A|I: The AI Times – Cohere reportedly hunting for fresh funding as OpenAI passes $1B revenue pace

Cohere's three co-founders posing for a picture.
Cohere co-founders Ivan Zhang, Aidan Gomez, and Nick Frosst.
Plus: Xanadu, TMU to develop quantum computing educational program.

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Novarc Technologies announces closing of $20 million USD for its AI-powered automated welding robots (BETAKIT)

Vancouver-based Novarc Technologies, which specializes in automated welding equipment using artificial intelligence, announced it has raised $20 million USD in all-equity Series A funding.

According to Novarc, the funding will go towards expanding its speciality spool-welding robot (SWR) offering, launching its NovAI robotic vision system for automated welding, and its “global expansion,” including hiring additional staff.

AI Startup Cohere Taps Banks for Fresh Fundraising Round

Artificial intelligence startup Cohere, backed by investors including Oracle Corp. and Nvidia Corp., is working with banks to raise a fresh round of financing, just a few months after its last one, according to people familiar with the matter.

Cohere, a competitor to OpenAI, raised $270 million in June from a mix of investors at a valuation of up $2.2 billion. The company is seeking a higher valuation in the current round, one of the people said.

Bank of Canada taps EvolutionQ to explore impact of quantum computing on digital dollar (BETAKIT)

Quantum security startup EvolutionQ is contributing to a Bank of Canada research project involving quantum-safe cybersecurity technologies for digital currencies.

One potential impact of quantum computers would be on the proposed Canadian digital dollar. The Bank of Canada is exploring technologies and technical ecosystems that may help decide how a Canadian digital dollar would be developed.

Addressing Canada’s talent gap in the tech industry boils down to removing the barriers for equity-deserving groups.

The Advanced Digital and Professional Training (ADaPT) program is a cost-free digital and professional skills development initiative that bridges the employment gap. It equips students in their final semester and post-secondary graduates with in-demand skills for entry-level tech roles.

ADaPT supports a diverse group of talent from varied educational backgrounds, with 81% of participants identifying as belonging to at least one equity-deserving group. Backed by 70+ hours of intensive training, the program exposes participants to tech career pathways.    

The ADaPT program is funded by the Government of Canada’s Future Skills Centre and led by Toronto Metropolitan University’s Diversity Institute in collaboration with TECHNATION Canada. 

To support future talent in thriving tech careers within Canada’s changing job market and become an ADaPT employer, find out more here.

OpenAI Passes $1 Billion Revenue Pace as Big Companies Boost AI Spending (THE INFORMATION)

Just as OpenAI pushes for more revenue with the launch of a corporate version of ChatGPT with added features and safeguards, it's reported the AI giant is currently on pace to generate more than $1 billion in revenue over the next 12 months.

The billion-dollar revenue figure implies that the Microsoft-backed company is generating more than $80 million in revenue per month.

OpenAI generated just $28 million in revenue last year before charging for ChatGPT.

Conquest Planning partners with CapIntel to bring AI-powered advice to more financial advisors and investors (BETAKIT)

Winnipeg-based Conquest Planning has partnered with another Canadian FinTech firm focused on the wealth-management space: Toronto’s CapIntel.

The deal will bring Conquest’s strategic advice manager (SAM) to CapIntel’s network of more than 12,000 financial advisors across North America. Using artificial intelligence (AI), SAM analyzes client information and provides personalized financial planning advice.

OpenAI Challenger AI21 Labs Nears Funding at $1.2 Billion Valuation (THE INFORMATION)

AI21 Labs, an Israel-based rival to OpenAI, has neared a new round of funding that would value the six-year-old startup at $1.2 billion, before the new capital.

It’s the latest sign of investor appetite for firms developing conversational artificial intelligence as the technology becomes a material business for OpenAI.

Xanadu, Toronto Metropolitan University to develop quantum computing educational program (BETAKIT)

Canadian quantum computing tech company Xanadu and Toronto Metropolitan University (TMU) have teamed up to develop an educational program focused on quantum computing and quantum software.

According to TMU, this collaboration is aligned with Canada’s broader quantum strategy which is to develop, attract, and retain talent, as well as build bridges between academia and industry.

Lower fees, fewer lawyers and disruptive startups: Legal sector braces for impact from ChatGPT (THE GLOBE AND MAIL)

Few sectors have bought into the generative AI hype as much as the legal field, but that excitement is paired with trepidation about the technology’s impact on the industry.

Seven Canadian tech founders dish about their journey running a startup (BETAKIT)

So far, 2023 has been tough for entrepreneurs. Inflation has kept costs high and profits low, and investors have mostly kept their chequebooks closed. But in uncertain times, founders can lean on each other for wisdom and inspiration.

We talked to a diverse group of Canadian tech founders about what motivates them during tough times and the importance of learning from their customers and peers.

AI images are getting harder to spot. Google thinks it has a solution. (THE WASHINGTON POST)

Artificial intelligence-generated images are becoming harder to distinguish from real ones as tech companies race to improve their AI products.

Google announced a new tool — called SynthID — that it says could be part of the solution. The tool embeds a digital “watermark” directly into the image that can’t be seen by the human eye but can be picked up by a computer that’s been trained to read it.

Google said its new watermarking tech is resistant to tampering, making it a key step toward policing the spread of fake images and slowing the dissemination of disinformation.

AI Startup Intenseye Raising Funding From Lightspeed At $300 Million Valuation (FORBES)

Buzzy AI startup Intenseye is raising new funding that is expected to triple the company’s valuation to approximately $300 million, Forbes has learned.

Five-year-old Intenseye, which uses artificial intelligence to analyze workplace images and videos to identify safety issues, drew so much interest amid an investor frenzy for AI companies that the deal came together in just a matter of days.

OMERS Ventures turnover continues with global head Damien Steel joining Deep Sky as CEO (BETAKIT)

At the beginning of 2023, head of venture capital Damien Steel laid out a bold vision for the future of OMERS Ventures. Now, he is leaving the firm.

Steel’s departure is the latest in a series of reversals for OMERS Ventures, which at the beginning of the year announced plans for a fifth fund featuring a unified global investment team. Since then, the firm has pulled out of the European market, losing or terminating multiple managing partners in the process. Now, only two managing partners remain: Yang, and Henry Gladwyn, who moved to New York as part of the London, UK office shuttering.

Call of Duty enlists AI to eavesdrop on voice chat and help ban toxic players starting today (PC GAMER)

Call of Duty is joining the growing number of online games combatting toxicity by listening to in-game voice chat, and it's using AI to assist the process.

Activision announced a partnership with AI outfit Modulate to integrate its proprietary voice moderation tool—ToxMod—into its current and upcoming titles. The tool is currently active in North American Call of Duty servers for beta testing.

The company says its language model has put in the hours listening to speech from people with a variety of backgrounds and can accurately distinguish between malice and friendly riffing.

Gambit Partners aims to take some of the risk out of early-stage investing by leaning on its LPs (BETAKIT)

Toronto-based venture capital (VC) fund Gambit Partners aims to de-risk pre-seed investing with the help of its limited partners (LPs).

Co-founder Simon Sokol claims that Gambit's assembly of LPs is “uniquely situated” to help early-stage entrepreneurs with hiring, fundraising, and tech problems, noting that Gambit can bring in LPs to analyze prospective investments, solve issues at portfolio companies, or even join them.

Alex Riehl

Alex Riehl

Alex Riehl is a staff writer and newsletter curator at BetaKit with a Bachelor of Journalism from Carleton University. He's interested in tech, gaming, and sports. You can find out more about him at alexriehl.com or @RiehlAlex99 on Twitter.

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