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Dallas-based TXV Partners targets $50M for its debut fund – TechCrunch

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Marcus Stroud and Brandon Allen met six years ago as roommates at Princeton University. The pair bonded over a common interest and a shared dream: to be venture capitalists.

“We were at a lecture and there were a couple VCs on campus speaking,” 25-year-old Stroud told TechCrunch. “Being a kid from a small town in Texas, Princeton was already a huge culture shock, but hearing about a world of VC, investment banking and private equity just really intrigued me.”

In 2016, Stroud and Allen graduated. Stroud, a former linebacker on the Princeton football team, went off to Wall Street where he was a fixed income analyst, and then to Austin, where he joined the alternative asset manager Vida Capital to learn the ins and outs of investing. Twenty-four-old Allen, meanwhile, clocked in about two years as a consultant.

It didn’t take long for the aspiring VCs to find their way back to each other to finally start on the project they had discussed in their dorm room. Over the last several months, Allen and Stroud have been quietly building a Dallas-based venture firm called TXV Partners . Their lofty target: $50 million, which would be the largest fund ever for an all-black line-up of general partners, an especially notable feat given Allen and Stroud are located in a market largely ignored by the storied VC firms of Silicon Valley.

TXV co-founder and general partner Marcus Stroud

Building the next great VC hub

Stroud and Allen plan to spend the $50 million on millennials. That is, millennial-friendly startups in the consumer, fintech and blockchain verticals, of which they’ll provide between $500,000 and $3 million in equity funding. So far, they’ve invested in one company, an Austin-based blockchain music platform called Matter Music.

Thanks to Stroud’s time on Princeton’s football team and his father, who is a former NFL player, TXV has tapped some athletic talent to support the fund and its portfolio companies. Former NFL player and Northgate Capital managing director Brent Jones is a mentor, and the firm’s advisors include athletes-turned-investors Torii Hunter and Steve Wisniewski, a former professional baseball player and NFL player, respectively.

A rapid transit train (DART) with the skyline of Dallas, Texas in the background

Allen is leading the firm’s Dallas office and Stroud is scouting full-time for startups in Austin, which is already a well-known source of tech talent.

“We wanted to be part of the next great VC hub,” Allen told TechCrunch. “We felt like it made sense and we felt comfortable in Texas. The thought of moving to San Francisco was out of reach for us. Texas has the opportunity to be at the forefront of what the next generation of technology will look like.”

With large universities feeding the talent pool, Texas has the potential but has yet to fully emerge as a force to be reckoned with for technology investors, even with the buzz surrounding Austin’s rising startup ecosystem. So far this year, companies headquartered in Texas have raised roughly $2.5 billion, on par with levels seen in the state in recent years, according to PitchBook. California startups, for context, have raised more than $50 billion this year.

Texas has the opportunity to be at the forefront of what the next generation of technology will look like. TXV co-founder Brandon Allen

In Austin this year, startups have pulled in $1.4 billion, just north of the $1.3 billion in total capital commitments in 2017. Dallas startups, for their part, have raised just $600 million across 87 deals. Deal count in Dallas actually looks to be dropping, hitting 173 in 2013, 143 in 2016 and falling down to 106 last year, but localized funds like TXV’s may help push the city’s tech scene forward.

‘For Texans, for African Americans and for millennials’

Stroud and Allen are not only first-time general partners of what may become a multi-million-dollar VC fund, but they’re also two African Americans in a field dominated by white men. For them, it’s high stakes and failure is not an option.

VC is known for its lack of diversity. Indeed, 81 percent of VC firms don’t have a single black investor, according to data collected by Richard Kerby, a partner at Equal Ventures. Roughly 50 percent of black investors in the industry are at the associate level, or the lowest level at a firm, and only 2 percent of VC partners are black.

Base10 Partners’ $137 million fund, announced in September, is the largest black-led VC fund to date, but only one of the two general partners are black. Based in San Francisco, Base10 is run by two veteran investors with a well-established network in the Bay Area. The challenges for TXV are much larger, and the barriers may be much tougher to overcome.

“We’re young, black and in Texas,” Allen added. “We’re trying to do it differently. We wanted to really see if we can redefine the VC model from the bottom up. It’s important for Texans, for African Americans and for millennials.”

Brandon Allen and Marcus Stroud want to bring more diversity to venture capital

Allen was raised in New England and Stroud in Prosper, Texas, a small town outside of Dallas. Neither of them comes from wealth, as many Stanford-educated Silicon Valley elite do. They’ll have to put a lot of blood, sweat and tears into TXV, but if they succeed — and even if they don’t — they’ll have helped paint a new archetype for VCs.

“African Americans aren’t that well represented on either side of the table as an investor or a startup founder,” Stroud said. “I think, if anything, that doesn’t discourage us, it just makes us feel proud and empowered that we have an opportunity to help cultivate a fund that is majority minority-led. It’s something that fires me up.”

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The Real Reason Betamax Lost The Format Wars

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JVC officially announced the VHS-format VCR in 1976 and with two formats on the market, both sides dug in (via Sony). Mitsubishi Electric, Matsushita, Hitachi, Sharp, and Akai Electric went with JVC’s VHS format, while Toshiba, Sanyo Electric, NEC, Aiwa, and Pioneer sided with Sony’s Beta format. Sony visited Matsushita’s Osaka headquarters at the end of 1976 to try and persuade them to adopt Betamax. Sony placed one of its players next to a JVC player with both lids off, and Matsushita went with JVC’s player because they had fewer components and could be made for less money.

It wasn’t just the recording media themselves that were better; Sony’s videotape players and recorders were better because they manufactured most of them themselves. And if Sony didn’t build them, it was done by manufacturers they closely monitored, so quality was never an issue. But according to Grunge, JVC wanted to do things differently and licensed its VHS technology to any manufacturer that wanted to make its VCRs. Sony wouldn’t allow its players to be made without direct oversight. This decision ultimately helped lead to the demise of the Beta format as it fostered competition between the various companies making the VHS players and, in turn, eventually drove the prices down to a level far more affordable choice than Sony’s high-priced machines.

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How To Fix Your OnePlus When It’s Charging Slowly

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First, examine your phone’s USB port under a bright light from different angles. Unless you scrub the port every few months, you’ll find dirt and grime lodged into its crevices. Moisture can also harden the build-up, making it difficult to scrape off. But with the right tools and a bit of elbow grease, you can wipe all the dust and debris from your OnePlus charging port.

You’ll need a flashlight or lamp, a toothpick or a cotton bud, and a compressed air duster or bulb syringe. Experts recommend using wooden toothpicks or cotton swabs because they’re non-conductive and don’t interfere with the circuitry. Sharp metal implements like thumbtacks and safety pins can scratch and damage the fragile USB port (via Asurion). Also, avoid blowing air on the phone because your breath contains moisture, making the cleaning even trickier.

To get started, turn off your OnePlus. And use the compressed air duster or bulb syringe to clear out any loose dust and dirt. Next, gently and carefully scrape the build-up with the toothpick or cotton bud. Use a flashlight or lamp to reach the tight corners. You can also tilt the phone or give it slight taps to clear out the scrapings. Finish off with a few more bursts of compressed air. Turn your phone on and test if the slow charging is fixed.

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The 10 Best Aftermarket Parts For Your Ford Bronco

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For those unfamiliar with the tools of the great outdoors, a winch is a device that employs a spool, a length of cable, usually steel braided, and a hook of some kind to aid in several tasks. The most common use of a winch on a 4X4 is to help it get out of a stuck situation. Should your Bronco get mired in mud or fail to overcome a big rock, letting out the winch cable and hooking it onto something solid, like a stout tree, enables the winch to pull it to freedom.

Winches come with various levels of power and cable types and can be installed in various locations. For the purposes of an offroad Bronco, the front bumper is ideal. Not only can it get itself out of a sticky situation, but you can also help a friend by pulling them to safety. Winches can also be set to task as tools. In an emergency, for example, a winch can help to remove a fallen limb somewhere or to drag a heavy object from a body of water.

The Drive notes that winches can be electric, which is handy as the Bronco comes with auxiliary switches for accessories, or hydraulic, running off a power steering pump. Cost ranges from around $350 to $900 and some of the most popular brands are Warn and Superwinch.

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