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Recode Daily: Uber’s flying car chief is stepping down and winging it

Plus, Amazon leads the world’s smart-speaker market by far; where do venture capitalists come from; and are we ready for robot sex?

Jeff Holden, Uber chief product officer, speaks onstage in front of a picture of a “flying taxi”
Jeff Holden, Uber chief product officer, speaks at the second annual Uber Elevate Summit, on May 8, 2018, at the Skirball Center in Los Angeles, Calif. Uber introduced its electric “flying taxi” vertical take-off and landing concept aircraft at the event, which showcases prototypes for UberAir’s fleet of airborne taxis.
Robyn Beck / AFP / Getty Images

Uber’s chief product officer, Jeff Holden, is leaving the company. Holden helped develop Uber Pool and most recently led Uber’s flying car effort, called Elevate. One of the few holdouts at Uber who was considered part of ousted CEO Travis Kalanick’s inner circle, Holden notoriously helped Kalanick come up with some of the company’s more controversial corporate values, such as “always be hustlin’,” “principled confrontation” and “toe-stepping.” [Johana Bhuiyan / Recode]

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Lyft is gaining on its bigger ride-hailing rival, Uber — and its growth is being driven by young customers. Nearly 78 percent of people who downloaded Lyft in the last six months were under 34; 66 percent of Uber’s app installations were from people between 18 and 34. Uber has more users overall, but in general, having a younger user base is an important indication of future growth for Lyft. [Rani Molla / Recode]

Amazon continues to be the world’s No. 1 vendor of smart speakers by far — the company shipped four million voice-controlled Echo devices in Q1, claiming 43.6 percent of the global market. [Juli Clover / MacRumors]

PayPal plans to spend $2.2 billion in cash to buy payments company iZettle — the Square of Europe —in its biggest acquisition ever. The proposed deal would give PayPal a stronger foothold in Europe and a real presence in brick-and-mortar retail where it will compete against companies like U.S.-based Square. Based in Stockholm, Sweden, iZettle had intended to go public soon; PayPal’s offer was around double what iZettle hoped to be valued at in its IPO. [Jason Del Rey / Recode]

Lightspeed Venture Partners wants to set up a new cryptocurrency project — an earmarked pool of cash within a bigger fund to be spent solely on crypto investments. Nearly every top-tier firm in Silicon Valley is deliberating how they should be set up in order to invest in crypto, which some enthusiasts believe is the next wave of innovation. [Teddy Schleifer / Recode]

Meet the unicorn hunters in this in-depth history of venture capital, which examines VC’s emergence as the lifeblood of the Silicon Valley tech industry as military funding shrank in the 1950s, and what is currently funding and challenging its global growth. Venture capital deploys about $84 billion per year in the U.S., and the financing model has been replicated all over the world, especially in burgeoning Asian tech ecosystems from Beijing to Bangalore. [Kim-Mai Cutler / Logic Magazine]

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