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Daniel Swartz

Steve Murray spent 20 years at Softbank before joining Revolution as a partner last year. He chatted with Axios before 1776's Challenge Cup competition kick-off event in D.C. Here are a few highlights:

On the impact of Snap's IPO:

"From what I hear from folks in the investment banking community, it has led to a pipeline that is moving through the system (and) they expect the second half of this year to have a lot more activity on the tech IPO front. As companies mature and get bigger, to the extent there are not a lot of chances to go public because of market conditions, it changes the dynamic with respect to buyers. If you have a credible threat to take a company public, it gives more balanced leverage to the company when they're having discussions about being acquired by someone else or going public."

On Softbank's new $93 billion VisionFund:

"You can't talk about anything with respect to Softbank without Masayoshi Son. If you think about what he's trying to do, he's trying to find the next Alibabas, if you will…. Masa is a huge believer in technology. He sees huge opportunities going forward. He's created this fund to have patient capital that doesn't have quite the same demands (for quick) return...They're going to have to find certain companies that can take the kind of capital they can deploy — $250 million will be a small check for them. I think it will be a challenge to deploy that. If it was being managed by someone other than Masa, I'd bet against it perhaps, but I wouldn't bet against him."

On the status of the FTC's review of the proposed DraftKings/FanDuel merger:

"I don't have an update, but it's supposed to be decided over next several weeks. Then we can get to the business of combining the businesses and getting to work." (He noted that timing is uncertain since the FTC currently has only two out of its five commissioners.)

On how entrepreneurs view Washington these days:

"There's intrigue, but ultimately, the ethos of these folks—they're so focused on building their companies and the markets they're in. Outside of the (D.C.) region, it's more of a sideshow that people talk about like a sporting event as opposed to something they really concern themselves with."

On which cities are the next innovation hotbeds:

  • Chicago, Denver, Boulder, Atlanta, Salt Lake City
  • What these cities have in common: Good universities, young workforce, the beginning of a startup ecosystem.

Go deeper

Dave Lawler, author of World
8 mins ago - World

China's Xi Jinping congratulates Biden on election win

Photo: Paul J. Richards/AFP via Getty Images

Chinese President Xi Jinping sent a message to President-elect Biden on Wednesday to congratulate him on his election victory, according to the Xinhua state news agency.

Why it matters: China's foreign ministry offered Biden a belated, and tentative, congratulations on Nov. 13, but Xi had not personally acknowledged Biden's win. The leaders of Brazil, Mexico and Russia are among the very few leaders still declining to congratulate Biden.

This story is breaking news. Please check back for updates.

Kendall Baker, author of Sports
59 mins ago - Sports

College basketball is back

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

A new season of college basketball begins Wednesday, and the goal is clear: March Madness must be played.

Why it matters: On March 12, 2020, the lights went out on college basketball, depriving teams like Baylor (who won our tournament simulation), Dayton, San Diego State and Florida State of perhaps their best chance to win a national championship.

1 hour ago - World

Scoop: Israeli military prepares for possibility Trump will strike Iran

Defense Minister Benny Gantz attends a cabinet meeting. Photo: Abir Sultan/POOL/AFP via Getty

The Israel Defense Forces have in recent weeks been instructed to prepare for the possibility that the U.S. will conduct a military strike against Iran before President Trump leaves office, senior Israeli officials tell me.

Why it matters: The Israeli government instructed the IDF to undertake the preparations not because of any intelligence or assessment that Trump will order such a strike, but because senior Israeli officials anticipate “a very sensitive period” ahead of Biden's inauguration on Jan. 20.