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Connected newsletter: Is AI really bigger than the discovery of fire or electricity?

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EDITOR'S NOTE

It’s been a week of successes and failures on the tech scene this week as we said goodbye to two companies, one which has been acquired in a multimillion dollar deal, and another which sadly went into liquidation.

Wexford-born techie Mike Hanrahan scored another spectacular exit as he confirmed the sale of Sustain.Life, a New York-headquartered company he founded in late 2021 in a $100 million sale. It continues a strong run from the entrepreneur. Jet.com, a business he co-founded, was acquired by Walmart for $3.3 billion eight years ago. He also previously co-founded Genetx Biotherapeutics, and was an early team member of Quidsi, which was bought by Amazon for $770 million in 2010.

‘I’m only 50, I’m not spending the next 30 years on my hobbies,’ Hanrahan said in an exclusive interview as he revealed he has promised his family that he will take some time out. He added though that he can easily see himself going back into business at some point.

On a sadder note, Ambisense, a Dublin City University spin-out that was focused on the area of environmental health, has appointed a liquidator to the business. In another exclusive, I spoke to founder and CEO Stephen McNulty about what went wrong and how he intends to "dust himself down, learn from the mistakes that have been made, and start over again.”

What do you mean you want MORE exclusives? Okay, well, on Sunday, the Business Post was the first to report that the state’s sovereign wealth arm ISIF has invested $65 million across two funds operated by Sean O’Sullivan’s venture capital firm SOSV, which are focused on decarbonisation. In addition, we also revealed that Enterprise Ireland has launched plans to stimulate a new wave of global Irish business giants with the potential to rapidly scale into €1 billion companies.

Web Summit will receive significantly less to run its North American conference in Vancouver than it has gotten to host it in Toronto, according to Canadian media. The events company has described Betakit’s report as ‘highly innacurate’

Away from home and Nvidia leapfrogged Microsoft and Apple to become the world’s most valuable company this week. Its valuation has surged due to demand for its AI chips.

And if proof were needed of just how big artificial intelligence is going to be, you need only ask Dragoş Tudorache. In Dublin this week, the Romanian lawmaker and key architect of the EU’s landmark AI Act, didn’t beat about the bush when discussing its importance. He claims AI is bigger than the discovery of fire and the invention of electricity for the global workforce. Tudorache also warned of the geopolitical risks faced by the tech sector due to its overreliance on Nvidia’s AI chips.

Plenty of techies were out to hear Tudorache speaking at Trinity College Dublin. Others were at the InvestHer conference where Anne Ravanona, founder and chief executive of Global InvestHer, pooh-poohed the idea that women are more risk adverse than men.

Stripe president John Collison has said he expects the payments company will once again let employees cash out some of their shares soon, rather than seek an initial public offering.

It was another big week for raises with Finbourne Technology, an Irish co-founded financial data management company, securing £55 million (€65 million) in a new funding round co-led by Fergal Mullen’s Highland Europe.

While not of the same magnitude, Lynq, an AI-powered workspace for venture and private equity investors, also secured financing from Irish-led investors. In this case it was Finn Murphy’s Nebular fund, and Pebblebed, who backed Paul Sheridan’s start-up.

In our weekly update, we are giving you the lowdown on the best tech jobs currently available locally. If you want to be included, then email topjobs@businesspost.ie

Weekly Newsletter

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In other news:

• Online overtakes TV as the primary source for news content

• PayPal confirms plans to cut 85 jobs in Ireland

• Revolut add bonds to investment offering

• Europe falling behind on AI despite lead in engineering

Send on your news and views to connected@businesspost.ie

All the best,

Charlie


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