What the partnership at Trinity Ventures sees for the road ahead in 2020 | Over the years, Trinity Ventures has racked up many exits for its limited partners. Through deals in consumer brands like Starbucks and Zulily and ent

What the partnership at Trinity Ventures sees for the road ahead in 2020

What the partnership at Trinity Ventures sees for the road ahead in 2020

What the partnership at Trinity Ventures sees for the road ahead in 2020

What the partnership at Trinity Ventures sees for the road ahead in 2020

What the partnership at Trinity Ventures sees for the road ahead in 2020

What the partnership at Trinity Ventures sees for the road ahead in 2020
What the partnership at Trinity Ventures sees for the road ahead in 2020
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Over the years, Trinity Ventures has racked up many exits for its limited partners.

Through deals in consumer brands like Starbucks and Zulily and enterprise companies like TubeMogul and New Relic, the Menlo Park-based fund has found repeated success, but as it retrenches with a pared-down investment team and a much smaller new fund, Trinity’s investors have some thoughts about what lies ahead for the venture capital community.

As the firm’s partners consider what’s in store for 2020, they emphasize that entrepreneurs will have to focus on public policy; blockchain will experience a renaissance; a recession is coming and the accessibility of data and an aging global population will continue to reshape healthcare markets.

The firm is currently in the process of closing what would be its smallest fund in years, a $250 million investment vehicle, first disclosed in a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission in July. That fund, as first reported by Crunchbase News, is the firm’s most modest vehicle in nearly 20 years; the last time Trinity raised less than $300 million was in 1998.

Even as it invests from a smaller vehicle, the team is still putting capital to work in deals like the human resources-focused technology startup, Cultivate; the interbank payment company, BatonSquire, a payment and booking management platform for barbershops and salons, and Valtix, an enterprise security company.

For Patricia Nakache, an investor in companies like Turo, Care.com, and ThredUp, understanding regulation and public policy will have to become part of the job for budding entrepreneurs and big companies alike.

Elon Musk says sledgehammering Cybertruck led to the onstage window failure

Elon Musk says sledgehammering Cybertruck led to the onstage window failure

After pounding the side of his new Cybertruck with a sledgehammer with not a mark left behind, Elon Musk turned his focus to the “Tesla Armor Glass”.

As we all saw, the glass did not fare so well. A toss of a steel ball into the window caused it to splinter, catching everyone on stage off guard. “Oh my [bleeping] God,” said Musk.

A repeat attempt on the rear window had the same results, leaving the truck with cracks awkwardly sprawled across its glass for the remainder of the presentation.

In hindsight, Elon says they probably should’ve done the window demo before they smacked the truck with a big ol’ hammer.

Elon tweets:

Would the window have cracked regardless of order? At least on stage, they only pounded on the front door panel; were these hits enough to crack the base of the glass on the rear door, too? It’s probably impossible for anyone outside of Tesla to say with certainty, but that seems pretty wild.

The night after the announcement, Elon tweeted out a video of their tests “right before launch”, in which the window seemingly had no problems:

Some commenters postulated (assuming that the truck in the video was the same one on stage) that these earlier tests could’ve primed the window for failure — that the test hits weakened the glass, even if they didn’t visibly damage them.

Whatever the cause, the glass cracked — twice. The (literal) damage is done. But while the broken windows have become something of a meme, it’s not as if the failed demo wiped out interest; Musk says that, as of Sunday night, over 200,000 people had put down refundable $100 deposits (so over $20M in deposits in all) on the truck. And with the Cybertruck not expected to go into production until late 2021, I’d be surprised if Tesla doesn’t make some tweaks and find some over-the-top way to demonstrate V2 of the truck’s glass before these things actually start rolling out.

Baby Yoda memes return as Giphy stops pulling content over copyright concerns

Baby Yoda memes return as Giphy stops pulling content over copyright concerns

Almost as soon as “Baby Yoda” (or “Yoda Baby”?) debuted on the wildly popular new Disney Plus series “The Mandalorian,” a thousand internet memes bloomed in its wake.

Yet, nearly as quickly as the image took hold everywhere online, it was mysteriously pulled — as if a thousand bounty hunters all got the same tracking fob.

Initially, outlets like Vulture, which had a slew of adorable baby Yoda images, blamed an overabundance of caution from Walt Disney Co. for the disappearance of everyone’s favorite new adorable Star Wars alien. But Disney, it turns out, (surprisingly) wasn’t to blame for the disappearance of Yoda Baby.

Rather it was Giphy, the maven of meme generation that was behind the dastardly deed, as initially reported by the BBC.

“Last week, there was some confusion around certain content uploaded to Giphy and we temporarily removed these GIFs while we reviewed the situation,” the company said in a statement. “We apologize to both Disney and Vulture for any inconvenience, and we are happy to report that the GIFs are once again live on Giphy.”

It’s the latest example of the overwhelming sensitivity and general joylessness that surrounds intellectual property and copyright in the age of corporate branding über alles.

TechCrunch has been weighing in on copyright claims and fair use for at least a decade. And for the past decade or more, killjoys have been ruining the remix culture that was part of the internet’s strength in the first place. Corporations should lighten up — as some Twitter users have noted; they may be super-pumped with the results.

Ford VP challenges Tesla to a fair F-150 vs Cybertruck tow battle

Ford VP challenges Tesla to a fair F-150 vs Cybertruck tow battle

Elon Musk took a big swipe at Ford during the unveiling of the Cybertruck. Mid-presentation, he played a video of a Cybertruck pulling an F-150 in what was pitched as a head-to-head contest. Many have questioned if it was a fair fight (I don’t think it was)… including Sundeep Madra, VP of Ford X, the automaker’s venture incubator.

Madra tweeted to Elon Musk today, calling for Tesla’s CEO to send Ford a Cybertruck to do an “apples to apples” test.

The test showed by Tesla is questionable on several levels. First, the Cybertruck is dramatically heavier, particularly in the rear-end. The Ford used in the test appears to be in 2-wheel drive mode running on older tires. Without weight on the rear wheels, and the front axle spinning freely, the Ford is at the mercy of the heavier all-wheel drive Cybertruck.

The Ford appears to be a mid-level XLT trim and it’s impossible to identify the engine used. However, the truck lacks the badging used with Ford’s top-of-the-line 3.5L Ecoboost, which seems to indicate the truck sports a lower-end V8 or Ford’s smaller 2.7L Ecoboost. Either way, it’s not a fair fight under the hood.

Other factors are at play, too. The Cybertruck pulls first, increasing the Tesla’s traction and decreasing the Ford’s. (Also, Tesla, when towing a vehicle from a standstill, it’s critical to ensure the slack is removed from the line. It’s dangerous to do otherwise. That line can snap.)

In the end, though these butt-to-butt pull challenges are fun to watch but don’t prove much relevant to the real world. A better tow test would involve weighted trailers and conclusions based off of range and weight.

Ford is among a handful of automakers developing an electric pickup that will compete against the Tesla Cybertruck. The F-150 is the automaker’s best selling vehicle and critical to its balance sheet.

The Cybertruck upends decades of truck styling and functionality by taking the unibody form and function to an extreme. The polarizing design has lead to countless memes and digs at Tesla, but also over 200,000 in pre-orders in just a few days.

Update: Looks like astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson has issues with the physics of the situation as well.

 

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