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Finding New Mountains: Toyota AI Ventures’ Mission of Discovery

Jim Adler, founding managing director of Toyota AI Ventures, recently gave a popular members-only talk on CVC structures and strategies, in which he shared how TAIV was organized and how his team arrived at its effective model. Now, he has published the first in a series of posts discussing this mission and approach. Please check […]

The post Finding New Mountains: Toyota AI Ventures’ Mission of Discovery appeared first on National Venture Capital Association – NVCA.

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Jim Adler, founding managing director of Toyota AI Ventures, recently gave a popular members-only talk on CVC structures and strategies, in which he shared how TAIV was organized and how his team arrived at its effective model. Now, he has published the first in a series of posts discussing this mission and approach. Please check it out here, and feel free to join in on the conversation on LinkedIn or Twitter. Jim welcomes your feedback and comments.


Since Toyota AI Ventures was founded in July 2017, I’ve received a flurry of questions from startup founders, institutional venture capital investors, other corporate venture capital investors, and the press. They want to know how the fund is structured, how (and how fast) we make decisions, the role of our corporate business units, whether we are truly founder-friendly, and — to address Paul Graham’s point below — what being “strategic” really means for our startup portfolio companies and our big corporate limited partner.

“All other things being equal, [startups should] avoid ‘strategic’ investors. What that word ‘strategic’ means is that they have ulterior motives that are unlikely to be aligned with yours.” — Paul Graham, November 29, 2019

The answer to these questions begins with our mission, and ends with the structure and operation of the fund. To borrow from mountain climbing, our firm’s mission defines the summit we’re seeking, the fund structure is our climbing equipment, and the fund’s operational execution is the actual day-to-day climbing.

Jim Adler

In this first post, I will help explain our mission and why we’re on it — a subject I’ve explored in some of my previous talks. Future posts will detail how we’re structured and how we operate to attract and align with the best startup teams and co-investors. Venture capital has its place in the corporate development toolkit, especially for early-stage investments to discover over-the-horizon opportunities.

Let’s start with the Toyota AI Ventures mission:

We are explorers. Our mission is to discover what’s next for Toyota by helping early-stage startups bring disruptive technologies and business models to market quickly.

Note that we are explorers first. And, like our early-stage startups, we invest to help discover “what’s next” for our business, specifically where artificial intelligence is driving innovations in autonomy, mobility, robotics, cloud, data, and even smart, connected cities. We’re exploring these potential new territories, even when there isn’t an obvious alignment with our current or planned businesses, because we know prediction is difficult, especially about the future. Richard Danzig has written well about the folly of such predictions.

Mountains of opportunities … among valleys of uncertainty and failure

Today, Toyota is valued at roughly $200 billion driven by deep capabilities in, principally, five areas — design, manufacturing, distribution, finance, and one of the world’s most valuable consumer brands. Where will the next set of capabilities come from to power Toyota’s next era of success? The opportunities are many, but the potential successes are few. Clay Christensen taught us that large incumbent companies often wait too long to identify new opportunities — only to be disrupted by new insurgents. They hesitate to wade into the “valley of uncertainty and failure.”

Often, the only superpower a startup has is speed. Without hesitation, startups are incented to quickly traverse the landscape of molehills in search of where the true mountains of opportunity might lie. Startups can serve as sherpas for Toyota to unveil the next mountain of opportunity and the capabilities needed to reach it.

Click here to read the rest of Jim Adler’s post on Toyota AI Ventures’ mission.

Source: https://nvca.org/finding-new-mountains-toyota-ai-ventures-mission-of-discovery/

Private Equity

Boston startups expand region’s venture capital footprint

This year has shaken up venture capital, turning a hot early start to 2020 into a glacial period permeated with fear during the early days of COVID-19. That ice quickly melted as venture capitalists discovered that demand for software and other services that startups provide was accelerating, pushing many young tech companies back into growth […]

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This year has shaken up venture capital, turning a hot early start to 2020 into a glacial period permeated with fear during the early days of COVID-19. That ice quickly melted as venture capitalists discovered that demand for software and other services that startups provide was accelerating, pushing many young tech companies back into growth mode, and investors back into the check-writing arena.

Boston has been an exemplar of the trend, with early pandemic caution dissolving into rapid-fire dealmaking as summer rolled into fall.

We collated new data that underscores the trend, showing that Boston’s third quarter looks very solid compared to its peer groups, and leads greater New England’s share of American venture capital higher during the three-month period.

For our October look at Boston and its startup scene, let’s get into the data and then understand how a new cohort of founders is cropping up among the city’s educational network.

A strong Q3, a strong 2020

Boston’s third quarter was strong, effectively matching the capital raised in New York City during the three-month period. As we head into the fourth quarter, it appears that the silver medal in American startup ecosystems is up for grabs based on what happens in Q4.

Boston could start 2021 as the number-two place to raise venture capital in the country. Or New York City could pip it at the finish line. Let’s check the numbers.

According to PitchBook data shared with TechCrunch, the metro Boston area raised $4.34 billion in venture capital during the third quarter. New York City and its metro area managed $4.45 billion during the same time period, an effective tie. Los Angeles and its own metro area managed just $3.90 billion.

In 2020 the numbers tilt in Boston’s favor, with the city and surrounding area collecting $12.83 billion in venture capital. New York City came in second through Q3, with $12.30 billion in venture capital. Los Angeles was a distant third at $8.66 billion for the year through Q3.

Source: https://techcrunch.com/2020/10/23/boston-startups-expand-regions-venture-capital-footprint/

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Private Equity

Alternative Investments/Real Estate: Housing Market Demand Is “Insane”

Speaking to CNBC on Power Lunch, Glenn Kelman, CEO of real estate brokerage Redfin (NASDAQ: RDFN), said he expected the current boom conditions in the housing market to last well into next year. He attributed the high demand to affluent professionals looking for remote homes as well as low interest rates. Also, he thinks some sellers will put their properties on the market only after the presidential election.

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Alternative Investments/Real Estate: Housing Market Demand Is “Insane”

https://platodata.net/wp-content/uploads/2020/10/alternative-investments-real-estate-housing-market-demand-is-insane.jpg

Redfin CEO Glenn Kelman says the boom could last into next year.

Speaking to CNBC on Power Lunch, Glenn Kelman, CEO of real estate brokerage Redfin (NASDAQ: RDFN), said he expected the current boom conditions in the housing market to last well into next year. He attributed the high demand to affluent professionals looking for remote homes as well as low interest rates. Also, he thinks some sellers will put their properties on the market only after the presidential election. (CNBC)

Kelman: Too good to last forever

“This level of demand is absolutely insane. I would expect it to last into 2021, at least,” Kelman said.

Recent data from the National Association of Realtors shows up the strength in the housing market.

Existing home sales shot up 9.4% in September beating expectations. Even though the median purchase price of a home rose approximately 15% year over year, there is just a 2.7-month supply of for-sale homes, showing tight market inventory conditions.

The 30-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 2.80% for the week ending Oct. 22, down from 2.81% in the previous week and 3.75% a year ago, according to the Freddie Mac Primary Mortgage Market Survey. Therefore, mortgage rates crept even lower in the latest week.

However, “there’s no way it can last forever,” Kelman warned of the bullish conditions.

Canada: Off the charts

Meanwhile, at the northern neighbor, home sales activity in September is described as “off-the-charts.”

Housing data released by the Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA) last week showed a nationwide year-over-year increase in sales of 45.6%.

This was a new all-time monthly record for the third month in a row.

“This is starting to sound like a broken record (about records being broken), but Canadian home sales and prices set records once again in September … as they did in July and August,” said Shaun Cathcart, senior economist at CREA, in a statement.

Real Estate ETFs in the U.S.

The year-to-date performance of some real estate ETFs is shown below:

iShares U.S. Home Construction ETF (ITB)              +24.61%

SPDR S&P Homebuilders ETF (XHB)                          +20.83%

Vanguard Real Estate Index Fund ETF                      -13.91%

It may be noted that despite the boom conditions in housing, real estate ETFs and stocks have declined in recent days.

According to Barron’s, this may be due to yields on the 10-year and 30-year Treasuries moving higher in recent weeks.

Other reasons could be fears of inflation ticking up in the future amidst an improving economic situation.

Nevertheless, the view is that interest rates are likely to remain low for longer. So demand may remain strong.

“Part of what is fueling this boom is that the economy has just split into two and rich people are able to access capital almost for free, so, of course, they’re going to use that money to buy homes,” said Redfin’s Kelman.

Related Story:   Mortgage Rates Set Another Record Low; Real Estate ETFs Could Benefit

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Source: https://dailyalts.com/alternative-investments-real-estate-housing-market-demand-is-insane/

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Private Equity

Asda’s new owner EG Group seeks new leadership ahead of IPO – report

EG Group is owned by the billionaire Issa brothers and the private equity firm TDR Capital, who teamed up for a £6.8 billion takeover of Asda last month

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UK grocer Asda Group’s new owner EG Group is looking for a new chairman and independent directors as it prepares for a £10bn initial public offering, The Timesreports.

EG Group is owned by the billionaire Issa brothers and the private equity firm TDR Capital, who teamed up for a £6.8 billion takeover of Asda last month.

The move comes after Deloitte resigned last week as the company’s auditor because of concerns over the group’s governance and lack of internal controls, according to the publication.

A decision on candidates will be taken before the end of this year, although roles haven’t been finalised yet as the company is in the process of deciding whether to float in the UK or the US, The Times reports.

Write to Barcelona editors at barcelonaeditors@dowjones.com

From Dow Jones Newswires

Source: https://www.penews.com/articles/asdas-new-owner-eg-group-seeks-new-leadership-ahead-of-ipo-reports-20201023

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