The Capital Letter: Week of October 5

Call me crazy, but I’m not convinced that the latest round of talks on a new stimulus package are going as well as they might be.



a traffic light on a city street at night


© James Lawler Duggan/Reuters


Bloomberg:

President Donald Trump and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi questioned each other’s mental faculties, showcasing increasing partisan tensions as Election Day looms.

“The president is, shall we say, in an altered state right now, so I don’t know how to answer for his behavior.,” Pelosi said in an interview on Bloomberg Television Thursday.

The Democratic leader also called Trump’s changing positions this week on whether to let his administration conduct talks on fiscal stimulus “strange.” Trump pulled his team from negotiations Tuesday, prompting Pelosi to suggest to colleagues that day that Trump’s thinking might have been affected by the steroids he’s taken to battle his Covid-19, Bloomberg has reported.

“The disassociation from reality would be funny if it

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The Capital Letter: Stimulus Politics, Trade Deficits, Big Government & Big Tech

(James Lawler Duggan/Reuters)

The politics of stimulus, trade deficits, big government and big tech and more.

Call me crazy, but I’m not convinced that the latest round of talks on a new stimulus package are going as well as they might be.

Bloomberg:

President Donald Trump and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi questioned each other’s mental faculties, showcasing increasing partisan tensions as Election Day looms.

“The president is, shall we say, in an altered state right now, so I don’t know how to answer for his behavior.,” Pelosi said in an interview on Bloomberg Television Thursday.

The Democratic leader also called Trump’s changing positions this week on whether to let his administration conduct talks on fiscal stimulus “strange.” Trump pulled his team from negotiations Tuesday, prompting Pelosi to suggest to colleagues that day that Trump’s thinking might have been affected by the steroids he’s taken to battle his Covid-19,

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Nvidia and Huawei face uncertain future in Britain’s high-tech capital

University of Cambridge

Geography Photos/UIG via Getty Images

LONDON — Situated in the middle of China and the U.S., the English university city of Cambridge has found itself at the center of two massive tech sagas.

U.S. chip maker Nvidia and Chinese hardware manufacturer Huawei have big expansion plans in Cambridge but both companies have big hurdles to overcome if their dreams are to be realized.

Nvidia hopes to acquire Cambridge-headquartered Arm for $40 billion and set up a new “world-class” AI center in the city, while Huawei plans to build a £1 billion ($1.3 billion) research lab in Sawston, located roughly eight miles from Cambridge city center.

Renowned for being one of the world’s greatest intellectual powerhouses, Cambridge is home to thousands of tech workers and companies like Amazon, Microsoft and Apple all employ highly-educated research teams in the city. “Lots of tech companies want to get foothold in

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New Orleans Saints’ Malcolm Jenkins starts venture capital fund with NFL players

Malcolm Jenkins has teamed with fellow NFL players to launch a venture capital fund.

The three-time Pro Bowl safety and two-time Super Bowl champion launched Broad Street Ventures on Wednesday. The fund focuses on late stage and growth stage technology and consumer products. It has already invested in Airbnb, Epic Games, Turo, NoBull, Automattic and ZenWtr.

Jenkins, a strong advocate for racial equality, hopes his newest business introduces more Black men and women to the venture capital world.

Jenkins and co-founder Ralonda Johnson recruited additional NFL players and industry leaders to represent the fund. Among them are defensive backs Devin McCourty and Jason McCourty of the New England Patriots, safety Rodney McLeod of the Philadelphia Eagles and free-agent wide receiver Jordan Matthews. Jenkins played with McLeod and Matthews in Philadelphia. Also, television broadcaster Sharrie Williams is part of the fund.

2 Related

“While less than 1% of American venture capital

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Why the CEO of a $1 billion startup chose debt capital over VC funding

  • In February, Quantum Metric CEO Mario Ciabarra was fielding calls from investors at a rapid clip and getting unsolicited term sheet offers that valued the company at $1 billion. 
  • The term sheets offers slowed once the coronavirus hit but his company kept booming, growing annual recurring revenue at 70%, he told Business Insider.
  • By June, VCs were calling again, but the valuations were lower, even though revenue-under-contract had grown, said Ciabarra. 
  • So he decided not to take on a new round of funding yet. Instead, he opted for a $25 million loan from Silicon Valley Bank until he could secure a venture funding round at the terms he wants.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

In February, Quantum Metric CEO Mario Ciabarra was fielding calls left-and-right from venture capitalists eager to pour funding into the company.

“We weren’t actually trying to raise any specific amount of money,” he told

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Bullpen Capital raises $130 million more to fund the far afield and misunderstood

Bullpen Capital, a now 10-year-old, venture fund in San Francisco that focuses on what it calls post-seed investing — it backs startups that have already raised up to $5 million and “aren’t quite ready for a $10 million check but another $5 million would make them dangerous,” says firm co-founder Paul Martino — just closed its fifth fund with $130 million in capital commitments.

The firm also brought aboard a new general partner: Ann Lai, formerly of Binary Capital, a firm that has since closed its doors but where Lai, who has a PhD in engineering sciences from Harvard, developed a thesis  around bringing in more diverse startups from both a startup and geographic perspective — work that, it turns out, is also a prime focus for Bullpen.

In a call with both Martino and Lai earlier this week, they pointed to the startup Hemster to illustrate how both Bullpen

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Air Street Capital: AI industry remains strong despite academic brain drain, tech nationalization

London-based venture capital firm Air Street Capital today published the State of AI Report 2020, its third annual survey canvassing research, talent, industrial, and political trends in the field of AI. Coauthored by University College London visiting professor Ian Hogarth and AI investor Nathan Benaich, the report aims to highlight technological breakthroughs and areas of commercial application for AI as well as the regulation of AI, its economic implications, and emerging geopolitical issues.

Among other findings, this year’s report implies AI remains mostly closed source, harming accountability and reproducibility, while corporate-driven academic “brain drain” appears to be impacting entrepreneurship. Self-driving cars are in the Precambrian stages. And political leaders are beginning to question whether acquisitions of AI startups should be scrutinized or outright blocked.

AI research

According to Air Street Capital’s report, only 15% of AI research papers publish their code, and there’s been little improvement on the metric since

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Asia’s capital raising rush delivers record fees for banks in third quarter

HONG KONG (Reuters) – Asia’s equity capital markets generated a record pay day for investment bankers in the third quarter, bolstered by surging appetite for technology deals and a rush to list on China’s new STAR Market, Refinitiv data showed.

Asia Pacific, including Japan, saw bankers garner $3.6 billion in equity capital market (ECM) fees in July-September, up 145% from the same period a year earlier. The previous peak was $3.5 billion in the fourth quarter of 2009.

Bankers are also preparing to fatten their pay packets when Ant Group raises up to $35 billion in a dual listing in Hong Kong and Shanghai likely in October.

“Global capital markets are working. An enormous amount of money is available worldwide,” said Aaron Arth, head of the Asia ex-Japan financing group at Goldman Sachs. “All signs point to a steady desire and need for capital.”

Total equity market capital raised in

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Edtech Startup Sunstone Eduversity Raises INR 24 Cr In Series A Funding Led by Saama Capital

The Series A funding round was led by early-stage investor Saama Capital along with participation from Ashish Gupta of Helion Advisors, Pankaj Bansal of PeopleStrong and existing investors Prime Venture Partners, Rajul Garg and Purvi Capital

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Edtech startup Sunstone Eduversity has raised INR 24 crore in Series A funding round led by early-stage investor Saama Capital.

The round also saw participation from Ashish Gupta, managing director of Helion Advisors, Pankaj Bansal, co-founder and chief executive officer of PeopleStrong along with existing investors Prime Venture Partners, Rajul Garg and Purvi Capital.

Founded in 2014 by IMT alumni Ashish Munjal and Piyush Nangru, Sunstone Eduversity offers Pay after Placement—program fees paid only upon successful

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AI Drug R&D Startup XtalPi Announces Over 300 Million Series C Investment Led by SoftBank Vision Fund, PICC Capital, and Morningside

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. and SHENZHEN, China, Sept. 28, 2020 /PRNewswire/ — XtalPi, an Artificial Intelligence (AI) drug discovery and development technology company, today announces an oversubscribed Series C funding of $318.8 million co-led by SoftBank Vision Fund 2i, PICC Capital, and Morningside. The new round of financing is joined by over a dozen global investment companies in banking and technology, with follow-on investments from existing investors Tencent, Sequoia China, China Life, and SIG.

XtalPi Logo (PRNewsfoto/XtalPi Inc.)
XtalPi Logo (PRNewsfoto/XtalPi Inc.)

With the new round of funding, XtalPi will bring the power of quantum physics, AI, and almost limitless cloud resources to propel research scientists towards drug candidates with tailored pharmaceutical profiles. Its platform takes the unique approach of combining physics-based and data-driven models to comprehensively address all drug properties relevant to progression into clinical studies. By integrating the predictions of its virtual R&D platform with real-world data from modern laboratories, XtalPi

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