Top tech startup news for Friday, February 24, 2023: GFAL, Meta, Stripe, Twitter, and Serenity Shield
Good evening! Below are some of the top tech startup news stories for today Friday, February 24, 2023.
Elon Musk’s Twitter sued by at least six companies for failing to pay bills
Twitter has been sued by at least six companies for failure to pay the bills the company owned them. One of the companies is a startup called Writer, Inc. The company sued Twitter this week over non-payment and breach of contract, marking the sixth U.S. company to sue the social media giant for non-payment of bills since Elon Musk took the helm of the company in October 2022.
Musk acquired Twitter in a $44 billion buyout deal. Following the deal, Musk said the company was losing $4 million each day. Since taking over the company, Twitter has been sued for non-payment by the Writer and at least five others including its landlord in San Francisco, Columbia REIT, a private jet transportation service provider, Private Jet Services Group, an events-planning and production company, Blueprint Studios Trends.
The other three include an M&A consulting firm, Innisfree M&A, And Analysis Group, a company that provided litigation-related consulting services to Twitter and its counsel before Musk bought the company, and a legal and public records database, PlainSite, which is tracking these lawsuits as they arise.
Twitter’s alleged non-payment of rent to Columbia REIT, has led to the real estate company defaulting on loans for buildings, including where Musk leases office space at 650 California Street in San Francisco, Fortune first reported.
According to another report from Platformer on Thursday, Twitter has also allegedly fallen behind on payments to larger companies. And just this week, Twitter suddenly cut off employees’ access to Slack this week after failing to pay a bill. Slack is the workplace chat and collaboration platform owned by Salesforce.
According to a Platformer report on Thursday, Twitter suddenly cut off employees’ access to Slack this week after failing to pay a bill. CNBC reported. Meanwhile, Writer says Twitter owed the company a relatively small amount of $113,856.
EA founder and former Apple executive Trip Hawkins joins Web3 startup Games for a Living (GFAL) as a co-founder
Former Apple executive Trip Hawkins and founder of Electronic Arts (EA) is joining Barcelona-based startup Web3 startup Games for a Living (GFAL) as co-founder and security chief of Games, Reuters reported.
Hawkins, who founded the company behind the best-selling sports videogame franchise “FIFA,” is best known for his contributions to the video game industry. He is the founder of several successful companies, including Electronic Arts (EA), 3DO, and Digital Chocolate.
The Web3 ecosystem has grown rapidly in the last three years as developers and innovators continue to explore new possibilities and use cases for decentralized technologies. As the Web3 race heats up, Hawkins will help Games for a Living (GFAL) take on some of the top blockchain games like Axie Infinity.
GFAL publishes titles compatible with blockchain technology across consoles, personal computers, and smartphones – commonly called Web3. Interest in Web3 gaming has grown over the past year as the space attracts more cryptocurrency users with incentives that make it possible for players to own, sell, and trade in-game goods in such games.
In a statement on Thursday, Hawkins told Reuters: “Web3 is the bridge to the metaverse, and if we’re going to make a metaverse, the economy of the metaverse has to be more like the real world.”
Hawkins founded Electronic Arts (EA) in 1982, a video game development company that quickly became one of the most successful in the industry. During his time at EA, Hawkins oversaw the development of several classic video game franchises, including Madden NFL, FIFA Soccer, and The Sims.
FinTech startup Stripe in advanced talks to raise $4 billion from investors, sources
Fintech giant Stripe is very close to raising $4 billion in fresh funding that will push the company’s valuation to about $55 billion, Reuters reported, citing people familiar with the matter. The new valuation will still be about $40 billion less than the $95 billion the company was valued at in early 2021.
The news comes just about a month after the digital payments processor set a one-year deadline to become a public company.
According to the report, the latest fundraising from high-profile investors including Thrive Capital could be the largest private funding round in recent memory. The sources told Reuters the funding is expected to be completed by the end of March, however, cautioned that the target number could still fall short.
On the economic front, Stripe has not been immune to the ongoing global slowdown. Just a year ago, Stripe became the most valuable U.S. startup, with a valuation of $95 billion. However, the company reportedly lowered its internal valuation to $63 billion amid economic uncertainty, according to The Wall Street Journal. The 12-year-old has enlisted the help of Goldman Sachs and JP Morgan to decide the best course of action for its public listing.
However, Reuters also reported that Stripe may not follow through with the IPO planned for this year “as the latest fundraise would cover a forthcoming tax bill,” Reuters wrote. Stripe also needs to find a replacement for Dhivya Suryadevara, its chief financial officer who announced her departure earlier this month, the sources told Reuters, requesting anonymity as the discussions are confidential.
Meta to launch AI language model LLaMA to help researchers and take on ChatGPT
Meta announced on Friday it is releasing a new language model based on artificial intelligence as the generative AI race heats up, CEO Mark Zuckerberg said on Friday. The new language model is intended for use in research and will be available for academic researchers, government, civil society and academic organizations, and industry research.
The language model, called LLaMA, is designed to generate text and conversations, summarize written material, and perform complicated tasks like solving math theorems or predicting protein structures. In a Facebook post, Meta said:
“We introduce LLaMA, a collection of foundation language models ranging from 7B to 65B parameters. We train our models on trillions of tokens, and show that it is possible to train state-of-the-art models using publicly available datasets exclusively, without resorting to proprietary and inaccessible datasets. In particular, LLaMA-13B outperforms GPT-3 (175B) on most benchmarks, and LLaMA-65B is competitive with the best models, Chinchilla70B and PaLM-540B. We release all our models to the research community.”
Also in a Twitter post, Research Scientist at Facebook AI Research Guillaume Lample said:
“Today we release LLaMA, 4 foundation models ranging from 7B to 65B parameters. LLaMA-13B outperforms OPT and GPT-3 175B on most benchmarks. LLaMA-65B is competitive with Chinchilla 70B and PaLM 540B.”
Serenity Shield, Contentra Technologies join forces to transform digital content storage and archival content using web3
Digital assets have become a store of value and a safe haven for investors as fiat currencies lose their values through inflation that ravages economies across the globe. However, digital assets also have risks and challenges, and managing these risks is the key to this ecosystem.
For example, the impact of crypto-related hacks, scams, and lost wallet phrases reached unprecedented levels last year, resulting in over $14 billion in reported losses. This amount doubled from the previous year’s already staggering $7.8 billion in reported losses. It’s for this reason that Serenity Shield, a sensitive data storage solution on the blockchain, is seeking to reverse this trend by providing users of its‘ StrongBox utility with direct and secure access to a robust encryption protocol designed to protect access to their most valuable digital assets.
On Thursday, Serenity Shield partnered with educational publisher Contentra Technologies to transform digital content storage with blockchain and store archival content using web3. Once Contentra’s hardcopy archives have been scanned and converted, they will be permanently stored using Serenity’s web3 technology.
he partnership will also enable Contentra to offer its customers a broader range of services downstream of the value chain. Until now, Contentra’s customers have only been able to digitize and preserve documents in all advanced formats. With this partnership, Contentra’s users will be able to store their digitized data in blockchain-based archives using the technical collaboration and integration between Contentra’s digitization services and Serenity Shield’s blockchain storage solution.