Not yet the new normal

Snapshot for Silicon Valley

Having been asked to do a status report on the Valley for compatriots in Scotland, this is a compilation of references for further reading.

More references, after completing the interview with Christine Esson for the Scottish Business Network insights series. Will update again when the recorded interview is available.

The California Consumer Privacy Act, discussed on the China Law blog.

A summary of a representative Venture Capital viewpoint from the point of view of the investors, rather than from founders looking for investment.

Elad Gil’s advice for founders.

Linley Spring Processor Conference Goes Virtual The Linley Group held their conference which gathers good quality marketing information about imminent AI hardware developments on Zoom, to excellent effect. They report 700 part-time attendees, compared to the usual 300 maximum in person for the event. Listening to it it seemed that the quality of technical information imparted was at least as good as it would have been at an in-person event.

Sherwood Partners doing two to five business windups per day. “This is the great unwinding,” Pichinson said. “We don’t know what’s happening, but we do know everything we believed in is changing. Everything we thought to be true may not be true.”

He expects the number of startup companies that he is ending from the coronavirus downturn to exceed the carnage left behind in the dot-com bust.

What I’m seeing isn’t layoffs – what I’m seeing is business continuing, though not business as usual. One company was acquired by a public company for cash, another couple of public companies are being acquired by much bigger companies, another needs advice about splitting off the original technology it started with, with the potential to re-capitalize and convert to a much more sustainable business model while compensating the original investors.

Delivery robots are out on the street in Mountain View

There have now been 100 reported deaths in Santa Clara County attributed to Covid-19 Vehicle traffic continues to be much lighter than before the lock-down; many more people are walking and cycling along the residential streets. We ride and walk for exercise, too.

Juiced E-bike, Trek road bike

Testing, tracing and tracking an outbreak in Seoul, South Korea. Paper It’s not clear when Santa Clara County is going to be able to implement this kind of tracing and follow up; without it removing the lockdown has a high likelihood of raising the case count and death rate again.

Call to action from Jim Yong Kim : social distancing, contact tracing, testing, isolation, and treatment are essential. Massachusetts is getting started on this.

More on Micromobility

GoBike
requires rescue

Recently in Los Altos. Reminder that rental bikes require service and support – this one has a flat front tyre, damaged front handlebars, and a pair of spectacles poked into the cracked plastic. Emailing Ford GoBike to suggest they picked it up resulted in rather stilted customer service responses.

There’s lots of work still to do to get to the micromobility transformation in transport for suburbs. That transformation is a reasonable reaction to a poor infrastructure overburdened with vehicles much larger than they need to be for the movement of people and things they perform.

Reference – Horace Dediu https://micromobility.io/blog/2019/2/23/the-micromobility-definition

Mobility’s second great inflection point

Headline on a McKinsey article https://www.mckinsey.com/industries/automotive-and-assembly/our-insights/mobilitys-second-great-inflection-point

However, it entirely misses cycling, ebikes, and scooters. Perhaps the authors all live in snowy cold cities.

” .. the will to fix our cities is getting stronger. Urban populations, historically at the vanguard for change, are already more receptive to solutions such as ridesharing and carsharing, as well as EVs. ”

When the majority of trips are short, and as delivery robots gain adoption, the number of people willing and able to use a bicycle with electric power assist increases substantially. This has significant implications for the transportation business, and especially for automotive manufacturers.

Delivery of things

Another delivery robot company – this one operating at scale in Europe and making campus deliveries in the Valley. Starship raised $25m in June 2018. Runs on paths and sidewalks. No hints in the demo videos about how interacts with opposing direction bicycles and scooters.  Ideally something like this would be able to enter buildings and control lifts for campus deliveries. 

Commercial package delivery launch announcement (Oct 31 18) – in Milton Keynes now, and the SF Bay area before the end of the year. https://www.starship.xyz/press_releases/worlds-first-robot-package-delivery-launched-publicly-today/

Venturebeat review 

https://venturebeat.com/2018/10/31/starship-technologies-launches-commercial-package-delivery-service-using-autonomous-robots/ 

Transportation futures talk – 21 Sept 18

LondonLINXswitches

London Internet Exchange, LINX, London 1

I’m due to do a talk at the Institute of Directors in Charlotte Square, Edinburgh on the afternoon of Friday 21st September 2018, as part of the Scottish International Week. Sign up here

It will be a review of the current excitement in the Valley around #micromobility, and an exploration of parallels between data packet transport and people and thing transport.

Urban transport – Bird and Lime

limebikeJuly18

On Los Altos Avenue

Interesting to see the occasional Lime ebike in Los Altos – the nearest Lime bike location is posted as in Mountain View. No sighting yet of their Segway scooters.

For several years we tracked the increasing frequency of Teslas, and then an increasing variety of electric cars, on the streets in Los Altos. It seems like it’s almost time to do the same exercise, but for electrically assisted single person transport. Not all of them have two wheels, nor do they all have pedals. Segway sell a single wheel Ninebot. Lopfit walking bikes from Denmark have made it to Palo Alto.

These tie back into the Transportation as a System question – which company is best placed to gain scale by putting together solutions to the transportation requirements of people and things ? These personal scaled devices are part of the solution, and the travel pattern data they create have value, as indicated by the recent funding rounds. GV (was Google Ventures) led a $250m round for Lime in early June. Sequoia Capital led a $300m round for Bird (scooters) later the same month.

Updating, July 9th – the latest GV round also involves Uber, and has gone up to $335m.

Collecting background references

https://stratechery.com/2018/the-scooter-economy/ consumer surplus funded by VCs
Italian modular cars for China for services https://technode.com/2018/06/27/modular-kingdom/
Lime bikes –  https://www.limebike.com/locations
Street flow rates/capacity for cars v bikes/scooters https://www.cycling-embassy.org.uk/dictionary/capacity
Bird scooters funding explanation https://bothsidesofthetable.com/all-the-questions-you-wanted-answered-about-bird-scooters-and-their-recent-300-million-funding-62a8d557904d
Electric walking bike https://www.lopifit.nl/