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

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7 mins ago - Technology

Big Tech's Hong Kong bind

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Big Tech companies are scrambling to figure out what China's imposition of a new national security law in Hong Kong means for their businesses there.

The big picture: Tech companies, like other multinationals, had long seen bases in Hong Kong as a way to operate close to China without being subject to many of that country's most stringent laws. Now they likely must choose between accepting onerous data-sharing and censorship requirements, or leaving Hong Kong.

2020 could decide fate of Keystone and Dakota Access pipelines

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Two new court actions — one by the Supreme Court and another by a federal judge — together highlight and raise the energy stakes of November's election.

Why it matters: The legal actions mean the results of the 2020 election could very well decide the fate of Keystone XL and Dakota Access, two projects at the heart of battles over fossil fuel infrastructure.

Updated 43 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 9 a.m. ET: 11,648,268 — Total deaths: 538,828 — Total recoveries — 6,328,930Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 9 a.m. ET: 2,938,750 — Total deaths: 130,310 — Total recoveries: 924,148 — Total tested: 36,032,329Map.
  3. Axios-Ipsos Coronavirus Index: Our response is becoming more polarized.
  4. Business: Rising cases pause U.S. economic recovery — Hospitals, doctors are major recipients of PPP loans.