How Arizona Is Leading the Autonomous Vehicle Revolution – SPONSOR CONTENT FROM ARIZONA COMMERCE AUTHORITY

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Self-driving vehicles, once a science fiction technology, are rapidly becoming a reality that promises to transform our lives –   making it safer and more efficient to move people and goods, while reinventing our thinking about transportation.

Arizona, one of the leading cities for autonomous vehicles, is the proving ground for this transformative innovation.

This fleet of driverless cars — 600 Chrysler Pacifica mini-vans, operated by Google’s Waymo — can be seen today daily on the streets where companies like GM and Ford also are testing autonomous innovations. Arizona startup Local Motors developed “Ollie,” the self-driving bus here. And ride-sharing companies like Lyft and Uber have scaled their operations while deploying their own self-driving vehicles.

Under Governor Doug Ducey’s direction, the state has played a leading role in this dramatic evolution of mobility – and it’s done so by getting out of the way. Arizona’s focus on encouraging innovation, while ensuring

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Do Your Homework

If you want to be successful, you have to put in the time.  Nothing worthwhile comes easy.   This is the same across all occupations and endeavors.  When I talk to millennials a lot of the time I hear, “That’s hard.”

Yes, it is.

Too often we get exposed to people that completed their journey.  We don’t get get a look at them before they were on it, or while they were on it.  While stories are powerful, it’s hard to imagine what it was like for yourself.  That law partner making the big bucks?  They were in law school once and they were low on the totem pole in a law firm once too.

The same is true with traders.  Before they became great traders, they had to learn the mechanics.  They had to ingrain the fundamentals into their workflow and brain.  Before I traded, I worked from Continue reading "Do Your Homework"

Nima Peanut Sensor Pre-Order

Less than a year after releasing its first product, Nima announced its highly anticipated peanut sensor is now available for pre-order, adding an allergen to its connected food sensor platform. If you have a peanut allergy, Nima is a must have.

Pre-order before March 8 to get the product for $229 ($60 off the retail price). More here about the science behind the peanut sensor.

Nima launched on the market a year ago with the Nima gluten sensor, the first company on the market to create a connected food sensor for consumers. Nima has enabled thousands of gluten-avoiding folks to test food for gluten at restaurants and packaged foods. The device takes an eight-step lab process and shrinks it to a little device that fits in your pocket.

With Nima, you can test your own food but you can also see what thousands of others are testing through

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Andrew Chen

“I’m a fuckin’ genius, Jimmy Neutron”
—Soulja Boy, “The Best”

Back in 2007 when Marc and I were angel investors, we read everything we could on the emerging techniques for building products and companies. We were hungry for any information …

Research: A Strong Privacy Policy Can Save Your Company Millions

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Cyberattacks are on the rise, with over 1,000 data breaches occurring at U.S. organizations in 2016 alone, most often through hacking or external theft. And it isn’t only violated firms that are hurt by these incidents. Studying hundreds of data breaches, our research has found that they create significant ripples that affect other companies in the industry.

Our research shows that data breaches sometimes harm a firm’s close rivals (due to spillover effects), but sometimes help them (due to competitive effects). What is more, we found that a good corporate privacy policy can shield firms from the financial harm posed by a data breach — by offering customers transparency and control over their personal information — while a flawed policy can exacerbate the problems caused by a breach. Together, this evidence is the first to show that a firm’s close rivals are directly, financially affected by its

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The Dronebase API – Assign Drone Missions Directly In Your Workflow

Our portfolio company DroneBase announced another round of funding today but the more exciting thing to me is that they have built out and are scaling the operational layer for the drone industry.

From their announcement:

DroneBase recently completed over 100,000 commercial drone missions for enterprise clients across various industries such as real estate, insurance, telecommunications, construction, and media. The company has the largest, most engaged and skilled drone pilot network, having grown it 10x year over year for the past two years. Through this network, DroneBase is able to turn around a client mission in less than 48 hours anywhere in the United States, since its pilots are active in all 50 states and over 60 countries.

And you can access that network via the Dronebase API.

So if you are in the insurance, real estate, construction, media, or telecom business and need to acquire aerial imagery on a

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157. USV’s Newest GP on Leveraged Growth, the Consumer Echo Chamber & Customer Obsession (Rebecca Kaden)

Rebecca Kaden of Union Square Ventures joins Nick to discuss USV’s Newest GP on Leveraged Growth, Consumer Brand Building & Customer Obsession. In this episode, we address the following questions: I’ve heard you talk about Allbirds, Zullily, and others before, can you highlight a few notable investments from your time...

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Power Can Corrupt Leaders. Compassion Can Save Them

Andrew Nguyen/HBR Staff

In 2016 John Stumpf, then the CEO of Wells Fargo, was called before Congress to explain a massive scandal. For more than four hours, Stumpf fielded a range of questions about why the bank, which had over $1.8 trillion in assets, had created 2 million false accounts, and, after the fraud was discovered, fired 5,300 employees as a way of redirecting the blame. The recordings of the hearing are a shocking but illustrative case study of how leaders are at risk of being corrupted by power.

Stumpf’s appearance before Congress shows a man who had made it to the top of one of the world’s most valuable banks — and who seems to show an utter lack of ability to have compassion for other people. Even though his actions caused 5,300 people to lose their jobs, he seemed incapable of acknowledging their pain. Yes, he apologized, but he

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betaworks Studios is a membership club for builders

 betaworks, the 10-year-old startup studio out of NYC, is today introducing a brand new business in the form of betaworks Studios. Think of betaworks Studios as a membership club for builders, offering entrepreneurs, artists, enginneers/developers, and creatives the space to work on their projects and get to know one another. Builders is the word that betaworks uses to describe its core… Read More

Big Companies Are Embracing Analytics, But Most Still Don’t Have a Data-Driven Culture

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For six consecutive years NewVantage Partners has conducted an annual survey on how executives in large corporations view data. Each year the response rate increases, and the reported urgency of making effective use of data increases as well. This year the results are both more encouraging and more worrisome than in the past.

Six years ago, the primary focus of questions and answers in the survey was big data, which was relatively new on the business scene. In the 2018 survey, the primary attention has moved to artificial intelligence. AI is now a well-established focus at these large, sophisticated firms. There is both a stronger feeling that big data and AI projects deliver value and a greater concern that established firms will be disrupted by startups.

The survey includes senior executives from 57 large corporations. The industry group with the most firms represented in the survey is one

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SoCal Stunners: Why Homebrew Has Gone South

There’s a question we ask ourselves when investing in a startup outside of the Bay Area: is their location a positive for the company? We believe great companies can be built in many locations – not just beloved Silicon Valley – but we do want to articulate *why* a specific company benefits from its geo. This can be based in the founders (strong hiring relationships locally), the local industry (access to customers, partners, talent) or academic hubs (research, talent).

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Our second Homebrew fund, the one we’re currently investing out of, has three Southern California startups, all of which are absolutely better, more durable companies being based where they are versus if they had started in the Bay Area.

Joymode (LA), Lumi (LA) and Shield (San Diego) each take the DNA of their home cities and imbue their companies with a sense of purpose. They’re amazing technical teams without being myopically Continue reading "SoCal Stunners: Why Homebrew Has Gone South"

Uncertainty Wednesday: Spurious Correlation (Part 3)

So the last two Uncertainty Wednesday posts have been about spurious correlation. Today, I want to give an example of easy it is to observe spurious correlation. To that end I wrote a little Python program which I will show below that rolls two independent dice. Each is rolled 10 times to give us two data series of 10 points each. This mimics the 10 data point series from last week’s example.

The program runs some number of these and each times calculates and outputs the coefficient of correlation. I then use Google Sheets to produce a histogram.

Here is the result for 1,000 runs


And here are 10,000 runs


What we see is the distribution of the sample correlation. As we add more runs we once again see a normal distribution emerge (isn’t that fascinating?).

Looking at the charts we see that the center of the distribution is Continue reading "Uncertainty Wednesday: Spurious Correlation (Part 3)"

Things to Consider When Designing Your Startup’s Logo

How should you think about designing your startup’s logo? The mark symbolizes your business. It’s destined to be ubiquitous. Business cards, ads, hoodies, mobile apps, water bottles, even custom sneakers may bear the logo.

In the most recent episode of 99% Invisible, Tom Geismar relates the creation story of the Chase logo. The Chase logo was one of the first abstract corporate marks, one without text. Since then, Geismar has created many iconic marks including Xerox, PBS, Mobil.

Geismar offers three basic criteria for evaluating a logo:
1. Appropriate - must fit your startup’s culture and its ecosystem
2. Distinctive - must be unique enough to be distinguished from the competition
3. Flexible - must be easily scaled to smaller sizes and different media

In the interview, Geismar shares a few other important points. Not every business should use an abstract mark. The blue striated octagon works because of Chase’s

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Very famous VC Bill Gurley says startup boardrooms are now just filled with *clapping hand noise*

 Fresh off a public spat between Uber investor Benchmark Capital and former Uber CEO Travis Kalanick, Benchmark general partner Bill Gurley took the stage in front of a large room of bankerfolk at the Goldman Sachs Internet and Technology Conference to talk about how startup boardrooms are now filled with a lot of cheerleaders that aren’t holding founders accountable. Read More

Welcome Victor Echevarria

I’m thrilled to announce that Victor Echevarria has joined the Jackson Square Ventures team. 

First – a quick history: Jackson Square Ventures is 6 years old, although many of us have been in venture for significantly longer since we spun out of a larger firm about 6 years ago. JSV is different than other firms – we focus on investing in real companies that are pursuing iconic outcomes. 

What does that mean? 

Real companies are anti-hype. Crypto and AI are not tossed around as buzzwords. They are focused on improving massive, existing markets. They talk about a transformational long-term vision for an industry and they focus their time and energy internally to constantly improve their team and their business. Iconic outcomes are the results of patience, discipline, and strong execution. They take time to build – but they also stand the test of time. 

It takes Continue reading "Welcome Victor Echevarria"

Want to be a founder? Go get a job, says venture capitalist Joe Kraus of GV

 Yesterday, at Startup Grind, an event series that’s aimed at new founders and people contemplating becoming entrepreneurs, we sat down with Joe Kraus, a partner for the last eight years with Google’s early-stage investing arm, GV. Kraus, who’d earlier cofounded two companies — Excite and Jotspot — shared a range of founder-friendly advice, including what GV and… Read More

Why Female Founder Office Hours is So Important

If you haven’t yet heard about Female Founder Office Hours it is an initiative you should be aware of whether you’re male, female or any other gender identify. The idea is simple enough: several female VC partners at top funds will hold 1-hour meetings with 40 promising female entrepreneurs looking to get advice on their business and pitch in a friendly, non-judgmental, safe environment.

I want to outline why I think this is such an important initiative but first want to be sure you know that my partner Kara Nortman and my friend Eva Ho are hosting the next Female Founder Office Hours in our offices on March 13 and you can sign up here → LA Female Office Hours.

Please help share this widely so that more women become aware of this important resource that is being run nationally. For the LA event, for example, they will not only have a selection of great LA VCs but also 10+ senior VC women from the SF Bay Area will be coming down for it.

So why is this initiative so important for men, women and other gender identities?

1. Mentorship / Modeling Behavior

An important part of leadership is being a role model for those who may come after you to look up and say, “If she can do it then why can’t I?” Female Founder Office Hours gives founders the mentorship and the role models to see that it is in not only possible but also to have a plan to make it a reality.

My partner Kara wrote a great post on the topic that you should read. But I’ll give you one quote that struck a chord with me,

“Since childhood, I have been fortunate enough to be inspired by strong women. My grandmother was one of the first woman to earn a math degree from Columbia and never gave a damn about what women are “supposed to do.” Thanks to her, I never thought much about my identity being defined by being a woman. I always wanted my academic & career achievements to just stand on their own.

Kara is a strong person and a confident leader and it’s clear that she had role models that taught her from a young age that there were no limits to her career potential or doing what she wanted in life. When people provide that kind of modeling you lift up those who come after you and make them better.

2. Inclusion

I recently read Dan Rather’s book “What Unites Us,” which is a book I highly recommend, in anticipation of interviewing him at the Upfront Summit. He has a section on “Inclusion” and I loved his angle on this term. What

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