officials and regulators as a tech company, not having the opportunity to work with them can be even worse.

For the rest of today's tech news, head over to First Read Tech.

Annie McDonough
is a tech and policy reporter at City & State.