Let’s talk about succession arrangements

Let’s talk about succession arrangements

Welcome to Startups Weekly, a nuanced take on this week’s startup news and trends from Natasha Mascarenhas, Senior Reporter and Co-Host for Equity. To get this in your inbox, subscribe here.

Maybe it’s the fact that “Succession” is coming back next week, or maybe it’s the fact that Silicon Valley just experienced its first banking crisis, but I want to talk about the lineage in startups.

As I write in my latest:

Silicon Valley Bank is a good reminder that startups, often rooted in the world of risk and scuffle, sometimes forget to think about the obvious: single points of failure. But just as it makes sense to rely on a community-friendly bank, it also makes sense to trust a single person to lead your business to success. Now that we’ve seen that the former doesn’t really work, maybe it’s time to reconsider the latter.

For my full take on the new concerns entrepreneurs should be thinking through, read: “Banking isn’t the only ‘single point of failure’ entrepreneurs should be thinking about.”

For more, check out the Crypto Corner, my latest snapshot of founder sentiment, the impact on black founders and this timeline of everything that has unfolded so far. That’s where SVB coverage ends so the author of this newsletter can keep her sanity and remember that there’s a world outside the bank ditches.

In the rest of this newsletter we will cover news buried this week and GPT-4. You can follow me as always Twitter or Instagram to continue the conversation. You can also send me tips at natasha.m@techcrunch.com or on Signal at +1.925.271.0912. Please no pitches.

GPT-4 did not write this

At Equity this week, Alex and I discussed the above, but more interestingly, the future of AI. We talk about the impact of technology on smart people who write books, context and general technical enthusiasm. We need it, and I’m not just saying that because I live a stone’s throw from Cerebral Valley.

Here’s why it matters most: GPT-4 was launched this week by the team behind OpenAI. Our own Kyle Wiggers reports: “GPT-4 can generate text and accept image and text input – an improvement over GPT-3.5, its predecessor which only accepted text – and scores at a ‘human level’ on various professional and academic benchmarks. For example, GPT-4 passes a mock bar exam with a score of about the top 10% of test takers; In contrast, GPT-3.5 scored in the bottom 10%.” Beta testers included companies like Stripe, Duolingo, and Khan Academy.

Photo credit: Microsoft

Messages that have been buried

When there’s an obvious zeitgeist, news often gets buried—both intentionally and unintentionally. As a result, there has been a lot of news over the past week that deserves more attention – both good and bad. The list contains Launch House handles existing activities and layoffs, and Klaviyo and Course Hero conducting company-wide layoffs for the first time.

Here’s what else I missed sharing my two cents:

Magnifying Glass Focusing Sunlight in a Repeat Dot on Turquoise Background High Angle View;  technical due diligence

Photo credit: MirageC (opens in a new window) / Getty Images

etc. etc.

Throwback Saturday: If you missed last week’s Startups Weekly, here’s my latest installment: “The Oh-So-Biased Branding Risk in Venture Capital.” Let’s hang out on campus? Zoo House News is coming to Boston on April 20th. I’ll be there with my favorite colleagues to interview top experts at a one-day founders’ summit. Book your pass as soon as possible! Speakers will include Techstars’ Kerty Levy, Construct Capital’s Dayna Grayson and NFX’s James Currier. Kudos to all the sources who spoke to me openly and confidentially over the past week to help me understand Silicon Valley’s first real banking crisis. We still have more to learn and we have many questions ahead of us, so keep trusting us and giving us tips. Programming note: If you’re reading this in a browser, you’ll get it in your inbox too! Subscribe here and share with your friends.

Seen on Zoo House News

Google warns users not to take measures to protect against remotely exploitable flaws in popular Android phones

Virgin Orbit should never have had staff leave

Pornhub owner MindGeek sold to private equity firm

Anonymous app Sidechat takes on rival Yik Yak… and users aren’t happy

Seen on Zoo House News+

Dear Sophie, how can I return to the United States as a Founder?

How to pitch me: 7 investors discuss what they are looking for in March 2023

Zero-Based Budgeting: A Proven Framework for Runway Extension

Product-driven growth is fueling a wave of sales tools startups

Silicon Valley has come through a rough patch, and that’s saying a lot considering COVID-19 is still an ongoing pandemic and the downturn continues to present hurdles. If you made it to the end, thanks, but take a nap too. We’ll be there on Monday. You deserve rest. I’ll probably have some sweeter words on how technology has coalesced at a time of immense stress, but sleep for now.

Chat soon – and let me know if you’d like to Live Tweet “Success” with me next week?


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