Showing posts with label Uber. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Uber. Show all posts

Thursday, March 09, 2023

9: News Bulletin

Nvidia CEO Jensen Huang's big bet on A.I. is paying off as his core technology powers ChatGPT
Spotify is revamping its podcaster tools, including Anchor, and is partnering with Patreon
The New Bing and Edge – Progress from Our First Month
Apple to Shake Up International Sales Operations to Make India Its Own Region
Google One brings VPN to $1.99/month plan, adding dark web info monitoring

Chinese AI groups use cloud services to evade US chip export controls
Uber Is Considering Spinning Off Freight Logistics Division
New Low: Monthly Funding Dips Below $20B As Funds Continue Record Raises
Consensus raises $110M to inject automation into SaaS product demos
Microsoft, Google-Backed Group Wants to Boost AI Education in Low-Income Schools

Coinbase announces Wallet-as-a-Service product to simplify web3 onboarding
DuckDuckGo Releases Its Own ChatGPT-Powered Search Tool, DuckAssist

Friday, September 13, 2019

Softbank's Problem: Vision, Not Money

100 billion dollars is a lot of money, but it is not too much money for all the innovation that needs to happen, that will happen, with or without the Softbank Vision Fund. So where did the Vision Fund go wrong?

Masa by now has the wrong vantage point.

A tech startup can fail every step of the way. It can fail post-IPO.

But veterans (and give him credit, he has a Steve Jobs-like aura ... he has a stellar record) like Masa learn to become cautious and careless at the same time. Cases in point: Uber and WeWork.

It is hard to spot Uber and WeWork in their early rounds. But by the time they become unicorns, you think, okay, I missed out when it grew from one million to one billion in market value, but now I got it. If I can hop on now, I will still likely see a 100X growth to my investment, when 10X is considered excellent.

But then things go topsyturvy. Elon Musk wants to eat Uber alive. WeWork starts crumbling down right before your eyes post-IPO.

Both are sound companies. Both shifted the paradigm.

Masa picked Alibaba when Alibaba was really young. He has to go to those roots. Maybe it is hard to do. But there are enough early stage companies in the world today that will easily absorb 100B, or whatever is left of it after Uber and WeWork, two dud investments of Masa.

Friday, May 24, 2019

Uber And The Public

Why Silicon Valley Loved Uber More Than Everyone Else Uber was the most valuable private company in history, but the public market has not been as enthusiastic. The reason explains a lot about how the tech industry works.......... Silicon Valley’s cultural divergence from the business reality. ....... Uber has taken more money than any other company from the dense set of moneymen who bankroll new(ish) companies. Its investors include Alphabet, Google’s parent company; Jeff Bezos; Softbank; the Saudi sovereign wealth fund; a slew of marquee venture-capital firms; Goldman Sachs; and even Tim Ferriss, whose work week is probably even shorter now. In 2014, the company set the record for the largest valuation ever for a private tech company—at $17 billion—and then smashed its own mark many times. ....... He and his firm would rely on their instinct instead of putting a number on the company’s value the standard way—by looking at the market Uber was targeting and figuring out how much market share it could win. ......... Drivers drove and riders rode—and the only thing necessary to connect them was an app on a phone. The model didn’t just make financial sense to people trained to think in Silicon Valley in the 2000s; it made ideological sense.......... “We’re in this political campaign, and the candidate is Uber. And the opponent is an asshole named Taxi” ...... The company tried to catalyze riders to contact their local officials telling them to allow Uber to operate, no matter the rules on the books; the effort was called Operation Rolling Thunder. ........ In Kalanick’s national crusade against Taxi, he literally hired Barack Obama’s campaign manager, David Plouffe. In a tough battle in New York, he brought in Michael Bloomberg’s former campaign manager, Bradley Tusk, and won. Tusk later founded a venture firm based on the idea they could help start-ups with politics. ....... For providing this kind of service to Uber, Tusk may have made $100 million........ The company created a loyal user base in a legal gray area, then when a city’s elected political leaders made a decision Uber did not like, the company would use its power to push their political messaging to their users. Elected officials became like customer-service representatives during a cable outage, desperate and nervous.......... Uber really was about the triumph of individualism, an ethos that infuses Silicon Valley so thoroughly that it’s hard for most here to see. Companies that fit that pattern are more likely to garner VC attention, get funding, and find success. That’s how Silicon Valley shapes the world. ......... But they cannot sustain companies within their bubbles of influence forever. They must leave the nest for the public markets, where they are judged on their bottom lines. So far, the market says: This company is worth $50 billion less than its executives and bankers thought.......... And in Uber’s world, the market is always right.

Thursday, October 25, 2018

Tesla, Uber, Lyft, Waymo, Hyperloop, Bullet, Boring

It might only take 30 minutes to go from DC to NYC, city center to city center, but how do you get to that city center? LA to San Francisco might only be half an hour, but who takes you to the train station. Your cousin is busy.

Self driving cars turn small cars into buses, in that you get a public transport ring. You take the driver out, and the ride is cheap. It is bus rate, cheaper actually. This is not just a revolution in engineering, it also is a revolution in ownership. New financial instruments have to be thought up. Instead of buying a house to rent, maybe you want to buy a car to rent.

Transport is point A to point B. It makes sense for the Hyperloop pod to talk to the Tesla self-driving car. You should be able to pick point A, and your point B, and let them crunch the details. You don't get off the pod and call a cab. The cab is already waiting for you and two other people. You will be dropped off at your point B.

Tesla becomes more viable when it starts doing better numbers, which means mass production. The more you produce the cheaper you can go, wider your horizons. Tesla today is a PC in the mid-90s. The price will look expensive in five years.

China's bullet trains pack a punch. But Musk takes point A to point B to a whole new level. There is even vertical take off. And that is 30 minutes from any point to any other point on earth. Vertical also goes in another direction. There is no limit to how many lanes you can have underground. Solving LA traffic? That entrepreneur deserves a gold medal. LA traffic is a living, breathing nightmare.

Tesla 'obviously' plans to take on Uber and Lyft, says CEO Elon Musk

Friday, November 13, 2015

25K Becomes $110 Million In 5 Years

Secretive, Sprawling Network of ‘Scouts’ Spreads Money Through Silicon Valley
Sequoia Capital has funneled millions of dollars to scores of well-connected entrepreneurs and academics, who invest and look for ideas
Startup investor Jason

Calacanis took a $25,000 gamble five years ago on a company almost no one had heard of called UberCab. That investment in what is now Uber Technologies Inc. has ballooned to roughly $110 million.

..... Most of Sequoia’s scouts are entrepreneurs whose startups were funded by the firm. That means they know a lot about what Sequoia is looking for and will recommend the firm to other entrepreneurs. ....... Forging tight relationships that generate new deals for venture-capital firms is more important than ever as the cost of creating startups falls. The resulting acceleration in company launches has made it harder for venture-capital firms to identify the best opportunities as startups emerge. And competition is growing as new investors who are flush with capital invade the technology world. ...... Sequoia made early bets on many of today’s tech titans, including Apple Inc., Google Inc. and Cisco Systems Inc. ...... It was the only venture firm that backed messaging company WhatsApp, sold to Facebook Inc. last year for $22 billion. Sequoia invested about $60 million for a stake valued at $3.5 billion in the deal. Sequoia now owns stakes in 33 private, venture-capital-backed companies valued at more than $1 billion apiece, more than any other venture-capital firm. ...... If a scout’s investment is successful, the vast majority of gains are shared by the scout and Sequoia’s limited partners, Mr. Botha says. Other scouts and Sequoia partners themselves get a small piece of the gains. ..... Sequoia says it instructs scouts to tell startups in which they invest where the money is coming from. But the firm tries to hide the investments from rivals by making them through limited liability companies with odd names. The names include Dragonsteed LLC, Vermillistock LLC and Rocketbooster LLC. ...... In addition to a small number of professors who are scouts, a separate team of unpaid students at Stanford, Harvard University, Columbia University and other elite colleges is on the lookout for promising ideas and entrepreneurs. ...... “VCs want their brand names on campuses,” says Daniel Liem, who says he was a Sequoia scout while studying computer science at Stanford. “They want to find the next Zuckerberg or Spiegel,” Mr. Liem adds, referring to the founders of Facebook and Snapchat Inc. ...... Sequoia’s scouts usually invest about $30,000 at a time and are given initial access to about $100,000 a year. Mr. Botha says the amount can grow if scouts identify even more hot ideas. ..... For scouts, the appeal is membership in an elite club and free money to make seed investments, which they might not be able to afford. .... Scouts are a “very early warning system, like having a bunch of little satellites installed across the Valley, picking up blips on the radar,” he says.

Monday, June 01, 2015

Only 9,000 Cabs?

New York City taxi cabs
New York City taxi cabs (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
That is an amazing number. I just read it on the Gary's Guide newsletter.
"9000 self-driving cars could replace every taxi cab in NYC (avg wait only 36 secs & cost only $0.5/mile). Ancillary industries such as auto insurance ($198B), auto finance ($98B), parking ($100B) & auto aftermarket ($300B) will collapse as demand evaporates. The Transportation Cloud is coming."
Autonomous cars will destroy millions of jobs and reshape the US economy by 2025
Autonomous cars will be commonplace by 2025 and have a near monopoly by 2030, and the sweeping change they bring will eclipse every other innovation our society has experienced. They will cause unprecedented job loss and a fundamental restructuring of our economy, solve large portions of our environmental problems, prevent tens of thousands of deaths per year, save millions of hours with increased productivity, and create entire new industries that we cannot even imagine from our current vantage point....... Morgan Stanley’s research shows that cars are driven just 4% of the year, which is an astonishing waste considering that the average cost of car ownership is nearly $9,000 per year. Next to a house, an automobile is the second-most expensive asset that most people will ever buy ...... Driverless cars do not need to park—vehicles cruising the street looking for parking spots account for an astounding 30% of city traffic, not to mention that eliminating curbside parking adds two extra lanes of capacity to many city streets. Traffic will become nonexistent, saving each US commuter 38 hours every year—nearly a full work week. As parking lots and garages, car dealerships, and bus stations become obsolete, tens of millions of square feet of available prime real estate will spur explosive metropolitan development. ...... As most autonomous cars are likely to be electric, we would eliminate most of the 134 billion gallons of gasoline used each year in the US alone. And while recycling 242 million vehicles will certainly require substantial resources, the surplus of raw materials will decrease the need for mining.
Taxi Cabs Factbook

Sunday, December 07, 2014


Fred Wilson
Fred Wilson (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
The Bitcoin is all the rage. I do think it is as fundamental as the Internet itself was in 1996. But I have been worried Fred Wilson has become one dimensional and is only thinking about the Bitcoin these days. I guess not.

Here is a super exciting investment he just made, looks like: Veniam.

In my book Veniam is the most exciting move Fred Wilson ever made.

Google's self driving car might never happen. But you pair up an almost self driving car with Uber, and you get magic, much sooner. Singularity might never happen. My bet is it will not happen. But a lot of wonderful things will happen in attempts at singularity. This Veniam deal might be the real thing to Google and Facebook talking satellites and drones and balloons. Although I am big on satellites and drones and balloons.

Innovation has a funny way of upending the big dogs.

My comment to his blog post:
This is HUGELY exciting. I think you should get one on one with De Blasio, like NOW, and make this happen for NYC. They are talking old phone booths, which is great, but this is the real deal. A NYC where there is internet access every inch of the city is safer and is on its way to becoming One City. (Reference: De Blasio's Two Cities theme when he ran.)

The Bitcoin is as fundamental as the Internet was in 1996, I give you that. But for a while I was worried you have become a one track train with a laser focus just on Bitcoins. But I guess not.

Heck, this can be taken to Mumbai, to Kathmandu. What about backpacks? This could be taken to Namche! (Sagarmatha base camp ---- Sagarmatha, the Nepali name for Everest).

Monday, December 01, 2014

Fred Wilson And Mark Suster Missing Out On AirBnB And Uber

Mark Suster
Mark Suster (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
photo of Paul Graham
photo of Paul Graham (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Fred Wilson
Fred Wilson (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Fred Wilson was one of the earliest people Paul Graham reached out to as AirBnB was making its early moves. Wilson said, nah. And here is Mark Suster waxing eloquent on his missing out on Uber.

These are smart guys, well connected. They are VC bloggers I like. What happened? How did they miss out?

They say about companies, you become so good at one thing, you tend to miss out on the next thing.

AirBnB and Uber are alike in that there are physical things in their equations. There are apartments and cars involved. I think they sit on top of a mega trend where software actively interacts with the physical environment. And I feel many more large companies will get created at that intersection.

When you have stellar track records of information only kind of software plays, I guess you don't feel the love for the physical.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

A Tweet And Replies For Massive Entertainment

Fred Wilson
Fred Wilson (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
People on the teams of Uber and the like might think it is infotainment. There is information in there. This is the most entertaining tweet I have seen in a long time! Don't tell me there is not a human angle to technology! This is the most I have ever replied to any tweet. Click here for the full show.