Apr 14, 2020 - Economy & Business

Greylock Partners adds new consumer-focused general partner

Illustration: Lazaro Gamio / Axios

David Thacker, a Google vice president of product management who oversees G Suite's apps, is joining venture firm Greylock Partners as a general partner focused on consumer technology.

The intrigue: "This is an opportunity right now, in this pandemic, where entrepreneurs have an opportunity to expose consumers to new products and delight them," Thacker tells Axios, noting part of the challenge will also be to spot the fads that emerge from the current circumstances.

  • Be smart: The virus pandemic will accentuate trends like remote working, learning and entertainment — but these aren't new, and won't fully replace their in-person analogs, says Thacker, who was an associate at Greylock from 2009 to 2011.

What's next: Both Thacker and fellow general partner Josh McFarland predict that big companies will continue to raise venture capital at high valuations from major investors despite the market turmoil.

  • However, they expect most investors will take longer to cement deals, and startups with less-than-stellar businesses will struggle more to get capital.

Greylock, which raised its last fund in 2016, said it has "nothing to share" when asked if it's raising a new one.

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Mark Zuckerberg: Social networks should not be "the arbiter of truth"

Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg argued on CNBC's "Squawk Box" Thursday that social media platforms should not police political speech, and that "people should be able to see what politicians say.”

Why it matters: Zuckerberg was responding to Twitter's decision this week to fact-check a pair of President Trump's tweets that claimed that mail-in ballots are "substantially fraudulent." Twitter's label, which directs users to "get the facts" about mail-in voting, does not censor Trump's tweets.

House Democrats pull FISA reauthorization bill

Speaker Nancy Pelosi. Photo: Saul Loeb/AFP via Getty Images

House Democrats pulled legislation Thursday that would have renewed expired domestic surveillance laws and strengthened transparency and privacy protections amid broad opposition from President Trump, House GOP leadership and progressive Democrats.

Why it matters: The failure to reauthorize the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) comes as Trump continues to attack the intelligence community, which he claims abused the law to surveil his 2016 campaign and Trump administration officials.

U.S. GDP drop revised lower to 5% in the first quarter

Data: Bureau of Economic Analysis; Chart: Axios Visuals

The U.S. economy shrunk by an annualized 5% in the first quarter — worse than the initially estimated 4.8% contraction — according to revised figures released by the government on Thursday.

Why it matters: It's the worst quarterly decline since 2008 and shows a huge hit as the economy was just beginning to shut down because of the coronavirus. Economists are bracing for the second quarter's figures to be the worst ever — with some projecting an annualized decline of around 40%.

2 hours ago - Economy & Business