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

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

Welcome to Week in Review, folks, TechCrunch’s regular roundup of the week in tech. GPT-4, OpenAI’s text and image understanding AI, might have dominated the headlines in recent days. But a new drama has also emerged around the collapse of Silicon Valley Bank.

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

Quick note, TechCrunch Early Stage 2023 is fast approaching. It will be in Boston on April 20 and will feature three simultaneous tracks of founder workshops, case studies, and insights with experts in tech entrepreneurship. Ahead, mark your calendars for TechCrunch Disrupt 2023, taking place in San Francisco on September 19-21. As always, it will be packed with panel discussions, informal chats, Q&As, and displays by luminaries in their fields. You don’t want to miss it.

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Now to the news.

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OpenAI Debuts GPT-4: After much anticipation, OpenAI, Microsoft’s most backed AI startup, 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 works at a “human level” at various benchmarks. But GPT-4 is not perfect. Like most other generative text AIs, the model “half-bloods” facts and makes reasoning errors, sometimes with great confidence.

Microsoft bets on AI: Leveraging the latest OpenAI technology, including GPT-4, Microsoft launched new AI-powered features in its suite of productivity tools under the Copilot brand. Copilot handles different tasks depending on the application in which it is used. For example, in Word, Copilot types, edits, summarizes, and generates text; In PowerPoint and Excel, Copilot turns natural language commands into designed presentations and data visualizations; and in Power Apps, Copilot helps refine ideas for low-code software.

SVB declares bankruptcy: A week after trading at SVB Financial was halted and after regulators seized control of Silicon Valley Bank’s holding company and other subsidiaries, SVB Financial has taken the inevitable next step. On Friday, the bank announced that it has formally filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in the US Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of New York. This will mean that SVB Financial can and plans to file an application with the courts to resume business while it finds buyers for its assets, including moving forward with its plan to sell off SVB Securities and SVB Capital.

Google Glass says goodbye: Google Glass, Google’s misunderstood AR technology, is no more. Google announced this week that it would stop selling the latest version of Glass, Glass Enterprise Edition, on March 15 (but would continue to support existing customers until September 15). Readers will recall that Glass, which celebrated its 10th anniversary last month, never quite managed to gain traction, becoming the subject of mockery and parodies even after a shift in the consumer approach to the company.
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YouTube TV gets expensive: In a move sure to irritate cord-cutters, YouTube has Announced which is increasing the price of its YouTube TV subscription to $72.99 per month, an increase of $8 from the current monthly rate of $64.99. The Google-owned company blames rising “content costs” for the change. (Perhaps it’s no coincidence that YouTube TV recently announced a streaming deal with NFL Sunday Ticket, reportedly worth $2 billion per season.)

Via acquires Citymapper: Transportation startup Via, which recently raised $110 million at a $3.5 billion valuation, snapped up Citymapper, the London startup that produces the popular urban mapping app of the same name. Originally making a name for itself as an alternative to apps like Google Maps for consumers planning trips in metropolitan areas using public transportation, Citymapper arguably never managed to capitalize on its initial momentum and promise.

Baidu’s ChatGPT rival flails: In other AI news this week, Ernie Bot, Chinese search giant Baidu’s answer to ChatGPT, was disappointed. TechCrunch was unable to prove it, but industry watchers inside and outside of China pointed to the fact that instead of showing Ernie via a live demo, Baidu opted for a long presentation with pre-recordings of Ernie’s responses. . The company’s shares fell as much as 10% in Hong Kong after Li’s presentation.

Pornhub meets private equity: MindGeek, which owns 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 difficult few years for the porn giant. MindGeek CEO Feras Antoon and COO David Tassillo left the company in June 2022. MindGeek is also currently in the midst of multiple lawsuits alleging that it has knowingly profited from child sexual abuse material. .

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Dish customers in the dark: Dish customers are still searching for answers two weeks after the US satellite TV giant suffered a ransomware attack. In a public filing released on February 28, Dish confirmed that ransomware was to blame for an ongoing outage and warned that hackers extracted data, which “may” include customers’ personal information, from its systems. But Dish hasn’t provided a substantive update since then, even though customers continue to experience issues and not know if their personal data is at risk.


TechCrunch’s stable of quality podcasts is growing by the hour. (Rejoice, those with long drives.) This week on Equity, Alex and Natasha discussed the M&A wave that captured Qualtrics, Cvent, and Mint Mobile, as well as what followed the collapse of SVB, GPT-4, and why Y Combinator is winding down from the late stage. At Found, meanwhile, amanda and darrell spoke with Teddy Solomon, co-founder of Fizz, a social media app geared toward college students that focuses on building community on campus. The interview touched on what Generation Z is looking for on their social media, how to thoroughly moderate a platform like Fizz, and how this kind of community building could go far beyond universities.


TC+ subscribers get access to detailed feedback, analysis and surveys, which you know about if you’re already a subscriber. If you’re not, consider signing up. Here are some highlights from this week:

Rethink points of failure: natasha m. he writes about how, in light of SVB’s collapse, perhaps the founders should rethink trusting one person to steer their business to success. He surveyed several early-stage founders building companies that have raised a Series A or less to understand how they think about succession. The consensus is that it’s not top of mind, or even top of the list, in a world where founders are more focused on catwalk, fit, and product market growth.

Strange Things Underway at Unearthly Materials: Tim reports on Unearthly Materials, a startup that claimed to have big-name investors behind its technology that could lead to a superconducting breakthrough. But it turns out those investors weren’t all on board, especially given Unearthly Materials’ questionable track record.

Good news for software companies: Depressed this week in the news? Alex writes that not everything is pessimism. Some software companies are doing pretty well during the broader tech industry crisis, at least if their earnings reports are anything to go by.



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