Steve Jobs’s Son Gets Into Venture Capital
A new firm focused on cancer treatments
Reed Jobs is stepping into the spotlight: The 31-year-old son of Steve Jobs and Laurene Powell Jobs is starting a venture capital firm to invest in new cancer treatments, DealBook is the first to report. It’s an area that hits close to home, since his father, the iconic Apple co-founder, died from complications of pancreatic cancer in 2011.
“My father got diagnosed with cancer when I was 12,” Mr. Jobs told DealBook’s Andrew Ross Sorkin in his first interview with a news organization. That led him to begin focusing on oncology, starting with a summer internship at Stanford when he was 15.
That path has inspired the creation of Yosemite, whose name alludes to the national park where his parents were married. The firm has raised $200 million from investors and institutions including the venture capitalist John Doerr, Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, The Rockefeller University and M.I.T.
Yosemite is a spinoff from Emerson Collective — the business and philanthropic organization founded by his mother — where Jobs has served as managing director for health.
Mr. Jobs will still be dedicated to fighting cancer. “My dad succumbed to cancer when I was in college at Stanford,” Mr. Jobs said. “I was pre-med because I really wanted to be a doctor and cure people myself. But just completely candidly, it was really difficult after he passed away.”
Taking a break from oncology, Mr. Jobs switched to majoring in history (with a focus on nuclear weapons policy). But he returned to the field after completing his master’s degree and led Emerson’s health care division, which has invested in companies and given grants to labs.
Of his career path, Mr. Jobs said: “I had never ever wanted to be a venture capitalist. But I realized that when you’re actually incubating something and putting it together, you can make a tremendous difference in what assets are part of that, what direction it’s going to take, and what the scientific focus is going to be.”
Yosemite will have an unusual operating model. The firm will run a for-profit business, but it will also maintain a donor-advised fund — essentially a type of foundation that manages giving by benefactors — to make grants to scientists.
That dual structure creates a virtuous cycle for innovation, Jobs said: Scientists are given grants with no strings attached, but many of them, once they begin to commercialize their research, will most likely return to Yosemite for venture funding.
An example of that was Tune Therapeutics, which focuses on epigenetic therapies that reprogram genes; the company’s work started with an Emerson grant and then was later founded in part by an investment from the organization.
HERE’S WHAT’S HAPPENING
More executives leave Goldman Sachs. David Thomas, a top lawyer at the firm’s asset and wealth management business, and David Rusoff, the general counsel of global banking and markets, are departing the Wall Street bank. Several other prominent executives have left in recent weeks, as the firm’s chief executive, David Solomon, overhauls its operations.
A House committee is reportedly investigating BlackRock and MSCI over Chinese investments. The Select Committee on the Chinese Communist Party has sent letters to the financial giant and the market index company for helping Americans invest in Chinese companies that the U.S. government has accused of enabling the military and bolstering human rights violations, according to The Wall Street Journal. The committee doesn’t have lawmaking powers, but it has subpoena authority.
Twitter sues a nonprofit group that tracks hate speech online. Elon Musk’s social network, recently renamed X, accused the Center for Countering Digital Hate of trying to silence freedom of expression. The group’s research found that the company had taken no action against many user accounts that were reported for hateful speech. Separately, Twitter removed a big “X” sign from its San Francisco headquarters after fighting with city inspectors.
Birkenstock is said to plan an I.P.O. in New York in the fall. The sandal maker is aiming for a valuation surpassing $8 billion, which would give it one of the most prominent market debuts this year, according to Bloomberg. Birkenstock, which is owned by the investment firm L Catterton, has seen sales rise thanks to its footwear’s appearance in the “Barbie” movie.
The G.O.P. donor’s dilemma
Donald Trump has a commanding lead in the latest Republican presidential primary poll, beating his closest opponent, Gov. Ron DeSantis of Florida, by 37 percentage points.
But that success has run into a different problem: The former president’s political action committee is nearly broke after paying millions in legal fees for Mr. Trump and some of his associates. That could test donors’ willingness to keep giving if Mr. Trump asks them for more money.
Mr. Trump’s PAC, Save America, is down to just $4 million, The Times reports, after starting last year with $105 million. The legal bills tied to the numerous investigations into Trump are mounting, and he is paying for them in part through the PAC.
So tight are the group’s finances that it has requested a highly unusual $60 million refund of a donation that it made to a Trump super PAC.
What will donors do? Trump’s legal expenses will only grow, raising the question of whether backers will be willing to pay for both his lawyers and his campaign. Some of the former president’s challengers are trying to make hay of the matter, with a DeSantis campaign official saying that “grandmas were scammed” out of their Social Security checks “in order to pay a billionaire’s legal bills.”
Perhaps that won’t matter: Many Republicans say they’ll still back Trump for president, even though they believe he has committed crimes, a poll shows.
Rivals are having their own donor issues. Few of Trump’s biggest backers have switched allegiances: Donors including Woody Johnson and Charles Kushner, the father of Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner, have given $1 million each to the Trump super PAC. (That said, some, like the oil billionaire Harold Hamm, have expressed interest in backing a Trump alternative.)
Indeed, some DeSantis backers are increasingly venting their dissatisfaction with the governor and his campaign, including its focus on fighting what they call “woke” policies. Mr. DeSantis hasn’t relented, however, naming anti-E.S.G. efforts as a key part of his economic platform, alongside a potential ban on TikTok, revoking China’s preferential trade status, and forcing the Fed to focus only on price stabilization.
And while other Republican candidates, including Senator Tim Scott of South Carolina and Chris Christie, have some prominent backers, they’re still in the single digits in early polls, potentially deterring donors.
In other 2024 news: Approval numbers for President Biden are slowly improving, but he’s still running neck and neck with Mr. Trump. And a super PAC backing Robert Kennedy Jr.’s presidential campaign is funded largely by the Republican donor Timothy Mellon.
A Tupperware party trade
The meme-stock traders appear to have found a new target.
Shares in Tupperware exploded in July, surging by 421 percent. The kitchen and home products company is still trading at about 40 percent lower than it was a year ago, after warning in April that it was on the brink of bankruptcy, and the New York Stock Exchange said that it could be delisted for not meeting market capitalization and stock price standards.
But enthusiasm for the stock on Reddit appears to be up, just as it was in previous meme-stock frenzies that targeted GameStop and Bed Bath & Beyond.
Another unlikely stock that surged yesterday? Shares of Yellow, the trucking company that is preparing for bankruptcy, rose 149 percent.
The global race to mine metals from the deep sea was officially delayed — sort of. After three weeks of meetings at the International Seabed Authority in Jamaica that ended on Friday, 167 member states and the European Union set a nonbinding deadline of 2025 for writing rules.
But a company at the forefront of the effort to exploit international waters told DealBook that it may press ahead anyway.
“We’d much rather see the code in place, but that doesn’t mean we’ll wait,” said Gerard Barron, the C.E.O. of The Metals Company. The Canadian business already has exploration rights and plans to apply for a commercial license sponsored by the Pacific island nation of Nauru — potentially in advance of the I.S.A.’s deadline, Mr. Barron suggested.
Nauru triggered the U.N. Convention on the Law of the Sea’s “two-year rule” in July 2021, which requires the I.S.A. to “consider and provisionally approve” applications two years after they are submitted. Even though the regulations haven’t been finalized, the company can still apply for a license.
Canada, France, Switzerland and others wanted a moratorium on mining because of the potential environmental damage it could cause. China, Norway and Russia were among those countries pushing for a framework to allow the practice. But Barron says opponents of deep-sea mining lack the votes to block a license, given the practice’s powerful supporters.
“It was inevitable that there was going to be a showdown,” said James McFarlane, the former head of environmental monitoring at the I.S.A. “A lot of nations have interests in moving forward.”
China, which has more deep-sea mining contracts than any other country, is counting on early commercialization to cement its dominance over the market for metals used in next generation technologies, like electric vehicles. Beijing vetoed discussion in Jamaica of a proposal to bar any mining licenses from being approved until regulations are established.
But concern about ecological effects has intensified since Nauru invoked the two-year rule. Mr. McFarlane points out that underwater mines can cover hundreds of miles of land and companies do not really understand the potential effect. “To say it’s a small impact is sort of ludicrous,” he said. “It’s a lot of area.”
THE SPEED READ
Francisco Partners and TPG agreed to buy New Relic, a maker of web tracking software, for $6 billion in cash. (CNBC)
Coatue Management raised $331 million for an early-stage fund, 34 percent below its target. (The Information)
“How lip fillers and laser hair removal are plumping up private equity.” (Insider)
Hong Kong’s stock exchange ended a requirement that companies looking to go public disclose their China-related business risks. (Reuters)
The Apple supplier Foxconn reportedly plans to expand its operations in India to help mitigate the risk of U.S. sanctions on China. (Bloomberg)
Best of the rest
“The Economic Case for Taxing Star Athletes.” (NYT Opinion)
Some TV networks are cutting actors’ pay in exchange for keeping their shows alive. (NYT)
Meta, Facebook’s parent company, is reportedly working on an array of chatbots featuring different personalities. (FT)
The economic boost brought by Taylor Swift concerts and “Barbenheimer” may just be a return to prepandemic spending patterns. (Bloomberg Opinion)
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Andrew Ross Sorkin is a columnist and the founder and editor at large of DealBook. He is a co-anchor of CNBC’s “Squawk Box” and the author of “Too Big to Fail.” He is also a co-creator of the Showtime drama series “Billions.” More about Andrew Ross Sorkin
Ravi Mattu is the managing editor of DealBook, based in London. He joined The New York Times in 2022 from the Financial Times, where he held a number of senior roles in Hong Kong and London. More about Ravi Mattu
Sarah Kessler is a senior staff editor for DealBook and the author of “Gigged,” a book about workers in the gig economy. More about Sarah Kessler
Michael de la Merced joined The Times as a reporter in 2006, covering Wall Street and finance. Among his main coverage areas are mergers and acquisitions, bankruptcies and the private equity industry. More about Michael J. de la Merced
Lauren Hirsch joined The Times from CNBC in 2020, covering deals and the biggest stories on Wall Street. More about Lauren Hirsch
Ephrat Livni reports from Washington on the intersection of business and policy for DealBook. Previously, she was a senior reporter at Quartz, covering law and politics, and has practiced law in the public and private sectors. More about Ephrat Livni
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