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Connected newsletter: Stripe rebounds as OpenAI gets a warm welcome in Dublin

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It has been a good week for Patrick and John Collison’s Stripe. As we reported on Wednesday, the firm’s valuation has rebounded on the back of a deal with investors that allows employees to cash out on some of their shares. The transaction values the company at $65 billion versus ‘just’ $50 billion a year ago. As if that weren’t enough, we followed up yesterday with news that Stripe is now processing $1 trillion in payments and sees plenty of opportunities for further growth.

OpenAI has maintained a relatively low profile since announcing plans to establish an operation in Dublin last September. This week though several senior executives were in town. Speaking at an event on Wednesday, Jason Kwon, the firm’s chief strategy officer, declared himself “intoxicated” by the tech talent on offer in Ireland. The company also revealed it has teamed up with Dublin City Council for a new initiative aimed at helping to transform the tourism experience using artificial intelligence.

Talking of AI and its seems’s Alphabet chief executive Sundar Pichai has been on the war path of late, telling staff that problematic responses from Google’s Gemini AI engine are “completely unacceptable.” Elsewhere, Alibaba has stepped up its bet on artificial intelligence, co-leading a huge $1 billion financing round for Chinese start-up, Moonshot AI. In addition, Microsoft announced a “strategic partnership” with French company Mistral AI, a leading competitor of OpenAI.

In the same week that Web Summit held its first event in Qatar, co-founder Paddy Cosgrave issued High Court proceedings against Mediahuis, the publisher of the Irish Independent and the Sunday Independent. The proceedings mark the first time that Cosgrave has taken this step having previously expressed his opposition to Ireland’s defamation laws, which he described as “odious”, “chilling”, and “insane”.

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In other news:

* Cormac Keenan, the most senior Irish executive at TikTok, is stepping down as part of a reshuffle of the tech giant’s executive ranks. Keenan, the boss of TikTok’s global trust and safety division, is reportedly standing down for personal reasons, and will become a non-executive director and advisor.

* Halo Technologies, an Irish company that provides body camera technology via a subscription-based pricing model, raised $20 million (€18.4 million) in a new Series A round. The company is led by Fiona Stanley, who previously served as the head of internationalisation and global sales at Stripe.

* Tech lay-offs continue with Sony announcing plans to cut 900 roles across its video-game division worldwide. This is equivalent to about 8 per cent of its employees.

* Klarna, one of the first tech companies to accept a “down round” as investor sentiment turned against fintechs, shrank its net losses 76 per cent in 2023 as the buy-now-pay-later firm makes preparations for one of the biggest public listings of the year.

* Ergo, the privately-owned IT services company, has reported revenues of €197.1 million for the 12 months ending March 2023, compared to €115.7 million a year earlier. The €81 million increase in revenue was due in part to a €52 million contribution from Asystec, the company it acquired for €25 million in February 2022.

* Ireland has been fined €2.5 million and faces a daily penalty of up to €10,000 from today for failing to transpose an EU directive into law.

* Lastly, in a move that will no doubt make Elon Musk happy, Apple is cancelling a decade-long effort to build an electric car, abandoning one of the most ambitious projects in the history of the company.

All the best,



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