Curated Intel from the Talent Tech Industry
January 1-7, 2024:
• Chasing Google for funds & fame: AI powered search engine Perplexity AI raises $73.6M.
• Raising our techno-kids responsibly: Cultural perspectives on robots: friends, servants or foes;
• Combining tech and humans in TA: Sinecure.ai acquires exec search firm Grace Blue Partnership;
• Paying the piper to train LLMs: OpenAI’s news publisher deals reportedly at $5 million a year;
• Looking for a silver lining: Global startup funding in 2023 clocks in at lowest level in 5 years;
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AI-powered search engine Perplexity AI, now valued at $520M, raises $73.6M
As search engine incumbents — namely Google — amp up their platforms with GenAI tech, startups are looking to reinvent AI-powered search from the ground up. It might seem like a Sisyphean task, going up against competitors with billions upon billions of users. But this new breed of search upstarts believes it can carve out a niche, however small, by delivering a superior experience. One among the cohort, Perplexity AI, this morning announced that it raised $73.6 million in a funding round led by IVP with additional investments from NEA, Databricks Ventures, former Twitter VP Elad Gil, Shopify CEO Tobi Lutke, ex-GitHub CEO Nat Friedman and Vercel founder Guillermo Rauch. Other participants in the round included Nvidia and — notably — Jeff Bezos. Sources familiar with the matter tell TechCrunch that the round values Perplexity at $520 million post-money. That’s chump change in the realm of GenAI startups. But, considering that Perplexity’s only been around since August 2022, it’s a nonetheless impressive climb.
Cultural perspectives on robots: Friends, servants, or children?
In Japan, intelligent robots are viewed as friends. In the USA and China, they are seen as servants. And in Europe, they are often perceived as enemies. Culture shapes how we use, build, and regulate technology. But technology is a global phenomenon. So maybe we are better served if we all look at robots with a new, common perspective — what if we perceived them as if they were children? For children to turn out well, parents must raise them responsibly. We humans brought these “robot kids” into the world. At present, many of their skills are less advanced than those of toddlers. However, our artificial offspring possess immense potential. They could grow up to be scientists and economists, doctors and nurses, bus drivers and pilots, architects and artists. Just as parents want their biological children to realise their potential and become contributing members of society, so too should we aspire for our robotic progeny.
Sinecure.ai Acquires Grace Blue Partnership
Sinecure.ai, an SaaS software company dedicated to finding talent through AI and Large Language Model (LLM) innovation, has acquired London-based executive search firm Grace Blue Partnership. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed. “The most effective hiring outcomes in the future will involve a balance of advanced technology with human understanding and ingenuity,” said Joel Wright, CEO and Co-Founder of Sinecure.ai. “As the global market for talent continues to evolve, Sinecure.ai is meeting the increased demands of our customers with solutions that promise precision, speed and predictability. Our acquisition of Grace Blue Partnership leverages the strengths of both companies, and fortifies the ways organizations will find, engage and retain talent, with lasting effects.”
OpenAI’s news publisher deals reportedly top out at $5 million a year
As news publishers ink deals with AI companies to train their models with news stories, the price businesses like OpenAI are willing to pay for copyrighted information is coming to light. The Information reports that OpenAI offers between $1 million and $5 million a year to license copyrighted news articles to train its AI models. That’s one of the first indications of how much AI companies plan to pay for licensed material. It sits alongside a recent report saying Apple is looking to partner with media companies to use content for AI training and is offering at least $50 million over a multiyear period for data. The Verge reached out to OpenAI for comment on the numbers. The numbers appear roughly similar to some earlier non-AI licensing deals. When Meta launched the Facebook News tab — since discontinued in Europe — it allegedly offered up to $3 million a year to license news stories, headlines, and previews. But it’s not clear whether the total payouts would equal some of the bigger numbers we’ve seen. Google announced in 2020 that it would invest $1 billion in total to partner with news organizations, for instance. Under pressure from a new law, Google also recently agreed to pay Canadian publishers a total of $100 million annually in exchange for linking to their articles.
Global Startup Funding In 2023 Clocks In At Lowest Level In 5 Years
A slower final quarter ended a lackluster year for global startup funding as venture capital investors continued to hold back in 2023, Crunchbase data shows. In all, 2023 is on pace to be the lowest for venture funding since 2018. Global startup investment in 2023 reached $285 billion — marking a 38% decline year over year, down from the $462 billion invested in 2022. Cutbacks were deep across all funding stages globally. Early-stage funding in 2023 was down more than 40% year over year, late stage by 37%, and seed just over 30%. It’s worth keeping some perspective, though: Overall funding in 2023 was down by less than 20% when compared to the pre-pandemic years of 2018 to 2020.
Don’t Miss Early Bird Discounts at TAtech North America & The World Job Board Forum
Snag deep savings and grab a spot with Early Bird Discounts at LIMITED SEATING TAtech North America & The World Job Board Forum. Avoid FOMO, register right now for the only conference in the North American market that is specifically designed both for job board and talent technology company CEOs, their direct reports and rising stars and to accelerate the bottom-line growth of their enterprises. Why the rush? Because the conference will be held June 4-6, 2024 at The International Spy Museum which has a limited seating capacity and Early Bird Discounts on registration are due to expire shortly. Whether your company is a niche or general job board, aggregator, talent marketplace, online classifieds business, programmatic platform, chatbot, conversational AI solution, ATS, recruitment marketing solution, CRM platform, interviewing or assessment system or talent technology consultancy, this event will supercharge your sales and your profits. So, register today and accelerate the success your company achieves, today, tomorrow and into the future!