Upfront Summit 2023: AI takes the stage

by Ana Lopez

A marching band, a red carpet, and a DJ coding her beats are all things you can get before coffee (and a business card) at the Upfront Summit, one of the company’s most anticipated conferences. But not even a marching band could distract attention from the real star of the show: AI.

Upfront Summit founder Mark Suster and partners Kerry Bennett and Kobie Fuller even performed a skit centered on AI. The takeaway? AI is a tempting sector to invest in, but it is still too early to trust blindly.

This is not new; hyped technologies often receive excessive interest. But the vibe is different from 2021, when investors threw billions of dollars at 15-minute grocery delivery services and web3. Venture dry powder is stuck, deals are being done more slowly and some investors are still licking their wounds from the downturn so far.

AI feels it. According to a businessupdates.org analysis of PitchBook data, “generative AI companies won’t even set a local fundraising cap in the first quarter of 2023.” Understanding how recently humbled check writers think about AI will help technology better understand how to execute moonshot visions.

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