Let’s talk about succession plans 

Let’s talk about succession plans 

Welcome to Startups Weekly, a nuanced look at this week’s startup news and trends by Senior Reporter and Equity co-host Natasha Mascarenhas. To get it in your inbox, subscribe here.

Maybe it’s the fact that “Succession” is back next week, or maybe it’s the fact that Silicon Valley experienced its first banking crisis, but I want to talk about the bottom line in those startup.

As I write in my latest:

Silicon Valley Bank is a good reminder that startups, often mired in a world of risk and apathy, sometimes forget to think about the obvious: the single point of failure. But just as it makes sense to rely on a community-friendly bank, so does trusting someone to lead your business to success. Now that we’ve seen that the former doesn’t really work, maybe it’s time to rethink the latter.

For my full take on the new concern founders should be thinking about, read: “Banking is not the only ‘single point of failure’ that entrepreneurs must rethink.”

For more, read about the crypto corner, my latest snapshot of the founder’s feelings, the impact on Black founders and this timeline of everything that happened until now. Here ends the SVB coverage for the purpose of this newsletter writer to keep his sanity and remember that there is a world outside the banking trenches.

In the rest of this newsletter, we’ll cover this week’s buried news and GPT-4. As always, you can follow me Twitter o Instagram to continue the conversation. You can also send me tips on natasha.m@techcrunch.com or to Signal at +1 925 271 0912. No pitches, please.

It is not written by GPT-4

At Equity this week, Alex and I talked about the above, but more interesting, future of AI. We talk about the impact of technology by smart people who write books, context and general joy in technology. We need it, and I’m not just saying that because I live near Cerebral Valley.

Here’s why it’s top of mind: GPT-4 launched this week from the team behind OpenAI. Our own Kyle Wiggers reports, “GPT-4 can generate text and accept images and text input — an improvement over GPT-3.5, its predecessor, which only accepts text — and performs in ‘human level’ in various professional and academic benchmarks. For example, GPT-4 passed a simulated bar exam with a score around the top 10% of test takers; in contrast, the GPT-3.5 score was in the bottom 10%.” Companies like Stripe, Duolingo and Khan Academy are among its beta testers.

Photo Credits: Microsoft

News buried

When there’s a clear zeitgeist, news often gets buried — both intentionally and unintentionally. As a result, over the past week, there has been a lot of news that deserves more attention — good and bad. The list includes Launch House halting current operations and layoffs, also Klaviyo and Course Hero conducting company-wide layoffs for the first time.

Here’s what else I missed to share my two cents on:

Magnifying Glass Focusing Sunlight To A Point Repeating On Turquoise Colored Background High Angle View;  technical due diligence

Photo Credits: MirageC (opens in new window) / Getty Images

etc., etc.

  • Back-to-back Saturdays: If you missed Startups Weekly last week, check out my last issue here: “The oh-so-biased branding risk in venture capital.”
  • Are we hanging out on campus? TechCrunch is coming to Boston on April 20. I’ll be there with my favorite colleagues to interview top experts at the one-day founder summit. Book your pass ASAP! Speakers included Kerty Levy of Techstars, Dayna Grayson of Construct Capital and James Currier of NFX.
  • Big shout out to all the sources who spoke to me, on and off the record, this past week to help me understand Silicon Valley’s first, real banking crisis. We still have a lot to learn and a lot of questions ahead, so keep the faith and tips coming.
  • Note on programming: If you’re reading this in a browser, get it in your inbox too! Subscribe here and share it with your friends.

Spotted on TechCrunch

Google warns users to take action to protect against remote exploit flaws in popular Android phones

At Virgin Orbit, it shouldn’t come down to a staff furlough

Pornhub owner MindGeek has been sold to a private equity firm

Anonymous app Sidechat is taking over rival Yik Yak…and users aren’t happy

Spotted on TechCrunch+

Dear Sophie: How can I return to the United States as a founder?

How to pitch me: 7 investors discuss what they’re looking for in March 2023

Zero-based budgeting: A proven framework for runway expansion

Product-led growth is driving a wave of sales tools startups

Silicon Valley has gone through an exhausting stretch, and that’s saying a lot because the COVID-19 pandemic is still ongoing and the fallout continues to throw up obstacles. If you made it to the end, thanks, but also, take a nap. Let’s go here on Monday. You deserve to rest. I’ll probably have some sweeter words on how the tech is put together during times of great stress, but for now, sleep.

Chat soon — and let me know if you want to live tweet “Succession” with me next week?