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Ola’s Aggarwal sets eyes on AI, semiconductor design on August 1, 2023 at 7:01 am

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Indian entrepreneur Bhavish Aggarwal, co-founder of ride-hailing firm Ola and electric vehicle startup Ola Electric, is venturing into fresh terrain as he navigates his businesses towards initial public offerings.

He has set up an AI startup that seeks to develop a large language model and is currently scouting two U.S.-headquartered AI startups for a potential acquisition, people familiar with the matter said. Aggarwal is also in talks to raise over $50 million for the new AI venture, the people said.

The entrepreneur, who founded Ola over a decade ago, has also floated the idea of setting up a semiconductor design firm, one person said, requesting anonymity as the details are not public. It’s unclear whether the semiconductor design firm will be part of the same AI venture.

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A spokesperson for Aggarwal declined to comment Monday.

AI and semiconductor designing are the latest of a long-list of areas that Aggarwal has explored in the past decade. Ola leads the Indian ride-hailing market whereas Ola Electric has assumed a leader position in India’s electric scooter market with nearly 250,000 vehicles sold in the past year and a half, according to Society of Manufacturers of Electric Vehicles.

He told Bloomberg last month that Ola had turned profitable whereas Ola Electric had “grown and matured faster” than initial plans, prompting him to advance the timeline for the EV startup’s initial public offering.

The recent surge in AI interest has prompted a boost to the tech economy, delivering a rally in tech stocks and generating a flurry of startup activity. OpenAI’s unveiling of ChatGPT has been a key trigger for the enthusiasm, leading investors to deploy over $20 billion into AI startups in the past quarters. However, India, despite being one of the most significant startup ecosystems, appears to be lagging in this race.

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“Normally science enables technologies. AI technology will enable significant acceleration of scientific progress. Science today is still experimental, empirical and relies on the time and creativity of the scientist,” he tweeted last week. “AI will give the scientist significant creative and intelligence leverage. Can we in India become a leading science ecosystem by adopting AI across scientific domains?”

On the other hand, Aggarwal’s assertive expansion into new and often unrelated sectors and their subsequent corporate structures have previously rattled some of his investors. Many backers of Ola, for instance, have expressed concerns about not getting a stake in Ola Electric, which spun out of the ride-hailing firm, people familiar with the matter said.

​ Indian entrepreneur Bhavish Aggarwal, co-founder of ride-hailing firm Ola and electric vehicle startup Ola Electric, is venturing into fresh terrain as he navigates his businesses towards initial public offerings. He has set up an AI startup that seeks to develop a large language model and is currently scouting two U.S.-headquartered AI startups for a potential 

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Business

TikTok Sues US Gov’t

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TikTok is suing the US government to stop the enforcement of a bill that seeks to force the app’s Chinese owner to sell the app or face a ban. The lawsuit argues that the bill violates constitutional protections of free speech and is an “unprecedented violation” of the First Amendment.

Visit of Shou Zi Chew, CEO of TikTok, to the European Commission

Background

  • The bill, the Protecting Americans from Foreign Adversary Controlled Applications Act, was passed last month.
  • The lawsuit was filed in the US Circuit Court of Appeals for Washington, DC.
  • TikTok argues that the bill is a permanent, nationwide ban on a single speech platform and restricts free speech without sufficient reason.

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Government Response

  • The Department of Justice has not commented on the lawsuit.
  • A White House spokesperson directed a request for comment to the Justice Department.
  • John Moolenaar, chairman of the House Select Committee on the Chinese Communist Party, stated that TikTok poses a grave risk to national security and the American people.

Legal Proceedings

  • The lawsuit is expected to add to an already lengthy timeline for a potential ban or sale of the app.
  • ByteDance, TikTok’s Chinese owner, already had over a year to make a move, and legal proceedings will pause the timeline, meaning it could be years before a ban goes into effect.

TikTok’s Efforts

  • TikTok has made efforts to assure the public and US officials that it takes data security seriously.
  • In 2022, the company started “Project Texas,” a move meant to provide data security and transparency around the information the app collects about US users.

Conclusion

  • The lawsuit states that Congress has not offered any evidence suggesting that TikTok poses data security risks or foreign propaganda spread that could justify the law.
  • TikTok claims the law violates the right to due process under the Fifth Amendment and is an unconstitutional bill of attainder.

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Universal Music Group & TikTok Partner in New Licensing Agreement

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In a monumental move, Universal Music Group (UMG) and TikTok have announced a pioneering licensing agreement that will transform the music landscape. This historic deal unites UMG’s vast music catalog with TikTok’s massive user base, unlocking unprecedented opportunities for artists, songwriters, and fans worldwide.

Visit of Shou Zi Chew, CEO of TikTok, to the European Commission

A New Era for Music Consumption and Monetization

The agreement marks a significant milestone in the UMG-TikTok relationship, allowing users to once again create videos featuring music from global superstars and emerging talent. The deal also paves the way for innovative monetization opportunities, with TikTok investing in artist-centric tools and campaigns to support UMG artists across genres and territories globally.
A Shared Commitment to Valuing Music and Creativity
Sir Lucian Grainge, Chairman and CEO of UMG, and Shou Chew, CEO of TikTok, hailed the agreement as a “new chapter” in their partnership, built on a shared commitment to promoting the value of music, human artistry, and the welfare of the creative community.

Sir Lucian Grainge, Chairman and CEO of UMG on the left of the photo.

Addressing Generative AI Concerns
The deal also tackles concerns around generative AI, with TikTok committing to work with UMG to ensure that AI development in the music industry protects human creativity and the economics that flow to artists and songwriters.
Deeper Connections and Responsible AI Development
Ole Obermann, TikTok’s Global Head of Music Business Development, emphasized that the agreement will “create deeper connections between artists, creators, and fans” and ensure that AI tools are developed responsibly to enable a new era of musical creativity and fan engagement.
Transformational Partnerships and Advancements
Michael Nash, Chief Digital Officer and EVP of UMG, welcomed the renewed relationship with TikTok, citing the potential for “transformational partnerships” and “significant advancements” in commercial and marketing opportunities, as well as protections for UMG’s industry-leading roster.
A Win for the Music Industry
This groundbreakingagreement is a major victory for the music industry, which has long sought to strike a balance between promoting artistic creativity and protecting the rights of artists and songwriters in the digital age. With UMG and TikTok working together, the possibilities for innovation and growth are endless, and fans can look forward to enjoying music from their favorite artists in new and exciting ways.
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House of Lords to Host Nigerian Innovators

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Clean Cyclers, alongside Sustainability Unscripted and other sustainability partners, is gearing up to host the 3rd Edition of the Global Sustainability Summit in the United Kingdom. Scheduled for March 28 – 29, 2024, at the prestigious House of Lords in the Palace of Westminster, the summit aims to raise awareness, promote collaboration across disciplines, tackle global challenges with local solutions, and advocate for social equity.

Canon Otto, the organizer and founder of Clean Cyclers, emphasized the summit’s commitment to inclusivity, prioritizing climate action, environmental stewardship, and identifying policy pathways for sustainable development. Under the theme “Advancing Sustainability, a Journey Towards a Greener Future,” the summit will gather leading visionaries, experts, innovators, and change-makers from global corporations, organizations, and government agencies to brainstorm strategies for adopting the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals.

Sustainability Businessman Otton Canon

The summit will feature panel sessions addressing urgent topics such as climate action, circular economy, renewable energy revolution, sustainable cities, biodiversity conservation, green finance, sustainable agriculture, and climate justice. Additionally, it will recognize and celebrate companies, governments, organizations, and individuals demonstrating commitment to sustainability through practical initiatives and the realization of short-term objectives and long-term goals.

In a statement, the organizers highlighted the broad spectrum of sustainability practices, policies, and innovations aimed at mitigating climate change, conserving biodiversity, protecting natural resources, and promoting social equity. The theme “Advancing Sustainability” underscores the need for a shift from short-term exploitative approaches to long-term regenerative ones, reflecting humanity’s ability to learn, adapt, and innovate.

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The summit aims to foster knowledge exchange, collaboration, and actionable solutions over two days of physical gathering at the House of Parliament in London. Participants will explore diverse perspectives, share knowledge, and work together to shape strategies that drive meaningful change and accelerate progress towards a sustainable future.

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