VCJ Cover Story: The Networking Effect

Most everyone knows the story of the “PayPal Mafia.” The term refers to how a network of founders and early employees of the online payment services company—people such as Peter Thiel, Max Levchin, Ken Howery, Luke Nosek, Roelof Botha, Elon Musk, Chad Hurley, Steve Chen, Jawed Karim and Reid Hoffman, among others—leveraged their connections to […]

Kleiner’s Ray Lane Sees Inflection Point for Electric Cars as Oil Pices Spike

(Reuters) – The recession and high gasoline prices offer the U.S. automotive industry a chance to reinvent itself as consumers inch toward acceptance of alternatives to the internal combustion engine, a top venture capitalist said on Tuesday. “This recession is a great reminder that the industry is changing,” Ray Lane, a managing partner at storied […]


Tens of Billions in Loan Guarantees Targeted at Cleantech Companies

The Department of Energy plans another big year of guaranteeing loans for renewable energy projects. In the past 14 months, the DOE’s largest loan guarantee program (called Section 1705) awarded almost $26 billion to 23 renewable energy projects being run by companies such as BrightSource Energy and Abound Solar. The program has the financial assets […]

VC-Backed IPOs Survive and Rebound

Second quarter has emerged as the best time period for venture-backed IPOs since late 2007. There were 17 venture-backed IPOs in second quarter, raising $1.3 billion. This is up significantly from the 5 IPOs that launched last year, also during second quarter, that had a deal value of $720.7 million, according to data from Thomson Reuters/National Venture Capital Association. The […]

Laundry Room Chronicles: Talking Tesla

My weekly Reuters Insider spot this week is about Tesla Motors, which closed its first day of trading up over 40% to $23.94 per share (it was only at around $18 per share when we filmed).

Only regret on below video is that I didn’t bring up A123 Systems when asked about Tesla’s battery building plans. That company also had a $2 billion+ market cap post-IPO (and plenty of gov’t backing), but has since tumbled more than 50 percent. Anyway, happy viewing:


A Dissenting (i.e. Positive) View of Tesla Motors

If I were a venture capitalist today, I’d just be shaking my head at the Tesla Motors IPO. No profits, declining quarter-over-quarter revenue, a bankrupt founder/CEO, proven manufacturing difficulties and all hopes resting on a $50k sedan that won’t begin production until 2012.

“Don’t we have unsuccessful companies like that in our portfolio,” I’d ask. “We even have some government loans for our cleantech companies. Is all we’re missing a better marketing department?”

I might also wonder why Elon Musk is doing television interviews about the company, whereas other CEOs clam up due to post-IPO “quiet periods.”

But not everyone agrees with me, as evidenced by the fact that Tesla is trading above its IPO price despite a dismal day on the broader market. Reader Jim sent over the following thoughts via email:

Tesla Arrives at NASDAQ (Literally)

Tesla priced its inexplicable IPO today, and parked some of its “product” outside of the Nasdaq in Times Square. Our ad sales star Beth Yannone took a few shots on her way into work.

Get them after the jump:

Tesla Raises $229 Million in IPO

SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) – Electric carmaker Tesla Motors Inc (TSLA.O) priced shares in its initial public offering above the expected range on Monday, according to a market source. The company, known for its $109,000 Roadster, sold 13.3 million shares for $17 each, the source said, raising about $226 million. It raised the number of shares […]


Tesla’s IPO is Go-Go Despite Red Flags

Silicon Valley wants Tesla Motors to succeed for numerous reasons, including the lackluster IPO market of late and its potential to turn electric cars into the next, lucrative emerging technology. The country wants Tesla Motors to succeed, too. After all, the last U.S. car company to hold an IPO was Ford, in 1956. Yet in […]


Tesla Motors Adds Shares to Upcoming IPO

Tesla Motors, a San Carlos, Calif.-based maker of electric vehicles, has increased the number of shares being offered in its IPO from 11.1 million to 13.3 million. It still plans to sell the shares at between $14 and $16 a piece, and would have an initial market cap of approximately $1.5 billion, were it to […]

SpaceX Launches a Rocket, But Can It Fly Without Elon Musk’s Many Millions?

Earlier today, the Wall Street Journal published a compelling story about SpaceX, the space exploration company that hyperentrepreneur Elon Musk is running concurrently with Tesla Motors and that successfully launched a rocket — called the Falcon 9 — into a 155-mile orbit last Friday.

The piece provides a detailed overview of SpaceX’s past woes as evidence that privatizing space travel is a risky proposition, but it doesn’t ask a key question: whether SpaceX can continue competing for the U.S. government’s business in light of Musk’s stretched personal finances.

It was just a couple of weeks ago that Musk confirmed to VentureBeat that he has been living off the fast-dwindling personal loans of friends. The admission came after Musk revealed — in a February court filing relating to his divorce from science fiction novelist Justine Musk — that he ran out of his own money last November.

Tesla: Musk’s Divorce Will Not Affect Us

(Reuters) – Electric carmaker Tesla Motors said on Wednesday it does not expect the contentious divorce of its chief executive, Elon Musk, to affect its plans to list its shares and does not rely on him to provide further funding. The California start-up, in a filing with U.S. securities regulators, sought to distance itself from […]

Toyota To Invest $50 Million into Tesla

Toyota Motor Corp. has agreed to purchase $50 million worth of common stock in electric car-maker Tesla Motors, following the company’s planned IPO. The investment is part of a larger joint development deal, announced yesterday.

Tesla is in registration for a $100 million IPO, and has raised $220 million in VC funding from firms like Draper Fisher Jurvetson, Daimler AG and VantagePoint Venture Partners.

Elon Musk’s Tesla Stake on Table in Divorce Dispute

SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) – Justine Musk says she wants a pricey Tesla Roadster, 10 percent of her husband’s stake in the carmaker and the odd $6 million. “I really, really want one,” she said on a blog she posted on May 8 about the $109,000 Roadster, which is capable of accelerating faster than a Ferrari. […]

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