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🚀 Snapchat brings AI to Gen Z
Plus, Angry Birds finds an exit!
💰 Social apps charge $ for data. If you’ve used AI-powered products like ChatGPT or Bard, you’ve probably noticed that they have a lot of data. Where do they get it? Often from scraping platforms where content is created. This week, several of those platforms - including Reddit, Twitter, and StackOverflow - announce they will start charging for access to these APIs, in an attempt to get paid for the training data. Which companies and how much they’ll charge is TBD - Reddit’s new terms of service say that rates will be “determined at Reddit’s sole discretion.”
🕹️ Sega buys Angry Birds. Gaming giant Sega (maker of Sonic the Hedgehog) will acquire Angry Birds creator Rovio in a $775M deal, as part of Sega’s continued expansion into mobile gaming. If you haven’t played Angry Birds, you’re in the minority - the studio announced in 2022 that it passed 5B global downloads 🤯 , and Angry Birds itself was the first game to reach 1B downloads. We’ll be watching closely to see if this new combo creates an Angry Birds-level hit.
👻 Snap makes product moves. Snap’s Partner Summit brought a host of announcements. Last month, the company rolled out a new AR tool, allowing brands like Princess Polly to offer product try-ons on their own websites. Snap is now bringing this to the real world, producing physical mirrors with AR effects for retail stores like Nike. On the content side, Snap continues its fight against TikTok and IG Reels - lowering the requirements for creators to make ad revenue on Stories, and allowing any user over 18 to make publicly discoverable Stories for the first time.
🗞️ BuzzFeed shuts down News. BuzzFeed will cut 15% of its workforce and shut down its News division, which was launched in 2012. BuzzFeed News focused on original content for younger audiences, and won a Pulitzer Prize in 2021. CEO Jonah Peretti said in a memo that the decision was due to a variety of factors including a tough digital ad market and platform shifts. Thee company will instead lean in to “creators, AI and cultural moments” - BuzzFeed started using ChatGPT to create quizzes and other content in January.
what we’re following 👀
The voice of Spotify DJ on what it’s like to become an AI.
Twitter has officially started removing legacy blue checkmarks.
Snapchat released its AI chatbot, called “My AI,” to the full user base (of 750M MAUs) this week - it was previously only available to paid subscribers. Unsurprisingly, it quickly went viral on both Twitter and TikTok, with users sharing the funny or weird conversations they had with their bot.
The tweet above illustrates an early “bug” that many users found. Ask the bot if it knows your location, and it will say it doesn’t. But ask for nearby restaurants, and it will generate a full list (inferring that it does know your location). If you confront the bot about this discrepancy, it gaslights you, resulting in some very funny memes.
Some people are troubled by the fact that the bot can “lie” to you - or that bots sometimes provide misleading or inaccurate information. We take a more optimistic view. Accuracy or “factfulness” feels like a solvable problem, one which many smart people are already working on. Today’s AI chatbots are doing something that we previously would have considered unsolvable: giving computers a personality!
This has unlocked many fascinating use cases - teaching your bot slang, making it write songs, or even trying to get it to fall in love with you. People are treating their Snap AI like a best friend, a therapist, or just someone who will listen. It’s undeniably entertaining; it’s not hard to imagine people spending hours chatting with it.
Perhaps this is the root of the more fundamental objection to these types of chatbots. Some people are uncomfortable with the fact that bots can now sound like humans - and that people are treating them as such. We expect this is just the beginning: soon, humans and bots will be indistinguishable online (or maybe they already are…)
Renegade - Investment Associate (Bay Area)
Otter - General Manager (Bay Area)
DoorDash - Growth Specialist (SF)
M12 - Investment Partner (SF)
Adams Street Partners - Growth Equity Associate (Menlo Park)
Bessemer Venture Partners - Senior Associate (Redwood City)
Datadog - Data Analyst (NYC)
B Capital - Senior Associate, Early Stage (NYC)
Truepill - Technical Project Manager Intern (Remote)
C3.ai - Comms and Content Marketing Intern (Redwood City)
TikTok - Music Creation Research Intern (Mountain View)
Snap - Program Manager Intern (LA)
RepairSmith - PM Intern (El Segundo)
Whoop - Office of the CEO Intern (Boston)
Etsy - Brand Design Intern (Brooklyn)
Mighty - MBA Intern (NYC)
puppies of the week 🐶
Meet Sharon and Mogu, a golden retriever / corgi duo who live in Japan! Sharon (the golden retriever) is seven years old, and Mogu (the corgi) is one year old.
They enjoy going on walks together, wrestling over toys, and patrolling the neighborhood from their balcony.
Follow them on Instagram @mocosmile935!
All views are our own. None of the above should be taken as investment advice. See this page for important information.