Wij willen met u aan tafel zitten en in een openhartig gesprek uitvinden welke uitdagingen en vragen er bij u spelen om zo, gezamelijk, tot een beste oplossing te komen. Oftewel, hoe kan de techniek u ondersteunen in plaats van dat u de techniek moet ondersteunen.

Nikola Motor, the Arizona startup that made its debut as a publicly traded company June 4, will open up reservations later this month for a hydrogen fuel cell electric pickup truck that was designed to compete with the Ford F-150.

Reservations, or pre-orders, will open June 29 for the hydrogen-electric pickup truck known as the Badger, Nikola Motor founder and chairman Trevor Milton tweeted Tuesday.

The company’s initial focus has been to design, develop and eventually produce hydrogen-electric Class 8 trucks and build out hydrogen station infrastructure throughout North America. Since its founding in 2014, the company has expanded its hydrogen-electric vision to powersports and more recently to pickup trucks. The company shared in February the first details about the Badger pickup truck, which will be available as a battery electric or fuel cell vehicle.

Nikola Motor has not produced any products yet. It doesn’t even have a factory. The company is building a factory in Coolidge, Arizona. The site has been cleared and construction will begin in 2020, Milton told TechCrunch in a recent interview, adding that he hoped for it to start this summer.

Against that backdrop of bold vision but no products — or even revenue — Nikola Motor is valued at $ 28.63 billion as of market close Tuesday. Nikola’s market capitalization eclipsed Ford at one point Tuesday.

Nikola became a publicly traded company through a reverse merger with VectoIQ, a publicly-traded special purpose acquisition company led by GM’s former vice chairman Stephen Girsky. Since its June 4 debut, the stock has had a short volatile ride, trading at more than 112% higher than its debut price of $ 37.55. Shares closed Tuesday at $ 79.73.

Badger takes aim at Ford, Tesla

“We went directly after the Ford F-150 market and it’ll be a direct competitor to the Tesla Cybertruck as well,” Milton told TechCrunch.

Milton said the pickup truck won’t compete with Rivian, which is also planning to produce an electric pickup truck.

“The Rivian is a small truck like a Toyota Tacoma and will not compete in the construction world nor the Ford F 150, bigger pickup market that’s focused on home businesses construction and things like that. The Rivian is more of a consumer model that is used for outdoor recreational activities.”

The Badger has some eye-popping specs, including up to a 600-mile range, 906 horsepower and 980 pound-feet of torque, according to Nikola Motor. The battery electric version will be able to travel 300 miles on a single charge and can be upgraded with fuel cells to double the range. The company expects the Badger to go into production in 2022.

But Nikola doesn’t plan to produce the Badger on its own, according to Milton. Instead, the company plans to partner with an OEM, which Milton said will be revealed later this year.


TechCrunch

Earlier today, to get a sense of what’s happening in the land of venture capital, the law firm Fenwick & West hosted a virtual roundtable discussion with New York investors Hadley Harris, a founding general partner with Eniac Ventures; Brad Svrluga, a co-founder and general partner of Primary Ventures; and Ellie Wheeler, a partner with Greylock.

Each investor is experiencing the coronavirus-driven lockdown in unique ways, unsurprisingly. Their professional experiences are very much in sync, however, and founders should know the bottom line is that they aren’t making brand-new bets at this very moment.

On the personal front, Wheeler is expecting her first child. Harris is enjoying lunch with his wife every day. Svrluga said that he hasn’t had so many consecutive meals with his kids in more than a decade. (He described this as a treat.)

Professionally, things have been more of a struggle. First, all have been swamped in recent weeks, trying to assess which of their startups are the most at risk, which are worth salvaging and which may be encountering unexpected opportunity — and how to address each of these scenarios.

They are so busy, in fact, that none is writing checks right now to founders who might be trying to reach them for the first time. Indeed, Harris takes issue with investors who’ve said throughout this crisis that they are still very open to pitches. “I’ve seen a lot of VCs talking about being open for business, and I’ve been pretty outspoken on Twitter that I think that’s largely bullshit and sends the wrong message to entrepreneurs.

“We’re completely swamped right now in terms of bandwidth” because of the work required by existing portfolio companies. Bandwidth, he added, “is our biggest constraint, not money.”

What happens when bandwidth is no longer such an issue? It’s worth noting that none thinks that meeting founders exclusively remotely is natural or normal or conducive to deal-making — not at their firms, in any case.

Wheeler noted that while “some accelerators and seed funds that are prolific have been doing this in some way, shape or form for a bit,” for “a lot of firms,” it’s just awkward to contemplate funding someone they have never met in person.

“The first part of the diligence process is the same, that’s not hard,” said Wheeler. “It’s meeting the team, visiting [the startup’s workspace], meeting our team. How do you do that [online]?” she asked. “How do you mimic what you pick up from spending time together [both] casually and formally? I don’t think people have figured that out,” she said, adding, “The longer this goes on, we’ll have to.”

As for what to pitch them anyway, each is far less interested in sectors that aren’t highly relevant to this new world. Harris said, for example, that now is not the time to float your new idea for a brick-and-mortar business. Wheeler separately observed that many people have discovered in recent weeks that “distributed teams and remote work are actually more viable and sustainable than people thought they were,” suggesting that related software is of continued interest to Greylock.

Svrluga said Primary Ventures is paying attention to software that enables more seamless remote work, too.  Telecommuting “has been a culture-positive event for the 18 people at my firm,” he said.

Naturally, the three were asked — by Fenwick attorney Evan Bienstock, who moderated the discussion — about downsizing, which each had noted was a nearly inescapable part of lengthening a startup’s runway right now. (“It sucks,” said Svrluga. “People are losing their jobs. But to continue to run teams with the same organizational structure as 60 days ago, [which was] the most favorable environment for building industries, you can’t do it.”)

Their uniform advice for management teams that have to cut is to cut deeply to prevent from having to do it a second time.

Though no one wants to part ways with the people who they’ve brought aboard, “no CEO has ever told me, ‘Dammit, we cut too far,’ ” said Svrluga, who has been through two downturns in his career. In contrast, “at least 30%” of the CEOs he has known admitted to not going far enough to insulate their business while also keeping its culture intact.

The “second cut hurts way more,” added Wheeler. “It’s the second [layoff] that really throws people.”

If you’re wondering what’s next, the VCs all said that they’ll be receptive to new ideas after working through layoffs and burn rates and projected runways, along with the new stimulus package that they’re trying to find a way to make work for their startups.

As for how soon that might be, Wheeler and Svrluga suggested the world might look less upside down in a month. They proposed that four or so more weeks should also give founders more needed time to adjust some of their expectations.

Harris seemed to agree. “It will probably be a gradual thing . . . I’m not sure what next week holds, but feel free to ping me in a month and I’ll let [founders] know if I think it’s opening up.”


TechCrunch

We’ve aggregated the world’s best growth marketers into one community. Twice a month, we ask them to share their most effective growth tactics, and we compile them into this Growth Report.

This is how you’re going stay up-to-date on growth marketing tactics — with advice you can’t get elsewhere.

Our community consists of 600 startup founders paired with VP’s of growth from later-stage companies. We have 300 YC founders plus senior marketers from companies including Medium, Docker, Invision, Intuit, Pinterest, Discord, Webflow, Lambda School, Perfect Keto, Typeform, Modern Fertility, Segment, Udemy, Puma, Cameo, and Ritual .

You can participate in our community by joining Demand Curve’s marketing webinars, Slack group, or marketing training program. See past growth reports here and here.

Without further ado, onto the advice.


How can you send email campaigns that get opened by 100% of your mailing list?

Based on insights from Nick Selman, Fletcher Richman of Halp, and Wes Wagner.

  • First, a few obvious pieces of advice for avoiding low open rates:
    • Avoid spam filters by avoiding keywords commonly used in spam emails.
    • Consider using email subjects (1) that are clearly descriptive and (2) look like they were written by a friend. Then A/B your top choices.
    • Include the recipient’s name in your email body. This signals to spam filters that you do in fact know the recipient.
  • Now, for the real advice: Let’s say 60% of your audience opens your mailing, how can you get the remaining 40% to open and read it too?
    • First, wait 2 weeks to give everyone a chance to open the initial email.
    • Next, export a list of those who haven’t opened. Mailchimp lets you do this.
    • Important note: The reason many recipients don’t open your email is because it was sent to Spam, it was buried in Promotions, or it was insta-deleted because it looked like spam (but wasn’t). The goal here is to resuscitate these people. You have two options for doing so:
    • (1) Duplicate the initial email then selectively re-send it to non-openers. This time, use a new subject (try a new hook) and downgrade the email to plain text: remove images and link tracking. De-enriching the email in this way can help bypass spam filters and the Promotions tab.
    • (2) Alternatively, export your list of non-openers to a third-party email tool like Mailshake (or Mixmax).
      • First, connect Mailshake to a new Gmail account on your company domain.
      • Next, configure Mailshake to automatically dole out small batches of emails on a daily schedule. Let it churn through non-openers slowly so that Gmail doesn’t flag your account as a spammer.
      • Emails sent through Mailshake are more likely to get opened than emails sent through Mailchimp. Why? Mailshake sends emails through your Gmail account, and Gmail-to-Gmail emails have a greater chance of bypassing Spam and Promotions folders, particularly if the sender doesn’t have a history of its emails being marked as spam.


TechCrunch

We’re still in the hunt for innovative early-stage hardware startup founders. And by that, we mean boundary-pushers, exceptional disrupters and all-around game-changers. If that sounds like you, you still have time to apply to compete in Hardware Battlefield at TC Shenzhen on November 11-12.

Don’t miss your chance to compete in our epic, hardware-focused pitch competition. Apply to TC Hardware Battlefield 2019. The grand prize is a cool $ 25,000, but there’s a lot more than money on the line. If you’re selected, you’ll launch your startup on a world stage — in front of eager investors and tech media. And you’ll do it in Shenzhen, the world’s hardware heartland. The exposure alone can be life-changing.

First things first. Does your startup qualify? The answer is yes — if you meet the following stipulations.

  • Submit your application by August 14
  • You must have a minimally viable product to demo onstage
  • Your product has received little or no international press coverage to date
  • Your product must be a hardware device or component (Enterprise hardware eligible)

Our discerning TechCrunch editors will thoroughly review every qualified application and pick approximately 10-15 startups to compete. If you’re selected, get ready to work, because you’ll receive free pitch coaching from our editors. That’s six rigorous weeks to get you primed and prepped to pitch your hardware on a world stage — and outshine the competition

Founders have just six minutes to pitch and demo their products — followed by an in-depth Q&A with the judges. If you make it to the final round, you’ll repeat the process in front of a new set of judges. After the hardware dust settles, the judges will name the Hardware Battlefield TC Shenzhen champion — who takes home the Battlefield Cup along with a check for an equity-free $ 25,000.

All the fast-paced action takes place in front of a live audience, and we capture the entire event on video and post it to our global audience on TechCrunch. That translates to a lot of exposure, and it can change the trajectory of your business — whether you win or not.

The Hardware Battlefield takes place during our second TC Shenzhen event (produced with TechNode, our partner in China). The show features top speakers from the startup world in China and beyond, plenty of startups exhibiting in Startup Alley and a hackathon. Stay tuned — we’ll have tickets available soon.

Take your shot — apply to TC Hardware Battlefield 2019 by August 14. Come to Shenzhen on November 11-12 and show us your hardware!

Is your company interested in sponsoring or exhibiting at Hardware Battlefield TC Shenzhen? Contact our sponsorship sales team by filling out this form.


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