🕶️ Remote work: what's at stake for US startups?

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In our #StartupDrama chapter of this week, Emad Mostaque, founder and CEO of Stability AI, has stepped down from his top role and the board, criticizing the centralized AI systems seen in major startups such as OpenAI and Anthropic. Is there a major trend in his move? 🚀

Also, 66 countries have agreed on what the term 'remote working' means, but the US is not on that list. Where is your startup standing, and what consequences may arise? 💼

Find out what’s new with European unicorns and the explosive news in the beverage industry, among many other things! 🦄🥤👇

Six bullets of updates

  1. ⏏️ EU launches probes on Alphabet/Google, Apple, and Meta for possible non-compliance under the Digital Markets Act.

  2. 🍺 Cheers on this one! Indoor farming startup Ekonoke, is growing climate-resilient hops and helping the beer-makers.

  3. 🦄 Four European startups have already reached the coveted unicorn status in 2024, a promising upswing after a quiet 2023.

  4. ⌨️ Miro Tenkl is turning VC orphans into tech acquisition gold, with sales reaching up to $80M.

  5. 🎒 After a rocky journey, online tutoring marketplace GoStudent hits profitability, now valued at $3.2B.

  6. 🚰 Despite the beverage industry's capital-intensive nature, canned water company Liquid Death raised $67M, reaching $263M in sales in 2023. 

What's Behind Stability AI's Founder's Exit?

Image Credits: David Paul Morris / Bloomberg

Emad Mostaque, founder and CEO of Stability AI, has stepped down from his top role and the board, the firm announced. The company, known for its image generation tool Stable Diffusion, has suffered some struggles recently, including a loss of key personnel and spending roughly $8 million a month as of October 2023. Mostaque cited his decision as a move toward more decentralized AI, criticizing the centralized AI systems seen in major startups such as OpenAI and Anthropic.

Shan Shan Wong, COO, and Christian Laforte, CTO, have been appointed as interim co-CEOs, with no immediate permanent replacement announced. This comes as the startup has been unable to secure new funding at a $4 billion valuation.

Mostaque’s departure is another significant change within the AI industry this week, following reports that Inflection AI, another leading startup in the field, saw several staff, including two co-founders, join Microsoft. Keep reading!

Startup Events and Deadlines

  1. SaaSOpen: Austin Conference | March 28 | Austin 

  2. How Much Money Should You Raise? | Webinar | April 12 | Online

  3. Financial Modeling Course  | Course | April 15 | Online 

  4. SaaSiest Sweden Conference | April 16 | Malmö, Sweden   

  5. TechCrunch Early Stage 2024 Conference | April 25 | Boston

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These companies just raised money

  1. 🏘️ Renewable excitement! Berlin-based Enpal secures a whopping $1.2B in debt financing to power 35K more homes with renewable energy tech.

  2. 🚀 OTB Ventures secures an astounding $185M for European deep tech, with NATO Innovation Fund joining the effort.

  3. 🇬🇧 UK's Frontline Ventures closes a $100M seed fund for B2B European startups eyeing the US and a $100M growth fund for US startups looking to launch in Europe.

  4. 💳 Colombian fintech Addi scores $86M, promising more 'buy now, pay later' services after a 60% user growth in 2023.

  5. ⛈️ Angel-style VC firm Silence raises $35M to back climate tech startups, with typical funding ranging from $100,000 to $700,000.

  6. 🚉 Candela reels in $25M in funding, making waves with the first commercial deployment of its electric ferry in New Zealand.

How do you interpret ‘remote working’?

Around 66 countries have agreed on what the term 'remote working' means. However, some U.S. tech companies interpret "remote working" as simply "working from home.” This linguistic confusion can be a significant barrier for digital nomads legally permitted to work remotely in 66+ countries offering digital nomad visas.

To make things even more confusing, some tech companies aren't exactly diving into the nitty-gritty of remote work. Nope, they're sticking to their rigid policies without understanding what's at play. So, what's the difference between "working" and "remote working"? It turns out it's more than just where you're working from. "Working" means impacting the local job market, while "remote working" feels more like a working vacation for a company based elsewhere.

Read more about it with Paul Scanlon’s experience. His story raises important questions about the evolving definition of remote work, especially in a post-pandemic world. It can be transposed to startups that need to attract and retain talent in an increasingly competitive and globalized market.

Slidebean Revenue Data

Mistakes were made as we grew Slidebean, but more than surviving, we've learned from them. As part of that, we released our actual financial numbers for the company's formative years.