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Connected newsletter: Anthropic comes to Dublin as Frontline raises $200m to back more tech companies

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Hopes that Ireland can become a leading hub for artificial intelligence received a further boost this week with news that Anthropic is following in the footsteps of rival OpenAI and establishing an Irish operation.

Anthropic, which is known for its flagship AI assistant Claude, is a highly-regarded company whose backers include Amazon and Google. There’s no doubt that its decision to set up shop here is good news for Ireland Inc.

How long though before Anthropic is snapped up? Meredith Whittaker, president of Signal, who regular readers will know as being a persistent thorn in the side of Big Tech, suggested recently that in reality, there are only a small handful of companies at play in AI.

“There's no such thing as an AI start-up, just guys with models competing to be absorbed by one of the three actual AI companies,” she posted on X earlier this week.

Such a claim was given added credence as it was revealed that Microsoft, which already has a significant stake in ChatGPT parent OpenAI, has named Mustafa Suleyman as head of its consumer artificial intelligence business. It has also hired most of the staff from his start-up, Inflection AI. Suleyman, for those who don’t know, previously co-founded DeepMind, which was acquired by Google 10 years ago. And guess what? Google is snuggling up to Anthropic, recently committing to invest $2 billion in the start-up.

Separately, Google has been fined €250 million by France’s competition watchdog for failing to broker agreements with media outlets for publishing links to their content and for plundering press content to train its AI technology.

Talking of companies dominating AI, Jensen Huang, the chief executive of Nvidia, showed off new chips on Monday that will extend its lead over rivals in the space. Its new Blackwell chips, which are made up of 208 billion transistors, are likely to be the basis of new computers and other products being deployed by the world’s largest data centre operators in the coming years.

Still on the same subject, European data regulators opted against giving new powers to a new taskforce set up to examine ChatGPT, with disagreement emerging between watchdogs during a vote on the issue, records show.

As if that weren’t enough, late on Thursday it was revealed that Apple and Google are set to face full-blown EU investigations under the Digital Markets Act (DMA).

Ireland has joined a US-led international effort to fight against spyware in a move described as significant by a senior member of the Biden administration, amid claims the country has aided the proliferation of such software. The official was quoted as saying that several spyware vendors have in recent years “sought to use Ireland essentially as a financial pass-through for some of their activities’.

Web Summit co-founder and former CEO Paddy Cosgrave voted down all the resolutions proposed by his co-founders at an extraordinary general meeting held earlier this year, the High Court heard.

Frontline Ventures, the Dublin and London-based venture capital firm, has raised $200 million across two funds to help B2B software companies to scale on both sides of the Atlantic.

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In other news:

• Revolut is extending its reach ever further. It is now going head-to-head with Jack Dorsey’s Square and SumUp with the launch of point-of-sales (POS) software for Irish SMEs.

• Gianni Matera is named venture capitalist in residence at NovaUCD

• Losses shrink at Datalex as Covid bounce back boosts bottom line

• Former Waystone execs back Wrky in oversubscribed €2m fundraise

• Hostelworld, the Dublin-based online travel agent, has reported group operating profit of €5 million in 2023

• West of Ireland tech hub Platform94 names Marie Donnellan as new CEO

• Revenues and profits down at Three Ireland

Lastly, in an excellent analysis piece, my colleague Kathleen Gallagher warns that the EU’s AI Act is the start of a regulatory divergence that could spell trouble for the Irish tech sphere.

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All the best,



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