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Chris Sacca retires from VC... and Shark Tank


Chris Sacca, one of the earliest investors in companies like Uber and Twitter, today announced that he has decided to stop making investments in technology startups. This also means he will stop appearing on the television program Shark Tank and that his venture capital firm, Lowercase Capital, will not raise another fund.

Why retire? Sacca tells Axios that, at age 41 with two kids, he no longer feels he can devote the 24-7 time to his startups that he could in the past. "The only way I know how to do this is full-time, or really all the time, because I take my companies so personally and feel the need to help them as much as possible. I know there are people who can successfully do this as more of a lifestyle career, but that's just not me."

Bio: Sacca is a former Google lawyer who became one of Silicon Valley's first "super angels," a group of individual investors who raised outside capital to back companies before they were mature enough for mainstream venture capital. He also would become known for raising special purpose vehicles to buy up pre-IPO stock in Twitter, and at one point appeared to have the best-performing VC fund of all time. He became an occasional "shark" on Shark Tank in 2015.

Backstory: In 1995 Sacca was in school in Ireland, and passed time in class by trading "10 questions" notes with a girl across the aisle. One of her questions was what Sacca wanted to do when he grew up. He had forgotten about the question and his answer until he and his wife found the old notebook a year or so ago. It basically laid out Sacca's future career, saying that he'd do something high-risk/high-reward, spend half his time in the mountains (Sacca is known for his startup jams in Truckee) and that, at age 40, he'd stop and do something he cares about more. "My wife and I read that and just stared at each other," he says.

What's next: Sacca says he is interested in entertainment, and has nabbed a recurring role on a new Zach Braff sitcom (if it gets picked up). He also plans to launch a podcast (not focused on startups) and has had conversation about a variety of other television projects. Finally, Sacca ― who says he will never run for elected office ― says he is a stalwart member of "the resistance" who is working with potential 2018 and 2020 candidates. There also are some side projects in the works around climate change and criminal justice.

Firm future: Sacca's Lowercase Capital partner Matt Mazzeo will continue to manage out the existing portfolio and serve on a handful of related boards, but there are not yet details on his future plans (he declined comment via email). Don't be surprised, however, if Mazzeo continues investing under a different banner. It's also worth noting that Lowercase only collects management fees during the first two years of fund life, so there is no expected fee drag.

Jonathan Swan 2 hours ago
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Trump's trade plan that would blow up the WTO

President Trump announces tariffs on steel and aluminum earlier this month, flanked by Steven Mnuchin, Wilbur Ross, Robert Lighthizer, and Peter Navarro. Photo: Chip Somodevilla / Getty Images

For months, President Donald Trump has been badgering his economic advisors to give him broad, unilateral authority to raise tariffs — a move that would all but break the World Trade Organization.

His favorite word: “reciprocal.” He’s always complaining to staff about the fact that the U.S. has much lower tariffs on some foreign goods than other countries have on the same American-made goods. The key example is cars: The European Union has a 10 percent tariff on all cars, including those manufactured in America, and China hits all foreign-made cars with 25 percent tariffs. But the U.S. only charges 2.5 percent for foreign cars we import.

Jonathan Swan 2 hours ago
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Congress considers a monster spending bill

Sens. Chuck Schumer and Mitch McConnell walk to the Senate chamber last month. Photo: Chip Somodevilla / Getty Images

The House and Senate need to pass their massive 2018 spending bill before the government shuts down on Friday. Senior sources from both parties on Capitol Hill tell me they expect they'll get the deal done — though there's plenty of last minute haggling.

The big picture: This spending bill will cost more than $1 trillion and will further add to the deficit, which is likely to reach at least $800 billion for the 2018 fiscal year.  Republican leaders and Trump will sell the spending package as a much-needed boost to military spending. House defense hawks, led by House Armed Services Chairman Mac Thornberry, campaigned aggressively for this boost. And Democrats will rightly be thrilled that they've forced Republicans to capitulate to fund so many of their domestic priorities.