⚡[Insights #24] Quora's Poe Raises a Big Round from a16z 🔍

More Facts and Figure

GM Readers! ☀️

Due to the positive feedback on our last issue of Insights where we covered facts and figures, we decided to try it again this week. Whether you like or dislike this format, please let us know!

Let’s iterate in public together 💪 

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Liang and Dan 🙌

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💾 Byte-sized Stories

This week’s top stories with our insights on top.

$75M: How Much Quora Raised From a16z This Week 💰

⚡️ TL;DR: Quora raised $75M in new funding from a16z, and will use the new funding towards Poe, its AI large language model (LLM) and chatbot platform.

⚡️ So What: Poe allows users to access multiple LLMs and chatbots through one single interface. Towards the end of last year, Quora announced that Poe is launching a creator monetization program that will reward creators who built new chatbots on the Poe ecosystem. Quora's strategy with Poe mirrors Apple's approach with their App Store – where the key to success was a proliferation of developer-built apps that create value for the user.

Quora mentioned that the majority of the funding round will be used to pay creators – effectively raising money to jumpstart this developer-centric ecosystem.

Read More Here; and Check Out Our Deep Dive on Poe

$3,499: The Cost of the Apple Vision Pro 🥽 🤑

⚡️ TL;DR: Starting February 2, Apple’s wearable “spatial computer” will be released to the public. While Apple remains on brand with their hefty, introductory price tag, Tim Cook, the CEO, says that the Vision Pro is “the most advanced consumer electronics device ever created. Its revolutionary and magical user interface will redefine how we connect, create, and explore.” 

⚡️ So What: In the virtual/augmented reality and spatial computing spaces, we have seen other household names try to launch similar wearables to the Apple Vision Pro. For example, Magic Leap was the torchbearer in this space from 2015-2018 when they captivated the public’s imagination with their then famous concept video. Since then, Meta has tried to capture the throne with their Quest product line. As the most valuable (and, arguably, successful product) company in the world, Apple throwing their hat in the ring signals another concerted push towards immersive and metaverse-like experiences for users. Only time will tell whether Apple wins out and drives mass adoption.  

Read More Here, Here, Here

19.6%: Percent of Offices Vacant 🫗

⚡️ TL;DR: Office vacancies hit 19.6%, a level not seen since 1991. 

⚡️ So What: With the stickiness of work from home and hybrid policies, employees are seeing less of a reason to go into the office. Of course, those who are pro-office cite things like meetings are more lively in the office. But emerging tech products like Apple’s Vision Pro might change all of that. In the future, we’d probably have our meetings in the Metaverse, from the comforts of our homes.

Read More Here

33%: Experimental Solar Cells Break The Technical Efficiency Barrier ☀️

⚡️ TL;DR: In the last few months, perovskite tandem solar cells, a new breed of next-­generation solar technology, have demonstrated a massive improvement in efficiency gains.

⚡️ So What: Today, top-end, technical efficiency levels for silicon-­based cells (accounting for 95% of the solar market today) are just below 30% – meaning 30% of the sunlight that hits the cell is converted into electricity. With new pioneering technology, silicon and perovskites (and their unique crystalline structure) work together in tandem solar cells. Thereby, utilizing more of the solar spectrum, and producing more electricity per cell. With the acceleration in the technology, perovskite tandem cells have already exceeded 33% efficiency under controlled lab conditions – a promising breakthrough that could push solar panel adoption to new heights. 

Read More Here, Here

11: Number of Bitcoin ETFs The SEC Approved This Week

⚡️ TL;DR: The SEC approved 11 Bitcoin ETFs issued by some of the largest fund managers in the world like Blackrock, Fidelity and Franklin Templeton. Interestingly, all the ETF issuers are lowering their fees in the hopes of capturing market share and attracting liquidity to their ETF.

⚡️ So What: This has been more than a decade in the making. Many believe this is a watershed moment for the crypto industry as institutions bring a step change in inflows into the asset class and legitimize the underlying technology. 

Read More Here

📊 Let’s Get Graphic

One visual we couldn’t stop thinking about.

Open Source AI Models Now Perform as well as Closed Source Models

⚡️ Takeaway: The gap in performance between closed source and open source models is closing. This creates an interesting dynamic. Closed source models are expensive to build and usually tout how many parameters they have in the model as a signal for output quality.

But in a world where open source models are as good, and increasingly getting better, does this put the business model of closed source models into question? 

Depending on the use case, an open source model might be more than good enough and much cheaper to use.

🐇 Down the Rabbit Hole

Some deeper dives to help you get smarter on emerging tech.

  1. Distribution Is All You Need: Essay highlighting how Big Tech companies with distribution advantages can afford to compete with smaller and cheaper LLMs.

  2. How Nvidia is Powering the AI Revolution: A long-form piece that dives into the origins and public rise of Jensen Huang and Nvidia.   

  3. AI and Everything Else: Benedict Evans’ annual report on macro and strategic trends in tech.

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DISCLAIMER: This post is provided strictly for educational and informational purposes only. Nothing written in this post should be taken as financial advice or advice of any kind. The content of this post are the opinions of the authors and not representative of other parties. Empower yourself, DYOR (do your own research).


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