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This Week in Australian Startups - 8th December, 2022
After a short little hiatus last week with some time off, we’re back. And all I can see over across all my feeds is the launch of ChatGPT by OpenAI. Fun fact, OpenAI was co-founded by Elon Musk whilst he isn’t involved anymore (and the rest of the PayPal mafia is also involved).
If you’ve been avoiding, or like me been on a digital detox you’re probably wondering what ChatGPT is and why all the hype?
We’ve all seen those futuristic movies where we can interact and have real conversations with computers. There’s been some progress with technology like Siri, Google Home and Alexa but whilst they may have some elements of AI and NLP they aren’t grounded so deeply in AI. They still operate the way we know computing does, if A (input) then B (output).
What makes ChatGPT different is the statistical model behind it, with the computer choosing on what the decision/answer would be - making it structurally different to what we’ve seen available to the public today.
As with anything in the AI space, my thoughts always turn to one question - how is this going to be made into a product or is it simply a feature. Google’s Assistant works really well in it’s ecosystem (in my opinion it’s the leader when compared with Alexa and Siri, despite how much I want Siri to be good as I’m so embedded in the Apple ecosystem). It isn’t a product in its own right, but a core feature that goes across all its platforms and comes together nicely if you run your life on Android - most questions I ask my smart speaker is about the weather, news or putting a timer on (still the best feature).
ChatGPT is still in development and will iterate and continue to get smarter, but where for now analysts see the commercial applications are in search - posing a serious threat to Google. Any search on Google is riddled with so many ads (despite their best efforts to make them look like organic results), with more and more search starting on Tik Tok for Gen Z.
ChatGPT has done a great job so far in providing accurate results to basic queries - it understands natural language and is a much better user experience compared to Google search.
There’s a competition to win the AI race, let’s not forget that OpenAI raised $1 billion from Microsoft. I have no doubt that Google has been working on many projects, just not releasing anything to the public. The potential upside for Microsoft is to embed products like ChatGPT into the Azure ecosystem making it almost plug and play incentivising more companies to choose them as the cloud platform of choice.
Google cannot afford to lose this race, at least for search - it’s still its cash cow and no matter how hard Google has tried to diversify its revenue stream, its Ad business is just so profitable it will seldom make sense for it to commit to anything else. They are all in on search, and I’m interested to see what they will be coming out with in the future.
Koala adopts co-CEO model before possible listing, more here
Sam Bankman-Fried unlikely to testify in Dec. 13 House Committee hearing, more here
OwnHome creates alternative to the Bank of Mum and Dad, more here
VC survey finds nearly every startup founder thinks the current funding climate is having an impact on their plans, more here
Elon Musk vicariously publishes internal emails from Twitter’s Hunter Biden laptop drama, more here
Uber fined $21 million by Federal Court for misleading consumers, more here
Plaid lays off 20% of staff, more here
Facebook threatens to ban news in the US over journalism bill, more here
New fintech Nine25 says it has cracked the ‘salary streaming’ code, more here
NAB signs AWS deal likely worth over $100m, more here
Brisbane crypto exchange Swyftx sheds another 90 jobs, more here
Why Modibodi introduced paid menstrual, menopause and miscarriage leave to all staff last year, more here
This alcohol-free drinks maker is Australia’s fastest growing company, more here (and the complete AFR Fast 100 list)
‘Difficult decision’: Menulog cuts jobs in Australia, more here
OpenAI’s ChatGPT shows why implementation is key with generative AI, more here
Australian Funding Rounds
Last mile delivery biz Drive Yello, ordering app Hey You ink merger, raise $15 million. More here
Macquarie Uni backs biotech spin-off Celosia Therapeutics in $2 million Seed raise, more here
Apromore Announces $15.8m Series B Funding by Salesforce and GBTEC, more here
Business digitisation and consulting startup FORMM raises $600,000 pre-Seed, more here
Operative Intelligence helps contact centers figure out what customers really need, raises $3.5m seed round. More here
Health tech VALD raises $37.5m as Canada’s Vistara Growth backs push into North America, more here
Melbourne start-up FrankieOne lands $23m raise from crypto giants, Airtree. More here
Oyster tech startup Oceanfarmr raises $1.45 million bridge round from global accelerator Katapult, more here
Infrastructure monitoring startup Trendspek banks $6.3 million in Series A, more here
Edtech software training startup Saasguru raises $4 million in second Seed round, more here
Morse Micro tops up Series B with another $30 million from super funds, more here
Butter Insurance raises $1.3m to roll out insurance-at-checkout vision, more here
Upollo raises a $4.15M early-seed round to help millions of businesses bloom, more here
AI-based recruitment startup Sapia raises $17 million in Series A, more here
Wagga Wagga wi-fi startup Zetifi lands $12 million Series A with Telstra helping farmers connect, more here
Legal task automation startup Josef raises $5.2 million, more here
All-in-one online shopping app Sortd takes home $1.26 million in pre-Seed cash, more here
NSW government backs biotech startup Inventia for new manufacturing hub in Sydney, more here
Tide acquired Funding Options, more here
The State of European Tech 2022 report by Atomico, full report here
AI data labelling startup V7 raises £27m, more here
Plant Prefab nabs $42M to crank out ‘extremely sustainable’ custom homes, more here
Land sourcing platform Searchland secures £2.3m funding, more here
Gorillas investors to pay $100m to secure Getir all-stock buyout, sources say, more here
Temasek backs India’s HealthKart in $135 million funding, more here
Sydney: Fireside Chat with Thomas Dohmke, CEO of Github, December 11
Sydney: Drinks & discussion w/ founders, freelancers, and creatives in Sydney, December 6
Sydney: Tech For Good Hub Demo Day, December 9
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