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Suno, Scale AI, and H raise massive funding rounds. Voice AI is now everywhere.

Join us as a Design Hacker this summer.

This is a week of highs and lows in AI.

AI hype funding hits highs. Generative music sensation Suno announces a $125M raise led by Lightspeed Ventures, to some disgruntlement from the music crowd. Scale AI hits $14B in valuation. Ex-Deep Mind scientists raise $220M to go head-to-head with foundational model companies like OpenAI.

At the same time, we’re seeing signs of overhyped, well-funded early bets go sideways. The Humane AI Pin, which raised over $230M while being in stealth for 6 years, is rumored to be exploring a sale just a few weeks after a disastrous launch.

Voice AI is spreading like wildfire. After OpenAI announced their voice product last week, there’s been a series of voice AI announcements from Nothing earbuds, Arc Browser, and rumors about an Apple x ChatGPT announcement at the upcoming WWDC. There’s speculation that we could be seeing voice-to-voice product releases very soon. We wrote a report forecasting the rise of Voice AI, released last year.

An open call for Design Hackers to join Strange Ventures this summer!

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Apply here (due by June 9): design.strangevc.com

🔥 Latest News

  1. OpenAI partners with Wall Street Journal publisher News Corp.: OpenAI announced its newest partnership with an outside media agency – News Corp., the famed company founded by billionaire media mogul Rupert Murdoch and which controls such outlets as The Wall Street Journal and major book publisher HarperCollins. Yet HarperCollins will not be included in this deal. OpenAI specifically states in its blog post announcing the deal that it pertains to “current and archived content from News Corp’s major news and information publications…The partnership does not include access to content from any of News Corp’s other businesses.” The valuation of the deal wasn’t disclosed – presumably OpenAI is paying News Corp., as it has done with other publishers to the tune of reported $10 million+ a year. The Wall Street Journal itself reported on the agreement stating the valuation “could be” close to $250 million over five years, or $50 million a year.

  2. Meta introduces Chameleon, a state-of-the-art multimodal model: Meta has released a preview of what can be its answer to the models released by frontier labs. Chameleon, its new family of models, has been designed to be natively multi-modal instead of putting together components with different modalities. While Meta has not released the models yet, their reported experiments show that Chameleon achieves state-of-the-art performance in various tasks, including image captioning and visual question answering (VQA), while remaining competitive in text-only tasks. The architecture of Chameleon can unlock new AI applications that require a deep understanding of both visual and textual information.

  3. Ex-Deepmind scientists raise $220m to launch Paris-based agentic AI startup H: Paris-based AI startup H, previously known as Holistic, has raised a $220m seed round to build foundational models – AI models trained on large amounts of data, similar to those developed by OpenAI in the US, Mistral in France and Aleph Alpha in Germany. H was founded earlier this year in the French capital by a team that includes Karl Tuyls, Laurent Sifre, Julien Perolat and Daan Wierstra, who are all former scientists from Google DeepMind. H builds foundational models that it describes as “agentic”, a type of AI that is designed to be able to break down tasks into multiple steps and carry out those sub tasks, rather than just responding to prompts one at a time. The startup says that its models will be more capable of reasoning, planning and collaborating than those of its competitors. 

  1. AI music generator, Suno hits high note with $125 million funding round: Suno, an artificial intelligence model for music, has reportedly announced a successful funding round that saw the music firm securing $125 million. With Suno, users may reportedly compose entire songs using straightforward text instructions. For lyric and title generation, the company uses OpenAI's ChatGPT, even though the majority of its technology is proprietary.

  1. Humane AI is reportedly looking for a buyer, just weeks after its disastrous wearables launch: On the heels of its widely-panned wearables launch, artificial intelligence startup Humane is looking for a buyer. The company, which The Information reported was valued last year at $850 million, is seeking a price of $750 million to $1 billion, Bloomberg reported. Humane, built an AI-enabled wearable pin that offers smartphone capabilities. It's priced at $699 and has a $24 monthly subscription fee. The pin's April launch, which had been delayed by months, was a disaster. Traditional media outlets and independent reviewers, like YouTube tech king Marques Brownlee, published scathing reviews, saying the pin wasn't yet ready for real-life customers.

  1. DeepDataSpace unveiled DINO 1.5, a set of powerful open-world object detection AI models that accurately identify objects in images and videos: DINO 1.5 Pro encompasses many detection scenarios, including long-tail object detection, dense object detection, and long caption phrase grounding. DINO 1.5 Edge strives for fast and reliable detection while maintaining low latency and reduced power consumption. The AI models were trained on over 20 million curated and labeled real-world objects. DINO 1.5 Pro scored record-breaking accuracy in testing, correctly identifying 55.7% of objects it hadn’t seen before.