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Equities platform Midas raises $45M Series A as fintech retains its sparkle in Turkey | TechCrunch

Midas, a fintech startup that allows people in Turkey to invest in U.S. and Turkish equities, says it has raised $45 million in a funding round led by Portage Ventures of Canada.

The startup is aimed at Turkey’s retail investor market and claims to have more than 2 million users. Its pitch is that it charges significantly lower transaction and commission fees for Turkish customers who want to invest in U.S. or Turkish stocks. It also offers financial content, real-time stock market data and news, and company profiles — all to educate what many consider to be somewhat of an emerging market.

“If you came to Turkey three years ago, there were only 1.5 million investors. That’s in a country of 80 million,” Egem Eraslan, CEO and founder of Midas, told TechCrunch. “Capital markets penetration rates were very, very low. Mobile banking in Turkey is very good and widespread, but there was a lack of investment in equities products because of a lack of infrastructure.”

According to Eraslan, Midas managed to change that dynamic by building its own infrastructure and providing a decent user experience. “We were extremely capital-efficient. We built much of the initial infrastructure product and licensing with less than $500,000, and that allowed us to launch, get traction, raise capital and break that deadlock. We might be the only new broker in the world that launched self-clearing, self-custody, and self-execution.”

Midas is not dissimilar to U.S.-based Robinhood, which has become a giant in the space by providing retail investors an easy avenue to investing in the financial markets. But Eraslan explains that his company has had take a different tack in Turkey.

“We had to launch multiple products with our own self-clearing, custody, and with the entire value chain. If you’re Robinhood, you don’t have to do self-custody or self-clearing.”

Midas now plans to use the new funding to roll out three new products: cryptocurrency trading, mutual funds, and savings accounts. The company has plans to expand beyond Turkey, and aims to target countries in the MENA region.

International Finance Corporation, Spark Capital, Earlybird Digital East Fund, and Revo Capital also participated in the round. The company last raised an $11 million seed round in 2022. Arriving within three years of its founding, Midas’ latest fundraise is one of the largest by a Turkish fintech in recent years, close behind embedded finance startup Param, which raised $50 million in 2022.

Cem Sertoglu, managing partner of Earlybird Digital East Fund, of the startup’s early investors said, “Having timed the explosion in demand in the Turkish investment market perfectly as the first digital-native investment platform, Midas has been executing flawlessly. Winning the domestic market in the world’s 11th-largest economy will already be a success for Midas, but its ambitions lie further than that.”

In a statement, Paul Desmarais III, co-Founder of Portage, and CEO and chairman of Sagard, said: “Midas is leading a wave of transformation within Turkey’s financial landscape. Globally, Portage invests in transformational financial technology and Midas is poised to lead that initiative in a region of early adopters.”

Software Development in Sri Lanka

Robotic Automations

Yoshi Mobility has come a long way since gassing up cars on the side of the road | TechCrunch

Almost 10 years ago, Bryan Frist, Nick Alexander and Daniel Hunter had an idea to inject some technology into the automotive industry. Using the initial entry point of gas, they started the Yoshi Mobility app to deliver gas to San Francisco–area consumers on their day of choice for $20 per month.

“The automotive industry was one that was kind of untouched by innovation,” Frist told TechCrunch. “We had this idea, in the age of Amazon where everything was getting delivered, that you would never go to the gas station again.”

The trio took Yoshi through Y Combinator in the summer of 2016 and began to expand, competing at the time with venture-backed companies like Filld, Wrench and Booster. By 2017, the company was also in Atlanta and Nashville, Tennessee, and offering additional services, including car washes, oil changes and ordered supplies like new windshield wiper blades.

Yoshi also raised $2.1 million from investors, including ZhenFund; Joe Montana’s Liquid 2 Ventures; and Ali Rowghani, Twitter’s former CFO and COO and the founding managing director of YC’s Continuity Fund.

Over the years, it went on to raise an additional $36.7 million in Series A and B capital backed by strategic investors, including ExxonMobil and General Motors Ventures, as well as DN Automotive and NBA All-Star Kevin Durant.

Expansion and new business

Today, Nashville-based Yoshi Mobility is settled into three business lines: preventative maintenance, virtual vehicle inspections and electric vehicle charging. It has boots on the ground in 15 states but can offer vehicle services to customers in all 50 states. It has completed millions of vehicle services to date.

Yoshi Mobility has increased its revenue 10x monthly since its Series B in late 2020, Frist said. The company still provides consumer services, but it has leaned more into the commercial side of its business. It now offers virtual vehicle inspection business for fleets, racking up corporate partnerships with Fortune 100 companies like Uber and Turo.

Its virtual vehicle inspections are also popular in the gig economy, especially in states where drivers and small business owners are required to have an inspection. Yoshi provides an inspection in up to 10 minutes.

Bryan Frist, co-founder and CEO of Yoshi Mobility. Image Credits: Yoshi Mobility

In March, the company completed its first acquisition of Mobile Auto Concepts Inc., a mobile automotive services company offering preventative maintenance, tire care and replacement, multipoint inspections and eco-friendly washes.

“Mobile Auto is similar to many of our competitors that are just doing services,” Frist said. “We think the comprehensive package is what’s valuable. We work a lot with fleets now, and they were always asking us that while we are filling up the car, can we also change the tires or wash the car. Now we can do all of that with a one-stop solution.”

Yoshi Mobility’s third new business line, a mobile electric vehicle charging platform, goes after Tesla in a way. It’s addressing the EV industry’s well-known current challenges, including costly repairs, and future challenges related to charging EV fleets. The platform will offer EV owners and enterprise customers on-the-go charging, maintenance and support.

Frist, a Tesla driver for the past eight years, said the EV market “is just massive,” so there is room for a lot of players. For Yoshi, this means going after partners that don’t want to build out an EV charging station on their properties — or don’t have the available space.

“If the adoption goes the way that we and industry experts think it will, there need to be solutions,” Frist said.

Fueling future growth

The entrance of all those business lines is buoyed by $26 million in new Series C funding, valuing the company at over $200 million, Frist said. General Motors Ventures leads this round joined by new strategic investor and well-known tire brand Bridgestone Americas. International investors include Universal Motors Agencies and Shikra Limited. Yoshi Mobility’s total investment is now over $60 million.

Bridgestone liked the mobility aspect of what Yoshi is doing, Frist said. “They’re investing in mobility companies,” he said. “They launched Firestone Direct, where they have vans that go out and can change tires. We’re doing exactly that now, and that’s how they got involved.”

Armed with the new funds, Yoshi Mobility will scale the preventative maintenance, virtual vehicle inspections and electric vehicle charging business lines. It works with GM’s OnStar, meaning its telematics connect to some 34% of the cars on the road, Frist said.

“There are a million touch points we can have from physically touching the car to the virtual telematics, which is going to propel us into this next stage,” Frist said. “We see ourselves as the ‘Amazon of car care,’ getting into automotive with gas the same way they got into delivery with books. We always saw ourselves doing much more, so in the next five to 10 years, we will look totally different than we look even today.”

Story updated on April 16, 2024, to remove Toyota Connect as the company does not work with Yoshi Mobility.

Software Development in Sri Lanka

Robotic Automations

Exclusive: Faraday Future faked early sales, lawsuits claim

Two internal whistleblowers at Faraday Future claim the troubled EV company has been lying about some of the few sales it has announced to date. They also claim founder Jia Yueting has “weaponized” the EV startup’s HR department to retaliate against anyone who speaks up about these alleged misrepresentations.

The employees, Jose Guerrero and Victoria Xie, have made those claims in a pair of newly filed lawsuits against Faraday Future and Jia — as well as the company’s head of HR, Nan Yang — in Los Angeles Superior Court, alleging wrongful termination, breach of contract, and infliction of emotional distress.

Both lawsuits also highlight what has been the central tension of Faraday Future: that its founder, Jia, allegedly continues to assert control over the company despite having been sidelined in 2022 as the result of an internal probe.

The previously unreported suits come as Faraday Future has continued to furlough and lay off employees to save what little cash it has left, to the point that it was nearly evicted from its Los Angeles headquarters after it missed multiple lease payments. This is all happening while the company is facing active investigations from the Securities and Exchange Commission and the Department of Justice.

“FF takes the allegations made in these two lawsuits by previous employees very seriously,” a spokesperson for Faraday Future said in an emailed statement. “FF believes on merit it has strong defenses to the alleged claims and will pursue all avenues and remedies available to protect and defend itself and the Company’s dedicated employees against all allegations including character attacks.”

Jia, in an email to TechCrunch, said: “I believe that there are numerous false statements and defamatory allegations in the said complaints. I plan to file counter-lawsuits against the parties involved.”

Guerrero and Xie, through counsel, declined to comment beyond the allegations in the filing.

Allegations of faked sales and retaliation

In an internal whistleblower letter submitted to the company’s general counsel on December 6, 2023, Guerrero and Xie claimed that Faraday Future lied about the first four publicly touted sales of its electric SUV, the FF91.

Guerrero, who was a senior director of sales and aftersales at Faraday Future, and Xie, who was the company’s “go-to-market project manager and launch manager,” say that the company announced these deliveries before the sales process had been completed. They claim three of the four were never fully paid for, at least at the time the whistleblower letter was submitted, and the fourth was only paid for “more than 60 days after the ‘sale’ was announced.” Faraday Future has since claimed to have delivered 10 vehicles in all of 2023.

Guerrero and Xie claim that when sales staff pushed back against these “premature” announcements, the leadership team in Jia’s department “continued to cite the need to announce sales to boost the Company’s share price and subjected staff who raised compliance concerns to retaliatory HR actions.”

Guerrero and Xie go on to claim that Faraday Future executed these sales agreements with its initial customers without performing pre-delivery inspections on the vehicles, and that one of Jia’s lieutenants dismissed concerns about this. They say the sales team was pressured to submit DMV paperwork “without the required insurance and cash payments.” They also claim Jia’s team was sending “non-road approved software” to these early customer cars and that they were not properly documenting or disclosing the software’s release notes to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, in potential violation of the Transportation Recall Enhancement, Accountability and Documentation Act.

What’s more, they claim Faraday Future has been performing repairs on these early customer vehicles without proper documentation or work authorization, which he says could put the company’s license with the California Bureau of Automotive Repair at risk.

“When [Defendant Mr. Jia] and his trusted circle inquired about regulatory requirements, it was done so with the clear intention to ‘creatively’ circumvent the rules,” they claim in the lawsuits.

Xie says in her complaint that she was fired “in retaliation for her protected whistleblowing” just two days after the letter was submitted, and claims Jia and Yang were directly involved in her firing. Xie attempted to file an arbitration claim against the company on December 22, according to the complaint. But Faraday Future didn’t pay the required arbitration fees and missed the 30-day window to do so, thus making it possible for her to file a lawsuit in Superior Court, the complaint claims.

Faraday Future allegedly fired Guerrero on January 18 in retaliation for speaking up, according to his complaint. He, too, filed an arbitration claim against the company, and when Faraday Future did not pay the fees, he was similarly free to file a lawsuit in Superior Court.

Jia’s control over Faraday Future has always been a thorny issue. As previously reported, Jia secretly ran the company in its earliest years despite the company listing someone else as its CEO on paper. He did ultimately take over as CEO, but he brought in a former BMW executive to fill that role in 2019 in order to appeal to investors. The company ultimately went public in 2021 by merging with a special purpose acquisition company.

Jia was reprimanded as the result of an internal probe that began in late 2021. That investigation looked into claims from a short-seller that Faraday Future had overstated the number of preorders for its vehicles, as well as a lack of proper disclosures around the founder’s movement of money in and out of the company. In 2022, people close to Jia helped lead a boardroom coup all while being investigated by the SEC and the DOJ.

Jia is still not CEO, but Guerrero and Xie claim in their lawsuits that he “heads a shadow organization” that controls the company’s destiny. They say he and his trusted lieutenants meet at one of the mansions he purchased on the Pacific coastline nearly every week.

“All major operational decisions within key functions of the businesses, including human resources, budget allocations, vehicle release, and the financial services, are directed and approved by Jia,” they claim in the lawsuits.

You can read Guerrero’s lawsuit here, and Xie’s lawsuit here.

This story has been updated with a comment from Faraday Future and from founder Jia Yueting. 

Software Development in Sri Lanka

Robotic Automations

Tesla risks losing its lead without an inexpensive EV | TechCrunch

Elon Musk’s decision to green-light a robotaxi over an affordable EV might cost the company its lead.

Last week, Musk reportedly canned the effort in favor of a robotaxi, the sort of pie-in-the-sky project that defined his first decade at the helm. There’s an argument to be made that the company is where it is today by betting big, then delivering on enough of its promises to impress shareholders and generate significant positive cashflow. Problem is, in the early days, there was both everything and nothing to lose. The whole company could have gone under, but there was also less on the line.

Today, Tesla is no longer the plucky upstart. It brought in nearly $100 billion in revenue last year and earned net profits of $15 billion, the sort that would have other automakers rewarding shareholders with richer dividends. It’s a global manufacturer that cranks out hundreds of thousands of cars every quarter, the type of operation where success is measured in continuous improvement in productivity and process indicators.

Tesla was reportedly on the cusp of building a $25,000 EV. In January, Musk confirmed that the company would begin construction of a next-generation vehicle at its Texas plant in the second half of 2025. Suppliers had been asked to bid on parts contracts, Reuters reported, with weekly production volume starting at 10,000 vehicles per week. Given flagging sales of the company’s existing product line, it would have been a welcome shot in the arm.

An inexpensive EV would have significantly increased Tesla’s total addressable market by dramatically undercutting the average sales price in the U.S., which is currently at around $47,000. It also would have given the company a product to hold its ground against a predicted onslaught of inexpensive Chinese EVs.

But it also would have meant creating a production line from scratch, something the company last did at scale with the Model 3. By all accounts, that wasn’t a fun experience.

Building a robotaxi, though. Now, that sounds like fun.

Musk has long been enamored with the concept. Four years ago, he said that such a car would be able to earn its owner up to $30,000 per year as it ferried paying passengers to and fro. It would be so popular, Musk reportedly told biographer Walter Isaacson, that “there is no amount that we could possibly build that will be enough.”

Problem is, Tesla has been trying to master autonomous hardware and software for a while now, and it doesn’t appear anywhere close to delivering a vehicle capable of Level 5 driving, which would require zero human input. Despite years of work, Autopilot remains a Level 2 system, which means it requires human attention at all times. The same is true for Full Self-Driving. (Indeed, the company recently started using the term “supervised” when referring to the software suite.) And while artificial intelligence has been advancing rapidly of late, is it moving quickly enough to provide Tesla with a blockbuster product in the next few years?

Given Musk’s desire to pursue exploratory projects, the logical path would be to spin up a skunkworks inside Tesla or spin out a division that’s purely focused on bringing a robotaxi to market. The latter is unlikely to happen because much of Musk’s wealth is tied up in Tesla stock, and he probably doesn’t trust anyone else to run the company when that much money is on the line. The former has more of a chance, but Musk also likes to appear heavily involved in, well, everything at Tesla. He’d balk at the idea of “only” running a skunkworks.

It’s something that Tesla’s board should probably be weighing in on. And maybe they are. But numerous reports have also illustrated just how tightly linked that board is with Musk. They don’t appear to disagree on much, and that could cost Tesla its lead.

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Robotic Automations

Lucid Motors ekes out a new delivery record as it searches for more EV buyers | TechCrunch

Lucid Motors delivered more EVs in the first quarter of 2024 than it has in any other quarter, though it set the record by a very slim margin.

The Saudi-backed, California-based electric vehicle company said Tuesday morning that it shipped 1,967 luxury sedans in the quarter. That’s just a few more than it shipped in the fourth quarter of 2022, when it set its previous record of 1,932 deliveries. The company said it built just 1,728 sedans in the first quarter, though, meaning it will need to boost production in the coming quarters if it intends to meet its modest guidance of making 9,000 EVs this year.

Lucid’s new delivery record comes as the company is struggling to find consistent demand for its pricey luxury sedan, the Air. The company is still months away from starting production on its upcoming Gravity SUV, so it is banking on discounts, increased marketing efforts and a more affordable trim of the Air to sustain things until it can ship that new model. In the meantime, it recently turned back to Saudi Arabia to raise another $1 billion to fund what is otherwise still a money-losing business.

Lucid is not alone in its struggles. Rivian also started 2024 on a somewhat flat foot, building and shipping roughly the same number of vehicles in the first quarter as it did in the final term of 2024. These companies are trying to establish themselves in a rapidly changing market, where Tesla has consistently slashed prices and large automakers have scaled back their most ambitious plans to release all-electric vehicles en masse.

While Lucid set a new high mark for itself in the first quarter, it did not say how many of the deliveries were of the most-affordable version of the Air sedan, which it started shipping late last year. The company also said last year that it began shipping the first vehicles to Saudi Arabia for final assembly — the first step in a plan to sell as many as 100,000 vehicles to its majority owner. But it has not specified how many Air sedans have made it to the Kingdom to date. The company will only have the ability to assemble, at most, 5,000 vehicles in Saudi Arabia until a full production plant comes online in a few years.

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Tesla reportedly drops plan to build $25K EV | TechCrunch

Tesla is reportedly abandoning its plan to build a lower-cost EV, thought to be priced around $25,000, according to Reuters, despite that vehicle’s status as a pivotal product for the company’s overall growth.

The company will instead focus its efforts on a planned robotaxi that is being built on the same small EV platform that was supposed to power the lower-cost vehicle.

Tesla CEO Elon Musk claimed, without proof, that Reuters is “lying” in a post on his social media platform, X, and did not dispute any specific details. He also responded with an eyes emoji to another post that effectively summed up the Reuters report in different words.

Tesla has reportedly been working on these two vehicles for a few years. But Musk has wavered on whether to prioritize a typical car or one with no steering wheel or pedals, despite not having yet produced a fully autonomous car.

Musk first teased the idea of a truly low-cost Tesla in 2020. But by early 2022, he said Tesla had stopped work on the car because it had too much else to do.

That didn’t last long. The project spun back up, but the company and its CEO were split on whether it should be a typical car or a futuristic robotaxi.

In Walter Isaacson’s recent biography of Musk, he described the CEO pushing back in mid-2022 against his engineers’ insistence on referencing a car with a steering wheel and pedals. “This vehicle must be designed as a clean robotaxi. We’re going to take that risk, it’s my fault if it fucks up,” Isaacson quoted Musk as saying. A few weeks after that, Isaacson said, he quoted Musk saying the robotaxi will “transform everything” and make Tesla a “ten-trillion [dollar] company.”

But even after all that, Isaacson wrote that lead designer Franz von Holzhausen and engineering VP Lars Moravy kept the more traditional car version alive as a “shadow project.” In September 2022, Isaacson wrote, Moravy and von Holzhausen made the pitch to Musk that they needed an inexpensive, small car in order to grow at Musk’s stated goal of 50% per year. They also laid out the plan to use the same platform to power both distinct models.

Musk still said, according to Isaacson, that the $25,000 car was “really not that exciting of a project” — despite it being the ultimate goal of his famed original “master plan” for Tesla. But by early 2023, Musk had agreed to move forward with the plan laid out by his lieutenants.

That plan is now in question as Reuters cites internal documents showing that work has stopped on the traditional car project in favor of the robotaxi approach.

Things have changed since Musk agreed to that plan in 2023. Isaacson’s book explains that Musk’s reason for trying to spin up a factory in Mexico had to do with wanting to make both vehicles there. But Musk quickly pivoted to building the two vehicles in Texas instead. Musk has since told investors that Tesla has backed away from going “full tilt” in developing the Mexico plant in part because of high interest rates. And Tesla has spent the last year slashing prices on its best-selling models in an effort to stay competitive in China and maintain its huge advantage over the competition outside of that country.

Software Development in Sri Lanka

Robotic Automations

Apple lays off over 600 employees in California after abandoning electric car project | TechCrunch

Apple is laying off 614 employees in California after abandoning its electric car project. According to the WARN notice posted by the California Employment Development Department, Apple notified the affected employees on March 28 and the changes will go into effect on May 27. Affected employees worked at eight locations in Santa Clara, roughly 45 miles south of San Francisco.

Although the notice doesn’t specify which projects the employees were working on, Bloomberg reports that most of the affected employees were working at buildings related to its canceled car project, while others were working at a facility for its next-generation screen development.

Apple wound down both of these projects toward the end of February. The company started working on its car project, known internally as “Project Titan,” in 2014, and told employees that it was canceling it on February 27. Bloomberg reported at the time that some remaining employees who were working on the car project would be shifted to Apple’s generative AI projects.

Around the same time, Apple reportedly ended efforts to design and develop its own next-generation displays. The displays were supposed to be added to the company’s Apple Watch before potentially going into the company’s other devices.

The layoffs mark Apple’s first major round of job cuts post-pandemic.

Apple did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Software Development in Sri Lanka

Robotic Automations

Tesla slashes Model Y inventory prices by as much as $7,000 | TechCrunch

Tesla is dropping prices of unsold Model Y SUVs in the U.S. by thousands of dollars in an attempt to clear out an unprecedented backlog of inventory.

Many long-range and performance Model Ys are now selling for $5,000 less than their original price, while rear-wheel drive versions are seeing even bigger cuts of more than $7,000.

The discounts come as Tesla once again made far more vehicles than it sold in the last quarter. The company built 433,371 vehicles in the first quarter but only shipped 386,810, likely adding more than 40,000 EVs to its inventory glut. (Some of those vehicles were likely in transit, though Tesla didn’t say how many.) The company has built more cars than it shipped in seven of the last eight quarters, Bloomberg News noted Friday.

In January, Tesla warned sales growth could be “notably lower” in 2024 compared to previous years — a trend that has bothered every player in the market from big automakers like Ford to struggling upstarts like Lucid.

Tesla went through a typical end-of-quarter push to deliver as many cars as it could over the last few weeks, with lead designer Franz von Holzhausen once again pitching in to get them out the door in the final days. But Tesla also tried to boost sales in other ways. It announced a $1,000 price hike was coming to the Model Y, its most popular vehicle, on April 1. Tesla CEO Elon Musk also started mandating demos of the company’s advanced driver assistance system to all potential buyers. That software package costs $12,000 and can be a huge boost to the profit Tesla makes on a vehicle.

Musk has more or less admitted that Tesla has had to work harder to drum up demand for its vehicles lately. He has largely blamed the struggle on high interest rates, all while his company dramatically cut prices on the Model Y and Model 3 throughout 2023.

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Robotic Automations

Tesla is laying off more than 10% of its global workforce | TechCrunch

Tesla is laying off thousands of workers as it tries to simultaneously cut costs and boost productivity, according to CEO Elon Musk.

The electric automaker is cutting “more than 10%” of its global headcount, Musk said in an email reported by Electrek and Bloomberg News. Tesla finished 2023 with over 140,000 employees, meaning the cuts could impact more than 14,000 people.

The layoffs come just two weeks after Tesla announced its first year-over-year sales drop in years, amid a wider cooling of EV sales. The company has warned investors that sales growth could be “notably lower” in 2024 than its stated goal of growing 50% each year. It’s also somewhat in between product cycles for the first time in a long time, with the expensive Cybertruck only just recently going into production and the popular Model Y entering its fourth year without any significant updates.

“As we prepare the company for our next phase of growth, it is extremely important to look at every aspect of the company for cost reductions and increasing productivity,” Musk said in the email. Tesla’s growth, he said, has led to “duplication of roles and job functions in certain areas.”

“As part of this effort, we have done a thorough review of the organization and made the difficult decision to reduce our headcount by more than 10% globally. There is nothing I hate more, but it must be done. This will enable us to be lean, innovative and hungry for the next growth phase cycle,” Musk wrote.

Tesla shipped a record 1.8 million EVs in 2023. But the company spent much of the year slashing prices on its most popular models in an effort to counterbalance high interest rates and increased global competition. Tesla reportedly dropped — or at the very least, delayed — plans to build a lower-cost EV starting at around $25,000, opting instead to use the underlying platform being developed to power an alleged robotaxi that Musk said will debut on August 8th.


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Robotic Automations

Ford delays new EVs once more, showing why legacy automakers need to adopt a startup mentality | TechCrunch

Ford announced Thursday that it’s delaying the production of two electric vehicles, a next-generation EV pickup and a three-row EV SUV. The pair are now slated to arrive in 2026 and 2027, delays of one and two years respectively. In their place, the automaker will be introducing hybrids across its U.S. lineup.

Ford’s CEO has been telegraphing the delays for months. Last fall, it postponed $12 billion in planned investments. Then on an earnings call in February, CEO Jim Farley said, “Hybrids will play an increasingly important role in our industry’s transition and will be here for the long run.” That’s the sort of sober talk that shareholders love to hear.

Wall Street is likely to cheer the move, especially after Toyota reported that its year-over-year sales in the United States rose 22% on the back of strong demand for hybrids. Ford’s shift appears designed to bolster cash flow and near-term profits, something that seems logical for a company of its size, especially in times of uncertainty.

But here’s the thing: Ford is unusual among established automakers in that it performs best when thinking like a startup, something it appears to have taken to heart more recently, EV delays notwithstanding. It succeeds better when it shapes the market than when it responds to it.

Most recently, that startup mentality was on display with the Mustang Mach-E, Ford’s all-electric crossover. When the EV started taking shape nearly a decade ago, the original plan was to build a perfectly sensible crossover powered by an electric motor at the front. The design was aerodynamic, but so uninspiring that one of the company’s exterior designers questioned who would buy it. Judging by the look of the proposed design, those doubts were understandable.

But then-CEO Jim Hackett scrapped the plan and gave the team just two years to come up with something new. The result was a crossover that has helped Ford claim second place in U.S. EV sales for several quarters in a row.

The Mustang Mach-E wasn’t a fluke. Ford has a record of pulling rabbits out of the hat. In the 1980s, when American automakers were getting shellacked by Japanese imports, Ford ditched its boxy, heavy designs and conjured up the Taurus, which went on sale in late 1985. The sleek, roomy and affordable car was unlike anything American consumers had seen, and it was an immediate hit. Ford sold 1 million of them in the first three years, a success that likely saved the company from bankruptcy.

Five years later, Ford again pivoted with the introduction of the Explorer. SUVs were nothing new, but at the time most were two-door models focused on utilitarian qualities like towing and off-roading. Cars remained the dominant choice among consumers. But by adding rear doors and a raft of creature comforts, Ford transformed the SUV into a family-friendly hauler. It might have cannibalized sales of the company’s cars, but the decision to launch the Explorer proved prescient: Not only did it power another decade of growth for the company, it predicted a world where SUVs dominated the market.

There are other examples, too: Ford used a fast-and-lean approach when developing the original Mustang, allowing it to define an entirely new category of fast, expensive “pony cars.” It did the same after World War II when it produced what’s now known as the ’49 Ford, a car that broke with styling conventions and pushed the automaker back into the sales lead. And don’t forget the original Ford assembly line, which while not a product, was definitely a product of entrepreneurial thinking.

Farley faces different challenges today. His predecessors were basically mixing and matching designs, platforms and manufacturing techniques while the heart of each of those vehicles, the engine, remained largely the same. Electric vehicles challenge manufacturers to start with a clean slate, or at the very least rip out that heart without losing what made the original vehicle so great.

Ford has excelled at those tasks: The Mustang Mach-E and the F-150 Lightning are by most accounts not just excellent EVs, but excellent vehicles overall.

Still, they haven’t been the runaway successes that Ford expected. That’s in part because they were too expensive — price cuts have proven there’s still demand for them — and also because the charging infrastructure to support them remains underdeveloped. If charging is preventing Ford from selling more EVs, maybe it needs to address the problem head on. And if it can’t price its EVs competitively and still make a profit, maybe Ford needs to find a cheaper way to manufacture them.

The company has already started down the path, forming a skunkworks led by ex-Tesla executive Alan Clarke to develop a low-cost EV. If the team succeeds in bringing a product to market, some of that startup spirit might be alive at Ford after all.

Software Development in Sri Lanka