OpenAI launches GPT-4, SVB files for bankruptcy, and PE firm acquires Pornhub

Welcome to the Week in Review folks, another roundup of TechCrunch’s week in tech. GPT-4, OpenAI’s text and image recognition AI, may have dominated the past few days. But fresh drama has also emerged over the collapse of Silicon Valley Bank.

We cover all that and more in this edition, so grab a coffee and settle in!

Quick note, TechCrunch’s early stage 2023 is fast approaching. It will be in Boston on April 20th and will feature three simultaneous tracks with founder-advanced workshops, case studies and tech entrepreneurship experts. Next, mark your calendar for TechCrunch Disrupt 2023 in San Francisco September 19-21. As always, it will be packed with roundtables, fireworks, Q&As and showcases from luminaries in their industry. You won’t want to miss it!

Now for the news.

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OpenAI debuts in GPT-4. After much anticipation, OpenAI, an AI startup with major backing from Microsoft, has released a powerful new AI model called GPT-4. GPT-4 can generate text and accept image and text input, an improvement over its predecessor, which only accepted text, and operates on a variety of “human-level” metrics. But GPT-4 isn’t perfect. Like other generative text AI, the model “hallucinates” facts and makes errors in reasoning, sometimes with great confidence.

Microsoft jumps in on AI. Using the latest OpenAI technologies, including GPT-4, Microsoft has launched new AI-powered features in its suite of productivity tools under the Copilot brand. Copilot performs different tasks depending on the application in which it is used. For example, in Word, Copilot writes, edits, summarizes and generates text; In PowerPoint and Excel, Copilot turns natural language commands into designed presentations and data visualizations; and in Power Apps, Copilot helps refine ideas for low-code software.

SVB files for bankruptcy. A week after SVB Financial was suspended from trading and after regulators took control of the holding company for Silicon Valley Bank and other subsidiaries, SVB Financial took the next inevitable step. The bank announced on Friday that it has formally filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in the US Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of New York. This would mean that SVB Financial could, and plans to, apply to the courts to resume operations while finding buyers for its assets, which include its plan to sell SVB Securities and SVB Capital.

Google Glass says goodbye. Google Glass, Google’s misunderstood AR technology, is no more. Google announced this week that it will stop selling the latest incarnation of Glass, the Glass Enterprise Edition, on March 15 (but will continue to support existing customers until September 15). Readers will recall that Glass, which celebrated its tenth anniversary last month, never caught on, becoming the subject of mockery and derision even after being thrust into the consumer-to-enterprise spotlight.

YouTube TV is getting more expensive: One move that’s sure to cut cord cutters is YouTube announced that it is raising the price of its YouTube TV subscription to $72.99 per month, an $8 increase from the current $64.99 monthly fee. The Google-owned company blames rising “content costs” for the change. (Perhaps not coincidentally, YouTube TV recently announced a streaming deal with NFL Sunday Ticket that is reportedly worth $2 billion per season.)

Via acquires Citymapper. Transportation startup Via, which recently raised $110 million at a $3.5 billion valuation, has snapped up Citymapper, the London-based startup that makes the popular city-mapping app of the same name. Originally making a name for itself as alternative apps to Google Maps for consumers planning trips in metropolitan areas using public transportation, Citymapper arguably never quite capitalized on its momentum and early promise.

Baidu’s ChatGPT competitor is failing. In other AI news this week, Ernie Bot, Chinese search giant Baidu’s answer to ChatGPT, has failed. TechCrunch wasn’t able to test it, but industry watchers inside and outside of China pointed to the fact that instead of showing Ernie through a live demo, Baidu opted for a lengthy presentation with pre-recorded Ernie answers. The company’s shares fell as much as 10% in Hong Kong after Lee’s presentation.

Pornhub meets private equity. MindGeek, owner of several adult entertainment sites including Pornhub, Brazzers and Redtube, has been acquired by Canadian private equity firm Ethical Capital Partners (ECP). The acquisition follows a difficult few years for the porn giant. MindGeek CEO Feras Antoon and CEO David Tassilo both left the company in June 2022. MindGeek is also currently in the midst of multiple lawsuits alleging that it knowingly profited from child sexual abuse material.

Dishes customers in the dark. Dish customers are still searching for answers two weeks after the US satellite TV giant was hit by a ransomware attack. In public filings released on February 28, Dish confirmed that ransomware was to blame for the ongoing outages and warned that hackers had siphoned off data from its systems that “may” include personal customer information. But Dish hasn’t provided a substantive update since then, even as customers continue to experience issues and don’t know if their personal data is at risk.


TechCrunch’s consistently high-quality podcasts are growing by the hour. (Rejoice, long-haulers!) This week on equity, Alex: and: Natasha discussed the M&A frenzy that captured Qualtrics, Cvent, and Mint Mobile, as well as what followed the collapse of SVB, GPT-4, and why Y Combinator is pulling back from late stage. Meanwhile, at Found, Amanda and: Darrell spoke with Teddy Solomon, co-founder of Fizz, a social media app aimed at college students focused on building community on campus. The interview touched on what Gen Z is looking for in their social media, how to fine-tune a platform like Fizz, and how this type of community building can extend far beyond colleges.


TC+ subscribers get access to the in-depth commentary, analysis, and polls you already know if you’re a subscriber. If you haven’t, consider signing up. Here are some highlights of this week.

Redefining points of failure. Natasha M writes about how, in light of SVB’s collapse, maybe founders should reconsider trusting one person to make their business a success. He surveyed a number of early-stage founders who are building companies that have raised a Series A or less to understand how they think about succession. The consensus is that it’s not at the top of the mind, or even the list, in a world where founders are more focused on runway, product-market fit and growth.

Strange things are happening in Unearthly Materials. team reports on Unearthly Materials, a startup that claimed it had big investors behind its technology that could lead to breakthroughs in superconductors. But as it turns out, those investors weren’t all, especially given Unearthly Materials’ questionable track record.

Good news for software companies. In the news, have you been depressed since this week? Alex: writes that not everything is destruction and darkness. Some software companies are doing quite well during a widespread tech industry crash, at least if their earnings reports are anything to go by.

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