Startups

TechCrunch+ roundup: Beyond the Turing test, 3 VCs on SVB, usage-based pricing tactics

Comment

A scenic purple sunset with Oakland Bay Bridge in San Francisco with skyscrapers in the background
Image Credits: Wirestock (opens in a new window) / Getty Images

When I moved to San Francisco, the quirky rotunda at 532 Market Street was a Sharper Image store full of plasma balls and tourists trying out massage chairs.

The ETrade branch that took over the space closed a few years ago, but last August, it got a new tenant: Silicon Valley Bank. Sigh.

Downtown SF hasn’t bounced back from the pandemic, but this is a prime location with lots of foot traffic. Hopefully, after Silicon Valley Bridge Bank winds up its operations, a viable business will move in.

But that’s just one street corner. The second-largest bank failure in U.S. history is going to reshape the startup ecosystem for years to come.


Full TechCrunch+ articles are only available to members
Use discount code TCPLUSROUNDUP to save 20% off a one- or two-year subscription


Silicon Valley Bank was more than just a preferred choice for managing payroll and investor cash: It also offered wealth management services and below-market-rate home loans and helped coordinate private stock sales. It was also a required choice for many clients whose contracts required them to “use the firm for all or most of their banking services,” CNBC reported.

So where does this bank’s collapse leave the tech industry? Who’s most vulnerable, who stands to benefit, and what are some of the long-term implications for VC? To learn more, Karan Bhasin and Ram Iyer interviewed:

  • Maëlle Gavet, CEO, Techstars
  • Niko Bonatsos, managing director, General Catalyst
  • Colin Beirne, partner, Two Sigma Ventures

“We’re probably going to see consolidation in the VC class,” said Gavet.

“It was already on the way, but this is probably going to accelerate it, because SVB was also a preeminent provider of loans for GPs to make their capital commitment polls.”

Thanks very much for reading,

Walter Thompson
Editorial Manager, TechCrunch+
@yourprotagonist

3 investors presage the future of startups and VC following SVB’s downfall

The AI revolution has outgrown the Turing test: Introducing a new framework

Human head and stairs - idea concept
Image Credits: themacx / Getty Images (Image has been modified)

A friend recently asked me to identify a block of ChatGPT text that they’d embedded in an email. I was able to easily, but only because the passage was particularly boring and didn’t sound like them at all.

Although generative AI is exceeding my expectations, the Turing test is mostly intact in my personal experience. But for how much longer?

Entrepreneur/investor Chris Saad says we need a new benchmark that goes beyond Turing’s “simplistic pass/fail basis,” which is why he developed “a new approach to evaluating AI capabilities based on the Theory of Multiple Intelligences.”

The AI revolution has outgrown the Turing Test: Introducing a new framework

Building a PLG motion on top of usage-based pricing

donut with pink toppings on a pink table
Image Credits: miguelangelortega (opens in a new window) / Getty Images

Last July, Puneet Gupta, a former AWS general manager who’s now CEO and co-founder of Amberflo.io, wrote a TC+ article explaining how SaaS startups can adopt usage-based pricing models.

In a follow-up, he shares four tactics teams can use to gather, analyze and leverage customer data to take the guesswork out of pricing decisions.

“When the time comes to make decisions about product packaging and pricing, the first place you turn to should be the metering pipeline for historical usage data,” he writes.

Building a PLG motion on top of usage-based pricing

Time to trust: Questions cybersecurity customers ask and how to answer them

White question mark at pink concrete grunge Wall -3D-Illustration
Image Credits: Thomas Hertwig/EyeEm (opens in a new window) / Getty Images

Putting yourself in your customers’ shoes can raise uncomfortable questions, especially for cybersecurity startups, says angel investor Ross Haleliuk.

To help teams shorten the “time to trust” interval, he asks several questions cybersecurity customers are likely to pose while evaluating vendors, along with action items that can help provide convincing answers.

“It is important to keep in mind that trust is built over a long time, but it can be lost in an instant,” writes Haleliuk.

Time to trust: Questions cybersecurity customers ask and how to answer them

Finding your startup’s valuation: An angel investor explains how

Stack of coins on a weighing scale
Image Credits: sommart (opens in a new window) / Getty Images

In her latest column, TC+ contributor Marjorie Radlo-Zandi explains how angel investors like herself establish pre- and post-money valuations.

“While assessing prospective investments, I ensure it’s a product or service that I care deeply about and educate myself about the company’s market,” she says.

“I want to see a fair valuation of the business and a well-defined market worth at least $100 million.”

Coming in hot is a great way to cut short an investor meeting. To help first-time founders avoid waving red flags, she breaks down the Berkus method and explains why uninformed founders often seek unrealistic valuations.

Finding your startup’s valuation: An angel investor explains how

More TechCrunch

Founder-market fit is one of the most crucial factors in a startup’s success, and operators (someone involved in the day-to-day operations of a startup) turned founders have an almost unfair advantage…

OpenseedVC, which backs operators in Africa and Europe starting their companies, reaches first close of $10M fund

A Singapore High Court has effectively approved Pine Labs’ request to shift its operations to India.

Pine Labs gets Singapore court approval to shift base to India

The AI Safety Institute, a U.K. body that aims to assess and address risks in AI platforms, has said it will open a second location in San Francisco. 

UK opens office in San Francisco to tackle AI risk

Companies are always looking for an edge, and searching for ways to encourage their employees to innovate. One way to do that is by running an internal hackathon around a…

Why companies are turning to internal hackathons

Featured Article

I’m rooting for Melinda French Gates to fix tech’s broken ‘brilliant jerk’ culture

Women in tech still face a shocking level of mistreatment at work. Melinda French Gates is one of the few working to change that.

17 hours ago
I’m rooting for Melinda French Gates to fix tech’s  broken ‘brilliant jerk’ culture

Blue Origin has successfully completed its NS-25 mission, resuming crewed flights for the first time in nearly two years. The mission brought six tourist crew members to the edge of…

Blue Origin successfully launches its first crewed mission since 2022

Creative Artists Agency (CAA), one of the top entertainment and sports talent agencies, is hoping to be at the forefront of AI protection services for celebrities in Hollywood. With many…

Hollywood agency CAA aims to help stars manage their own AI likenesses

Expedia says Rathi Murthy and Sreenivas Rachamadugu, respectively its CTO and senior vice president of core services product & engineering, are no longer employed at the travel booking company. In…

Expedia says two execs dismissed after ‘violation of company policy’

Welcome back to TechCrunch’s Week in Review. This week had two major events from OpenAI and Google. OpenAI’s spring update event saw the reveal of its new model, GPT-4o, which…

OpenAI and Google lay out their competing AI visions

When Jeffrey Wang posted to X asking if anyone wanted to go in on an order of fancy-but-affordable office nap pods, he didn’t expect the post to go viral.

With AI startups booming, nap pods and Silicon Valley hustle culture are back

OpenAI’s Superalignment team, responsible for developing ways to govern and steer “superintelligent” AI systems, was promised 20% of the company’s compute resources, according to a person from that team. But…

OpenAI created a team to control ‘superintelligent’ AI — then let it wither, source says

A new crop of early-stage startups — along with some recent VC investments — illustrates a niche emerging in the autonomous vehicle technology sector. Unlike the companies bringing robotaxis to…

VCs and the military are fueling self-driving startups that don’t need roads

When the founders of Sagetap, Sahil Khanna and Kevin Hughes, started working at early-stage enterprise software startups, they were surprised to find that the companies they worked at were trying…

Deal Dive: Sagetap looks to bring enterprise software sales into the 21st century

Keeping up with an industry as fast-moving as AI is a tall order. So until an AI can do it for you, here’s a handy roundup of recent stories in the world…

This Week in AI: OpenAI moves away from safety

After Apple loosened its App Store guidelines to permit game emulators, the retro game emulator Delta — an app 10 years in the making — hit the top of the…

Adobe comes after indie game emulator Delta for copying its logo

Meta is once again taking on its competitors by developing a feature that borrows concepts from others — in this case, BeReal and Snapchat. The company is developing a feature…

Meta’s latest experiment borrows from BeReal’s and Snapchat’s core ideas

Welcome to Startups Weekly! We’ve been drowning in AI news this week, with Google’s I/O setting the pace. And Elon Musk rages against the machine.

Startups Weekly: It’s the dawning of the age of AI — plus,  Musk is raging against the machine

IndieBio’s Bay Area incubator is about to debut its 15th cohort of biotech startups. We took special note of a few, which were making some major, bordering on ludicrous, claims…

IndieBio’s SF incubator lineup is making some wild biotech promises

YouTube TV has announced that its multiview feature for watching four streams at once is now available on Android phones and tablets. The Android launch comes two months after YouTube…

YouTube TV’s ‘multiview’ feature is now available on Android phones and tablets

Featured Article

Two Santa Cruz students uncover security bug that could let millions do their laundry for free

CSC ServiceWorks provides laundry machines to thousands of residential homes and universities, but the company ignored requests to fix a security bug.

3 days ago
Two Santa Cruz students uncover security bug that could let millions do their laundry for free

TechCrunch Disrupt 2024 is just around the corner, and the buzz is palpable. But what if we told you there’s a chance for you to not just attend, but also…

Harness the TechCrunch Effect: Host a Side Event at Disrupt 2024

Decks are all about telling a compelling story and Goodcarbon does a good job on that front. But there’s important information missing too.

Pitch Deck Teardown: Goodcarbon’s $5.5M seed deck

Slack is making it difficult for its customers if they want the company to stop using its data for model training.

Slack under attack over sneaky AI training policy

A Texas-based company that provides health insurance and benefit plans disclosed a data breach affecting almost 2.5 million people, some of whom had their Social Security number stolen. WebTPA said…

Healthcare company WebTPA discloses breach affecting 2.5 million people

Featured Article

Microsoft dodges UK antitrust scrutiny over its Mistral AI stake

Microsoft won’t be facing antitrust scrutiny in the U.K. over its recent investment into French AI startup Mistral AI.

3 days ago
Microsoft dodges UK antitrust scrutiny over its Mistral AI stake

Ember has partnered with HSBC in the U.K. so that the bank’s business customers can access Ember’s services from their online accounts.

Embedded finance is still trendy as accounting automation startup Ember partners with HSBC UK

Kudos uses AI to figure out consumer spending habits so it can then provide more personalized financial advice, like maximizing rewards and utilizing credit effectively.

Kudos lands $10M for an AI smart wallet that picks the best credit card for purchases

The EU’s warning comes after Microsoft failed to respond to a legally binding request for information that focused on its generative AI tools.

EU warns Microsoft it could be fined billions over missing GenAI risk info

The prospects for troubled banking-as-a-service startup Synapse have gone from bad to worse this week after a United States Trustee filed an emergency motion on Wednesday.  The trustee is asking…

A US Trustee wants troubled fintech Synapse to be liquidated via Chapter 7 bankruptcy, cites ‘gross mismanagement’

U.K.-based Seraphim Space is spinning up its 13th accelerator program, with nine participating companies working on a range of tech from propulsion to in-space manufacturing and space situational awareness. The…

Seraphim’s latest space accelerator welcomes nine companies