A|I: The AI Times – Stability AI’s lead threatened by key departures, CEO concerns

Plus: OpenAI launches webcrawler as Zoom promises it won't use your videos to train AI tools.

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Niricson closes $10-million Series A to monitor critical infrastructure using tech (BETAKIT)

Victoria-based software startup Niricson has secured over $10 million CAD in Series A financing to assess the condition of aging infrastructure with predictive analytics.

Leveraging artificial intelligence (AI), Niricson's software aims to paint a more objective and cost-effective picture for infrastructure asset managers and civil engineers, helping them assess damage, plan maintenance, and ensure safety.

Stability AI’s Lead Threatened by Departures, Concerns Over CEO

Stability AI may have just announced its new LLM for coding but, since March, optimism surrounding Stability has died down.

At least six of its senior hires are gone, including the chief operating officer and head of research, and questions surround its inexperienced CEO with a history of outlandish claims and lofty promises that don’t always come to fruition.

As competing AI startups raked in financing, Stability was unable to raise new funding at a desired $4 billion valuation. At least one prominent generative AI business has accused Stability of not paying a $70,000 bill in time or in full. And in July, one of the company’s co-founders filed a lawsuit alleging he was tricked into selling his stake in the startup for $100.

Salesforce, Radian6 alum Chris Ramsey named CEO of criminal-intelligence startup Cybercheck (BETAKIT)

Fredericton-based criminal-intelligence startup Cybercheck has made Chris Ramsey its CEO, effective September 2023.

Ramsey has held senior executive roles at NASDAQ, and NYSE-traded firms, including Salesforce, where he led social media listening and analytics products to triple-digit growth as chief customer officer.

Addressing Canada's talent gap in the tech industry boils down to removing the barriers for equity-deserving groups.
The Advanced Digital and Professional Training (ADaPT) program is a cost-free digital and professional skills development initiative that bridges the employment gap. It equips students in their final semester and post-secondary graduates with in-demand skills for entry-level tech roles.

ADaPT supports a diverse group of talent from varied educational backgrounds, with 81% of participants identifying as belonging to at least one equity-deserving group. Backed by 70+ hours of intensive training, the program exposes participants to tech career pathways.

The ADaPT program is funded by the Government of Canada's Future Skills Centre and led by Toronto Metropolitan University's Diversity Institute in collaboration with TECHNATION Canada.

To support future talent in thriving tech careers within Canada's changing job market and become an ADaPT employer, find out more here.

Ottawa developing voluntary guardrails for safety, transparency in generative AI (THE LOGIC)

The federal innovation department is consulting on voluntary guidelines for generative AI, with participating developers agreeing to identify and address harmful uses of the technology. Ottawa plans to prioritize the regulation of large language models and other content-producing systems if its proposed AI law passes, according to documents obtained by The Logic.

Zoom rewrites its policies to make clear that your videos aren’t used to train AI tools (THE VERGE)

Earlier this week, Zoom faced scrutiny after updating its terms of service to state that users "consent" to the use of their "service generated data" being used on training artifical intelligence models.

Now, Zoom has updated its terms of service and reworded a blog post explaining the recent terms of service changes, explicitly stating that "communications-like" customer data isn't being used to train artificial intelligence models.

RBCx Capital's 'Capital Whisperer' Sue Umapathy on "return to due diligence" (BETAKIT)

Following the record-breaking peaks for venture funding in 2021, investors’ approach to capital deployment have shifted, with some calling it a “return to due diligence.”

RBCx Capital vice president Sue Umapathy, who’s been given the nickname ‘Capital Whisperer’ by her team, shared the firm’s approach to due diligence with BetaKit, confirming that timelines for that process have been increased.

Nobody Beats Wiz: Meet The Hyper-Aggressive, $10 Billion Startup Shaking Up Cloud Security (FORBES)

$200 million in sales. A $10 billion valuation. New billionaire Assaf Rappaport has built Wiz into one of software's fastest-growing startups ever. But the CEO's ultra-competitive approach is leaving singed eyebrows.

Rappaport's the man of the hour because he's catching two waves—the cloud and AI—with his security tools, and doing so faster than anyone.

After only four years in market, OMERS Ventures is pulling out of Europe to focus on North America (BETAKIT)

Pulling out of the European market, OMERS Ventures has opted to refocus its investment efforts on Canada and the United States (US) amid the market downturn.

The retreat comes just four years after OMERS Ventures began ramping up its focus on the region with a €300-million fund for European startups followed closely by its first $750-million USD transatlantic fund.

Going forward, the majority of OMERS Ventures’ new investments will be in North American firms, where it also plans to open a new New York office.

OpenAI launches webcrawler GPTBot, and instructions on how to block it (MASHABLE)

OpenAI has launched a web crawler to improve artificial intelligence models like GPT-4. However, websites can choose to restrict access to the web crawler and prevent GPTBot from accessing their sites, either partially or by opting out entirely.

Previously, OpenAI has landed in hot water for how it collects data and for things like copyright infringement and privacy breaches.

Brookfield and Sequoia Heritage's reported new fund is well-positioned to scoop up discount tech startups (BETAKIT)

Toronto-based Brookfield Asset Management and Silicon Valley’s Sequoia Heritage have reportedly teamed up to take advantage of the current economic environment, creating "an investment vehicle to capitalize on plunging valuations of venture-backed companies.”

Per the Financial Times, the two companies are investing $250 million USD apiece to found a new company called Pinegrove Capital Partners.

Modular, AI Startup Challenging Nvidia, Discusses Funding at $600 Million Valuation (THE INFORMATION)

Modular, a startup whose software aims to loosen Nvidia’s chokehold over in-demand artificial intelligence chips, has been in talks with investors including General Catalyst to raise Series A funding that would value it at roughly $600 million.

Investors expect Modular to capitalize on surging AI activity that’s put a strain on the supply of the graphic processing units used by companies ranging from Microsoft to smaller AI startups.

As startups look to US for capital, Antler's Shambhavi Mishra calls on Canadian VCs to lead more rounds (BETAKIT)

Coupled with geopolitical tensions, rising interest rates, and inflation, funding for startups in Canada and beyond has dried up, leaving some to make layoffs or close up shop.

According to Antler’s director of growth and portfolio Shambhavi Mishra, the fact Canadian founders still find it easier (and faster) to secure capital from the United States is among several taboo topics early-stage founders have raised at Startupfest this year.

AI language models are rife with different political biases

AI language models contain different political biases, according to new research from the University of Washington, Carnegie Mellon University, and Xi’an Jiaotong University.

Researchers conducted tests on 14 large language models and found that OpenAI’s ChatGPT and GPT-4 were the most left-wing libertarian, while Meta’s LLaMA was the most right-wing authoritarian.

Alex Riehl

Alex Riehl

Alex Riehl is a staff writer and newsletter curator at BetaKit with a Bachelor of Journalism from Carleton University. He's interested in tech, gaming, and sports. You can find out more about him at alexriehl.com or @RiehlAlex99 on Twitter.

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