Jul 27, 2017

Founders Fund partner leaves to launch SpaceX-focused fund

Bill Ingalls/NASA via AP

Luke Nosek is leaving Founders Fund, the venture capital firm he co-founded more than a decade ago with Peter Thiel, Axios has learned. His next role will be leading something called Gigafund, a new investment firm that initially will be focused on raising capital for Elon Musk's SpaceX, a Founders Fund portfolio company where Nosek is a director.

  • Background: A source says that Nosek has been spending an increasing amount of time on SpaceX business, and the idea behind Gigafund is to ensure that the space exploration company won't have debilitating capital constraints. An SEC filing suggests that it's seeking to raise an initial $100 million, with former Founders Fund venture partner Stephen Oskoui also involved.
  • Structure: Gigafund will not have any formal relationship to Founders Fund, which has invested around $200 million to date into SpaceX (making it the firm's largest investment). The firm will continue to be represented on the SpaceX board by Nosek, but has not yet decided what to do with Nosek's two others Founders Fund portfolio company board seats.
  • Founders Fund statement, per partner Brian Singerman: "Luke is leaving Founders Fund to launch a new endeavor. His unwavering commitment to entrepreneurs and passion for technology shaped the founding ethos of Founders Fund. We are grateful for his contributions and we wish him well."
  • SpaceX statement, per spokesman John Taylor: "While we wish Luke well in his new endeavors, there is no guarantee of future investment allocations in SpaceX or any other companies associated with Elon."

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Acting Navy secretary resigns over handling of virus-infected ship

Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Acting Navy Secretary Thomas Modly resigned Tuesday after apologizing for comments he made about Capt. Brett Crozier, who was removed after a letter he wrote pleading with the Navy to address the coronavirus outbreak aboard the USS Theodore Roosevelt was leaked to the press. The resignation was first reported by Politico.

Why it matters: The controversy over Crozier's removal was exacerbated after audio leaked of Modly's address to the crew, in which he said Crozier was either "too naive or too stupid to be a commanding officer of a ship like this." After initially backing Modly's decision, President Trump said at a briefing Monday that he would "get involved."

Coronavirus dashboard

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  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 4 p.m. ET: 1,407,123— Total deaths: 81,103 — Total recoveries: 297,934Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 4 p.m. ET: 386,800 — Total deaths: 12,285 — Total recoveries: 20,191Map.
  3. Trump admin latest: Trump removes watchdog overseeing rollout of $2 trillion coronavirus bill.
  4. Federal government latest: Senate looks to increase coronavirus relief for small businesses this week — Testing capacity is still lagging far behind demand.
  5. World update: China reopens Wuhan after 10-week coronavirus lockdown.
  6. Wisconsin primary in photos: Thousands gathered to cast ballots in-person during the height of the coronavirus crisis in the U.S.
  7. What should I do? Pets, moving and personal health. Answers about the virus from Axios expertsWhat to know about social distancingQ&A: Minimizing your coronavirus risk.
  8. Other resources: CDC on how to avoid the virus, what to do if you get it.

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Pelosi calls for removal of acting Navy secretary

Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Tuesday called for the firing or resignation of acting Navy Secretary Thomas Modly, following his decision to relieve Capt. Brett Crozier from his command of the USS Theodore Roosevelt last week.

Why it matters: Pelosi said Modly "showed a serious lack of the sound judgment and strong leadership" in firing Crozier, who wrote a letter pleading for help in battling a coronavirus outbreak onboard the ship. The letter was leaked to the press, leading to Crozier's ouster.