The VC Funding Party Is Over

January 12, 2024

(Wired) “It might be the best time for any kind of business in any industry to raise money for all of history, like since the time of the ancient Egyptians,” an excitable Stuart Butterfield, CEO of Slack, told Farhad Manjoo in The New York Times in 2015. This was no exaggeration. While interest rates remained close to…

Instagram’s new teen safety features still fall short, critics say

January 10, 2024

(Washington Post) Instagram and Facebook unveiled further limits on what teens can see on the apps, a move their parent company Meta says will reduce the amount of potentially harmful content young people encounter. Already, teens could opt to have Instagram’s algorithm recommend less “sensitive content” — which includes bare bodies, violence, drugs, firearms, weight-loss…

LPs Doubt Venture Funds’ Startup Valuations

January 2, 2024

(WSJ) What are venture fund portfolios worth now? There is little agreement on that question today, an issue that is slowing down an already sedate venture fundraising market.  Once all the data is tallied, 2023 is expected to be the worst year for venture fundraising globally since 2015, according to both research firms Preqin and…

The Times Sues OpenAI and Microsoft Over A.I. Use of Copyrighted Work

December 27, 2023

(NYT) The New York Times sued OpenAI and Microsoft for copyright infringement on Wednesday, opening a new front in the increasingly intense legal battle over the unauthorized use of published work to train artificial intelligence technologies. The Times is the first major American media organization to sue the companies, the creators of ChatGPT and other…

Tech’s DEI backlash is here

December 21, 2023

(TechCrunch) Should I go public with the story about the time I was told I can’t be promoted for being a white man?” Shaun Maguire, a partner at Sequoia Capital, tweeted recently. The responses to his tweet are split between the two factions that have appeared within venture in recent years: those who support diversity, equity and inclusion…

How to Build Trust in Artificial Intelligence

December 21, 2023

(The Information) Last month, OpenAI fired and then rehired CEO Sam Altman. When the dust settled, Open AI emerged looking even more like a for-profit corporation than a nonprofit, with a board that is indistinguishable from those of other tech startups—right down to the lack of diversity. This is a clear departure from the company’s 2015 origins…

Rite Aid Banned From AI Facial Recognition by FTC After Misuse

December 19, 2023

(Bloomberg) Rite Aid Corp. must stop using facial recognition for the next five years as part of a privacy settlement with the US Federal Trade Commission, which said the pharmacy chain misused the technology to mistakenly tag consumers as shoplifters. In a complaint filed in federal court Tuesday, the FTC said Rite Aid used a facial recognition…

Musk’s X Faces Probe in Europe Over Handling of Illegal Content, Disinformation

December 18, 2023

(WSJ) Elon Musk’s social-media platform X will face a formal probe in Europe over its handling of illegal content and disinformation in a first test of the European Union’s new online-content law. The European Commission, the bloc’s executive arm, said Monday it opened a formal infringement proceeding against X, the platform formerly known as Twitter,…

Why Silicon Valley doesn’t agree on AI’s future

December 16, 2023

(Axios) The divide among venture capitalists over the development of artificial intelligence is becoming increasingly crystalized. Why it matters: “It’s the new internet,” VCs say, regardless of which camp they fall into. Driving the news: On Thursday, venture firm Andreessen Horowitz announced it plans to start donating to members of Congress who are aligned with its pro-technology aims. Read more here.

What is happening with all these new venture funds?

December 14, 2023

(TechCrunch) A growing number of venture firms may be uncorking champagne ahead of the New Year. Today, a handful of investment firms announced new funds: Artis Ventures, BoxGroup, Playground Global and Singular all closed on funds, while Partech said it was launching a €360 million venture fund. Against a backdrop of layoffs and continuing economic uncertainty, the announcements — particularly in such quick…