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🕶️ Meta's bold challenge to OpenAI: the tech clash begins

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April is flying by! 🌼

Across the globe, the first quarter of this year witnessed 1,379 equity funding rounds, resulting in startups raising €12.3bn. Elon Musk suggests that chip and electricity demands may impede AI progress, while Ukraine makes strides in defense technology and a new app tackles the loneliness epidemic 💕

Also, Meta has confirmed the upcoming release of Llama 3, a development that could potentially impact the AI-assistant market 🚀

Keep reading for further updates!

Six bullets of updates

  1. 🚀 Elon Musk predicts AI could outsmart humans by 2023, but chip and electricity demands may slow progress.

  2. 🌎 Y Combinator's latest batch features only one Latin American startup Salvy, hinting at a shift in the accelerator's focus.

  3. 🇬🇧 UK's Vertical Future bags £1.5M to build a robot-tended farm on the world's first commercial space station, opening 2026.

  4. 💡 Ukraine leaps into defence tech with new startup accelerator, offering battlefield product testing and investor intros.

  5. 🎓 Tech apprenticeship unicorn Multiverse acquires AI-based recruitment firm Searchlight to bolster its professional training services.

  6. 💬 Battling the loneliness epidemic, new app Buffet launches to match users with like-minded individuals and meetup spots, starting in LA.

The pulse of Q1: navigating startup funding trends


Despite Venture Capitalists' optimism, the data isn't quite reflecting it yet. The first quarter of this year saw 1,379 equity funding rounds with startups raising €12.3bn, a decline from the previous quarter's €13.8bn. Surprisingly, the B2B SaaS sector outpaced AI in deal-making, securing 358 deals and accumulating €1.6bn in funding. It seems that cloud-based software is not losing its trendy status anytime soon.

Climate tech, however, nabbed the largest chunk of the funding pie with nearly €3.7bn in Q1. With the likes of Bill Gates investing in sustainable startups such as CemVision and Monta, it's clear this sector is heating up, quite literally. The UK leads geographically with 358 deals in Q1, followed by France's 151 and Germany's 144.

While late-stage deals seem to be thawing, recovery for 2024 is yet to be confirmed. We'll keep our fingers crossed, but not too tight – wouldn't want to block the flow of that startup cash, would we?

Startup Events and Deadlines

  1. Financial Modeling | Course | April 15 - 19 | A LIVE 1-week course to create investor-proof projections, estimate your fundraising needs, and track the core KPIs for any kind of startup #Opportunity Use our coupon code "LASTCALL" for $50 of the total price

  2. SaaSiest Sweden | Conference | April 16 - 17 | Malmö, Sweden   

  3. TechCrunch Early Stage | Conference | April 25 | Online

  4. SaaStock: USA | Conference | May 13-15 | Austin, TX 

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These companies just raised money

  1. 🎮 Content creators Dude Perfect pocket a cool $100M-$300M from Highmount Capital, aiming at expansion into retail, gaming, and even a theme park.

  2. ✈️ Travel software startup Guesty raises $130M at a $900M valuation, eyeing profitability this year.

  3. 🧮 Quantum-focused VC, Quantonation, secures €70m for its second fund, eyes €200m by 2025, and expands investment scope to Asia.

  4. 🇹🇷 Turkey-based e-commerce platform ikas bags $20M in Series A funding, eyeing Eastern Europe expansion.

  5. 🌏 Basemark raised €22mn to globalize its software for AR heads-up displays in cars, pushing the auto industry closer to full autonomy.

  6. 🇧🇷 Brazilian insurtech Akad banks $22.5M in a Series A round, plans to supercharge its AI-enhanced insurance solutions.

Meta vs. OpenAI: The Battle of the AI Titans Gets Llama-fied

Meta confirmed an upcoming release of Llama 3, the next generation of its large language model used to power generative AI assistants. Expected to be more advanced than its predecessors, Llama 3 will not only answer questions more accurately but also handle a wider range of topics. Despite the progress, Meta's Chief AI Scientist, Yann LeCun, expresses skepticism about generative AI, favoring joint embedding predicting architecture (JEPA) for AI's future.

This development could potentially impact the AI-assistant market, with Meta looking to challenge OpenAI's ChatGPT. However, Meta's cautious approach to AI, criticized by some as too limited, may slow its pace compared to its more aggressive competitors. The success of Llama 3 could also influence the direction of AI evolution, either validating Meta's incremental approach or giving weight to critics who favor a bolder path.

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