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Aramco's Prosperity7 powers AI drug firm Insilico's $95M round – TechCrunch

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Hong Kong-based drug discovery and development company Insilico has secured fresh capital at a time that its CEO described as a "biotech winter." The firm has raised $35 million on the heels of its last tranche in June, bringing its total Series D investment to $95 million. The new round was "oversubscribed", the firm's founder and CEO Alex Zhavoronkov told TechCrunch, declining to disclose the company's valuation. Prosperity7, the venture capital arm of Saudi Arabia's state oil company Aramco, led the new capital infusion. The fund has been actively scouring for opportunities in and around China that can scale globally and particularly in the Middle East.


Aramco Backed Prosperity7 Ventures Leads Insilico Medicine $95M Series D

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Today Insilico Medicine announced the completion of a second closing of its Series D round, led by Prosperity7 Ventures, the diversified growth fund of Saudi Aramco Ventures, bringing the total Series D financing to $95 million. Other global investors with expertise in the biopharmaceutical and life sciences sectors also participated. The financing brought in Prosperity7 as a new investor, alongside current investors in the Series D round, including a large, diversified asset management firm on the US West Coast, B Capital Group, Warburg Pincus, BHR Partners, Qiming Venture Partners, Deerfield, Pavilion Capital, BOLD Capital Partners, and WS Investment Company. Insilico's founder and CEO, Alex Zhavoronkov, PhD, also invested in the Series D round. Insilico Medicine plans to grow its presence in Saudi Arabia, building on the recent investment from Prosperity7.


In the Garden of Hyperautomation

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Whether you're hip to it or not, conversational AI--which is really the sequencing of technologies like NLU/NLP, code-free programming, RPA, and machine learning inside of organizational ecosystems--has already begun reshaping the world at large. Lemonade, a tech- and user-centric insurance company is upending its industry by providing customers with a rewarding experience buying insurance that's facilitated by Maya, an intelligent digital worker described as "utterly charming" that can quickly connect dots and get customers insured. Maya is essentially an infinitely replicable agent that is always learning and doesn't make the same mistake twice. Compare that with whatever it costs Allstate to retain more than 12,000 agents in the US and Canada who are likely using outdated legacy systems and it's clear to see which way ROI is trending. Even bigger successes have been enjoyed by Ant Group (formerly Ant Financial) a nimble, Chinese financial giant that had surpassed the number of customers served by today's largest US banks by more than 10 times back at the start of 2020. Their IPO--which would have been the world's largest to date--collapsed after Chinese Communist Party leader Xi Jinping allegedly intervened. Subsequently, the company has broadened its scope past fintech to include sustainability and inclusive services (whatever those might be). Still, its core operations were built around a streamlined business structure that uses conversational AI to deliver meaningful experiences. While this kind of adoption of conversational AI in business settings is roundly expected to boom in the coming years, it will quickly seep into our daily lives as well, going beyond how we interact with the many companies in our lives and taking root in our interactions with all of the different technologies we regularly touch. I've always taken an interest in these topics, but like many cutting-edge things, they're hard to approach. Especially if you have no idea where to start. Especially if you don't have the expertise; the lexicon, the mindset, the lived experience. I'm a bit of an accidental Luddite, someone perpetually late to the party when it comes to the latest and greatest. Not to say that I'm completely unfamiliar with these things, just that integrating them into my work, and my life, is hard.


China's Industry Minister Faces Corruption Probe

International Business Times

China's minister for industry and information technology is being investigated for alleged corruption, state media reported Thursday, the latest senior cadre to be snared by Beijing's sweeping crackdown. Xiao Yaqing is among the biggest names caught up in President Xi Jinping's anti-corruption drive, and the investigation into him comes ahead of a key leadership summit this autumn where the Chinese leader will seek to cement his grip on power. Ostensibly a crackdown on corruption, critics say the wide-ranging campaign launched just after Xi took power in 2012 has also served to remove those voicing criticism of the all-powerful leader, or seen as a threat. Xiao is facing charges of "violating discipline and law," and is "currently under review and investigation," state broadcaster CCTV said without giving more details. His fall from grace comes amid a widespread crackdown on Chinese tech companies, which Beijing fears wield too much power due to lax regulations.


China's Jaka Robotics fueled by Saudi Arabia's Prosperity7 in global push – TechCrunch

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Jaka Robotics, a Chinese startup that makes collaborative robots, has just pulled in a hefty Series D funding round of over $150 million from a lineup of heavyweight investors to help it expand globally. The round is led by Singapore's sovereign wealth fund Temasek, TrueLight Capital, Softbank Vision Fund II, and Prosperity7 Ventures, a growth fund under Aramco Ventures, which is an investment subsidiary of Saudi Arabia's state oil firm Aramco. Collaborative robots, known as "cobots", are meant to work alongside humans rather than in isolation. Based out of Shanghai and Beijing, Jaka's robotic arms can augment humans in a range of tasks, from assembling electronic parts, pouring from a coffee machine to packaging smartphones. Jaka plans to spend its fresh funding on R&D and global expansion, which makes Prosperity7's investment all the more significant.


Will Dubai be amongst the 10 leading Metaverse economies globally?

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The Dubai Metaverse Strategy was launched with the goal of making Dubai one of the top ten metaverse economies and a global hub for the metaverse community. His Majesty Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed emphasised the importance of consolidating Dubai's status as a hub offering the most advanced metaverse ecosystem and as a global leader in adopting digital solutions, which reflects His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum's ambitious vision of transforming the emirate into a global capital of advanced technologies, primarily artificial intelligence (AI) and Web3. The strategy aims to build on Dubai's success in attracting over 1,000 blockchain and metaverse companies. It also promotes Dubai's goal of supporting over 40,000 virtual jobs by 2030. This would further boost Dubai's economy and support the UAE government's goal of tripling the current number of blockchain companies.


Ukraine Army Destroys Russian Tank, Kills 15 Soldiers Using A Drone

International Business Times

The Ukrainian army continues to defend its land against the invading Russians and has recently destroyed a Russian tank and killed more than a dozen soldiers as the war enters its sixth month, a new recording revealed. The Security Service of Ukraine (SSU) on Sunday released new audio of an intercepted phone call where a Russian soldier, whose identity was not revealed, recounted the attack to his mother. "Mom, we had such a'circus' today! At two o'clock in the morning – fifteen '200' [killed]. Because they all were watching a movie in the tank. They threw it [a projectile] into the turret from a drone! They just approached us, dropped the ammo, and it blew up," the soldier said.


5 Megatrends Fueling the Rise of Data Storytelling

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Humanity is creating more data than ever before, and more of that data is publicly accessible. While "data is the new oil" has almost become a cliché, the impact that data abundance is having on the world is undeniable. All of the world's most valuable companies are heavily reliant on data for their continued success. Even oil giant Saudi Aramco, the world's most valuable company, runs a 6,000 m² data center, and is partnering with Google Cloud. In a world where nearly everything is quantified, communicating insights from that data becomes a massive opportunity.


Ukraine conflict: How are are drones being used?

BBC News

"Russian forces can bring their guns to bear on the enemy within only three to five minutes of an Orlan-10 drone spotting a target," says Dr Watling. Without them, an attack could take 20 to 30 minutes to carry out, he says.


Documents Reveal Advanced AI Tools Google Is Selling to Israel

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Training materials reviewed by The Intercept confirm that Google is offering advanced artificial intelligence and machine-learning capabilities to the Israeli government through its controversial "Project Nimbus" contract. The Israeli Finance Ministry announced the contract in April 2021 for a $1.2 billion cloud computing system jointly built by Google and Amazon. "The project is intended to provide the government, the defense establishment and others with an all-encompassing cloud solution," the ministry said in its announcement. Google engineers have spent the time since worrying whether their efforts would inadvertently bolster the ongoing Israeli military occupation of Palestine. In 2021, both Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International formally accused Israel of committing crimes against humanity by maintaining an apartheid system against Palestinians.