Palmer Luckey, political martyr?

In the middle of testimony over Facebook’s privacy scandal, Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas took a moment to grill Mark Zuckerberg over his company’s political loyalties.

In the course of a testy exchange between Sen. Cruz and Zuckerberg, the senator brought up the dismissal of Palmer Luckey, the controversial founder of virtual reality tech development pioneer, Oculus .

It was part of Cruz’s broader questioning about whether or not Facebook is biased in the ways it moderates the posts and accounts of members — and in its staffing policies.

Here’s the exchange:

Cruz: Do you know the political orientation of those 15 to 20,000 people engaged in content review?

Zuckerberg: No senator, we do not generally ask people about their political orientation when they’re joining the company.

Cruz: So, as CEO Have you ever made hiring or firing decisions based on political positions or what candidates they supported?

Zuckerberg: No.

Cruz: Why was Palmer Luckey fired?

Zuckerberg: That is a specific personnel matter that seems like it would be inappropriate to speak to here.

Cruz: You just made a specific representation that you didn’t make decisions based on political views, is that accurate?

Zuckerberg: I can commit that it was not because of a political view.

Luckey left Facebook last March, after reports surfaced that he was a member of a pro-Trump troll farm called Nimble America.

Luckey’s departure follows a lengthy period of absence from public view brought about by a Daily Beast piece revealing his involvement and funding of a pro-Trump troll group called Nimble America. News of his support came during a time when very few figures in Silicon Valley were publicly showing support for candidate Trump, the most notable being Peter Thiel, an early investor in Facebook who started the VC firm Founders Fund, which backed Oculus, as well.

Though Luckey initially denied funding the group, he ultimately took to social media to apologize in the midst of an upheaval that had many developers threatening to leave the platform. His last public statement (on Facebook, of course) was a mixture of regret and defense, reading, in part, “I am deeply sorry that my actions are negatively impacting the perception of Oculus and its partners. The recent news stories about me do not accurately represent my views… my actions were my own and do not represent Oculus. I’m sorry for the impact my actions are having on the community.”

Sen. Cruz could have had another reason in bringing up Luckey during Zuckerberg’s testimony. The virtual reality entrepreneur has donated some very real dollars to the senator’s coffers (as Buzzfeed reporter Ryan Mac noted).

TPH raises a Seed round to ride the vintage clothing wave

A report by US reseller ThredUP estimates that second-hand fashion will soon overtake “fast fashion”, with an expected market worth of $41 billion USD by 2022. According to the site, in 2017 resale equated to six percent of the fashion market, with fast fashion at nine percent. By 2027 however, it’s projected to sit at 11 percent for resale and 10 percent for fast fashion. Why? Because there is a huge glut of clothes in the market, that’s why. You people are just not buying all the clothes that are being made. The trend is starting to affect big retailers. H&M has $4.3 billion worth of unsold clothing.

This is not only an environmental disaster, it’s also a huge turn-off for millenials who are cutting against the waste in the fashion industry and also looking for unique looks that go against the manufactured ‘trends’ in fast fashion.

The biggest sites in this resale space include Vestiaire and Vinted, among others. But mostly they concentrate on person-to-person sales. A new startup hopes to bring small second-hand shops into the space and has now raised a seed round to power its vision. connects local vintage shops with vintage fashion lovers. Vintage shops subscribe to the platform to load op their garments. TPH stands for The Pasta Haters, the idea being that people want to find original pieces, instead of bland ‘pasta fashion’.

It’s now raised $250,000 from London-based Seedcamp, Wave Ventures, STING and The Nordic Web Ventures. TPH says it has been gaining traction not just among fashion-loving customers but among stores as well.

The site is the brainchild of Lisa Gautier, who was previously with Outfittery (Curated shopping for men) and FYNDIQ (Bargain superstore) and was recently joined by cofounder Maki Kobayashi. Gautier says: “At we’re reshaping the way you consume fashion, keeping your closet unique and environmentally friendly. The fact that we attracted investors from four different countries perfectly reflects and supports the international ambition and opportunity for TPH.”

Seedcamp’s Carlos Eduardo Espinal, comments, “We were hugely impressed from the moment we met Lisa by the global market potential for TPH, the promising early traction the business has experienced to date, and the social impact of the business.”

Anton Backman from Wave Ventures says: “Cool, trendy and ecological, not to mention global from day one. TPH and Lisa are tapping a huge underserved niche of vintage lovers that is growing year by year.”