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Learn how to access funding for your startup at TC Sessions: Space 2020

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Building tech startups takes cash — and lots of it. But when you’re talking space startups, you’re talking galactic-level money. Costs blast right through Earth’s exosphere and become, literally, astronomical. If space is your jam, you’re going to need financial help, and you’ll learn where and how to access it at TC Sessions Space 2020 (December 16-17).

Set your transporter coordinates for our Fast Money breakout sessions. You’ll hear presentations from leading space accelerators and funding programs. You’ll learn how to access grant money and — wait for it — you can schedule individual appointments with representatives from each program.

PSA: Don’t have a pass yet? We’re offering a BOGO deal. Buy one Late Registration ticket for $175 and get one free. You and a colleague pay just $87.50 each — that’s less than the early-bird price. Buy your passes before this deal ends on Sunday, November 29, at 11:59 p.m. PST.

Attend these Fast Money breakout sessions and then use CrunchMatch to schedule private meetings with program reps.

  • Fast Money — Space Force Innovation Ecosystem: The USSF wants to partner with innovative non-traditional companies as we look to build out the space architecture of the future. Come learn how to join us. Major Ryan Pennington, Deputy, Space Force Ventures, SMC Space Ventures.
  • Fast Money — The Space Force Accelerators: Learn how the Hyperspace Challenge, Catalyst Space Accelerator, and other government accelerators can connect you to the U.S. Space Force. Gabe Mounce, Director, Space Force Accelerators, Air Force Research Laboratory.
  • Fast Money — Working with the Army to Operationalize Science for Transformational Overmatch: Learn about DEVCOM Army Research Laboratory and the xTech Program of prize competitions that accelerate innovative solutions that can help solve Army challenges. Peter Khooshabeh, Regional Lead, DEVCOM, ARL West.
  • Fast Money — Advancing Space Technology with NASA SBIR: Learn about the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and the Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) programs powered by NASA. Jenn Gustetic, Early Stage Innovations and Partnerships Program Director, NASA HQ Space Technology Mission Directorate.
  • Fast Money — NAVWAR SBIR/STTR Primer: The SBIR/STTR is a robust program designed to help small businesses address government needs while promoting commercialization. This session is dedicated to providing a primer on the program with tips on getting involved and getting engaged with the Naval Information Warfare Systems Command (NAVWAR). Shadi Azoum, Small Business Innovation Research & Rapid Innovation Fund Program Manager, Naval Information Warfare Systems Command.
  • Fast Money — Introduction to In-Q-Tel’s investing activities in the commercial space sector: In-Q-Tel is a strategic investment firm that works with the national security community of the United States. For 20 years, In-Q-Tel has served one mission: to deliver the most sophisticated strategic technical knowledge and capabilities to the U.S. government and its allies through its unique investment model. Over the past decade, In-Q-Tel has been one of the most active investors in the commercial space sector, with a broad investment thesis that touches many aspects of the sector. This session will provide an overview of In-Q-Tel as a whole, as well as a discussion of the firm’s activities in the commercial space sector. Tom Gillespie, Managing Partner and Investment lead for In-Q-Tel’s Field Technologies Practice.
  • Fast Money – Enabling a dual-use business model with Defense Innovation Unit (DIU)

Explore all the TC Sessions: Space presentations in the event agenda and start planning your schedule now. And don’t sweat any conflicts — with VOD, you can catch anything you miss at your convenience.

Learn how to find and access the funding to fuel your space startup. Don’t miss the Fast Money breakouts at TC Sessions: Space 2020. And get your buy-one-get-one-free ticket before our week-long Black Friday sale ends Sunday, November 29, at 11:59 p.m. PST.

Is your company interested in sponsoring TC Sessions: Space 2020? Click here to talk with us about available opportunities.


Lyron Foster is a Hawaii based African American Musician, Author, Actor, Blogger, Filmmaker, Philanthropist and Multinational Serial Tech Entrepreneur.

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Elon Musk says Tesla Semi is ready for production, but limited by battery cell output

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Tesla CEO Elon Musk said on the company’s 2020 Q4 earnings call that all engineering work is now complete on the Tesla Semi, the freight-hauling semi truck that the company is building with an all-electric powertrain. The company expects to begin deliveries of Tesla Semi this year, the company said in its Q4 earnings release, and Musk said the only thing limiting their ability to produce them now is the availability of battery cells.

“The main reason we have not accelerated new products – like for example Tesla Semi – is that we simply don’t have enough cells for it,” Musk said. “If we were to make the Semi right now, and we could easily go into production with the Semi right now, but we would not have enough cells for it.”

Musk added that the company does expect to have sufficient cell volume to meet its needs once it goes into production on its 4680 battery pack, which is a new custom cell design it created with a so-called ‘tables’ design that allows for greater energy density and therefore range.

“A Semi would use typically five times the number of cells that a car would use, but it would not sell for five times what a car would sell for, so it kind of would not make sense for us to do the Semi right now,” Musk said. “But it will absolutely make sense for us to do it as soon as we can address the cell production constraint.”

That constraint points to the same conclusion for the possibility of Tesla developing a van, Musk added, and the lifting of the constraint will likewise make it possible for Tesla to pursue the development of that category of vehicle, he said.

Tesla has big plans for “exponentially” ramping cell production, with a goal of having production capacity infrastructure in place for a Toal of 200 gigawatt hours per year by 2022, and a target of being able to actually produce around 40% of that by that year (with future process improvements generating additional gigawatt hours of cell capacity  in gradual improvements thereafter).

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Pro-Trump Twitter figure arrested for spreading vote-by-text disinformation in 2016

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The man behind a once-influential pro-Trump account is facing charges of election interference for allegedly disseminating voting disinformation on Twitter in 2016.

Federal prosecutors allege that Douglass Mackey, who used the name “Ricky Vaughn” on Twitter, encouraged people to cast their ballot via text or on social media, effectively tricking others into throwing away those votes.

According to the Justice Department, 4,900 unique phone numbers texted a phone number Mackey promoted in order to “vote by text.” BuzzFeed reported the vote-by-text scam at the time, noting that many of the images were photoshopped to look like official graphics from Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign.

Some of those images appeared to specifically target Black and Spanish-speaking Clinton supporters, a motive that tracks with the account’s track record of white supremacist and anti-Semitic content. The account was suspended in November 2016.

At the time, the mysterious account quickly gained traction in the political disinformation ecosystem. HuffPost revealed that the account was run by Mackey, the son of a lobbyist, two years later.

“… His talent for blending far-right propaganda with conservative messages on Twitter made him a key disseminator of extremist views to Republican voters and a central figure in the alt-right’ white supremacist movement that attached itself to Trump’s coattails,” HuffPost’s Luke O’Brien reported.

Mackey, a West Palm Beach resident, was taken into custody Wednesday in Florida.

“There is no place in public discourse for lies and misinformation to defraud citizens of their right to vote,” Acting U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of New York Seth D. DuCharme said.

“With Mackey’s arrest, we serve notice that those who would subvert the democratic process in this manner cannot rely on the cloak of Internet anonymity to evade responsibility for their crimes.”

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Tesla is willing to license Autopilot and has already had “preliminary discussions” about it with other automakers

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Tesla is open to licensing its software, including its Autopilot highly-automated driving technology, and the neural network training it has built to improve its autonomous driving technology. Tesla CEO Elon Musk revealed those considerations on the company’s Q4 earnings call on Wednesday, adding that the company has in fact already “had some preliminary discussions about licensing Autopilot to other OEMs.”

The company began rolling out its beta version of the so-called ‘full self-driving’ or FSD version of Autopilot late last year. The standard Autopilot features available in general release provide advanced driver assistance (ADAS) which provide essentially advanced cruise control capabilities designed primarily for use in highway commutes. Musk said on the call that he expects the company will seek to prove out its FSD capabilities before entering into any licensing agreements, if it does end up pursuing that path.

Musk noted that Tesla’s “philosophy is definitely not to create walled gardens” overall, and pointed out that the company is planning to allow other automakers to use its Supercharger networks, as well as its autonomy software. He characterized Tesla as “more than happy to license” those autonomous technologies to “other car companies,” in fact.

One key technical hurdle required to get to a point where Tesla’s technology is able to demonstrate true reliability far surpassing that of a standard human driver is transition the neural networks operating in the cars and providing them with the analysis that powers their perception engines is to transition those to video. That’s a full-stack transition across the system away from basing it around neural nets trained on single cameras and single frames.

To this end, the company has developed video labelling software that has had “a huge effect on the efficiency of labeling,” with the ultimate aim being enabling automatic labeling. Musk (who isn’t known for modesty around his company’s achievements, it should be said) noted that Tesla believes “it may be the best neural net training computer in the world by possibly an order of magnitude,” adding that it’s also “something we can offer potentially as a service.”

Training huge quantities of video data will help Tesla push the reliability of its software from 100% that of a human driver, to 200% and eventually to “2,000% better than the average human,” Musk said, while again suggesting that it won’t be a technological achievement the company is interested into keeping to themselves.

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