Welcome to Startups Weekly, with your brilliant and newly minted host, yours truly. If you’ve seen my name on TechDigiPro, it’s likely because of my popular Pitch Deck Teardown series, in which I take a startup’s pitch deck and celebrate the good, critique the bad, and use both to learn more about what it looks like. the world of VC launch. as. This week, I posted the 50th installment in the series (yay!) with a deep dive into the platform Danish firm Ageras used to raise a $36 million round from private equity investors. If you’re feeling brave, I’d also love to take part in some loving, educational hack-and-slash on your presentation platform. Come on, it’ll be fun. Maybe.
ok that’s it quite Enough navel gazing, let’s move on to what happened in the world of startups.
Startups are mostly bought for their staff all the time. Investors typically don’t love it when that happens, it’s usually not a great outcome for them, but it can be a great way for startup founders to get a soft landing when a company is spinning around. dr… I mean… when an opportunity presents itself.
That, it seems, isn’t exactly what happened with Ring founder Jamie Siminoff. Brian reports that Siminoff was stealthily working at another start-up called Honest Day’s Work. The company was acquired by Latch (best known for his smart locks), who immediately invited Siminoff to take over as CEO. The lesson here seems to be that if his recruiting efforts fail at first, buy out the entire company your desired CEO works for.
Speaking of recruiting: If you have the budget to spend, there are a ton of amazing team members available right now; We’ve rounded up all the tech layoffs so far this year.
Generative AI goes mainstream
The first time I covered generative AI at TechDigiPro in depth in 2021, it was about an older version of ChatGPT-3. The novelty of asking an AI to co-write an article with me seemed exciting. How far we have come!
Since then I’ve been experimenting a lot with ChatGPT and I keep coming to the conclusion that it can’t replace me as a writer. quite yet, but we are getting awfully close to that point. I also had a bit of an existential crisis where I co-founded an avocado-oriented octopus cult called the Octo-guacamolians and wondered if maybe, deep down, I was an AI myself.
Fast forward to this week, when Kyle reports that nobody really knows what an AI is typing anymore, and Frederic points out that Google announced PaLM 2, its next-generation large language model. Annoyingly (and perhaps suspiciously), the search giant didn’t share many details about how he trained his model. “What we found in our work is that it’s not really the kind of model size, that bigger isn’t always better,” DeepMind vice president Zoubin Ghahramani said at a press conference, leaving more questions than answers about table.
Meta, in turn, is also heavily investing in AI. Kyle reports that the company is developing custom chips for AI training, and Ivan added that the company has implemented generative AI features… for advertisers.
Climate technology continues to have its time in the sun
You know what scares the shit out of me? The fact that VCs are finally starting to get serious about climate change means they think they can make big profits in the 7-10 year time horizon of a venture fund (this is how VC works, after all). risk). To make that make financial sense, they know something many of us have known for a long time: Climate change is about to change everything.
The silver lining is that where there is huge change, something predictable, there are opportunities.
I reported that Pale Blue Dot announced a new $100 million fund, immediately announcing that it was backing Amini, an African climate tech start-up solving the environmental data shortage with a $2 million investment, as Tage reported.
Perhaps that investment in a company run by a woman of color was prescient, because Tim and Dominic-Midori published a couple of articles on TC+ this week, concluding that without black representation in climate tech, “the planet will burn” and that VC funding of female climate tech founders is abysmal: The pair investigated how the VC community could improve that.
Tough Times for Emerging Criminals
In a truly baffling story, Kate reports that Terraform’s Do Kwon pleads “not guilty” to charges of traveling with false documents. The disgraced founder was arrested in March and reportedly held both Belgian and Costa Rican passports. The founder was released on bail, which seems like terrific nonsense for a person arrested for allegedly having a couple of fake passports. He yells “flight risk” at me, but what do I know?
Meanwhile, Amanda reports that time is up for Elizabeth Holmes, after the court decided she had had enough of the former Theranos founder’s antics. Holmes will report to jail at the end of the month to begin serving an 11-year sentence and pay nearly $500 million in restitution to the victims of her fraud.
Criminals are going to criminalize, but it’s kind of reassuring that the legal system is trying to keep everyone to roughly the same set of rules. (LOL, who are we kidding, but at least there are startups working on criminal justice reform, too.)
Speaking of crime and data shenanigans, our security reporting team is taking you out of the game with a bunch of amazing stories. Here are a handful:
My favorite top reads at TechDigiPro this week
The best startup tips from TechDigiPro+ this week
Our TechDigiPro+ subscription service is one of the best resources for startups to get inside information. Yes, yes, I am very biased, but… judge for yourself:
Calling all early stage startups! Apply to join the Startup Battlefield 200 cohort at TechDigiPro Disrupt 2023. All finalists get expert training, venture capital networking, a booth at Disrupt, and the chance to compete for $100,000 in non-equity funding. Applications close on May 31. apply today.