Weekly VC Insights by Uniborn #16

Inside: The all-powerful AI shows weakness, and Germany seems to find its place in the sun
Barbara Krassner
🇬🇪 Uniborn Team
4 min read

Greetings everyone! Welcome to another Uniborn digest to freshen up your brains after this scorching workweek (for real, it seems like the sun has decided to work its butt off this summer). Be sure to subscribe so you don't miss a single update!

🔥 The race for Europe's biggest startup hubs has seen some major shake-ups

Since 2011, EU-Startups magazine has diligently evaluated and ranked Europe’s most active startup cities. And now, it has unveiled the TOP-30 biggest startup hubs in Europe for 2023.

London still wears the crown, while Paris secures second place. But keep your eyes peeled because Berlin is chasing hard and could plausibly snatch back the spot next to the throne in the next 2-3 years. 

Check the EU-Startups ranking for more details.

🔥 Berlin is not working in silos: Germany's Solar Valley is taking on the fight

Climate technology has been widely predicted to be "recession-proof," but data from 2023 shows that investors are not as interested in the sector amid the broader economic downturn. 

Europe, however, is in a better position than the rest of the world. Remember the climate fintech boom we wrote about a few weeks ago? And the news from the Baltics, the UK, and Germany is particularly encouraging. Their eco-focused startups are raising hundreds of millions of dollars from investors this week, and Germany's Solar Valley is coming back to life.

A few decades ago, this industrial region in eastern Germany led the way in solar panel manufacturing, helping the country capture more than half of Europe's solar market. In the '10s, China pulled up stakes, and the valley dwindled. But in recent years, the heat has returned: Germany no longer wants to be dependent on the whims of foreign gas suppliers (quite understandably) and wants to rely solely on renewables.

As a result, from 2019 to now, Germany has seen more funding rounds for solar technology than any other European country. And it's now home to some of the continent's most valuable solar companies: the $2.4 billion Enpal, the catching-up 1Komma5, and Zolar. Yet, the raw materials for Germany's solar panels still come from abroad, so the country still has a long, bumpy way to go.

Check the Sifted article for more details.

🔥 Speed does not equal quality, though. Apparently, ChatGPT didn't get smarter — quite the opposite

The joy of GPT-4 was quickly replaced by confusion — the new model of the world's most popular AI chatbot has indeed become faster with the upgrade, but its answers have become more questionable than future-facing.

This new attribute was noticed by Roblox product manager Peter Yang, and it is actively mooted in developer forums — and now the suspicions have finally been grounded.

Researchers from Stanford and the University of California at Berkeley conducted a study and validated that OpenAI's GPT-4 is losing its grip. More specifically, its performance is dropping compared to the older GPT-3.5 version. 

The scientists cross-referenced ChatGPT's responses based on GPT-3.5 and GPT-4 from March 2023 and June 2023: they analyzed how the bot, depending on the model and time, solves math problems, writes codes, answers embarrassing questions, etc. 

The results are sweeping-off-the-feet: the March GPT-4 identified prime numbers with almost 98% accuracy, but the June GPT-4 was no more than 3% accurate. It's funny that the "less advanced" GPT-3.5 turned out to be more consistent: it did better in June than in March.

The March 2023 and June 2023 versions of GPT-4 and GPT-3.5 perform differently.<br>(Image: Stanford University and UC Berkeley research)
The March 2023 and June 2023 versions of GPT-4 and GPT-3.5 perform differently.
(Image: Stanford University and UC Berkeley research)

The reasons for such a shift are still shrouded in mystery, and in fact, it seems that even OpenAI does not know why this happens. At least publicly, the company swears that it's just making the bot smarter.

One thing is clear: the behavior of the same LLM service can change significantly in a relatively short period of time. And to keep it from wandering off into the unknown, it is better to keep it on a short leash.

Check the Stanford University and UC Berkeley researchers’ paper for more details.

Cover image: iStock

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