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Hello from a very rainy, Cure-themed, semi-gothic, sad Silicon Valley (Haje) and a beautiful, sunny, warm day (Christine). It’s hard to imagine one from the other, and so here we are learning a lesson in empathy and realizing that our immediate experience may not be universal. Wow. Didn’t expect this level of depth from your friendly neighborhood tech newsletter, didya? May we continue to surprise you for the rest of 2023 as well. — Christina and haje
TechCrunch’s top 3
- ChatGPT, but in a suit and tie: Kyle writes that OpenAI has been looking for ways to monetize ChatGPT, its viral chatbot, and today we learned how it will do so. The company is currently piloting a premium version called “ChatGPT Professional”. The advantages include the absence of “unavailable” windows and an unlimited number of messages. How much would you pay for this? Join the waiting list and weigh yourself.
- In the air again: The Federal Aviation Authority is probably breathing a sigh of relief after resuming normal operations earlier this morning. All US domestic flights were grounded when one of its key systems failed, Darrell reports.
- What did you say?: More and more companies are developing AI technology to help humans communicate, and DeepL, an AI-based language translator for businesses, is the latest to reap the benefits of investors’ hunger for businesses like this. Ingrid reports that DeepL has raised over $100 million to value the company at over $1 billion.
Startups and VCs
Getting smart home devices to talk to each other took forever, but something has changed. Why now? Or, more explicitly, why did Matter rollout take so long? brian questions. For starters, the obvious problem discussed above is that most of these big companies would really rather not work with their competitors if they can avoid it. As such, getting everyone on the same page about something like this is a bit of a cat-breeding scenario. We finally got there, though, and that’s why the Matter logo was everywhere at CES 2023.
The Venom Foundation and investment manager Iceberg Capital have partnered to launch a billion-dollar venture capital fund, Jacqueline reports. The billion-dollar vehicle is an independent blockchain fund that will invest in Web3 protocols and decentralized applications (dApps).
Alright, fine, you can have another handful of highlights from the past 24 hours:
Some investors are (cautiously) implementing ChatGPT into their workflows
Can AI produce polite rejection letters, automate certain aspects of due diligence, or write accurate market maps?
Some investors are already evaluating ways to integrate ChatGPT “into their workflows to do their jobs better, smarter, and maybe even cheaper,” report Natasha Mascarenhas, Christine Hall, and Kyle Wiggers.
They interviewed several VCs to learn more about potential use cases, some early experiences, and the technology’s limitations when it comes to shades and tone.
“It doesn’t automate the important conversations we have with journalists,” said Worklife Ventures founder Brianne Kimmel, “but I think it’s good enough for some pretty simple stuff.”
Three others from the TC+ team:
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Big Tech inc.
It’s kind of a Meta day. First, what Meta gives, Meta takes back, as Amanda discovered. First it was internships and now Meta is canceling some full-time job offers. Meanwhile, a privacy rights group in Europe has released a long series of documents related to EU privacy rulings against Meta. Natasha L tell you what they said. And finally, Anne reports that Meta’s main content moderation partner in Africa has ended its operations.
We all have lots of apps on our phones, but Sarah reports that for the first time in a long time, the app economy slowed, as consumer spending in this category fell 2% to $167 billion. She tells what happened and why.
Here are five more for you: