Can the rabbit r1 set itself apart from other AI assistants? | Equity Podcast

This episode is sponsored by Morgan Stanley atw work visit Assessment to get your free transaction Readiness assessment [Music] Today hello and welcome back to equity The Tech runch podcast where we unpack The numbers and the Nuance behind the Headlines this is Alex and Welcome to Our revamp Wednesday show for 2024 on Wednesdays we are going to dig into Critical startup and Venture Capital News from the week it's going to be Tight it's going to be quick it's going To be packed full of information and we Hope that you love it if you do have Comments or feedback on this new format You can send in notes to equity pod if you want but we do always Want to hear from you and with that Let's Go first up photo room is Raising photo Room an AI photo editing app is Raising Between 50 and $60 million at a Valuation of between 500 million and $600 million ingred got this one for us We're still chasing down all the details But this is a round to pay attention to The context here is that apps that let Users take manipulate and share images Have been some of the biggest hits in The world of mobile over the years and Now the influx of AI is cracking open The market for a new wave of startups to

Step into the ring photo room itself a Startup based in Paris France has built A popular aib based image editing app And API targeting e-commmerce vendors Media Specialists and more now 50 or $60 Million at a valuation of 500 million to 600 million in a market where funding Has been constrained well it seems that Ai and photo room are still turning Heads and getting people to open their Checkbooks one thing I do like about Photo room is that the company has both A consumer subscription play And business offerings that include an API the latter but you actually might Have seen out in the wild because the Barbie movie used photo room Tech to Help fans create their own movie poster So why does this round matter apart from The fact that we always love a scoop I'd Say two things one it's another big Expensive AI round yes we keep seeing These but we did learn recently that Some AI startups are seeing very quick Growth perhaps that includes photo room As well and second this is another French AI startup so throw in mraw which Is building Foundation models like open AI in France and then meta's own AI Investments in the country it makes for A very interesting picture good for France good for the EU let's see what They build next next up treasure Financial lays off staff just months

After reporting explosive growth Tech Reports that treasure Financial has laid Off 14 employees which the company Confirmed to Tech runch this week the Company has likened itself to a robo Advisor for businesses what does that Mean well it offers a way for companies To maximize yield on cash which is Something that has become a big deal now That interest rates are far above zero If you raise $50 million and you put That in the bank you don't want it to do Nothing you want your money to make some Money several sources told us that the Company's layoffs accounted for 60 to 70% of its staff a huge number so why is This interesting news Well Maryann aeto Writes that the company raised 7.5 Million dollar last summer and last August ra Intel reported that treasur Financial had seen that quick growth and It also grown its AUM or assets under Management to about $500 million that's A pretty tidy sum now Rising interest Rates can be good for fintech companies As we have seen in recent Quarters at Coinbase and others but maybe if your Business is paying out lots of that Yield to customers it's still a tough Thing to do net interest income can can Be a great business but when competition Is stiff maybe it's just not as Lucrative as we thought I'm fing this Story under the fintech is hard

Banner scooting along tier and Dot two Leading European companies in the realm Of E Scooters have announced that they Plan to merge the transaction is Expected to close within about 2 months Of the news I am not shocked many Scooter companies have been struggling Just a few days ago for example super Pedestrian announced that it would shut Down and recently American scooter Company bird filed for bankruptcy even More tier itself laid off 22% of its Staff last November perhaps Consolidation in the free floating Scooter and ebike world was inevitable But I can't help but Wonder What A lot Of these Mobility companies would have Done without covid crunch base reports That tier was founded in 2018 for Example did the lockdowns harm these Companies more than we thought were they Wounded when everyone just stayed home For a while did that really shake up Their business trajectory I don't know And I'm not going to make a joke that Escooter companies were merely a Zer Phenomena but the number of players in The space is falling as money becomes More expensive and stays there closing Our startup coverage two AI Hardware Stories from the last day I bet you Didn't expect that first the $200 rabbit R1 now yesterday I spent 25 minutes Watching a pre-taped presentation from

This startup the gist as far as I can Tell it is that rabbit has built a small Square piece of Hardware that is Supposed to be your get things done Companion it's Square it's red it has a Scroll wheel a small screen a microphone And a camera it's basic but looks pretty Cool now the R1 is not designed to Replace your phone instead the company Wants to do what your phone does not Essentially rabbit thinks that phones Are consumption devices well the rabbit R1 will actually help you do things in Your life how does it do that well it Uses modern AI technology including what Rabbit calls a large action model or L To do stuff in apps for you I am tempted To buy one of these because it's cheap It looks super cool and it's very very Experimental in a world in which big Tech companies only make Mass Market Safe Hardware we're going to have to Lean on startups to do wild and wacky Things with AI and physical objects so Rabbit R1 I'm into it and second Humane Announces 10 layoffs as its CTO Transitions into an advisor role the Other side of what I just said about Hardware being hard is that sometimes Companies have a bit of a struggle now Humane CEO and co-founder Bethany bonjo Wrote in a LinkedIn post that quote as We begin this new chapter of Humane Going from stealth to Consumer facing we

Are making some changes to best prepare Us for continued growth and that Actually seems to be relatively Reasonable because these 10 layoffs were Only 4% of the company's over overall Staff this was not a slashing this was a Trim now I think hume's AI pen and its Projected user interface are Legitimately cool but the company's Device is not yet shipping as far as I Can tell and will cost about $700 with a $24 per month monthly subscription so It's more expensive than what rabbit has Built even if yes they are different Products and can't be compared one to One the higher cost does make it harder To pull the trigger on I might buy a Rabbit R1 just for fun but I probably Won't take a similar flyer on the Humane Product until it gets a little bit Cheaper regardless onward Hardware Startups is your company planning to go Public or conduct a shareholder Liquidity program within the next 18 to 24 months did you know that proactively Planning for your next private company Liquidity event or IPO can help you Maintain greater control over timelines And outcomes Morgan Stanley at work Believes that when you have the right Technology and systems in place working In harmony leading up to a transaction You can prepare and execute with more Accuracy and ease visit Assessment to connect with their issuer Strategy and Excellence team for a free Assessment to find out if your company Is transaction ready again that's for/ assessment to get Your free assessment [Music] Today flip the script and turn that cap Table upside down it's time to leave the World of startups and instead talk about Venture capital and I have two people Pieces of venture news for you this Morning first up Founders fund investor Keith raboy is moving to Coastal Adventures again raboy was that Coosa Before he left for Founders fund back in 2019 and raboy is well known as part of The PayPal Mafia and is a well-known Technology personality you may have seen His tweets the move back to kosla though Will not displace him from where he Lives raboy intends to stay in Miami Which I found to be rather notable now This is not going to be the last of the Major Venture moves that we will see in 2024 venture capital is going through a Shedding phase after it got bigger and More operationally expensive during the Last boom Keith actually talked about That in an interview with techren EIC Connie loises she asked her boy about The market and he said there's too much Capital there are too many Venture firms

It's hyper competitive there's no way to Drive significant returns unless you Have differentiation and I think you Have to differentiate as a person an Interesting thesis let's see how it Works out re boy back to co And to close seed Stars Africa Ventures Has received a $30 million Capital Commitment from eib Global and arm of The European Investment Bank it becomes The first major institutional investment For its Pan African Venture Capital fund And follows an $8 million commitment From the funds anchor investor French Private Equity Firm lbo France now seed Stars Africa Ventures is looking for Between 80 And1 million in total so it's Not quite there but this is certainly a Big step in the right direction for the Fund and I'm tracking this because it's Critical to see how new funds and firms Are put together in markets where Venture Capital has contracted the most And smaller markets that saw a lot of Money during the last boom have suffered The most I'm thinking Latin America Certain parts of Asia Africa so it's Great to see more money flowing into Where will have the most Impact all right that is our show for This ever so fine Wednesday morning Coming up on Friday we have a CES Edition of the show we're going to have High on we're going to have Kirsten on

We're going to talk gadgets Hardware Startups cars it's going to be an Absolute treat so if you're not Currently in Las Vegas don't worry we Shall bring the Las Vegas to you in the Meantime if you want even more Equity Between now and our next show don't Forget we are Equity p on both X and Threads I'm Alex over on X we have two Sister shows chain reaction and found Chain Reaction all about the world of Crypto and found digging into those key Founder stories all right I'm out of Here bye Y'all Equity is hosted by myself Editorinchief of Tech runch Plus Alex Wilhelm and Tech runch senior reporter Mary an azto we are produced by Teresa Loans solo with editing by Kell Bryce Durban is our illustrator and a big Thank you to the audience development Team and Henry pette who manages Tech Wrench audio products thank you so much For listening and we'll talk to you next Time


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