Is this the closure for high-speed travel?

What VCs Want in Cybersecurity Startups

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December 31st will mark a turning point for the era of high-speed travel. With Hyperloop One’s shutdown, the idea of propelling people with magnetic levitation technology will lose its more prominent proponent.

After ten years of testing, building prototypes and creating a high-speed freight, the company is saying goodbye without fulfilling its goals.

There are more companies with a vision of hyperloop transportation. However, at least now, the reinvention of transit will not happen yet, while the utopia will remain.

Six bullets of updates

  1. 🇮🇳 Open source hardware pioneer Arduino is eyeing local production in India to combat counterfeit boards and tap into the country's booming electronic manufacturing industry.

  2. 🌍 Two of Africa’s most significant B2B e-commerce platforms MaxAB and Wasoko in merger talks.

  3. 💶 Estonia's E-Residency scheme lures EU startups, with its simple registration process bringing €200M to the national economy.

  4. 🦄 Hurun reveals 747 startups, primarily in software and services, poised to become unicorns in the next five years.

  5. 🔒 Cisco is set to acquire Isovalent, a leader in open-source cloud-native networking and security.

  6.  🥫 AI platform Guac secures $2.3M in seed funding to predict daily grocery demand, aiming to reduce carbon emissions and food waste.

Track's End: Hyperloop One Grinds to a Halt

Geek Wire

There will be no vacuum to shoot people hundreds of miles an hour to cut journey times, or at least not thanks to Hyperloop One.

The company, once supported by Richard Branson's Virgin Group, is set to close its operations by the end of this year, dealing a significant blow to the aspirations of high-speed transit. 

Despite having raised and expended hundreds of millions since its establishment in 2014, the startup faced numerous challenges, such as legal conflicts, financial troubles and notable strategic pivots. 

In the aftermath, the intellectual property of Hyperloop One will be retained by Dubai port operator DP World. At the same time, assets like its Las Vegas test track are slated for sale, marking the end of its ambitions.

Startup Events and Deadlines

  1. Financial Modeling Course | January 22, 2024 | Online

  2. Pitch Deck Design | February 13, 2024 | Online

  3. SaaSOpen: Austin | March 3, 2024 | Austin

  4. World Summit AI Americas | April 24, 2024, Montreal

  5. TechCrunch Early Stage | April 25, 2024 | Boston

Takeaways from this week’s podcasts

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC)'s decision to revoke nearly a $1 billion subsidy from Starlink might has being grounded not in technology or policy, but rather as part of what Carr describes as "regulatory harassment" of Elon Musk by the Biden administration. He cited the disparity between the government's reliance on Starlink's technology for critical operations, such as military communication, and the decision to revoke the subsidy intended for rural broadband development.

Jason Calacanis & Brendan Carr (FCC Commissioner) on ‘This Week in Startups’.

It’s relevant to conduct a sensitivity analysis at every stage of the sales funnel to identify areas that may not be fully optimized. The utility of understanding individual sales representatives' conversion rates is not for micromanaging, but to pinpoint where improvements can be made.

Having the right messaging that resonates with the current market environment is critical. The need for robust sales methodologies and clear deal stages that reflect real-world scenarios is more pertinent than ever to understand and mitigate deal risks effectively.

Nathan Latka & Michael Burns (Chief Revenue Officer on V Fairs) on Nathan Latka.

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What VCs Want in Cybersecurity Startups

Kenny Eliason

There’s an increased focus on AI in the cybersecurity landscape. According to Gartner, as hackers harness AI to execute sophisticated schemes, organizations respond with innovative defenses, leading to an estimated global security spending of $215 billion by 2024.

The upcoming cybersecurity startups are expected to leverage Generative AI (GenAI) to bolster productivity and counter threats. However, customer education and careful handling of sensitive data remain crucial as fears of data leaks persist. Successful investment prospects will likely demonstrate a proactive approach to these challenges.

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