Will we see billion-dollar companies with just one employee?

Sam Altman seems to think so.

Here’s a provocative thought: in the near future, we’ll see a one-person or ten-person company at a billion-dollar valuation. At least, that’s what Sam Altman of Open AI believes.

This possibility becomes even more interesting when paired with the prediction nearly 50% of the current S&P 500 will be replaced over the next ten years, according to a report that studies corporate longevity.

Are we seeing the dawning of The Modern Co, with a different playbook than its predecessors? For instance, smaller, more nimble companies, that scale with fractional teams or outsourced tasks? We are already seeing such teams emerge, such as Midjourney, the generative AI company started by David Holz making over $200M ARR, with less than 40 employees — and they did it all without raising a single VC dollar.

Interested in more stories about companies like these? Let me know!

🔥 Latest news

  • US launches inquiry into AI deals by Microsoft, OpenAI, Google and Amazon: The United States trade regulator launched an inquiry into investments and partnerships made by some of the biggest companies in the generative artificial intelligence space. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) said in a statement that it issued orders to five companies requiring them to provide information on the matter, including Google parent company Alphabet, Amazon, Anthropic, Microsoft and ChatGPT maker OpenAI.

  • Meta releases ‘Code Llama 70B’, an open-source behemoth to rival AI development: Meta released a new and improved version of its code generation model, Code Llama 70B. This updated model can write code in various programming languages, such as Python, C++, Java and PHP, from natural language prompts or existing code snippets. And it can do it faster, better and more accurately than ever before. One of the highlights of Code Llama 70B is CodeLlama-70B-Instruct, a variant that has been fine-tuned for understanding natural language instructions and generating code accordingly. This variant scored 67.8 on HumanEval, a benchmark dataset of 164 programming problems that test the functional correctness and logic of code generation models.

  • The New York Times is building a team to explore AI in the newsroom:The New York Times will begin building a team to explore the use of generative AI in its newsroom. Zach Seward, who was recently hired by the publication to head AI initiatives, posted on Threads that the team will be “focused on prototyping uses of generative AI and other machine-learning techniques to help with reporting and how the Times is presented to readers.

🔧 Cool Tools and Experiments

  • Alibaba announces Qwen-VL, a new model that outperforms GPT-4V and Gemini on benchmarks

  • Instagram tests a new feature called Flipside, an experiment that would essentially turn users’ “finstas” — their separate, private and more personal accounts — into a new product feature.

  • Xsolla unveils Story3 creator platform for digital storytelling that features direct-to-consumer transactions and an “immersive canvas for enhanced creativity

  • Alibaba’s Quark launches AI PPT, an AI-powered tool for creating presentation slides

  • Midjourney released V6 updates including pan, zoom, and vary region image generation capabilities, alongside expanded alpha website access

Latest Startup Fundings

  • Wondercraft raises $3M for its AI-powered Audio Studio for creators in a round led by Will Ventures and backed by Y Combinator,  ElevenLabs, Steven Bartlett

  • Xreal raises $60M for consumer AR glasses

  • Semron raises $7.9M for AI chips with 3D packaging for mobile devices 

  • AiDash raises $50M for tech using AI satellites to spot wildfire risk

  • Enterprise generative AI platform developer Kore.ai secures $150M to build tools for global brands

  • Loric Games raises $4M in funding led by 1AM Gaming to build its first game, an unnamed project currently in development