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U.S. startups raised $130 billion in record-smashing year for venture capital

Just weeks into the pandemic, we reported that venture capitalists were still doing deals, even though their offices were closed and their flights were canceled. But we didn't quite foresee the WFH gusto.

Driving the news: U.S.-based venture capital hit an all-time record in 2020.

By the numbers: U.S. startups raised $130 billion last year, topping the prior high of $120 billion set back in the dotcom craze of 2000, per the MoneyTree report.

  • PitchBook has a slightly higher 2020 total ($156 billion), but we're highlighting MoneyTree because it existed back in 2000 (albeit with some different partners and methodologies). PitchBook wasn't founded until 2007.
  • MoneyTree reports that the number of 2020 deals was not only well below 2000, but at the lowest total since 2013. In other words, the boom was driven by a record number of mega-rounds, which represented 49% of the 2020 dollar total.

(Not) leaving San Francisco: Bay Area companies continued to dominate, in terms of both dollars and deals, despite the "leaving San Francisco" narrative. In fact, Bay Area startups raised just 1.3% less than startups in Los Angeles, New York, Boston, Austin and Seattle combined, per PitchBook.

The bottom line: 2020 obviously wasn't the same as 2000, in terms of everything from business models to smartphones to lockdowns. But both VC surges were propelled by kinetic public markets, and the concurrent valuation inflation and rush to fund. So this time it is different, but it's also the same.

In photos: D.C. and U.S. states on alert for violence ahead of Biden inauguration

Security has been stepped up in Washington, D.C., and in states across the U.S. as authorities brace for potential violence this weekend.

Driving the news: Following the Jan. 6 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol by some supporters of President Trump, the FBI has said there could be armed protests in D.C. and in all 50 state capitols in the run-up to President-elect Joe Biden's inauguration Wednesday.

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Rep. Lou Correa tests positive for COVID-19

Rep. Lou Correa (D-Calif.) announced on Saturday that he has tested positive for the coronavirus.

Why it matters: Correa is the latest Democratic lawmaker to share his positive test results after sheltering with maskless colleagues during last week's deadly Capitol riot. But he did not specify whether his diagnosis was connected to the siege.

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Far-right figure "Baked Alaska" arrested for involvement in Capitol siege

The FBI arrested far-right media figure Tim Gionet, known as "Baked Alaska," on Saturday for his involvement in last week's Capitol riot, according to a statement of facts filed in the U.S. District Court in the District of Columbia.

The state of play: Gionet was arrested in Houston on charges related to disorderly or disruptive conduct on the Capitol grounds or in any of the Capitol buildings with the intent to impede, disrupt, or disturb the orderly conduct of a session, per AP.

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Tech scrambles to derail inauguration threats

Tech companies are sharing more information with law enforcement in a frantic effort to prevent violence around the inauguration, after the government was caught flat-footed by the Capitol siege.

Between the lines: Tech knows it will be held accountable for any further violence that turns out to have been planned online if it doesn't act to stop it.

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Uganda's election: Museveni declared winner, Wine claims fraud

Yoweri Museveni was declared the winner of a sixth presidential term on Saturday, with official results giving him 59% to 35% for Bobi Wine, the singer-turned-opposition leader.

Why it matters: This announcement was predictable, as the election was neither free nor fair and Museveni had no intention of surrendering power after 35 years. But Wine — who posed a strong challenged to Museveni, particularly in urban areas, and was beaten and arrested during the campaign — has said he will present evidence of fraud. The big question is whether he will mobilize mass resistance in the streets.

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Off the rails: Trump's premeditated election lie lit the fire

Beginning on election night 2020 and continuing through his final days in office, Donald Trump unraveled and dragged America with him, to the point that his followers sacked the U.S. Capitol with two weeks left in his term. Axios takes you inside the collapse of a president with a special series.

Episode 1: Trump’s refusal to believe the election results was premeditated. He had heard about the “red mirage” — the likelihood that early vote counts would tip more Republican than the final tallies — and he decided to exploit it.

"Jared, you call the Murdochs! Jason, you call Sammon and Hemmer!”

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Armin Laschet elected as leader of Merkel's CDU party in Germany

Armin Laschet, the centrist governor of North Rhine-Westphalia, was elected on Saturday as the new leader of Germany's Christian Democratic Union (CDU), defeating the more conservative Friedrich Merz by a 521-466 margin.

Why it matters: Laschet is now the most likely successor to Chancellor Angela Merkel as the standard bearer of the German center-right heading into September's elections. With Merkel preparing to step down after 16 years in power, Laschet is seen as a continuity candidate.

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