Connected newsletter: Failte to OpenAI as Apple unveils new iPhone

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Greetings from Copenhagen!

I’ve been in the Danish capital the last few days attending TechBBQ, a great start-up conference.

It has been fascinating to compare and contrast the approach of Nordic countries to innovation. Like Ireland, many start-ups here focus on international markets from the get-go, developing solutions that are scalable. There is a lot we can learn from each other.

While I have been busy getting hygge with it, there has been plenty happening on the tech front.

The big news during the week was the decision by OpenAI, the parent of ChatGPT, to open an office in Dublin. We broke the news on Monday with confirmation coming yesterday. It’s is arguably a major coup to get a company at the forefront of the AI revolution to establish an operation in Ireland.

This week also saw Apple unveiling a number of new products, including the new iPhone15 and some carbon-neutral smartwatches. I’ll have more on this on at the weekend.

A high-stakes antitrust trial involving Google was opened in Washington on Tuesday with the tech giant accused of paying over $10 billion a year to maintain its position as the default search engine on web browsers and mobile devices. The company also announced further job cuts with employees here believed to be impacted.

Talking of layoffs, X, formerly Twitter, has agreed to settle claims by thousands of former employees who claim they were cheated of severance pay when laid off last year.

Chip designer Arm spurred hope of a rebound in flotations after pricing its initial public offering (IPO) at the top end of its range, in a move that values the company at $54.5 billion.

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Funding for European fintech’s fell 70 per cent in the first six months of the year, and declined 28.1 per cent in Ireland.

One fintech that is doing well currently is Freemarket, which has just been authorised as a payment institution by the Central Bank of Ireland in a move that paves the way for the company to begin providing new financial services to businesses both here and further afield.

One that is not however is EML Payments, which has had its share of woes since buying Irish company PFS Card Services a few years ago. Directors at PFS which is at the centre of a Central Bank of Ireland investigation over anti-money laundering deficiencies, are to resign from the company it was confirmed earlier this week.

There was a host of good news from Irish firms this week. Catagen, a Belfast-based cleantech company, announced it has received further funding from the UK government.

In addition, Tirlán, the dairy brand that previously traded as Glanbia Ireland, revealed a new €10 million agrifood tech fund, while Ubotica, the Irish space tech company, announced a new partnership with IBM to allow firms to deploy AI-enabled applications directly to satellites in just one-click.

As if that wasn’t enough, Auxilion, an Irish managed services provider, said it had invested €4.6 million into its new managed services centre in Sheffield.

Finally, you may not have heard of Raylo, but chances are you’ll know the name soon enough. The Irish co-founded smartphone subscription provider, whose backers include Telefónica, this week raised £5.2 million (€6 million) in cash and airtime in a new funding round led by Macquarie and Channel 4 Ventures.

Expect to see the company appearing on our screens shortly.

All the best



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