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If you’ve been following this newsletter, you’ll have noticed that I’m quite curious about AI – especially generative AI. I’m probably not the first person to make this observation, but AIs are extremely, painfully common. I think that’s kind of their point – train them in all the knowledge, and the confusion will arise.
The trick is to only use AI tools for things that you, yourself, are not very good at. If you are an expert artist or writer, this can be overwhelming. The truth, however, is that most people are not good writers, and so ChatGPT and its siblings can be a huge boon to white-collar workers everywhere. Well, until we discover that a house cleaner has more job security than an office manager or a secretary, at least.
On that happy note, let’s snicker around the startup bushes and see what tasty morsels we can dig up from the depths of the TechCrunch archives from last week. . . .
Okay, well, let’s start with AI
I know, it happens every damn week: I started with the intention of writing this newsletter without going into my eyelashes in the AI morass, and every week, you continue to read our AI news as if your livelihood depends on it. Because, well, it’s entirely possible that it could, I guess.
The GPT Store, introduced by OpenAI, enables developers to create custom GPT-based conversational AI models and sell them on the new market. This initiative is designed to expand the accessibility and commercial use of AI, similar to how app stores are changing the distribution of software. Developers can not only build but also monetize their AI creations, opening a new path for innovation and entrepreneurship in the field of artificial intelligence. Of course, that small update – and the platform now natively able to read PDFs and websites – is a big threat to the startups that previously filled this gap in ChatGPT’s offerings, especially those whose models of business is based on those parts. It’s a reminder that building a business around another company’s API without a sustainable, stand-alone product is, perhaps, not the smartest business move.
AI, of course, isn’t just for startups. During Apple’s Q4 earnings call, the company’s CEO, Tim Cook, highlighted AI as a fundamental technology and highlighted new AI-driven features such as Personal Voice and Live Voicemail in iOS 17. He also confirmed that Apple continues to develop generative AI technologies – so to speak, without revealing the specifics.
Heinlein was afraid: Elon Musk announced that Twitter’s Premium Plus subscribers will soon have early access to xAI’s new AI system, Grok, once it exits early beta, positioning the chatbot as a perk for the platform’s $16/month ad-free service tier.
Brother, can you save a GPU?: AWS introduces Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2) and Capacity Blocks for ML, a new service that enables customers to rent Nvidia GPUs for a fixed period of time, specifically for AI tasks such as train or experiment with machine learning models.
From zero to AI founder in a quick bootstrap: In “How to bootstrap an AI startup” on TC+, Michael Koch advises founders to maintain control of their startup’s strategy and product by bootstrapping – yes, even with constant capital- intensive world of AI startups.
The rocky sea of venture-backed startups
WeWork, once a high-flying startup valued at $47 billion, has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, sparking a shocking collapse. The company, which has more than $18.6 billion in debt, has received an agreement from about 90% of its lenders to convert $3 billion of debt into equity in an attempt to improve its balance sheet and address costly debt. -rent it. At TC+, Alex learns what we all knew long ago: that the core business doesn’t make sense.
In other venture news. . .
Ex-Twitter CEO raises third venture fund: 01 Advisors, the venture firm founded by former Twitter executives Dick Costolo and Adam Bain, secured $395 million in capital commitments for its third fund, aimed at investing in Series B–stage startups focused on business software and fintech services.
Happy 10th unicornaversary: Alex marks the tenth anniversary of the term “unicorn,” which was originally coined right here at TechCrunch, to describe startups valued at more than $1 billion.
You got a chip! You got a chip!: In response to the shortage of AI chips, Microsoft has updated its startup support program to offer selected startups free access to advanced Azure AI supercomputing resources to develop AI models. .
Let’s talk to Sam Bankman-Fried
Look, I’m not going to lie, I think most of the crypto is dumb, and I’ve only seen a few startups that use blockchains in a way that makes any sense whatsoever – most of them are good at a simple. database — so I followed Jacquelyn’s coverage of the Bankman-Fried trial with no small amount of schadenfreude. It’s human to make mistakes, and startup promoters are human, but if you screw people up, you deserve all the advances you get.
Sam Bankman-Fried is the co-founder and CEO of the cryptocurrency exchange FTX and the trading firm Alameda Research (called specifically not like a crypto company). He was found guilty on all seven counts of fraud and money laundering.
The charges relate to a scheme that involved misappropriating billions of dollars of customer funds deposited with FTX and misleading investors and lenders to FTX and Alameda Research. After a five-week trial, the jury took only four hours to reach its verdict.
The collapse of FTX and Alameda Research, which led to the indictment of Bankman-Fried about 11 months ago by the US Department of Justice, is significant, with executives allegedly stealing more than $8 billion in customer funds.
Sentencing will take place next March, but if he is hit with the full weight of his actions, he faces a total possible sentence of 115 years in prison.
Jacquelyn did a heroic job covering the test for TechCrunch, and it’s worth taking an afternoon to read it all – the details are mind boggling.
Top TechCrunch reads this week
The house sometimes wins: Mr. Cooper, a mortgage and loan company, experienced a “cybersecurity incident” that led to an ongoing system outage. The company said it is taking steps to secure the data and address the issue.
Can’t think of anything wrong with the Hindenburg: The world’s largest plane, Pathfinder 1, is an electric airship prototype developed by LTA Research and funded by Sergey Brin. It was unveiled this week, promising a new era of sustainable air travel.
Arrival departure: EV startup Arrival, which aims to revolutionize electric vehicle production using a micro-factory model, is currently facing serious operational challenges, including multiple layoffs, missing targets in production, and non-compliance with SEC filing requirements, resulting in a reduction from a $13 billion valuation. .