The AI ​​hype won’t just be star-studded

The AI ​​hype won’t just be star-studded

The AI ​​hype won't just be star-studded

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Welcome to Startups Weekly, a nuanced take on this week’s startup news and trends from Senior Reporter and co-host of Equity Natacha Mascarenhas.To receive it in your inbox, subscribe here.


First of all, hello to all the new Startups Weekly subscribers who joined us after last week’s newsletter. I’m glad we’re all still resonate with a throwback story. Second, here are some basics of what to expect.

I start most of these newsletters with a mini-essay on what concerns me the most, sometimes pointing to one of my longer articles of the week or just to share some additional thoughts at the end of the news cycle. Then I jump into three standout themes of the week, with additional reading for those who want to dig deeper. I end with must-know notes from the tech blogosphere, TC events, and, if you look closely enough, personal anecdotes that often have to do with coffee and food. Ok, now onto the aforementioned essay!

It all started with a sound. Specifically, an SEC filing from Sound Ventures, the venture capital firm of actor and entrepreneur Ashton Kutcher, confirmed his plans to create a venture capital firm focused on artificial intelligence. Bloomberg estimates the new investment vehicle could total around $200 million at closing.

While Kutcher’s company has been around for a long time and has been through enough hype cycles not to be easily swayed one way or another, the record made me curious. Are we going to see more celebrity-led venture capitalists jump on the AI ​​bandwagon? Especially since crypto, the former favorite sector of the hype train, has spat and struggled in recent months?

If you ask me, I’d bet we won’t see the same rush of celebrities looking to promote AI products on their Instagram stories like they promoted (insert coin offering here). It’s complicated, and I could be completely wrong. Read my full take on TC+: “Will AI get the same celebrity-fueled hype as crypto? It’s complicated.”

In the rest of this newsletter, we’ll talk about egg inflation, thorny integration, and breaking with tradition. As always, you can follow me on Twitter or Instagram to continue the conversation. I also write on my personal blog, if you want to follow the other 1,835 people who come to hang on and be too talkative.

Egg flattening

One of my favorite hobbies is going to the supermarket, so you can imagine I’m very observant of egg prices these days. Luckily, there’s a kickstarter angle to tell us more. TC’s Christine Hall wrote about how rising egg prices have spurred greater demand for alternatives. If you’re like me and know Just Egg, this story is enlightening for many reasons.

Here’s why it’s important, Hall tells me:There was no definite yes or no to hitting the accelerator pedal (alternate egg starts) to get more product. I was hoping someone would say, yes, startups should go, or no, it’s just a passing thing and they should wait. So maybe this type of environment presents a very scrambled opportunity, pun intended.

Picture credits: Paolo Farinella/Getty Images

Figma on this

The DOJ is set to file a lawsuit to block the $20 billion Adobe-Figma deal announced last year on the grounds that it is anti-competitive, according to early reports from Bloomberg. If the DOJ is successful, it could be life-altering for tech companies big and small who were taking notes on what a mass release might look like.

Here’s why it’s important: This is not a surprise, but rather a confirmation of some early concerns. At the time of the announcement, the deal was widely seen as Adobe knocking out one of its biggest rivals in the design world. Immediately, people including TC’s Ingrid Lunden sounded the alarm about Adobe’s future dominance, both as the platform and tooling leader in the space.

Additionally, Ehab Bandar, founder of design consultancy, told TechCrunch in September that “designers, and especially cross-functional teams, hate switching software. Any new tool would have to excel at so many things Figma currently does that it’s hard to imagine new competitors emerging from the woodwork. Others saw a potential liquidity event as an opportunity to usher in a new breed of creative, and perhaps entrepreneurial, designers.

Picture credits: Haje Kamps / TechCrunch

The follow-up

Remember when the IPO market was a bargain that was met with a party and a hustle and bustle of nerds? We follow past conversations in the public markets with our latest episode of Equity, titled Scooters and Social Media Companies Are Surprising IPO Candidates. Come for our analysis, stay for our anger at the term “proficorn”.

Here’s why it’s important: Reddit and Lime are reportedly planning to debut in the public market this year, which has completely surprised your dear hosts. We’ve focused much more on Stripe, which is looking to release in the next 12 months, and Instacart, which has already delayed its IPO. The growing list of potential candidates tells us that some companies think they’re doing well enough that Nasdaq isn’t a scary acronym. Only FTX, now.

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Picture credits: TechCrunch


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