Daily Crunch: OpenAI, Anthropic and Stability AI receive half of Sound Ventures’ $240M AI fund
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Happy Google Day! There’s been a wall of interesting news coming out of the search-and-everything-else-too giant at its I/O event. Christine summarized everything Google has announced at I/O thus far, so that’s a good place to start.
Also, it’s a rare treat when TechCrunch top boss Joey shares something on the site, breaking down how we’re disrupting TechCrunch Disrupt: 8 stages, 3 days, 1 city. While on the topic of Disrupt, here’s your chance to vote for the roundtables and breakouts you want at the event.
The TechCrunch Top 3
- Big spender: Connie spoke with Sound Ventures’ Effie Epstein to get the scoop on which three lucky companies were the recipients of a large chunk of the venture capital firm’s new AI fund.
- Identified flying object: Darrell reports on Vast’s and SpaceX’s plan to put the first commercial space station into orbit in 2025. And check out Aria’s deep-dive into Vast in the Big Tech section.
- You’ve got the world in the PaLM of your hand: Google launched PaLM 2, its next-gen large language model. Frederic writes that “PaLM 2 will power Google’s updated Bard chat tool and function as the foundation model for most of the search engine giant’s new AI features. See what we have so far in Google I/O news in the Big Tech section.
Startups and VC
Autonomous delivery startup Nuro is in the midst of a restructuring that will result in layoffs and shift resources away from commercial operations and toward R&D, Kirsten reports. Nuro declined to share how many of its roughly 1,100 employees will be affected. Employees are expected to learn who will be laid off by the end of the week.
Natasha L reports that Clearview was fined yet again, this time in France, for failing to comply with privacy orders. Whether Clearview will ever pay any of these fines remains an open question, since the U.S.-based company has not been cooperating with EU regulators.
There’s another fistful for you as well:
- To their credit, that’s a smart move: Mary Ann reports how Petal raises $35 million and spins off data unit “to bring credit scores into the 21st century.”
- Give her a raise: Christine reports that All Raise’s interim CEO is now full-time.
- Real money for skill-based games: Ingrid writes that Triumph raises $14 million for an SDK to add real-money tournaments into games.
- Drop-in payroll: “Our goal is to spice up software platforms,” says Salsa’s CEO as the company raises $10 million to roll out payroll features for software companies. Christine has more.
- Fusion power coming soon: Helion Energy will provide Microsoft with fusion power starting in 2028, by Haje.
3 key metrics for cybersecurity product managers
Cybersecurity product managers usually measure conversion rates, detection accuracy and usage/engagement to gain customer insights, but these metrics “may not be what they seem,” writes Ross Haleliuk, an investor who’s also head of product at LimaCharlie.io.
“Context matters a lot, and the realities of different organizations, geographies, cultures and market segments heavily influence what can be measured and what actions can be taken based on these observations.”
Three more from the TC team:
- Off the gas: Alex concludes that, yeah, tech growth is slowing down.
- Trust, but verif-AI: Ron writes that Salesforce is betting that its own content can bring more trust to generative AI.
- A blossom of hope: Despite a rocky start, climate tech is in a good position to tackle the rest of 2023, reports Tim.
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Big Tech Inc.
It’s Google I/O day, and our team wrote at least 30 stories to deliver all the goods for you fine readers. You can catch the full download on the dedicated Google I/O 2023 event page, but here are some tidbits:
- Google’s ‘Sidekick’ offers contextual prompts to get better results from AI, by Darrell.
- Google introduces new features to help identify AI images in Search and elsewhere, by Sarah.
- Google launches a smarter Bard, by Frederic.
- Google partners with Adobe to bring art generation to Bard, by Kyle.
- Google ends Bard waitlist, making English version of chatbot widely available, by Ron.
- Google Photos to gain a new ‘Magic Editor’ feature powered by generative AI, by Sarah.
- Google Maps is getting a new ‘Immersive View for Routes’ feature, by Aisha.
Yes, we do have some non-Google news, too:
- From streaming entertainment to streaming the stranger on your front porch: Roku is getting into home monitoring as part of its smart home lineup. Lauren has more.
- Rocket Man: Move over, Elon, Jeff and Richard. Aria writes that Jed McCaleb’s private space station venture Vast might be more than just science fiction.
- Gone viral: China has its own DrakeGPT moment as AI singer Stefanie Sun goes viral, Rita writes.
- Rolling rolling rolling: Amazon Web Services is keeping the open source training going with fuzzing tool SnapChange and policy-based access control language Cedar. Paul has more.
- Parental guidance suggested: Taylor digs into some new health advisory guidelines from the American Psychological Association related to kids and social media use.
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I’m a journalist who specializes in investigative reporting and writing. I have written for the New York Times and other publications.