May 15, 2024 - Axios Events

BFD: San Francisco 2024 Roundup

Katie Haun in conversation with Dan Primack at Axios' BFD: San Francisco.

Haun Ventures founder Katie Haun in conversation with Dan Primack at Axios BFD: San Francisco. Photo credit: Chris Constantine on behalf of Axios.

SAN FRANCISCO – AI, crypto and the 2024 U.S. presidential election were among the hot topics influential business leaders focused on at Axios' second annual BFD: San Francisco event.

Haun Ventures founder Katie Haun exclusively told Axios' Dan Primack on stage that her firm invested in crypto companies Fireblocks and Chainalysis.

Why it's the BFD: This announcement comes when crypto VCs have experienced icy markets since the collapse of FTX in 2022.

  • What they're saying: "During the depths of the crypto winter, we had what we called a 'harpoon list.' We looked at our harpoon list, and we said, 'Let's get some meaningful ownership,'" said Haun.

When it comes to FTX, Haun, a former SEC federal prosecutor, did not invest in the company and cited the lack of traditional governance as one of her alarming concerns.

Meanwhile, HGGC chairman and former NFL player Steve Young said private equity investments in the NFL could "force better standards and financial rigor."

  • His comment comes as PE investments into sports teams are growing.

The ex-49er also made an unusual statement: "Football is made for girls."

  • Since coaching his daughters in football, Young said he had a "revelation." The plays are like choreographed dance steps, and girls understand it better than boys do.
  • He predicted that a hundred million girls will be playing flag football by 2028.
  • "I think it's going to explode in a way that no one can even realize," he said.

The world of AI is bursting with new products and innovation, which was showcased at BFD: San Francisco.

Google is looking at how generative AI can help address nurse burnout during shift change, Chief Health Officer Karen DeSalvo discussed with Axios' Ina Fried.

  • For this project, Google partnered with HCA, the nation's largest health system.

Another AI health project Google is looking into is using LLMs to analyze data from wearable devices.

  • "Not just how many steps I took, but what else was going on in my life that day when I took fewer steps...what were the patterns that the personal LLM is going to be able to see to help me," said DeSalvo.

Separately, Perplexity CEO and co-founder Aravind Srinivas took a jab at Google's newly announced plan to roll-out AI-summarized search results.

  • What they're saying: "A year ago, it was called 'search generative experience.' Today it's called 'AI overview.' And I bet next year it'll be called something else. It's exactly the same story of them doing a new messaging app every year," Srinivas said.
  • Srinivas went as far as to call Google the "biggest loser" when referring to their search engine.

Context: Srinivas once interned at Google's Deepmind and its headquarters.

Yahoo CEO Jim Lanzone shared with Axios' Kia Kokalitcheva that he was initially "scared" of news aggregation AI platform Artifact but ended up being a fan.

  • Yahoo ended up purchasing the platform last month and is now building a new product with it. He also downplayed the idea of a Yahoo IPO.

With it being an election year, it was virtually impossible for the contentious U.S. presidential race to not be mentioned.

Craft Ventures co-founder and partner David Sacks said Silicon Valley needs to think twice before voting in November.

  • He didn't endorse any candidate, but when discussing the idea of taxing unrealized gains– an idea the Biden administration proposed– he said, "I think it's a pretty good reason for Silicon Valley to think really hard about who it wants to vote for."

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In a View From the Top conversation, Latham and Watkins partner and chair of the firm's Technology Industry Group and Bay Area Corporate Department Rick Kline said the state of the market is in positive transitions and a lot of companies are looking at 2025 for even more growth.

  • "I do think the dam will break, but I don't think it'll be this year," he said.
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