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Connected newsletter: Stripe pumps money into Irish unit, big tech updates investors

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Big tech companies updated investors this week on their financial performance with Meta and Google-parent Alphabet reporting strong sales, but Microsoft’s warning over its cloud-computing business, raised concerns.

Meta, which owns Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp, forecast a rebound in online advertising that will drive revenue growth at the fastest rate since 2021. Alphabet, meanwhile, recorded a rise in second quarter revenues to $62 billion, which beat analyst expectations. Microsoft also surpassed Wall Street forecasts with Q2 revenues of $56.2 billion, but its warning of a slowdown with Azure saw some investors turning away from it.

The tech giant was also in the news this week as the European Union launched an investigation into the Microsoft’s Teams platform, citing competition concerns. It is intending to examine whether the tech company breached EU competition rules by tying or bundling Teams to its Office 365 and Microsoft 365 packages.

Staying with company results, Spotify, which this week increased its monthly fees, saw its shares slump by 14.3 per cent on Wednesday after publishing its latest quarterlies. Second-quarter revenue, which was up 11 per cent to €3.18 billion, missed the average estimate of €3.21 billion.

The other big news of the week was, of course, Elon Musk’s decision to rebrand Twitter as X. TikTok announced plans to try to snare some of those moving on from the platform with text-only posts, allowing users to create text-based content such as recipes, poetry and stories.

Microsoft and Alphabet are among the founding members of a new industry body intended to ensure AI models are safe. Open AI, the company behind ChatGPT, and Anthropic, the start-up behind AI assistant Claude, are also members of the Frontier Model Forum.

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Stripe’s $6.9 billion fundraise, which was announced in March, was by far the largest venture capital investment so far this year, according to new figures that show a continued decline in VC-backed deals. The online payment firm founded by Patrick and John Collision has pumped more than €1.2 billion into an Irish subsidiary in recent months, following completion of that funding round.

In other local news, a potential sale of Capitalflow, the Irish specialist lender acquired by Dutch online bank Bunq in a €141 million deal a year and a half ago, has been averted after the Amsterdam-headquartered fintech resolved a row with one of its biggest shareholders.

Elsewhere, Nuada, a Belfast-based cleantech company, secured £3.4 million for its ‘heatless’ carbon capture technology, while Integrity360, a Dublin-based tech business, made its second acquisition in less than three months, snapping up local rival Advantio.

Lastly, the European Union’s aim of significantly boosting domestic semiconductor production received a lift on Tuesday with the passing of the Chips Act. It forms part of an ambitious goal of producing 20 per cent of the world’s semiconductors by 2030. Will it work? We’ll have to wait and see.

I’m away next week but we’ll be back with the Connected newsletter on Friday August 11.

All the best



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