C2V Nov 2020 Notes from the Trenches

Welcome back!  We generally try to keep the newsletter a sacred place, untainted by the ugliness of politics, but we felt compelled to make a once-every-four-years exception, so before we get into all kinds of exciting C2V developments, we give you…

Election 2020: The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly

The Good

As we all know (far too well), 2020 has generally been a hot mess, but our patience has been rewarded as America finally saw a true hero step into the void to provide much-needed leadership and guidance. Despite getting along in years, he still showed incredible and consistent energy, grit, and enthusiasm, particularly down the home stretch. 

That’s right folks, we’re talking about John King, CNN’s Maestro of the Map. This spry 59-year-old was on his feet for what felt like 90 straight hours, seamlessly ripping through demographic trends in the most obscure counties in multiple swing states, managing constant (and mostly pointless) interruptions from Wolf Blitzer, and navigating a telestrator like no one since the great John Madden, without a breaking a sweat or having a single piece of his bulletproof hair fall out of place. 

John King is the hero we needed and he delivered. 

The Bad

No headline we saw this month summed up 2020 quite like this one:

Man who died of coronavirus wins election for North Dakota state legislature

We don’t want to take away anything from the American voting public who appear to have turned out in record numbers this year. This is an incredible feat, and we owe a collective thanks to all those who contributed to this tremendous showing.

So, let’s think of this as Phase 1, and let’s make Phase 2 “At a bare minimum, make sure your candidate is still breathing before you blindly vote along party lines.”  Baby steps.  

On a related note, Phase 0 remains: “Wear your masks, folks.”    

The Ugly

How did this take so long to get sorted? It’s 2020! We have computers that beat chess masters, cars that can mostly drive themselves, and phones that recognize our faces, but we’re still counting votes by hand???

You may ask why this is “the ugly” instead of the election of a dead person. Well, it’s because this is an innovation-focused publication, weird things happen in local elections and this is something of a national embarrassment. We appreciate that this is a complicated problem, with numerous security issues and numerous government agencies to navigate, but is it more complicated than dozens of other problems that we’ve solved through technology?   

Come on, startup world, let’s get this figured out before 2024. 

Now back to our regularly scheduled content...

Tarform

As men of many (many) words, we normally wouldn’t do this, but it’s hard to do justice to our most recent investment in writing, so we’d ask that you take a minute to watch this video before we move on.

Go ahead, we’ll wait.  

Hopefully, that got you as excited as we are about Tarform, an electric vehicle company initially focused on the motorcycle market, but there’s even more to like.

As regular readers know, we are generally bullish on the sustainable consumer market, which is growing at more than 7x the conventional consume market (see chart below) and Tarform has taken eco-friendly engineering a step further (well beyond simply being battery-powered), incorporating sustainability throughout its design with components made from bio-engineered materials, such as flax, hemp, recycled aluminum and biodegradable leather (made from pineapples!).

The EV market is also at an advantageous point for new entrants, where there remains a huge amount of untapped demand potential, but the engineering has evolved to the point where the drivetrain (including batteries and motors) have become much more commoditized.  This has allowed Tarform to use a completely modular design, and to source parts (and later full production) from third-party OEMs.  

In addition to rapidly accelerating Tarform’s time to market, this structure 1) significantly increases the company’s capital efficiency, 2) makes for a much lower risk profile than companies with tens of millions in PP&E overhead, and 3) creates tremendous flexibility moving forward, where Tarform can react to technological changes without having to completely overhaul or rebuild production lines.

Tarform has also sought to provide riders with cutting-edge onboard technology, including advanced safety features, predictive maintenance, and a proprietary “acoustic aura” design that creates a custom engine sound (also a critical safety component as the relative quiet of an electric motor is a hazard for motorcyclists).

For more on Tarform or to get your pre-order into the queue (which is already around 12-months long), visit their website: https://www.tarform.com/

Press & Social News

  • This month, Bloom Credit raised $13 million to help fulfill their mission of connecting businesses that want to provide credit products with credit bureaus. This new funding brings their total raised to $17M since their founding in 2016. 

  • Boostr was featured in a recent Business Insider article along with insights from Chris Cunningham. Boostr was highlighted for their unique software that, “can help organizations expand beyond traditional creative and media-buying work.” Chris added that they’re a less expensive and more user-friendly alternative to Salesforce. We’re incredibly proud of our portfolio companies and all of the amazing work they do.

  • We’re constantly sharing our insights with founders on our social media. Our most recent #InTheTrenches video discussed the structure of founding teams. In the early stages of your company, it’s critical that each person on your team have a specific role that they fulfill. Manage your team wisely during the early days, always making sure to allow for growth and change. Check us out on Instagram for more of the C2V perspective. 

Website Updates

Things are constantly evolving here at C2V. With plenty of news to share from us and our portfolio companies, it was time to give our website some updates. Head over and check out our latest news and press, newest LPs, and most recent investments.

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