[–] eanzenberg link

That's a great risk-management strategy. Let's put all eggs in one basket and not do any homework. Lol!

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[–] nopriorarrests link

Well, consider that softbank-sponsored startup will outspend all the competitors on client acquisition, and can bleed the competitors dry by providing services below cost. Do you _really_ want to invest in startup which is competing against some entity sponsored by softbank?

I mean, softbank investment is competitive advantage in itself, just because of it's sheer amount.

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[–] eanzenberg link

If it works. You also have huge companies (AAPL, GOOG, AMZN) who are in this market and invest billions as well, but have massive amounts of revenue. Raising $1b for a what, $3b valuation, puts you out of reach of m/a for probably everyone and requires you to get in $300M revenue yearly at some point with huge amounts of growth potential.

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[–] Lordarminius link

> Do you _really_ want to invest in startup which is competing against some entity sponsored by softbank?

Yes. If they have a good idea, large market, great product, good marketing and outstanding team.

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[–] MuffinFlavored link

Isn't it more like piggybacking off of the homework of others, who specifically don't put all of their eggs in one basket?

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[–] everdev link

Just like ETFs, unless you're 1% brilliant or have insider information you're unlikely to beat the market over an extended period of time.

If I could only make a few big or medium size investments I'd probably follow the market leaders as well.

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[–] aresant link

I had a really interesting meeting with a huge institutional investor last week ($50b+ balance sheet) that has a ~$2b allocation to VC.

They said that softbank has almost had a "chilling effect" on their VC group - especially around investments that are truly capital intensive.

Their strategy has shifted away from Series A and towards Series B / C where they can either co-invest with SoftBank, or if wait and see where Softbank invests before they pick a horse in a category they like so they at least have that info in as part of their investment calculus.

EDITED last paragraph for clarity

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[–] iooi link

Perhaps there is a (small) chance that the people in charge of managing SVF's $100 billion fund have a better idea of how to manage that volume of money than you.

The overhead of sourcing and dealing with 200 investments is not small: they've only managed to invest $50 billion of their fund. Their minimum check size is $100 million. [1]

[1] https://www.axios.com/softbank-vision-fund-1517515371-c269cc...

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[–] fierro link

is there a word for this misstep or bias or whatever it would be called? When you make an un-credentialed analysis/criticism of another entity's action when that entity specializes in and is ostensible optimized for that action? I see this on HN all the time, it's quite tiresome.

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[–] delish link

Other people are using words like "arrogance", "fanboyism", but there's a fun, short, free book on the question, "Under what circumstances are you justified in choosing to avoid epistemic modesty and assert that you know better than experts?"

It's Inadequate Equilibria by Eliezer Yudkowsky: https://equilibriabook.com/inadequacy-and-modesty/

Yudkowsky agreed with a small group of economists, and disagreed with the Japanese equivalent of the Federal Reserve. You might think, "The Japanese Federal Reserve has every incentive and resource to be correct about growth policies, and this small group of economists has no insight they don't have," but the story is more complicated than that.

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[–] subjectHarold link

Nowhere have I seen the "well that looks weird...but they probably know what they are doing" expression used more than in finance.

I have been through it myself more times than I care to mention. Everyone assumes that the other person has some knowledge they don't know about or has some secret "edge"...they never do.

Amd after ten years or so, I learned that people do weird things for one simple reason: they are fucking stupid. That is it. They won't learn from mistakes. They are overconfident. They are greedy. Intelligence doesn't matter. Money doesn't matter. Whatever, they are just incurably dumb.

And btw: organisations are never well optimised for stuff that matters. Finance is the prime example of this. If I wanted to set fire to $100bn, I would do exactly what SoftBank are doing right now.

I know that everyone here believes in technology and continuing progress into infinity. This is true in some areas, it is not true in finance.

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[–] 1123581321 link

This is a situation where experts in the same field disagree and fail all the time. In the context of a discussion forum, there’s nothing wrong with disagreeing with one large investor’s approach.

It reminds me of a response I got in a theological debate: “you really think you’re smarter than pastor ABC?” No, I simply agree with the pastors that disagree with him!

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[–] fierro link

I was not implying it's wrong to disagree here. It goes without saying everyone is entitles to their opinion. I'm just searching for the term to describe what I mentioned in my comment.

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[–] soVeryTired link

On the other hand, calling someone out for un-credentialed analysis often amounts to an argument from authority. The GP's point about overhead would have been made just as well without the ad-hominem.

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[–] Vinnl link

An argument from authority is a fallacy when you assert authority from irrelevant credentials, e.g. when someone uses the fact that they're a scientist to lend credibility to their claims about climate change, even though they're an economist.

That doesn't apply here.

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[–] soVeryTired link

I don't agree. Any argument that takes the form "Trust me because of who I am" rather than "Trust me because of the following evidence..." is also an argument from authority.

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[–] Vinnl link

It's not so much "Trust me because of who I am" but "Trust me because of what I know". If "what I know" isn't actually relevant to the subject discussed, then that's fallacious.

Of course, an appeal to authority is not a valid method of obtaining new knowledge (an authority would be able to formulate the actual arguments that support it). It is a useful method to defer judgment, however, such as when the authority cannot be expected to come in and explain their reasoning in a Hacker News comment.

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[–] icelancer link

The original comment is a person calling out Softbank for bad investment decisions, so let's not get too deep in the weeds here on ground truth.

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[–] mhb link

Arrogance

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[–] eanzenberg link

Fanboyism

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[–] camdenlock link

Dunning-Kruger effect?

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[–] gammateam link

There are fundamental challenges primarily regarding excess liquidity, which SVF is a reaction to but not a solution to. There would be no data to suggest that SVF is better at this, but we can recognize their utility in the market without being required to prove or disprove these claims.

SVF is a vehicle to deal with excess liquidity from central banks, who have pushed everyone out on the yield curve by flattening the yield curve. The primary way to flatten the yield curve is by purchasing short to long dated government/municipal bonds, and short to long dated corporate bonds, until none of that looks like an attractive investment (overbidding on bonds makes their ROI lower). These purchases are done with newly created money, which is now in the hands of the prior owners (financial institutions) and also the issuers (governments, mostly investment grade corporations).

Because society itself is not comfortable purchasing riskier assets, at the speed of which the addressable investment landscape demands it, SVF collects this capital and deploys it in riskier private equity. Keeping the money in circulation better than without SVF existing. This behavior is the point of why the central banks dampened the yield curve with new money, to force people to make the money circulate instead of sitting so passively in bank accounts or holding government bonds.

SVF is a reflection of reality, which required the vision of independent people and the assertiveness to form the deals and do it. This is completely independent of acumen deploying large amounts of capital, and should be seen as a natural progression of capital formation. SVF's shouldn't be seen as an outlier in deal size 10 years from now, or 20 years from now, if the money supply is able to continue its expansion at a similar same pace. People will get used to it, ideally wages increase or the benefits of the deal flow reaches a broader population.

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[–] GistNoesis link

Investing money disproportionately also have a self-fulfilling prophecy effect. It gives your player such a disproportionate advantage over the others, that others probably won't be able to compete, therefore improving your odds of success.

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[–] subjectHarold link

It really doesn't. You may be able to push up the price but higher prices mean lower returns. What you are hoping for is that you will pile money in, for some unknown reason other people will panic and try to bid, and then you sell to them.

Just fyi though: I have worked in markets for about ten years...I have seen this over and over. I studied economic history...I have read about this over and over. And the subject almost never makes it out alive. Usually, this is psychological. Most people get involved with clear heads but that clarity doesn't survive the rush of the bull market/greed...they want more, they start to believe their own bullshit, they end up fully invested at the top...they get carried out of the market.

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[–] jamestimmins link

Presumably it also ensures that competitors will have an incredibly hard time raising money.

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[–] kkotak link

Cases in point Groupon, Uber, Magic leap, Instacart, Theranos.

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[–] fipple link

200 companies at $5m is only a billion dollars. Softbank is deploying close to 100 times that, so they write checks 100 times the size.

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[–] gomox link

Liquidation preferences make it so that usually the large investment is a lot less risky than the smaller ones.

It's also a lot less likely to have outsized returns (50x?), but at those levels of capital, almost no investment is able to.

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[–] plouffy link

It's also a capital issue. Softbank has so much money, that looking at $5m companies is just not worth their time.

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[–] bluGill link

Some things are fundamentally harder (more expensive) than others. Anyone here can make an autonomous car in a couple days (raspberry pi, GPS, some stepper motors...) - fortunately we are all smart enough to know that if we put it on public roads it would kill someone and so we don't. There are vast orders of magnitude more effort required to make the above contraption safe.

I don't know how much it takes to build a safe autonomous car - and nobody else does either as it is uncharted territory. Google and a few others have made progress but they have limits which they are still trying to figure out.

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[–] stanfordkid link

> I feel like when ever you need to put that much money into ?an idea, it’s likely not an effecient use of money. For instance, if you invest in 200 startups at $5m each, you’re more likely to get better returns, than betting almost $1b on a single company. There’s higher risk with the one company (probably).

There are fewer entities that can place bets like that, which means that it is unexplored and likely has more opportunities. Seed funds with $20mm are a dime a dozen.

With this being said the failures are much more catastrophic when such investments are done blindly, without fundamental market / technology forces (e.g take a look at Theranos or Better Place). I believe this is what you are alluding to.

Good investments in this $100mm + category are precisely justified in terms of demand and precisely justified in proof of technology execution -- they are largely for scaling technology to fit a known demand.

A fundamental paradigm shift happened in the past decade which Peter Thiel describes as "moving from the world of bits to the world of atoms" ... this necessitates larger capex to win. With software the scaling costs are constant, with atoms -- they become linear.

This paradigm shift was driven by mobile technology and AI ... so the world is completely different from the days when spreading 10 $1mm bets was a solid strategy. One of the fundamental problems with applying past intelligence is that it was built on top of a different world.

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[–] mikekchar link

Sometimes I think Softbank is actually just parking money. For example, their Uber investment doesn't make any sense to me except that they have preference. If you've got billions it's probably hard to find opportunities with potential upside but limited downside. I also vaguely wonder about their connection with Saudi Arabia. My understanding is that the money isn't just available -- it comes available as investment opportunities arise. In other words, they need to find opportunities to spend a couple of billion here or there, but where it's a quick pitch to the investors who are fronting the money. I have no idea if this investment is part of that "Vision Fund", though, and it's pure speculation on my part.

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[–] maxxxxx link

Managing investments in 200 companies is a lot of work though.

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[–] izzydata link

Wouldn't there be problems with investing in 200 competing businesses?

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[–] lettergram link

I feel like when ever you need to put that much money into an idea, it’s likely not an effecient use of money.

For instance, if you invest in 200 startups at $5m each, you’re more likely to get better returns, than betting almost $1b on a single company. There’s higher risk with the one company (probably).

Further, and to the point on efficiency. There is diminishing returns to the effectiveness of investment, in most cases. You can get to MVP for most companies with very little, if any capital. Then the product in most cases should sell itself (needing less investment).

At $1b you’re either artificially propping the market, blundering around for an idea, or have a high capital intensive industry like building rockets or railroad tracks.

I understand they may be building autonomous vehicles, but certainly the winner of that race is going to Win using technology, not manufacturing the vehicle. Perhaps I’m wrong, idk.

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[–] fierro link

innovation takes time. There's no obvious reason to me that automated deliveries can't materialize in the future.

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[–] Animats link

Somebody needs to solve the "last 20 meters" vehicle to doorway problem.

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[–] d-sc link

Presumably this has been solved. It’s a mailbox. Once the software infrastructure for autonomous delivery vehicles is in place, I feel that people will gladly install $100 ‘autonomous-delivery-ready-mailboxes’. We gladly spend more than that on the gas, electricity, internet, and parking infrastructure that’s in place.

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[–] anonymous5133 link

We are already going that route due to people stealing packages from front doors....People are buying package lock boxes.

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[–] aezell link

I don't know if you meant this as a joke but it's one of the funniest things I've read on this site in a long time.

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[–] Animats link

It's not a joke. Self-driving vehicle stops in front of apartment building. Customer gets text message to come down and unload the thing. That's what this is. Not a competitive business model. Might work in suburbia in warm dry climates.

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[–] ztratar link

"Not a competitive business model" is a stretch.

You might be right, but you should have pretty high uncertainty about that claim.

If driverless tech reduces the delivery cost down 10x, the average consumer might be very willing to walk out to the street. Some might even do it in the rain (umbrella, etc).

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[–] seankimdesign link

Speaking from experience as an apartment dweller in California. My food delivery pet peeve is when I get a phone call from the delivery person saying that they're inside the apartment complex but are having trouble finding my unit so I should come meet them at the pool.

I'm not trying to fault the driver for not locating my unit, not do I enjoy sounding like an entitled bourgeois snoot, but it definitely makes the delivery experience less-than-complete. I imagine the last 20-meter problem will be a much higher barrier for those who are experiencing mobility-related challenges, and it is indeed a real problem to be solved.

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[–] mortenjorck link

Yes. This may involve slightly more effort on the urban customer’s part than something like DoorDash, but if it’s significantly cheaper (and doesn’t involve disingenuously guilting you into tipping to subsidize the rate the company pays a human delivery person), I could see city dwellers flocking to it.

The biggest challenge I see is discovering and navigating to the appropriate place for the vehicle to wait for a customer to come down and pick up their order. Just thinking about my building, there’s a turnaround with a ton of non-obvious cues as to where taxis and Ubers are supposed to wait, and it’s shared with a public parking garage and a restaurant with a valet stand. An AV is pretty much guaranteed to get it wrong, and Nuro needs a way for door staff or valets to tell it where to go.

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[–] Animats link

Softbank again? They've become the world's largest source of dumb money.

There's a bunch of these things. Starship Technologies has a little stroller-sized vehicle that's occasionally seen driving on Redwood City sidewalks. Nuro's is sub-car sized and can operate on roads. Slowly. It can't unload itself, so the customer has to go to it.

Remember Amazon Prime Air, drone delivery from five years ago? What happened with that?

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[–] nopriorarrests link

>you aren't dealing with human lives

except pedestrians and other drivers. so, in fact you do.

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[–] dawhizkid link

Not to the same degree. And given how much smaller these things are than a passenger car or SUV even in the event of a crash, regardless who is at fault, I would be very surprised if the other car involved would sustain enough damage to be life-threatening.

If I were Nuro, and if it isn't already factored into the design, I would purposefully design the vehicle so that the Nuro would be squished and minimize likelihood any other vehicle involved in a crash would sustain too much damage.

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[–] pjbk link

> Not to the same degree.

Yes, in the same degree. It is a street vehicle. They even published their safety manifesto some months ago: https://static1.squarespace.com/static/57bcb0e02994ca36c2ee7...

However you may meet standards and regulations, and pass all certifications, but the issues about autonomous vehicles present big unknowns. We already have accidents and fatalities related to use or misuse of UAVs. Even small sidewalk delivery vehicles may injure or kill a baby in a stroller because of incorrect detection or malfunction, or start a major accident when other drivers need to swerve to avoid them because they entered a road or stopped without notice.

Nuro is testing in Arizona like other self-driving vehicles companies. Some people are getting increasingly annoyed dealing with their behaviors and have started retaliating. With Waymo's cars, for example: https://www.azcentral.com/story/money/business/tech/2018/12/...

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[–] muzz link

If they are limited to 25 mph, how can they travel on most roads?

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[–] mb_72 link

Starship Technologies has been going at this for ~5 years already, and I feel extremely skeptical about this entire 'autonomous last mile delivery' thing. Home delivery is a solved problem; we pay a few EUR for it and a human turns up in their car, plus there's no need to have a valuable 10k EUR robot delivering a 5EUR pizza. For packages, there's three different package locker systems within 10 minutes walk of our house. To access any robot we'd need to go to the front of our apartment building anyway.

I guess I must really be missing the point of all this, as a bunch of people seem to want to throw a lot of money and effort at the 'problem'.

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[–] dawhizkid link

No offense, but yes you are missing the point. The whole value of autonomous taxis or autonomous delivery robots is that it eliminates the most expensive thing about the business model of Uber/Lyft/Instacart/etc: labor.

Once you create a taxi or delivery service where you have no labor cost, then your unit economics greatly improve and you have a killer business.

If you have a $10 Uber ride, ~$7.50 or so of that goes to the driver with $2.50 to Uber. With an autonomous taxi model Uber could theoretically halve fares, in this case to $5, and take in the entire $5 for themselves.

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[–] mb_72 link

Please try and convince me that someone operating a fleet of delivery robots that costs many thousands of euros each is going to be 'cheaper' than utilising the current model of people + their own cars. Where I live (Estonia), delivery adds a few euros to the cost of food (for example). Even if that was reduced to a single euro that wouldn't make any difference to if we ordered food to home or not.

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[–] tdhoot link

That $7.50 pays to cover capital costs (the car). Uber would have to also pay for that out of their share.

The general point is that the savings might not be enough to offset the higher capital costs from autonomous vehicles + development spend.

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[–] anonymous5133 link

I don't think you get it. For big companies like amazon they realize that the key to competing against traditional retail is to get the package to the customer as fast as possible. The faster the better. Amazon already has same day delivery but just imagine if there was a service that provided you the item within 60 minutes....and even better yet just imagine if during non-peak hours this service was even free? That's the direction we are going.

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[–] mb_72 link

All these items would need to be in stock somewhere locally for delivery to be that fast, and if they are I'll either go and get them myself or pay 3-4 euros to have them delivered to a parcel locker 5 minutes away tomorrow. I'm fairly impatient, and there's nothing I actually need 'today'.

Where I live the streets are covered with snow and ice, and many paths and routes are difficult to navigate even on foot. No delivery vehicle is going to cope with this.

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[–] DGAP link

They'd only work for campuses, with elevators in all the dorms.

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[–] dawhizkid link

Why is that? I thought they drive on roads?

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[–] dawhizkid link

Surprised how critical comments are...IMO autonomous delivery vehicles are much more likely to go to market sooner than autonomous taxis for the simple reason that the barriers to getting regulatory approval are going to be much lower because you aren't dealing with human lives. At the same time, food, grocery, and same day delivery are becoming more popular.

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[–] undefined link
[deleted]

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[–] muzz link

$2.7B according to the Reuters article today. Sounds very dilutive-- SoftBank got a huge chunk of the company.

https://www.reuters.com/article/us-nuro-funding-softbank/dri...

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[–] puranjay link

I think they pitched it as something as disruptive as Uber, but for deliveries. And who wouldn't want to go back half decade and get in on the ground floor of Uber?

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[–] mandeepj link

> Do consumers give a rats if their groceries are delivered by a person or by a robot?

Of course, they will. When savings will be passed to you.

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[–] solarkraft link

I'm guessing they have considered this.

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[–] sonnyblarney link

So probably a 5-10B valuation - without a viable product, a customer, or a dime in revenue.

It's one thing for FB to buy a massive social network for billions: they can effectively calculate how much it's worth because they know how it would monetize.

But this is getting bonkers because there are so, so many things that can go wrong. Do consumers give a rats if their groceries are delivered by a person or by a robot? Will they respond well to the fact they have to walk outside? How do they deliver to apartments? Regulations? Safety? Theft? Service costs? Operational performance? And all of this assumes the 'self driving' part just 'works'.

I get the market is 'monstrous' ... but this is a lot of money one would expect when all of the above is taken care of.

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[–] xiphias2 link

I think autonomous drivers as amazing as they help the economy of cars to go from gas to electric much faster. I just hate air pollution as I'm feeling its toxic effects on my body much heavier than other people.

On the other hand I'm sceptical that any company can compete with Waymo's experience or Tesla's amount of data.

Tesla's business model of giving away sensors for free gave it an enormous advantage in acquiring data (which is crucial for deep learning ).

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[–] useful link

It moves the needle in ways that have not moved much since the advent of fast food and microwave dinners.

- It saves you time.

- It reduces your need for expensive appliances and electric bills.

- It reduces your need for an expensive car.

- It reduces food waste/spoilage.

- It allows cheaper access to delivery for all, especially the disabled/elderly.

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[–] sonnyblarney link

Instacart/deliveroo provide all of those advantages - plus - someone to unload the groceries and bring them to your door, which is definitely better. And a human to talk to if there's an issue.

Consumers don't care one bit that their groceries were delivered 'autonomously'.

The 'advantage' of the 'self driving' in the end must be cost - and frankly a significant reduction in cost - or it won't pan out.

In this scenario, there still has to be a picker, a checkout, a loader, and some human overhead on managing a live fleet of cars. The 'savings' will be on the cost of the driver - and that's it. There's also a deficit in experience related to the fact it might not work well for apartment buildings and can't unload etc..

After all the fuss, ops and overhead, this tech has to take the average grocery+delivery bill down by a fairly quantifiable amount or else it won't make sense to use it.

It will happen eventually, it must may not be this company at this valuation.

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[–] mortenjorck link

Nuro versus Instacart is the wrong comparison, in my view. Instacart is B2C, while Nuro, if the Kroger pilot is how they plan to expand, is B2B.

With Instacart, you as a grocery customer decide it’s worth a significant premium to have groceries delivered to your door, with full service. With Nuro, the initial customer is the grocery store itself; to you as the grocery customer, it’s stores with Nuro versus stores without Nuro.

With a service like Nuro, the stores probably hire an extra person or two per shift so some of the floor staff can be assigned picking and loading, spreading out the labor costs. As you say, getting the cost down is critical, and if Nuro succeeds, I could imagine autonomous delivery eventually being priced into part of the standard operating costs for a grocery store.

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[–] neuromancer2701 link

Kroger already has this with the ClickList grocer pickup service. So instead of loading the groceries into your car the same employees will just load the robot and it will drive to your house. No extra effort or overhead because the same clicklist app will be used for both use cases.

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[–] orky56 link

Improving our daily lives is more than just that. You are getting the convenience of faster delivery. Less people in cars means less accidents, less pollution due to optimized speeds/routes, fewer cars due to batching similar tasks together, etc.

Innovation and automation lead to jobs being lost that were based on repetitive, unskilled tasks. However that has been going on for thousands of years and it puts to the burden on the labor force to gain more skills. We can go down the hole of UBI, leisure, specialization, etc. but we shouldn't stop the pace of innovation just because we are worried if society can pick up the slack.

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[–] simmanian link

Totally disagree that we should push innovation with no regard for human costs. There has to be a balance. I am worried that my future kids may end up unable to find work or that they might live as the privileged among the sea of homeless.

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[–] oldgradstudent link

If you look carefully at their videos, you'll notice that each one of their vehicles is followed by a dark Prius with two people in it, and some videos (others are shot in angles that one cannot be sure) show another dark Prius driving in front of their vehicle.

They've launched a PR stunt, not an unmanned delivery service.

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[–] samcday link

> “We’ve spent the last two and a half years building an amazing team, launching our first unmanned service, working with incredible partners and creating technology to fundamentally improve our daily lives,” Nuro co-founder Dave Ferguson said in a statement.

Is anyone else getting really tired of hearing this kind of rhetoric? This is a company that, if successful in its mission, is going to help eliminate a whole bunch of jobs (delivery drivers, auxiliary grocery chain workers, etc). Yes, it's gonna provide a cool upside - I can have robots deliver my toilet paper to me without having to leave the comfort of my home! But do we really need to describe that as "fundamentally improving our daily lives"?

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[–] dmix link

Looks like both of the founders were team leads at Waymo:

> I am one of the founding team members of the Google self-driving car project.

https://www.linkedin.com/in/jiajun/

> I built and then led the computer vision, machine learning, behavior prediction, and scene understanding teams for Google's self-driving car project.

https://www.linkedin.com/in/dave-ferguson-565b974/

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[–] Fricken link

Waymo's autonomous vehicles are just barely good enough, which isn't yet good enough to build a viable business off of. The cost and complexity of deploying autonomous vehicles does not yet match the value proposition. Waymo's progress had plateaued, and it's reasonable to presume that many of the other outfits working on autonomous vehicles will arrive at the same plateau shortly if they haven't already. Fundamental research is needed to get off that plateau, the solutions are unknown.

If we take just barely good enough as the status quo we can expect over the next several years, then Nuro is well positioned. You can actually build a revenue generating business with just barely good enough autonomy doing unmanned delivery.

Aurora is good because they acknowledge that building capable autonomous vehicles is still an applied science problem. There is still invention that needs to be done.

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[–] bluGill link

Big car companies generally invest in someone smaller for tech like this. If it works they can choose to buy the company, or just buy parts from them. If it fails they can stop throwing good money after bad without demoralizing their workforce with a large layoff.

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[–] undefined link
[deleted]

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[–] john_moscow link

It might come with a sweet cashback, let's call it.

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[–] hermi link

tbh might not even be that If you only charge the LPs on deployed powder.... well

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[–] dmode link

I believe another self driving car company, Aurora, also raised $500mn recently [1] I don't really understand how these companies are attracting these massive sums, given that even a company like Google has made limited progress in 10 years after investing several billions. On top of that there are heavy weight car manufacturers like VW and BMW who are also investing in this technology.

[1] https://techcrunch.com/2019/02/07/amazon-sequoia-invest-in-s...

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[–] neosat link

It's important to realize that Softbank's strategy may not be just to look at the startup's chances in isolation but looking at the whole portfolio of companies in a space (self-driving vehicles) and look at a range of capabilities there. With their investments and their people on the boards of these companies, they can 'do more' to accelerate and make things happen which may not otherwise happen. So their view includes both the individual company, but also how it fits into the entire picture and that may give them an additional perspective and consequently a different notion of value than you or me as individual investors or analyzers would have.

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[–] oldgradstudent link

How come every report on their "unmanned" delivery service fails to mention that there is a chase car following their vehicle and (visible in some some videos) a car driving in front of their vehicle?

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[–] aezell link

No one wants to talk about where all of Softbank's money comes from?

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[–] maxxxxx link

I am a little afraid of that. This is probably the dream of all rent-seekers. Have mandatory, IP protected tech that's mandatory to use.

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[–] dsfyu404ed link

If you're wondering what that looks like then look no further than the post-conviction alcohol and/or location monitoring industry.

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[–] TomK32 link

Put enough money into those startups and they can lobby to ban human drivers and make AI drivers mandatory. That would solve so many problems!

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[–] momentmaker link

How does one get the grocery?

I'm assuming you'd have to be home in order get them and there would be an app that tells you an estimated delivery time and location of the vehicle.

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[–] yunyu link

I don't think most people would risk arrest for the possibility of scoring a few heads of lettuce.

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[–] rasz link

You might want to check the number of homeless in the affluent west coast cities this type of startup inevitably aims for.

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[–] dsfyu404ed link

In places where the police response to petty theft is basically "catch and release" they will. Obviously the long term solution is just not to deploy the service those markets.

Edit: People will steal anything if the risk/effort/reward numbers make sense. People commit felony crimes against pizza guys for $50 and a few pizza all the time. I can see people stealing groceries if the risk and effort dips low enough.

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[–] undefined link
[deleted]

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[–] Liquix link

I'd be curious to learn how companies in this space are planning to address the potential issue of physical robberies/hijackers/bad actors.

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[–] jamestimmins link

SoftBank is pretty open about spreading their bets even within a single segment.

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[–] Judgmentality link

I obviously don't have access to their term sheets or whatever information their investment companies are providing them, but the model of trying to (over)fund the segment is not how VC succeeds. Granted, people are saying Softbank is reinventing VC. But everything I've seen leads me to believe they're going to lose money in spectacular fashion, just like how Masayoshi Son lost the most money in history back when the dot com bubble burst.

FWIW I used to work at a Softbank funded company. It was a fucking shitshow where the solution to every problem was to throw money at it, rather than actually try to fix the underlying problem. People are still writing articles about how this company is the future.

Lucky for me I have nothing invested and can just enjoy the show from the sidelines!

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[–] Judgmentality link

Does this mean Softbank has lost confidence in their previous investment, Cruise?

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[–] leowoo91 link

But are there regulation in place for such vehicles?

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[–] dcplogic link

SaudiBank?

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