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Illustration by Rebecca Zisser/Axios

Over the past 48 hours at the Upfront Summit, I've met with at least 50 venture capitalists and nearly as many limited partners in venture capital funds, representing varying geographies, experiences, and specialties.

My goal in such settings is to suss out a consensus trend or sentiment. The same thing that keeps arising in varied conversation, unprompted. For the first time I can remember, there wasn't one.

Venture's first half of 2019 was all about the rapid ascent, whether it be round sizes or valuations — fueled by everything from SoftBank to public SaaS multiples. Then came WeWork, and it felt like the climb was over. Everyone was Wile E. Coyote on the downhill, waiting to be flattened by a boulder.

But then it didn't happen.

  • Things didn't really get worse, save for some portfolio company layoffs that were relatively mild in comparison to the buildup.
  • Things didn't really get better, outside of increased focus on profitability.
  • So everyone just kept pushing along, doing deals. Running on limbo's treadmill.

Bottom line: 2020 is beginning as the year of ¯\_(ツ)_/¯.

Go deeper: Venture capitalists have yet to join Corporate America in tackling climate change

Go deeper

Updated 1 hour ago - Politics & Policy

Political consultants pocket taxpayer cash

Illustration: Shoshana Gordon/Axios

Members of Congress are turning to the same political consultants who got them elected to blast out taxpayer-funded communications from their government offices, records show.

Why it matters: While those members are barred from politicking with official funds, the firms have expertise in boosting elected officials' images for political gain and are in high demand for both campaign and government work.

Updated 2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Omicron dashboard

Illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios

  1. Health: Transplants rebound from COVID lull
  2. Vaccines: WHO: No evidence that healthy children, teens need boosters — Kids' COVID vaccination rates are particularly low in rural America
  3. Politics: Government website for free COVID tests launches early
  4. World: Greece imposes vaccine mandate for people 60 and older
  5. Variant tracker
2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Schumer pushes for doomed filibuster changes

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer addresses reporters Tuesday. Photo: Bill Clark/CQ-Roll Call via Getty Images

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer told the Democratic caucus Tuesday night he plans to propose instituting a one-time "talking" filibuster requirement, and bypassing the 60-vote threshold for major legislation, to pass the party's election reforms package via simple majority.

Why it matters: While Schumer acknowledged both votes are expected to fail — and some vulnerable Democrats up for re-election feel it will put them in a tough spot — he argued it's worth putting members on the record for historic legislation.