Stories by Kia Kokalitcheva

Dispatches from Silicon Valley's real estate market

San Francisco rowhouses with dollar signs floating above them
Illustration: Lazaro Gamio/Axios

Bay Area real estate has become so expensive that even engineers making six figures struggle to buy a home. Naturally, a cottage industry of startups has cropped up to offer solutions to the, er, cottage problem.

Driving the news: ZeroDown, the latest in this category, says it's helping its customers compete against even richer homebuyers. It makes an all-cash offer on their behalf and then allows them to build up a down payment for up to five years after that. Of course, the price of the home is steadily increasing the whole time.

A California bill could upend the gig economy

Photo of car with Uber and Lyft logos in the rain.
Photo: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

Rivals Uber and Lyft have joined forces, a rare event, to oppose a California legislature bill that would make it harder for them to classify workers as independent contractors in their home state.

Driving the news: A bill that would codify last year's Dynamex decision by the state's Supreme Court passed California's Assembly (51-11) last month and will soon be in the hands of the state Senate. That decision set a new, higher bar for companies that want to pay service providers as contractors rather than employees — a practice that the ride-hailing services' businesses are built upon.

Bird acquires rival e-scooter company

Photo of two people riding red Scoot scooters on Market Street in San Francisco.
Scoot scooters in San Francisco. Photo: Robert Alexander/Getty Images

Bird on Wednesday said that it has acquired Scoot, which provides on-demand rentals of mopeds, scooters and bikes. Terms weren't disclosed.

Why it matters: This may get Bird access to the San Francisco market, where Scoot has an operating permit but Bird doesn't.