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Connected newsletter: Data centre dilemmas and exciting fintechs

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A necessary evil they may be but there is no getting away from the fact that data centres are going to play an increasingly important part in our future. With AI adoption soaring, energy demand is going to reach ever new heights in the years ahead. Given this, it’s worrying to see how much Ireland is tying itself in knots over data centres.

At a conference I attended in Paris recently, a number of speakers mentioned the moratorium in place in Dublin, noting how regions that enact them will likely be left behind as new investments go elsewhere. While a need to safeguard the national grid is paramount, the state needs to figure out how to balance this with a wish to secure further FDI.

As the Business Post’s reporting showed this week however, the government is failing to do a good job at this currently. On Sunday we revealed that Amazon, Google and Microsoft have all warned that Ireland is likely to lose significant levels of investment due to a failure to address the country’s creaking energy system. We followed this up on Thursday with a story on how IDA Ireland has complained that Eamon Ryan was damaging Ireland’s “credibility” among multinational companies over his stance on data centres connecting to the gas grid, as an alternative.

Another thing the government is not doing a good job on currently is ratifying plans to join the EU’s Unified Patent Court (UPC). This would allow Irish businesses to defend or challenge patents in one legal case rather than doing so separately for different jurisdictions. A decision was taken this week to defer the planned referendum on the issue this week in a move described as both “disappointing” and “shameful”.

It was a big week for the closing of new funds. Sean O’Sullivan’s SOSV announced a whopping $300 million climate tech fund. Elsewhere, former Frontline Ventures partner Finn Murphy revealed he is closing out his new fund at a higher rate than first anticipated.

GridBeyond, which uses artificial intelligence to help large industrial energy users to streamline power use, has raised €52 million in a new Series C funding round as it gears up for further international expansion. In other funding news, Trrue, a Co Cork-based blockchain start-up, secured €600,000 in investment as DataOp, the venture capital firm founded by three former Waystone executives, continues to back Irish fintech firms.

BT has insisted that "no decisions" have been taken on the future of its Irish business, following reports that it could be sold.

Close to €60 million has been raised by early-stage tech companies participating in programmes run by the state’s start-up accelerator over the last three years, new figures reveal.

And lastly, two Irish-founded start-ups have been included in Business Insider’s most exciting European fintech firms list.

Weekly Newsletter

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In other news:

• US car software firm Sonatus opens an R&D and engineering centre in Dublin

Kota announces partnership with health insurer Vitality

Google to spend over $100bn on AI says Deepmind chief executive

• X plans to charge new users in bid to cull bots

Digicel appoints former Colombian telecoms boss as chief executive

• Revolut backer says the fintech’s valuation has jumped

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All the best,


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