Silicon Valley Bank implodes, Apple launches a new music service, and ChatGPT goes enterprise
Happy Friday, folks. It’s Kyle again, Greg’s stand-in for Week in Review. (He’ll be back in a few weeks’ time, not to worry.) If you’re a WiR newbie, it’s the newsletter where we recap the past five days in tech news. I might be biased, but I’d say it’s the best way for the busy person to stay informed. We do our best to serve you, dear reader, over here at TC.
Before the news, a few plugs:
TechCrunch Early Stage is fast approaching — it’s on April 20 in Boston this year. If you haven’t been, expect an annual founder summit with sessions from top experts and opportunities to meet fellow entrepreneurs.
Looking farther down the line, there’s Disrupt, TechCrunch’s annual flagship conference, taking place September 19–21. Excitingly, it’ll feature new stages with industry-specific programming tracks across climate, mobility, fintech, AI and machine learning, enterprise, privacy and security, and hardware and robotics. Don’t miss it.
Now on to WiR.
Silicon Valley Bank implodes: Silicon Valley Bank Financial, the publicly traded holding firm of Silicon Valley Bank (SVB), is in crisis. Venture firms advised portfolio companies to move money out of SVB after the bank said it would book a $1.8 billion loss related to securities sales. Then, after halting trading and asking staff to work from home — reportedly as SVB sought a buyer — customers were struggling to wire funds out of the bank. And on Friday, SVB was shut down by regulators, which are now in charge of the bank’s deposits. There’s no doubt far more to come, so stay tuned — the entire TC edit team has been killing it with coverage.
Decentralize all the things: Meta is working on a decentralized text-based app, Ivan writes. As first reported by MoneyControl, the new app, code named P92, will let users log in through their Instagram credentials. Not coincidentally, the project is being overseen by Instagram head Adam Mosseri, according to Platformer, and is widely perceived as Meta’s attempt to build a Twitter alternative or Mastodon competitor.
Malware hiding in the woodwork: The U.S. government on Thursday announced that it seized a website used to sell malware designed to spy on computers and cell phones, Lorenzo writes. The malware in question, NetWire, was reportedly advertised on hacking forums and marketed on a site that made it look like it was a legitimate remote administration tool.
Apple launches a new service: Sarah writes that Apple is launching a music streaming service focused exclusively on classical music. Based on Apple’s 2021 acquisition of Amsterdam-based streamer Primephonic, the new Apple Music Classical app will offer Apple Music subscribers access to more than 5 million classical music tracks, including new releases in high-quality audio, as well as hundreds of curated playlists, thousands of exclusive albums and other features like composer bios and deep dives on key works.
Display-sporting HomePod: On the subject of Apple, the company could be working on a new HomePod device featuring a built-in display for 2024. The rumor comes from analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, who says the new product might look like a speaker with a small tablet — akin to the Amazon Echo Show or Google’s Nest Hub.
Arrival headed for bust: Arrival, the commercial EV company that went public in 2021, posted its preliminary fourth-quarter and full-year earnings reports Thursday. The gist? Arrival is burning through cash and is on the hunt for more. As Kirsten reports, the company has yet to generate any revenue and Jaclyn writes that it doesn’t expect to until 2024. Taking into account the company’s expenses, Arrival’s cash position — $205 million — is not going to be enough to keep its wheels turning through the rest of the year.
No guarantee of privacy: Cerebral has revealed it shared the private health information, including mental health assessments, of more than 3.1 million patients in the U.S. with advertisers and social media giants like Facebook, Google and TikTok. The telehealth startup, which exploded in popularity during the COVID-19 pandemic, disclosed the security lapse in a filing with the federal government this week, Zack reports.
ChatGPT goes enterprise: ChatGPT, OpenAI’s viral, AI-powered chatbot tech, is now available in a more enterprise-friendly package. Microsoft this week announced ChatGPT is generally available through the Azure OpenAI Service, the company’s fully managed, corporate-focused offering designed to give businesses access to OpenAI’s technologies with added governance and compliance features. Customers, who must already be “Microsoft managed customers and partners,” can now apply for special access.
Discord embraces AI: Discord announced this week that it’s launching a set of new AI experiences to a number of servers. Most notably, the platform plans to update its Clyde bot with ChatGPT, allowing users to have extended, more realistic conversations with the chatbot. Beyond that, Discord is updating its moderation tool to harness the power of large language models and rolling out AI-generated conversation summaries.
Looking for quality listening material from experts in their fields? Look no further than TechCrunch’s podcast collection, which grows substantially by the day. This week on Equity, Alex, Mary Ann and Natasha M gathered to riff through the week’s biggest startup and venture news, starting with the situation at SVB. Over at Found, TC’s show about founders and company-building, Matt, Darrell, and Becca spoke with Matt Rogers, an entrepreneur who turned his sights to solving food waste — starting in the kitchen. On Chain Reaction, Jacquelyn interviewed Jack Mallers, the founder and CEO of Strike, a bitcoin-based payment network and financial app that’s trying to grow cross-border payments and remittance markets. The TechCrunch Podcast covered the proposed bipartisan bill that could lead to banning TikTok in the U.S. and the dangers of startups selling our data. And on TechCrunch Live, Matt spoke to Trulioo co-founder Tanis Jorge, as well as David Blumberg of Blumberg Capital about finding a co-founder, building partnerships, and navigating the equity split.
TC subscribers get access to in-depth commentary, analysis and surveys — which you know if you’re already a subscriber. If you’re not, consider signing up. Here are a few highlights from this week:
SVB and the funding dilemma: Alex writes about the nightmare that the SVB situation has become for many startup founders. His take? This crisis is going to kill a host of startups, either quickly or by simply adding enough operational friction to bring them to their knees.
Computer vision, disrupted: Computer vision could be a lot faster and better if we skip the concept of still frames and instead directly analyze the data stream from a camera. At least, that’s the theory that Ubicept — the newest brainchild spinning out of the MIT Media Lab — is operating under. Haje has the full report.
Crypto continues its downward spiral: Jacquelyn reports that another massive crypto-centric firm bit the dust this week, leading some analysts to forecast bigger problems for the overall ecosystem. Silvergate Capital, a publicly traded crypto bank, announced Wednesday that it would “wind down operations and voluntarily liquidate” its bank division.
I’m a journalist who specializes in investigative reporting and writing. I have written for the New York Times and other publications.