Another day, another newsletter. I’m Jordan Parker Erb, and today I’m gracing your inbox with news of a Google bot that may have achieved consciousness, and a completely unattainable (but terrific) electric Porsche.
Ready? Let’s do this thing.
1. As fundraising dries up, venture funds face a harsh reality. During the boom times of the past four years in the tech industry, more than 1,100 first-time venture funds were born. Now, with LP funding slowing to a trickle, many could turn into zombies.
- Unlike the startups they fund, venture firms do not suddenly go out of business. Instead, they face an agonizing death that can stretch over years — or even decades.
- Unable to raise new capital, they slowly bleed staff, coasting on management fees while trying to salvage whatever they can of the investments they have already made.
- “There’s going to be a lot of walking dead venture firms,” one partner predicted. “If you don’t raise another fund, you’re resigning. It’s just a matter of time before you’re dead.”
In other news:
2. A Google engineer said he was placed on leave after claiming an AI chatbot was sentient. He said he has spoken with the bot about religion, consciousness, and the laws of robotics, and that it wants to “be acknowledged as an employee of Google rather than as property.” Read the conversations that convinced him of the bot’s sentience.
3. For some VMware employees, work is “semi-meaningless” right now. As employees prepare for an acquisition by chipmaker Broadcom, many fear their new owner is likely to cut jobs and product lines. Here’s what VMware staffers told us.
4. Prime members are suing Amazon for nixing free Whole Foods delivery. Getting food delivered from Whole Foods now costs $9.95 per order, and Prime members are none too pleased. What we know about the lawsuit so far.
5. Roblox pays interns almost $10,000 a month — and it’s on the hunt for young talent. With applications for Roblox’s 2023 internship program opening in July, we spoke with its chief scientist who offered four tips to land a place in its coveted internship.
6. One of the largest crypto lenders announced it was pausing all customer withdrawals. Celsius Network said the move would “stabilize
7. Introducing the top 13 venture capitalists specializing in edtech investing. Coming from firms like Owl Ventures, Reach Capital, and Lightspeed Venture Partners, these VCs are helping businesses transform the way students learn. Meet the investors to keep on your radar.
8. Google will pay $118 million to settle a gender-discrimination lawsuit. The class-action lawsuit, which was brought forward in 2017, includes around 15,500 women. Get the full rundown here.
Odds and ends:
9. Porsche’s $209,000 electric station wagon is terrific — and completely over the top. Insider’s transportation reporter test drove the Porsche Taycan Turbo S Cross Turismo, and was stunned by its sleek look and impossible speed. Get a look at the luxurious sedan.
10. An EV startup just unveiled a car that can go 43 miles per day on solar power alone. The Netherlands-based electric-vehicle startup, Lightyear, revealed its first model, which will sell for about $263,000 — see the Lightyear 0.
What we’re watching today: