OpenAI releases GPT-4, SVB files for bankruptcy, and a PE firm acquires Pornhub

OpenAI releases GPT-4, SVB files for bankruptcy, and a PE firm acquires Pornhub

Welcome to Week in Review folks, Zoo House News’s regular roundup of Tech Week. GPT-4, OpenAI’s text and image understanding AI, may have been dominating the headlines for the past few days. But a new drama surrounding the collapse of Silicon Valley Bank also emerged.

We cover all of that and more in this issue, so grab a coffee and get comfortable.

Quick note, Zoo House News Early Stage 2023 is fast approaching. Taking place on April 20th in Boston, it will feature three parallel tracks of founder-forward workshops, case studies and deep dives with tech entrepreneurship experts. Mark your calendar below for Zoo House News Disrupt 2023, taking place September 19-21 in San Francisco. As always, it will be packed with panel discussions, fireside chats, Q&A and presentations from luminaries in their fields. You won’t want to miss it.

Now for the news.

mostly read

OpenAI Introduces GPT-4 After much anticipation, OpenAI, the AI ​​startup with significant backing from Microsoft, has released a powerful new AI model called GPT-4. GPT-4 can generate text and accept image and text input – an improvement over its predecessor, which only accepted text – and scores at “human level” on various benchmarks. But GPT-4 is not perfect. Like most other generative text AI, the model “hallucinates” facts and makes mistakes in reasoning – sometimes with great confidence.

Microsoft goes AI: Leveraging the latest technology from OpenAI, including GPT-4, Microsoft has introduced new AI-powered capabilities across its suite of productivity tools under the Copilot brand. Copilot does different things depending on the app it’s used in. For example, Copilot writes, edits, summarizes, and generates text in Word; in PowerPoint and Excel, Copilot turns natural language commands into crafted presentations and data visualizations; and in Power Apps, Copilot helps refine low-code software ideas.

SVB Files for Bankruptcy: A week after SVB Financial ceased trading and regulators took control of Silicon Valley Bank’s holding company and other subsidiaries, SVB Financial has taken the next inevitable step. On Friday, the bank announced that it had filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in the US Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of New York. This means SVB Financial can – and plans to – apply to the courts to resume activities while finding buyers for its assets, including continuing its plan to sell SVB Securities and SVB Capital.

Google Glass says goodbye: Google Glass, Google’s misunderstood piece of AR technology, is no more. Google announced this week that it will stop selling the latest incarnation of Glass, the Glass Enterprise Edition, on March 15 (but will continue to support existing customers through September 15). Readers will recall that Glass, which celebrated its tenth anniversary last month, never quite managed to gain traction and has become the subject of ridicule and parody even after the focus shifted from the consumer to the company.

YouTube TV Gets Expensive: In a move sure to irk cable cutters, YouTube announced that it’s increasing the price of its YouTube TV subscription to $72.99 per month — an $8 increase from the current monthly fee of $64.99. The Google-owned company blames an increase in “content costs” for the change. (Perhaps not coincidentally, YouTube TV recently announced a streaming deal with NFL Sunday Ticket that’s reportedly worth $2 billion per season.)

Via Acquires Citymapper: Transportation startup Via, which recently raised $110 million at a valuation of $3.5 billion, has snapped up Citymapper, the London-based startup that produces the popular city-mapping app of the same name . Citymapper originally made a name for itself as an alternative to apps like Google Maps for consumers planning trips in metropolitan areas using public transit, but Citymapper arguably never really managed to capitalize on its momentum and early promise.

Baidu’s ChatGPT rival flails: In other AI news this week, Chinese search giant Baidu’s answer to ChatGPT, Ernie Bot, was underwhelmed. Zoo House News wasn’t able to attempt it, but industry observers inside and outside of China pointed out that Baidu opted for a lengthy presentation with pre-recorded Ernie’s answers rather than presenting Ernie through a live demo. The company’s shares fell as much as 10% after Li’s presentation in Hong Kong.

Pornhub Meets Private Equity: MindGeek — owner of several adult entertainment sites including Pornhub, Brazzers and Redtube — has been acquired by a Canadian private equity firm, Ethical Capital Partners (ECP). The acquisition follows a rocky few years for the porn giant. MindGeek’s CEO, Feras Antoon, and COO, David Tassillo, both left the company in June 2022. MindGeek is also currently in the midst of multiple lawsuits alleging that it knowingly profited from child sexual abuse material .

Dish customers in the dark: Dish customers are still looking for answers two weeks after the US satellite TV giant was hit by a ransomware attack. In a public filing released Feb. 28, Dish confirmed ransomware was responsible for an ongoing outage and warned that hackers were exfiltrating data that “may” contain customers’ personal information from its systems. But Dish hasn’t provided a significant update since then, though customers continue to struggle – and not know if their personal information is at risk.


Zoo House News’s inventory of quality podcasts is growing every hour. (Rejoice, those with long commutes.) This week on Equity, Alex And Natasha discussed the M&A frenzy that took Qualtrics, Cvent and Mint Mobile, as well as the fallout from the collapse of SVB, GPT-4 and why Y Combinator is being scaled back from late stage. Meanwhile, over at Found, amanda And darrell spoke to Teddy Solomon, the co-founder of Fizz, a social media app aimed at college students who are focused on building community on campus. The interview went into what Gen Z is looking for on their social media, how to thoroughly moderate a platform like Fizz, and how this type of community building could go well beyond colleges.

Zoo House News+

TC+ subscribers get access to the in-depth commentary, analysis, and polls you’ll know if you’re already a subscriber. If not, you should sign up. Here are a few highlights from this week:

Reconsider failure points: Natasha M writes about how, in light of the SVB bankruptcy, founders might want to reconsider trusting one person to lead their business to success. She interviewed a number of early-stage founders building companies that have raised a Series A or less to understand how they feel about succession. The consensus is that in a world where founders are more focused on runway, product-to-market fit, and growth, it’s not top of the list, or even top of the list.

Strange things are happening at Unearthly Materials: Tim reports on Unearthly Materials, a startup that claims to have big-name investors behind its technology that could lead to a superconductor breakthrough. But as it turns out, those investors weren’t all on board, especially given Unearthly Materials’ questionable balance sheet.

Good news for software companies: Depressed from this week’s news? Alex writes that it’s not all doom and gloom. Some software companies are doing reasonably well during the general tech industry crash — at least judging by their earnings reports.

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