OpenAI releases GPT-4, SVB files for bankruptcy and private equity firm acquires Pornhub

by The Insights

Welcome to Week in Review, folks, TechCrunch’s regular recap of the week in tech. GPT-4, OpenAI’s text and image understanding AI, may have been in the headlines for the past few days. But new drama around the Silicon Valley Bank collapse has also emerged.

We cover all that and more in this edition, so grab a coffee and settle in.

Quick note, TechCrunch Early Stage 2023 is fast approaching. It will be held in Boston on April 20 and will feature three concurrent streams of founder workshops, case studies, and deep dives with experts in tech entrepreneurship. Later, mark your calendars for TechCrunch Disrupt 2023, taking place in San Francisco from September 19-21. As always, it will be filled with panel discussions, vigils, Q&As and presentations from luminaries in their fields. You won’t want to miss it.

Now let’s get to the news.

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OpenAI releases GPT-4: After much anticipation, OpenAI, the AI ​​startup with major 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 performs at “human level” on various benchmarks. But GPT-4 is not perfect. Like most other generative textual AIs, the model “hallucinates” facts and makes errors of reasoning, sometimes with great confidence.

Microsoft is all about AI: Leveraging the latest OpenAI technologies, including GPT-4, Microsoft has 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 writes, edits, summarizes and generates text; in PowerPoint and Excel, Copilot transforms natural language commands into designed presentations and data visualizations; and in Power Apps, Copilot helps refine low-code software ideas.

SVB files for bankruptcy: A week after trading halted for SVB Financial and after regulators seized hold 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 had formally filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection with the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of New York. This means that SVB Financial can ask – and plans to ask – the courts to resume operations while finding buyers for its assets, which includes continuing its plan to sell SVB Securities and SVB Capital.

Google Glass bids farewell: Google Glass, Google’s misunderstood AR technology, is no more. Google announced this week that it will stop selling Glass’ latest incarnation, Glass Enterprise Edition, on March 15 (but will continue to support existing customers until September 15). Readers will recall that Glass, which celebrated its tenth anniversary last month, never really caught on, being the subject of mockery and parody even after a shift in focus from consumer to business. .

YouTube TV is getting expensive: In a move sure to irritate cable cutters, YouTube has announcement that it is increasing the price of its YouTube TV subscription to $72.99 per month, an increase of $8 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, reportedly worth $2 billion per season.)

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

Baidu’s ChatGPT rival goes wild: In other AI news this week, Ernie Bot, Chinese search giant Baidu’s answer to ChatGPT, was disappointed. TechCrunch couldn’t try it, but industry watchers inside and outside of China pointed to the fact that rather than showcasing Ernie through a live demo, Baidu opted to a long presentation with pre-recordings of Ernie’s responses. Shares of the company fell 10% in Hong Kong after Li’s presentation.

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 difficult few years for the porn giant. MindGeek CEO Feras Antoon and COO David Tassillo both left the company in June 2022. MindGeek is also currently in the midst of several lawsuits alleging he knowingly took advantage of material from sexual exploitation of children.

Customer dishes 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 published on February 28, Dish confirmed that the ransomware caused an ongoing outage and warned that hackers were exfiltrating data, which “may” include customers’ personal information, from its systems. . But Dish hasn’t provided a substantial update since, although customers continue to experience issues – and don’t know if their personal data is at risk.


TechCrunch’s stable of quality podcasts is growing by the hour. (Rejoice, those with long commutes.) This week on Equity, alexander And Natasha discussed the M&A frenzy that captured Qualtrics, Cvent, and Mint Mobile, as well as what followed the collapse of SVB, GPT-4, and why Y Combinator is shrinking from late stage. At Found, meanwhile, Amanda And Darrell spoke with Teddy Solomon, the co-founder of Fizz, a social media app for college students focused on building community on campus. The interview touched on what Gen Z is looking for in their social media, how to thoroughly moderate a platform like Fizz, and how this kind of community building could go far beyond colleges.

Tech Crunch+

TC+ subscribers get access to in-depth commentary, analysis and polls, which you know if you’re already a subscriber. If not, consider signing up. Here are some highlights from this week:

Rethinking points of failure: Natasha M writes about how, in light of the SVB’s collapse, perhaps founders should rethink putting one person in charge of their company’s success. She interviewed a number of early-stage founders building companies that raised a Series A or below to understand how they view succession. The consensus is that it’s not a priority, or even a priority, in a world where founders are more focused on track, product market fit, and growth.

Strange things are afoot 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 didn’t all agree, especially given Unearthly Materials’ questionable track record.

Good news for software vendors: Depressed this week in the news? alexander writes that not everything is catastrophic. Some software companies are doing quite well during the crash of the broader tech industry — at least, if their earnings reports are to be believed.

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