Most accelerators have a set date range (typically a few months) and workspace, trade funding for equity, offer mentorship, and end with a Demo Day. It’s an intense process intended to speed the learning and funding curve for entrepreneurs.
A new job title has emerged in cities around the world to advocate for night owls and young creatives. Night mayors encourages drunk people to keep it down, nurture the arts, and instigate neighborhood revitalization. Some appointed, some elected, night mayors act as an intermediary between nightlife industries and government.
Last summer a City Council-appointed committee in Los Angeles ruled that tiny homes are illegal on public or private land in LA and can be destroyed by public works officials. One city councilman went so far as to call them doghouses. Despite that, GoFundMe campaigns by a man named Elvis to build more such homes have raised more than $100,000 in the last 10 months.
The tiny home movement started in LA in the 1990s as a way for people to live a simpler lives but it’s now being touted as a way to curb homelessness. These homes typically lack running water and electricity but they offer a roof and place to sleep and store personal items.
When Elon Musk dropped a 57-page proposal for Hyperloop, a new kind of transportation system, in 2013, some thought his concept was a great idea. They just didn’t think it would ever happen. Hyperloop utilizes pods to transport people or cargo in a low-pressure tube, which cuts down on friction, at nearly the speed of sound. It’s unaffected by weather. There are no direct carbon emissions. It’s fast. Musk didn’t have time to build it on his own and open-sourced it, hoping someone else might pursue it. Turns out, Hyperloop Technologies Inc. (HTI) is building it right now. The first pieces of HTI’s test tracks are already resting on desert floor 30 miles north of Las Vegas. HTI maintains it will complete its first “full system, full scale, full speed test” by the end of this year.
Musk proposed Hyperloop, in part, because of his disappointment in California State’s plan to build a “high-speed” rail system for $68.4 billion. “If we are to make a massive investment in a new transportation system,” he wrote, “then the return should by rights be equally massive.” Founded in 2014, HTI came out of “stealth mode” in 2015. Uber backer Shervin Pishevar is the company’s co-founder and executive chairman. His Sherpa Ventures fund led Hyperloop Technologies’ $11.1 million Series A. Pishevar is reportedly to thank for Musk revealing Hyperloop in the first place. Former SpaceX engineer Brogan BamBrogan, also a co-founder, began as CEO, but moved to CTO after the company hired former Cisco president Rob Lloyd in 2015. Although HTI is building tracks, the project remains a “multi-decade effort and movement.” Challenges include massive infrastructure projects, land rights, funding, and convincing lawmakers it’s safe.
A couple of weeks ago my wife and I were heading across the San Rafael bridge to downtown Oakland for a show at the Fox Theatre. As all Bay area drivers know, there’s a historically awful stretch of Interstate 80 along that route — a permanent traffic sh*t show.
I considered taking San Pablo Ave., a major thoroughfare which parallels the freeway. But my wife fired up Waze instead, and we proceeded to follow an intricate set of instructions which took us onto frontage roads, side streets, and counter-intuitive detours. Despite our shared unease (unfamiliar streets through some blighted neighborhoods), we trusted the Waze algorithms — and we weren’t alone. In fact, a continuous stream of automobiles snaked along the very same improbable route — and inside the cars ahead and behind me, I saw glowing blue screens delivering similar instructions to the drivers within.
About a year or so ago I started regularly using the Waze app — which is to say, I started using it on familiar routes: to and from work, going to the ballpark, maneuvering across San Francisco for a meeting. Prior to that I only used Waze as an occasional replacement for Google Maps — when I wasn’t sure how to get from point A to point B.
The ever present debate around whether Silicon Valley will retain its crown as the most important tech hub got fresh fuel this past week, first from a piece by Adam Lashinsky (yes, it will), and then from a Financial Times report (sub. required) seemingly refuting his conclusion (no, New York wins!).
The research behind the FT report claims the most entrepreneurial cities in the US are, in order, New York, Boston, Providence, and then San Francisco. The FT headline — “How New York stole Silicon Valley’s crown” — leads one to believe that somehow the research was comparing Apples to Big Apples. Of course, it was doing nothing of the sort. In truth, the FT’s uncharacteristic click bait was comparing Salesforces to Sandwich Shops.
One of the key NewCo themes is presenting forward looking and innovative companies that are “of the city”. We closely monitor trends, like the one we see here in the Bay Area: many more companies are moving to San Francisco up from Silicon Valley because it is easier to hold on to key talent and personnel. And in Detroit: the story there is all about the re-sizing of that city as it re-emerges into a sustainable scope, which is all centered into the tight geography of downtown Detroit. In both cases, this is happening because key talent and younger people entering the work force value a walkable lifestyle. Case in point, many studies are showing that millennials are driving at a much lower rate than any previous generation.
This story about Los Angeles was a pleasant surprise when it hit my inbox earlier today: The city that once ripped up its rails and public transportation infrastructure is steadily making its way up the ranks of walkable cities! As this story points out, cities that have walkable centers see higher real estate values in addition to providing more aesthetically pleasing areas, places where the community can gather and opportunities for small businesses to flourish.