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First Round Capital has both the Dorm Room Fund and the Graduate Fund. General Catalyst has Rough Draft Ventures. And Prototype Capital and a few other micro-funds focus on investing in student founders, but overall, there’s a shortage of capital set aside for entrepreneurs still making their way through school.

Contrary Capital, a soon-to-be San Francisco-based operation led by Eric Tarczynski, is raising $35 million to invest between $50,000 and $200,000 in students and recent college dropouts. The firm, which operates a summer accelerator program for its portfolio companies, closed on $2.2 million for its debut, proof-of-concept fund in 2018.

“We really care about the founders building a great company who don’t have the proverbial rich uncle,” Tarczynski, a former founder and startup employee, told TechCrunch. “We thought, ‘What if there was a fund that could democratize access to both world-class capital and mentorship, and really increase the probability of success for bright university-based founders wherever they are?’ “

Contrary launched in 2016 with backing from Tesla co-founder Martin Eberhard, Reddit co-founder Steve Huffman, SoFi co-founder Dan Macklin, Twitch co-founder Emmett Shear, founding Facebook engineer Jeff Rothschild and MuleSoft founder Ross Mason. The firm has more than 100 “venture partners,” or entrepreneurial students at dozens of college campuses that help fill Contrary’s pipeline of deals.

Contrary Capital celebrating its Demo Day event last year

Last year, Contrary kicked off its summer accelerator, tapping 10 university-started companies to complete a Y Combinator -style program that culminates with a small, GP-only demo day. Admittedly, the roughly $100,000 investment Contrary deploys to its companies wouldn’t get your average Silicon Valley startup very far, but for students based in college towns across the U.S., it’s a game-changing deal.

“It gives you a tremendous amount of time to figure things out,” Tarczynski said, noting his own experience building a company while still in school. “We are trying to push them. This is the first time in many cases that these people are working on their companies full-time. This is the first time they are going all in.”

Contrary invests a good amount of its capital in Berkeley, Stanford, Harvard and MIT students, but has made a concerted effort to provide capital to students at underrepresented universities, too. To date, the team has completed three investments in teams out of Stanford, two out of MIT, two out of University of California San Diego and one each at Berekely, BYU, University of Texas-Austin, University of Pennsylvania, Columbia University and University of California Santa Cruz.

“We wanted to have more come from the 40 to 50 schools across the U.S. that have comparable if not better tech curriculums but are underserviced,” Tarczynski explained. “The only difference between Stanford and these others universities is just the volume. The caliber is just as high.”

Contrary’s portfolio includes Memora Health, the provider of productivity software for clinics; Arc, which is building metal 3D-printing technologies to deliver rocket engines; and Deal Engine, a platform for facilitating corporate travel.

“We are one giant talent scout with all these different nodes across the country,” Tarczynski added. “I’ve spent every waking moment of my life the last eight years living and breathing university entrepreneurship … it’s pretty clear to me who is an exceptional university-based founder and who is just caught up in the hype.”

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There’re a lot of synergies between electric vehicles and ride-hailing. Drivers are able to save more steering an EV compared to a gas vehicle. Environmentally conscious consumers will choose to hire an electric car. And EVs are designed with better compatibility with autonomous driving, which is expected to hit the public road in the coming decades.

Indeed, Tesla is eyeing to launch its first robotaxis in 2020 as part of a broader ride-sharing scheme. Over in China where Tesla has a few disciples, EV startup Xpeng Motors, also known as Xiaopeng, just started offering a ride-hailing app powered by its own electric fleets.

Screenshot of Xpeng’s ride-hailing app ‘Youpeng Chuxing’

The company is the latest in a clutch of carmakers flocking to introduce their own ride-hailing platforms. Didi Chuxing’s massive loss has not deterred their ambitious plans. Rather, this may be a prime time to crack a market long dominated by Didi, which is prioritizing safety over growth following two high-profile incidents and a series of new government regulations.

Xpeng’s ride-hailing app is currently only available in a limited area within Guangzhou where it’s headquartered, shows a test conducted by TechCrunch’s on Thursday.

The company’s coffer is probably large enough to fund its newly minted venture. It’s one of the most-backed EV upstarts alongside rival Nio, which raised $1 billion from a New York initial public offering last year.

Xpeng has to date banked $1.3 billion from Alibaba, IDG Capital, Foxconn, UCAR and other big-name investors, according to disclosed funding data collected by Crunchbase. Founder He Xiaopeng, a serial entrepreneur who made a fortune selling his mobile browser company UCWeb to Alibaba, told CNBC in March that Xpeng may also try an IPO down the road but wants to focus on building the business first.

When it comes to sources of inspiration for the business, Xpeng told local media that it sees Tesla as its “benchmark”. The company has never been shy about its admiration for its American peer. In an interview with Quartz in 2018, He said one of the reasons he founded Xpeng “was because Elon Musk made Tesla’s patents available. It was so exciting.”

But the affection might have gone a little far. In March, Tesla sued an ex-employee for allegedly stealing Autopilot’s proprietary technology before taking a job at Xpeng.

Xpeng started shipping to its first owners in March and was founded five years ago against the backdrop of Beijing’s aggressive electric push in the transportation sector. The sprawling city Shenzhen, just north to Hong Kong, has turned all its public buses and almost all of its taxis electric.

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Volvo Car Group has inked a massive multi-billion dollar supply deal with the Chinese battery manufacturer, CATL, and Korea’s LG Chem to supply its planned fleet of electric vehicles.

The lithium ion batteries from both suppliers will power the development of Volvo Cars’ electrification strategy for its own brand and the company’s Polestar joint venture with Chinese auto manufacturer Geely.

Deals with the two companies cover the global supply of battery modules for all models on the upcoming SPA2 and CMA modular vehicle platforms, Volvo said in a statement.

Back in 2017, Volvo . committed that all of its new vehicles launched after 2019 would be electrified and this marks a big step in making that commitment a reality, the company said.

Volvo expects 50 percent of its global sales volume from 2025 to be comprised of electric vehicles.

“The future of Volvo Cars is electric and we are firmly committed to moving beyond the internal combustion engine,” said Håkan Samuelsson, president and CEO of Volvo Cars, in a statement. “Today’s agreements with CATL and LG Chem demonstrate how we will reach our ambitious electrification targets.”

Volvo’s got one battery assembly line currently under construction at its manufacturing plant in Ghent, where it expects its first fully-electric XC40 small SUV to be rolling off the assembly line by the end of the year.

Earlier this year, Volvo revealed new electrified powertrain options for its entire model range. The company upgraded its T8 and . T6 Twin Engine plug-in hybrid powertrains and now has plug-in options for every model the company makes.

Just three months ago Volvo unveiled its first all-electric vehicle design for Polestar, its joint venture with Geely. And the Polestar 2 will be the first vehicle to reap the fruits of the battery supply agreement with LG and CATL.

The deals between Polestar and the battery makers cover the supply of lithium ion battery modules for the entire portfolio of Polestar vehicles over the next ten years, starting with its first fully electric car, the Polestar 2, in early 2020.

“With these suppliers in place we have the secure knowledge that our electric performance cars will be powered by high-quality batteries that our customers can rely on,” comments Thomas Ingenlath, Chief Executive Officer of Polestar.

This battery supply agreement comes as roadblocks have emerged to Polestar’s plans to sell its new electric vehicle in the U.S. as a direct competitor to Tesla’s Model 3.

Ingenlath told the Los Angeles Times that if the U.S. trade war with China lengthens, the company may have to scrap plans to sell in the U.S.

“We would embrace free trade as in the interests of the consumer,” Ingenlath told the LA Times in an interview. He said that the company wouldn’t export cars to countries where tariffs would make selling the vehicle impossible because it couldn’t be priced competitively.

Polestar would look to expand or contract its sales presence in the U.S. based on where tariffs land, the executive said. At current levels tariffs on cars manufactured in China are set at 25%.

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SpaceX and Tesla CEO Elon Musk’s lawyer argued Tuesday in a court filing that the British cave diver who became embroiled in a public spat with his client and later sued for defamation can’t recover damages because his reputation was not harmed.

In court documents filed Tuesday, Musk’s new lawyer Alex Spiro of Quinn Emmanuel questioned the motive of Vernon Unsworth, the British cave diver, who filed a defamation lawsuit in September 2018 in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California. The suit was filed after Musk called him a “pedo guy” and made other statements insinuating he was a pedophile in a public attack on Twitter. The fight erupted last summer after the rescue of youth soccer players trapped in a cave in Thailand.

Musk denies the allegations of defamation in the latest response. Spiro became Musk’s lawyer earlier this month.

“One has to question Mr. Unsworth’s motive in turning this into a federal case,” Spiro wrote in a response to Unsworth’s complaint. “The libel laws exist to protect those whose reputations have been harmed by false assertions of fact. In the case of Mr. Unsworth, who made himself a public figure, those assertions have to be made with constitutional malice. Mr. Musk has already retracted what he said publicly. Mr. Unsworth’s claim is thus confined to what Mr. Musk said in private conversation. Regardless, Mr. Unsworth and his reputation are no worse off.”

Musk’s lawyer argues that Unsworth was motivated by a “desire to milk the media coverage over what he instigated to reap a financial windfall from Mr. Musk, despite the absence of any injury.” Musk will fight that, Spiro wrote.

U.S. District Judge Stephen V. Wilson recently denied a motion to dismiss the case and instead scheduled a date for trial. The trial is scheduled to begin October 22. The decision means that Unsworth’s case is strong enough to go to trial.

Musk’s lawyers argued that statements on the internet, and more specifically on unmoderated forums like Twitter, are presumptively opinion, not objective fact. Defamation law doesn’t apply to opinions or insults. But Wilson rejected Musk’s argument, in part because of an  he had with BuzzFeed reporter Ryan Mac.

The lawsuit alleges that between July 15 and August 30, Musk periodically used Twitter and emails to the media to publish false and defamatory accusations against Unsworth, including accusations of pedophilia and child rape.

The initial “pedo guy” attack came after Unsworth gave a critical interview to the media saying Musk’s mini sub “had absolutely no chance of working.” The diving expert ended an interview segment by suggesting Musk should “stick his submarine where it hurts.”

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A defamation case filed last year against Tesla and SpaceX CEO Elon Musk after he repeatedly called a British cave diver “pedo guy” will go to trial on October 22, a U.S. district judge determined Friday.

Vernon Unsworth, the British cave diver, filed a defamation lawsuit in September 2018 in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California after Musk called him a “pedo guy” and made other statements insinuating he was a pedophile in a public attack on Twitter.

The Verge was the first to report the court decision.

A Tesla spokesperson could not be immediately reached for comment

U.S. District Judge Stephen V. Wilson denied a motion to dismiss the case and instead scheduled a date for trial. The decision means that Unsworth’s case is strong enough to go to trial.

Musk’s lawyers argued that statements on the internet, and more specifically on unmoderated forums like Twitter, are presumptively opinion, not objective fact. Defamation law doesn’t apply to opinions or insults. But Wilson rejected Musk’s argument, in part because of an email interaction he had with BuzzFeed reporter and ex-TechCrunch journalist Drew Olanoff.

“Considering the totality of the circumstances—including the general context of Defendant’s statements, the specific context of the statements, and the statements’ susceptibility of being proved true or false—a reasonable factfinder could easily conclude that Defendant’s statements, as pleaded in the complaint, implied assertions of objective fact,” Wilson wrote in the decision.

The lawsuit alleges that between July 15 and August 30, Musk periodically used Twitter and emails to the media to publish false and defamatory accusations against Unsworth, including accusations of pedophilia and child rape.

The initial “pedo guy” attack came after Unsworth gave a critical interview to the media saying Musk’s mini sub “had absolutely no chance of working.” The diving expert ended an interview segment by suggesting Musk should “stick his submarine where it hurts.”

Musk lashed out on Twitter and insinuated that Unsworth was a pedophile. He later deleted the offending tweet and tried to backpedal — even offering an apology of sorts on Twitter. And it could have all ended there. But then Musk dug it all up again during a debate with Olanoff — once again on Twitter. Olanoff had brought up the “pedo guy” attack as an example of Musk telling untruths.

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Volkswagen opened up pre-orders in Europe at a launch event Wednesday for a special edition of the first model in its new all-electric ID brand. Within 24 hours, the company received more than 10,000 registrations, a result that suggests growing demand for electric vehicles.

VW revealed Wednesday the name, some pricing and range specs for the first model in its multi-billion-dollar effort to produce and sell a portfolio of electric vehicles. This first model, known as the ID.3, is an electric hatchback that will be offered in three battery options, with ranges between 330 and up to 550 kilometers (205 miles to 341 miles) in accordance with WLTP. The WLTP, or Worldwide Harmonised Light Vehicle Test Procedure, is the European standard to measure energy consumption and emissions.

Customer interest in the special edition “ID.3 1” — which will be limited to 30,000 vehicles — is “significantly exceeding the brand’s expectations, VW said Thursday, adding that the company’s website has struggled to handle the large number of users accessing the system to pre-order the vehicle.

“This leads to long waiting times and interruptions in the registration process in some markets. Volkswagen is working hard to eliminate the hitches,” Volkswagen said in a statement. “Nevertheless, more than 10,000 registrations were received throughout Europe during the first 24 hours.”

Production of the ID.3 1 is expected to start at the end of 2019; the first vehicles are to be delivered in mid-2020, VW said.

Initial interest in the ID.3 — as measured by the pre-order figures shared by VW — is reminiscent, albeit on a smaller scale, to those heady days in 2016 when Tesla opened up reservations for its Model 3 sedan. A week after Tesla opened up pre-ordering, the company boasted more than 325,000 customers had made $1,000 deposits for the Model 3. That vehicle wouldn’t come to market until July 2017.

VW customers pay a deposit of €1,000 ($1,122) to pre-order the special edition vehicle. The special edition version of the ID.3 will include free electric charging for the first year, up to a maximum of 2,000 kWh, at all public charging points connected to the Volkswagen charging app WeCharge and using the pan-European rapid charging network IONITY.

The pre-booking special edition, which will cost less than €40,000 ($44,898), before incentives, has an estimated range of 420 km under WLTP (about 260 miles). A base model of the ID.3 will have a smaller battery and will start at less than €30,000 in Germany, according to VW.

Volkswagen has been showing off its ID line of concept electric vehicles for several years. Now, the company is finally starting to prepare some of them for production, beginning with the ID.3. VW aims to sell 100,000 ID.3 vehicles annually.

The ID.3 hatchback is the first model to be built on the automaker’s new Modular Electric Drive Toolkit, or MEB, electric-car architecture. Introduced in 2016, MEB is a flexible modular system — really a matrix of common parts — for producing electric vehicles that VW says makes it more efficient and cost-effective.

Others will soon follow. VW plans to have a portfolio of more than 20 full-electric models. The automaker’s goal is to sell 1 million electric vehicles annually by 2025.

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The White House has refused to exempt the “brain” of Tesla’s Autopilot technology from punitive import tariffs, a decision that could delay or disrupt the company’s self-driving ambitions, TechCrunch has learned.

At a special “autonomy day” event last week, Tesla CEO Elon Musk unveiled advanced Autopilot 3.0 hardware, including a new custom chip intended to enable full self-driving (FSD) operation for all of its new vehicles. This hardware is now standard in all new Model 3, S and X vehicles. Customers pay an additional $6,000 for the software upgrade called FSD.

The self-driving hardware lives within the Autopilot ECU (or engine control unit), a module that Tesla describes as the “brain of the vehicle.” This module is assembled in Shanghai, China, by a company called Quanta Computer.

Tesla’s plans could be affected by a previously unreported decision last month by the White House not to grant the automaker an exemption from 25% tariffs. President Trump imposed these tariffs last year on a range of imports, including electronics, in an effort to reduce the U.S. trade deficit with China.

Tesla has suggested that the tariffs could force it to cease making its self-driving computers in China, thus delaying their introduction and even reducing vehicle safety.

“The imposed tariffs are forcing us to either source a new supplier, pass the cost increase to the end customer, or reduce operational costs within our internal operations, all having a reverse impact for what [we believe] to be the intention of the tariff,” the company wrote in an application to the United States Trade Representative (USTR) on November 16, requesting relief from the tariffs.

But on March 15, the USTR’s general counsel informed Tesla that it was denying the company’s request because it “concerns a product strategically important or related to ‘Made in China 2025’ or other Chinese industrial programs.” The USTR also rejected a retroactive exemption request for legacy Autopilot 2.5 hardware, for the same reason.

Made in China

Made In China 2025 is China’s strategic plan to move away from manufacturing to produce higher value goods, particularly in the areas of AI, electric vehicles and robotics. The White House sees the effort as a direct threat to U.S. domestic technology and automotive companies.

However, U.S. firms have long been among the largest beneficiaries of Chinese manufacturing expertise. Tesla’s Autopilot manufacturing partner in Shanghai, Quanta, has also worked with Apple, Amazon and Verizon.

“Tesla was unable to find a [U.S.] manufacturer with the requisite expertise to produce the Autopilot ECU 3.0 with the required specifications, at the volume requested and under the timelines necessary for Tesla’s continued growth,” the company wrote.

Tesla claimed that using Quanta would not help China reach a goal for 80 percent of domestic EV sales to come from Chinese companies by 2025. “To the contrary, if granted, the exclusion request would ensure that Tesla is able to maintain its technological and competitive advantage gained by manufacturing EVs and finished lithium-ion batteries in the United States,” it wrote.

Tesla also pointed out that more than 75 percent of the value of the new computer’s printed circuit board actually originates from outside of China. For instance, Tesla’s new cutting-edge neural network chips, which are a critical piece of Autopilot 3.0, are being made by Samsung in Austin, Texas.

The Tariff Effect

But the White House wasn’t buying it, and the USTR’s rejection is likely to hit Tesla hard. The company has already told investors that it could not guarantee hitting its gross margin targets now that it has begun selling the lowest-priced Model 3 variant.

“These tariffs detract from our continuous growth and sustainability in a very difficult industry,” wrote Tesla.

Last week, the automaker posted a $702 million loss in the first quarter of 2019, on the back of lower than expected deliveries, and it just announced its intention to raise about $2.7 billion by selling a mix of debt and equity. The company originally said it intended to raise $2.3 billion in convertible notes and equity, then upped the total offering just a day later, according to regulatory filings.

Tesla is selling 3.1 million shares at a price of $243 per share through underwriters Goldman Sachs and Citigroup and boosted its convertible notes offering to $1.6 billion, according to filings. Musk is also doubling down on his own investment and now intends to buy up to 102,880 shares in stock worth $25 million.

With limited ability to increase prices or reduce costs, Tesla’s other option would be to relocate manufacturing to the United States. But that comes with its own difficulties, according to the company.

“Tesla’s decision to begin production [of the new Autopilot computer took] six months from development to production,” it wrote in its application. “With condensed timelines such as this, there is no leeway to test out a supplier that does not already have considerable experience … Choosing any other supplier would have delayed the program by 18 months with clean room setup, line validation, and staff training.”

Safety concerns

Even more critically, given that Tesla’s existing Autopilot technology has been linked with multiple crashes and several deaths, the company believes that such a move would also have safety implications: “Sourcing a new supplier increases the risk of poor part quality leading to possible quality issues that would impact the safety of our vehicles and the final product… We cannot risk our customers’ lives due to a defect from a supplier.”

The tariffs could even disrupt Tesla’s ongoing research into artificial intelligence, machine learning and computer vision, it fears.

“Tesla’s leadership position is contingent on our ability to deploy these advancements and components at volume, which we would be unable to do under the current tariff structure,” stated its application. Musk told investors yesterday that autonomy would eventually make Tesla a $500 billion company, a more than ten-fold increase to its valuation today.   

Despite its strong wording to the USTR, Tesla has only mentioned the tariffs in investor filings in passing, where it focused on their impact on its bottom line: “Recently increased import duties on certain components used in our products that are sourced from China may increase our costs and negatively impact our operating results.”

Tesla declined to comment on this story.

Greg Linden is an economist at the University of California, Berkeley, specializing in the global supply chain for electronics. “For speed and high-volume, China is the place,” he told TechCrunch in a recent interview. “U.S. companies headed down the China road for board assembly about 25 years ago and never looked back. Component suppliers followed, and now China has a heft for high-volume electronics that no country can match.”

Linden has calculated that a U.S.-assembled Apple iPhone could add up to $40 per unit in cost, and estimates that building Autopilot 3.0 hardware in the U.S. would result in an increase of the same order of magnitude.

Lingering exemption requests

Tesla has several more tariff exemption requests outstanding with the U.S. government. A request to exempt the Model 3’s car computer, including its media control unit, connectivity board and advanced driver assistance system (ADAS) hardware, was filed at the end of December. Most recently, Tesla last week asked to be excluded from tariffs for specialized aluminum sheets from Japan, needed for lithium-ion battery cell manufacture at its Gigafactory in Sparks, Nevada.

But it is not all bad news for Musk on the trade front. Last July, The Boring Company requested relief from tariffs on Chinese-made tunneling machinery. It claimed that an inability to source tunnel boring machine parts from China would cost jobs and delay its proposed underground Loop transit system between Baltimore and Washington DC by up to two years.

On March 19, the USTR granted a retroactive exemption for imports of tunneling machinery.

Ironically, the autonomous electric vehicles intended for the Baltimore to DC Loop are based on Tesla cars that will likely rely on new Autopilot systems being built, at least for the moment, in China.

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Tesla is going to raise an additional $400 million in its latest sale of stock, with co-founder and chief executive Elon Musk committing to buy an additional $15 million in shares, according to a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

The electric vehicle, energy storage and solar panel manufacturer said it will sell 3.1 million shares at $243 per share. The underwriters are jointly underwritten by Goldman Sachs and Citigroup . At the same time, the company said it would boost its convertible note offering by another $100 million.

Initially Tesla was going to sell $2.3 billion in stock and warrants, but the new totals boost that number to $2.7 billion, with Elon Musk upping the ante of his own purchase as part of the revised deal.

The company said that Musk would boost his purchase from $10 million to $25 million as part of the sale of stock.

News of the increased share sale, revised just one day after Tesla announced that it would turn to capital markets to raise more cash, comes despite its report of a rocky first quarter, just one week ago.

Zachary Kirkhorn even called it “one of the most complicated quarters” in Tesla’s history.

Tesla lost $702 million in the first quarter of the year, but its challenges and cash constraints haven’t dimmed investor appetite for shares in the stock.

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Tesla is raising up to $1.55 billion through the sale of notes and shares, according to a filing made by the EV maker today.

The document outlines that Tesla will sell up to $1.35 billion in convertible senior notes. The number could increase further: Tesla is giving underwriters the chance to buy a further $202.5 million for over-allotments. In share numbers, that’s an initial 2,723,198 shares that could expand to 3,131,677.

The notes are due in 2024 and, already, Tesla founder and CEO Elon Musk is committed to buying $10 million in the offering, that’s 41,896 shares.

Tesla’s stock price rose by five percent in pre-market at the time of writing, according to data from Yahoo Finance.

As is often the case in such offerings, the plans for the funds raised are fairly vague at this point.

“We intend to use the net proceeds from this convertible notes offering and our concurrent common stock offering to further strengthen our balance sheet, as well as for general corporate purposes,” it said in the prospectus.

The offer comes a week after Tesla reported a $702 million loss for Q1 2019 which missed analyst forecasts for the business.

The results follow two consecutive quarters of profitability that were fueled by sales of the Model 3. Tesla reported a $139 million profit in the fourth quarter and, in October, it posted its first profit after seven consecutive quarters of losses.

The U.S firm said its cash position decreased by $1.5 billion from the end of 2018 to $2.2 billion mainly due to the repayment of convertible notes, of which $188 million negatively impacted operating cash flow. Tesla paid off its $920 million convertible bond obligation in cash in March.

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What a complicated week for Tesla .

The electric car-maker announced this week that it had lost more than $700 million in the first quarter of 2019, an unpleasant surprise for investors that came during its quarterly earnings report.

But that was just like the 3rd or 4th most interesting piece of Tesla news that took place this week. CEO Elon Musk also avoided writing another check to the SEC for his tweeting habit and Tesla showcased some of its self-driving dreams at an event devoted to autonomy.

Let’s check the news hits out one-at-a-time:

  • First, let’s talk Tesla money. On its Q1 earnings call, Tesla CFO Zachary Kirkhorn called it “one of the most complicated quarters.” Investors were already expecting a loss, but a bunch variety of factors led to the $702 million loss which came after two quarters of profitability. Musk had already said that deliveries were lower-than-expected, they ended up shipping 63,000 cars, a nearly one-third drop from the previous quarter. Add that to the partial expiration of the federal electric vehicle tax rebate and there are some answers but still some lingering questions.
  • Next, the company laid out some big promises for its self-driving future, but none was more intriguing than Elon Musk announcing that Tesla was planning to launch a robotaxi network in 2020, though the CEO was strong on the caveats that local laws would pretty much guide how such a service was rolled out.

  • The company’s Autonomy Day wasn’t just about plans to trounce the soon-to-be-public Uber on its own ride-sharing turf, the company also dove into the hardware, specifically its new “full self-driving” computer that has already started shipping in new Model 3, S and X models. If you look — not very closely — you’ll see that it’s actually two independent computers designed around redundancy so that there’s less room for a glitch to leave drivers in danger.
  • Finally, on Friday we learned that Musk and the SEC had reached a deal that let him keep his cash and his Twitter account and avoid being held in contempt of the initial deal. The agreement reach gave Musk a list of topics (list here) that he needs to get pre-approval from Tesla in order to tweet about, a solution that’s probably good for everyone especially the Tesla officials who likely didn’t want to babysit Elon tweeting about anime.
Shoot me tips or feedback
on Twitter @lucasmtny or email
lucas@techcrunch.com

Trends of the week

Here are a few big news items from big companies, with green links to all the sweet, sweet added context.

Special guest

I’m not the first to go wild about enterprise IT, but Box CEO Aaron Levie just published a guest post on TechCrunch about how the world of corporate software has gotten a lot more exciting over the past decade. Check it out.

A new era for enterprise IT

“…We’ve reached a new era of enterprise software and companies are coming around to this model in droves. What seemed unfathomable merely a decade ago is now becoming commonplace…”

Photo by Paul Marotta/Getty Images

GAFA Gaffes

How did the top tech companies screw-up this week? This clearly needs its own section, in order of awfulness:

  1. Facebook gets drilled 3X. Kind of cheating since it’s a list, but I’m all about efficiency:
    [Facebook hit with three privacy investigations in a single day]
  2. Facebook preps for an upcoming major privacy failure fine:
    [Facebook reserves $3B for future FTC fine]

Extra Crunch

Our premium subscription service continues to churn out some awesome long-reads as a channel for our staff’s niche obsessions. We had a great piece this week on the difficulties associated with determining Huawei’s company ownership, especially when that owner might just be the Chinese Communist party.

Why it’s so hard to know who owns Huawei

“…despite selling 59 million smartphones and netting $27 billion in revenue last quarter in its first-ever public earnings report this morning, a strange and tantalizing question shrouds the world’s number two handset manufacturer behind Samsung. Who owns Huawei?”

Here are some of our other top reads this week for premium subscribers — our staff seemed to write a lot about pitching stories this week…

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