May 23, 2017

Revolution's Steve Murray on impact of Snap's IPO, Softbank's VisionFund

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

Tech can't remember what to do in a down market

Illustration: Rebecca Zisser/Axios

Wall Street's two-day-old coronavirus crash is a wakeup alarm for Silicon Valley.

The big picture: Tech has been booming for so long the industry barely remembers what a down market feels like — and most companies are ill-prepared for one.

Brace yourself for a coronavirus outbreak

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Public-health officials’ warnings about the coronavirus are sounding increasingly urgent, with one top CDC official asking the public yesterday "to prepare for the expectation that this might be bad."

Reality check: Other administration officials, including President Trump himself, were more subdued in their assessments. But underneath those tonal differences, the reality of the coronavirus is the same: It spreads quickly, and has already spread to many countries, making it likely to start spreading here, too.

Exclusive: Pro-Trump group plans post-Super Tuesday blitz on Democrats

Democratic presidential hopefuls take the debate stage in South Carolina. Photo: Logan Cyrus/AFP via Getty Images

Pro-Trump super PAC America First Action is preparing to unleash a series of targeted, swing-state attacks on the Democrats most likely to face President Trump after Super Tuesday, people familiar with the group's plans tell me in an exclusive preview of its strategy.

The state of play: The group has been tracking favorable/unfavorable ratings in Florida, Georgia, Michigan, North Carolina, Ohio and Pennsylvania for 2020 candidates Joe Biden, Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren, Pete Buttigieg and Michael Bloomberg — under the theory that if Trump wins each of these six states he would win re-election.