Monday, May 29, 2023 | 04:46 am

The Excitement Surrounding AI Won’t Just Be Celebrity-driven

The Excitement Surrounding AI Won’t Just Be Celebrity-driven

Welcome to Startups Weekly, a nuanced take on this week’s startup news and trends by Senior Reporter and Equity co-host Natasha Mascarenhas. To get this in your inbox, subscribe here.

First off, hello to all the new Startups Weekly subscribers who joined us after last week’s newsletter. I’m glad we all still resonate with a comeback story. Second, here are some basics on what to expect. 

I start off most of these newsletters with a mini-essay on what is top of mind to me, sometimes pointing toward one of my longer-form pieces from the week or just sharing some extra thoughts at the end of the news cycle. Then I jump into three themes that stand out from the week, with extra reading for those that want to dig in more. I end with notes to know from around the tech blogosphere, TC events and, if you look closely enough, personal anecdotes that often have to do with coffee and food. Ok, now onto the aforementioned essay! 

It all started with a sound. More specifically, an SEC filing from Sound Ventures, actor and entrepreneur Ashton Kutcher’s venture firm, confirmed plans to raise an artificial intelligence-focused venture firm. Bloomberg estimates that the new investment vehicle could total around $200 million dollars upon close.

While Kutcher’s firm has been around for a long time and has lived through enough hype cycles to not be easily swayed one way or another, the filing made me curious. Are we going to see more celebrity-led venture firms jump onto the AI bandwagon? Especially since crypto, the hype train’s ol’ favorite sector, has sputtered and struggled in recent months?

If you ask me, I’d bet that we won’t see the same rush of celebrities looking to promote AI products on their Instagram stories the way they promoted [insert coin offering here]. It’s complicated, and I may be entirely wrong. Read my full take on TC+: “Will AI receive the same celebrity-fueled hype as crypto once did? It’s complicated.”

In the rest of this newsletter, we’ll talk about inflation, thorny integration, and breaking tradition. As always, you can follow me on Twitter or Instagram to continue the conversation. I’m also writing on my personal blog if you’d like to follow along with the 1,835 other people who come to hang out and be too wordy.


One of my favorite pastimes is going to the supermarket, so you can imagine that I am aggressively attuned to the changing prices of eggs these days. Luckily, there’s a startup angle to tell us more. TC’s Christine Hall wrote about how higher egg prices have burst open a bigger demand for alternatives. If you’re like me and just know about Just Egg, this story is illuminating for so many reasons.

Here’s why it’s important, Hall tells me: “There wasn’t a definitive yes or no about pushing the gas pedal on [alternative egg startups] getting more product out there. I was hoping someone would say, yes, startups should go for it, or no, this is just a passing thing and they should wait. So perhaps this kind of environment presents a very scrambled opportunity, pun intended.”