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Aramco expands global venture capital program with $4bn funds injection

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  • Company more than doubles funding for its venture capital arm, Aramco Ventures
  • Decision supports Aramco’s long-term strategy through investments in strategic areas of business development
  • Intention to finance game-changing innovations across a variety of industries

DHAHRAN, Saudi Arabia, Jan. 17, 2024 /PRNewswire/ — Aramco (“the Company”), one of the world’s leading integrated energy and chemicals companies, has allocated an additional $4 billion to its global venture capital arm, Aramco Ventures. It will more than double the capital allotted to Aramco Ventures, increasing its total investment allocation from $3 billion to $7 billion.

It will take Aramco’s overall venture capital allocation to $7.5bn, which also includes the $500 million venture capital fund Wa’ed Ventures that focuses on the start-up ecosystem in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

The decision reflects the growing significance of Aramco’s venture capital program in enabling the development of disruptive new technologies, creating diversification opportunities for Aramco, and paving the way for collaborations with innovative start-ups. In doing so, it aims to help advance the Company’s long-term strategy, which includes a focus on new energies, chemicals and transition materials, diversified industrial businesses, and digital technologies.

Ahmad Al Khowaiter, Aramco Executive Vice President of Technology & Innovation, said: “Innovation is key to addressing some of the fundamental challenges facing the world today, including the energy transition. Through Aramco Ventures, we aim to support pioneers with big ambitions, and ultimately help bring their ideas to life. By injecting an additional $4 billion in funding over the next four years, we intend to provide the financial backing required to take game-changing solutions to the next level. This will provide crucial impetus to businesses at various stages of development around the world, while also contributing to Aramco’s own long-term objectives.”

Prior to the new capital allocation, Aramco Ventures managed three funds. These are a Digital/Industrial Fund, which stood at $500 million, investing in technologies of strategic importance to Aramco; the Prosperity7 Fund with $1 billion, investing in disruptive technology ventures beyond the energy sector; and the Sustainability Fund, which stood at $1.5 billion and invests in start-ups with the potential to support Aramco’s ambition to achieve net-zero Scope 1 and Scope 2 greenhouse gas emissions across its wholly-owned and operated assets by 2050.

Aramco Contact Information
X: @aramco

About Aramco

Aramco is a global integrated energy and chemicals company. We are driven by our core belief that energy is opportunity. From producing approximately one in every eight barrels of the world’s oil supply to developing new energy technologies, our global team is dedicated to creating impact in all that we do. We focus on making our resources more dependable, more sustainable and more useful. This helps promote stability and long-term growth around the world. www.aramco.com 

About Aramco Ventures

Aramco Ventures is the corporate venturing subsidiary of Aramco, the world’s leading fully integrated energy and petrochemical enterprise. Headquartered in Dhahran with offices in North America, Europe and Asia, Aramco Ventures strategic venturing programs invest globally in start-up and high growth companies with technologies of strategic importance to its parent, Aramco, primarily supporting the company’s operational decarbonization, new lower-carbon fuels businesses, and digital transformation initiatives. Aramco Ventures also operates Prosperity7, the company’s disruptive technologies investment program.

For more information, please visit www.aramcoventures.com.

Disclaimer

The press release contains forward-looking statements. All statements other than statements relating to historical or current facts included in the press release are forward-looking statements. Forward-looking statements give the Company’s current expectations and projections relating to its capital expenditures and investments, major projects, upstream and downstream performance, including relative to peers. These statements may include, without limitation, any statements preceded by, followed by or including words such as “target,” “believe,” “expect,” “aim,” “intend,” “may,” “anticipate,” “estimate,” “plan,” “project,” “can have,” “likely,” “should,” “could,” and other words and terms of similar meaning or the negative thereof. Such forward looking statements involve known and unknown risks, uncertainties and other important factors beyond the Company’s control that could cause the Company’s actual results, performance or achievements to be materially different from the expected results, performance, or achievements expressed or implied by such forward looking statements, including the following factors: international crude oil supply and demand and the price at which it sells crude oil; the impact of pandemics or infectious diseases on business and economic conditions and on supply and demand for crude oil, gas and refined and petrochemical products; competitive pressure; climate change concerns and impacts; weather; cyclicity of gas, oil, refining and petrochemical sectors; terrorism and armed conflict; adverse economic or political developments; operational risks and hazards in the oil and gas, refining and petrochemicals industries; any significant deviation or changes in existing economic and operating conditions that could affect the estimated quantity and value of the Company’s proved reserves; losses from risks related to insufficient insurance; the Company’s ability to deliver on current and future projects; comparability amongst periods; the Company’s ability to realize benefits from recent and future acquisitions, including with respect to SABIC; risks related to operating in several countries; the Company’s dependence on its senior management and key personnel; the reliability and security of the Company’s IT systems; litigation to which the Company is or may be subject; risks related to oil, gas, environmental, health and safety and other regulations that impact the industries in which the Company operates; risks related to international operations, including sanctions and trade restrictions, anti-bribery and anti-corruption laws and other laws and regulations; risks stemming from requirements to obtain, maintain, and renew governmental licenses, permits, and approvals; risks stemming from existing and potential laws, regulations, and other requirements or expectations relating to environmental protection, health and safety laws and regulations, and sale and use of chemicals and plastics; potential changes in equalization compensation received in connection with domestic sales of hydrocarbons; potential impact on tax rates if the Company does not separate its downstream business in a timeframe set by the Government of Saudi Arabia; risks related to Government-directed projects and other Government requirements, including those related to Government-set maximum level of crude oil production and target Maximum Sustainable Capacity (MSC); as well as the importance of the hydrocarbon industry to the Government; political and social instability and unrest and actual or potential armed conflicts in the regions in which the Company operates and other areas; interest and exchange rate fluctuations; risks arising should the Government eliminate or change the pegging of SAR to the U.S. dollar; and other risks and uncertainties that could cause actual results to differ from the forward looking statements in this press release, as set forth in the Company’s latest periodic reports filed with the Saudi Stock Exchange. For additional information on the potential risks and uncertainties that could cause actual results to differ from the results predicted please see the Company’s latest periodic reports filed with the Saudi Stock Exchange. Such forward-looking statements are based on numerous assumptions regarding the Company’s present and future business strategies and the environment in which it will operate in the future. The information contained in the press release, including but not limited to forward-looking statements, applies only as of the date of this press release and is not intended to give any assurances as to future results. The Company expressly disclaims any obligation or undertaking to disseminate any updates or revisions to the press release, including any financial data or forward-looking statements, whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise, unless required by applicable law or regulation. No person should construe the press release as financial, tax or investment advice. Undue reliance should not be placed on the forward-looking statements.

View original content:https://www.prnewswire.co.uk/news-releases/aramco-expands-global-venture-capital-program-with-4bn-funds-injection-302036808.html

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Validation Cloud Secures $5.8 Million in Inaugural Funding to Propel Web3 Infrastructure

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ZUG, Switzerland, Feb. 28, 2024 /PRNewswire/ — In a significant stride towards revolutionizing Web3 infrastructure, Validation Cloud has proudly announced the successful closure of its first external investment round, amassing $5.8 million. Spearheaded by San Francisco-based Cadenza Ventures, this funding round exceeded expectations with contributions from an impressive roster of international investors, including Blockchain Founders Fund, Bloccelerate, Blockwall, Side Door Ventures, Metamatic, GS Futures, and AP Capital.

Alex Nwaka, Co-Founder of Validation Cloud, expressed enthusiasm about the funding, “This investment marks a pivotal moment for Validation Cloud as we aim to address the urgent demand for scalable and compliant Web3 infrastructure. We’re honored to collaborate with our investors who are instrumental in propelling the global adoption of our platform among cutting-edge networks, developers, and asset managers.”

Validation Cloud is at the forefront of Web3 technology, having developed an innovative system architecture that paves the way for significant advancements in the sector. Known as the “Cloudflare of Web3,” the company offers a robust, scalable, and intelligent platform providing Staking, Node API, and Data services, drawing inspiration from Cloudflare’s transformative impact on Web2 infrastructure.

Founded by veterans in the Proof-of-Stake domain, Validation Cloud boasts a team of highly experienced professionals from renowned organizations such as Uber, Workday, Deloitte, Citadel, Morgan Stanley, Binance, Crypto.com, Figure, R3, and more, emphasizing a talent-first approach with a worldwide workforce.

Kumar Dandapani, Managing Partner at Cadenza Ventures, highlighted the strategic vision behind their investment, “At Cadenza, we do not invest in just any company; we invest in the future of transformative technologies. Validation Cloud’s pioneering role in Proof-of-Stake and their relentless pursuit of next-generation Web3 infrastructure have set them apart as leaders in the Web3 space.”

Aly Madhavji, Managing Partner at Blockchain Founders Fund, shared his thoughts on the investment, “We believe in the transformative power of Web3 and its ability to redefine how businesses operate. Investing in Validation Cloud aligns perfectly with our vision of supporting innovative platforms that are ready to lead the next wave of digital transformation.”

Validation Cloud has earned a reputation for its close partnerships with networks from their nascent stages, supporting a wide array of ecosystems from established ones like Chainlink, Hedera, and Stellar to emerging networks such as Aptos, Eigenlayer, and Berachain. Their platform lays the groundwork for the enterprise adoption of networks, positioning Validation Cloud as a key player in the Web3 infrastructure landscape.

For further details on Validation Cloud and its offerings, please visit www.validationcloud.io.

Please contact: Kelly Clark, Director of Communications | [email protected] 

Funding Announcement for Validation Cloud by Alex Nwaka

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Klarna says its AI assistant does the work of 700 people after it laid off 700 people

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The Swedish fintech, which was criticized for its handling of a dramatic staff reduction in 2022, is touting new efficiencies powered by OpenAI.

Klarna is bullish on bots.

One month after taking its OpenAI-powered virtual assistant global, the Swedish buy-now, pay-later company has released new data touting its ability to handle customer communications, make shoppers happier, and even drive better financial results.

The app-based AI chatbot already handles two-thirds of all customer service chats, the company said Tuesday—some 2.3 million conversations so far—with the virtual assistant earning customer satisfaction ratings at the same level as human agents. Klarna, which is expected to go public this year and will need all the hype it can get at a time when investors have been generally frosty toward IPOs, estimates that the chatbot could help improve its profits by $40 million in 2024.

Announcing a partnership with OpenAI early last year, Klarna said it was one of the first companies to integrate the firm’s groundbreaking ChatGPT technology into a plug-in for shopping. The natural-language interface initially helped customers choose items and make other shopping-related decisions based on personalized queries, a feature Klarna described as “smooth shopping.”

The company has continued to build out its AI offerings since then. Its app-based assistants are now available to customers worldwide and handle a variety of tasks including refunds, cancellations, and even disputes.

Klarna boasted in its announcement on Tuesday that the AI assistant “is doing the equivalent work of 700 full-time agents.”

That statement may raise eyebrows for anyone who remembers the middle of 2022, when the company laid off roughly the same number of employees, then about 10% of its staff. At the time, CEO Sebastian Siemiatkowski cited economic uncertainty, inflation, and the likelihood of a recession as reasons for the cuts. He was criticized for his handling of the staff reduction after he shared a public spreadsheet on LinkedIn that contained the names of many of the laid-off workers.

Fast Company asked Klarna how the company arrived at its calculation for its AI assistant’s human-equivalent productivity. The company said the number of equivalent jobs the AI could perform wasn’t related to the layoffs. In a statement, a spokesperson said the company’s customer service is supported by four to five large third-parties that collectively have over 650,000 employees, and that it offers customers the option to speak with human agents if that’s what they prefer.

“This is in no way connected to the workforce reductions in May 2022, and making that conclusion would be incorrect,” the statement read. “We chose to share the figure of 700 to indicate the more long-term consequences of AI technology, where we believe it is important to be transparent in order to create an understanding in society. We think [it’s] important to proactively address these issues and encourage a thoughtful discussion around how society can meet and navigate this transformation.”

Companies have used chatbots for years to handle low-level customer queries and other interactions, although these tools are expected to become more versatile in the wake of advancements in artificial intellegence.

Source: Fast Company

The post Klarna says its AI assistant does the work of 700 people after it laid off 700 people appeared first on HIPTHER Alerts.

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KAPSARC Launches Saudi Arabia’s First School of Public Policy

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  • Inspired by His Royal Highness, the Minister of Energy, Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman Al Saud’s passion for education, human capital development and innovation, the KAPSARC School of Public Policy (KSPP) was founded as the first institution in Saudi Arabia dedicated to graduate studies and executive education in public policy.
  • Through its academic offerings, KSPP empowers individuals to tackle pressing public policy challenges and embrace the promising opportunities shaping the future.
  • KSPP’s facilities will run on 100% renewable energy, setting a precedent as one of the first net-zero facilities in the Saudi educational sector.

RIYADH, Saudi Arabia, Feb. 28, 2024 /PRNewswire/ — The King Abdullah Petroleum Studies and Research Center (KAPSARC) has been granted an establishment license for its School of Public Policy (KSPP) after the recent approval by the Council of Ministers, and which was announced during the Human Capability Initiative (HCI) on February 28, 2024, conducted under the patronage of Prince Mohammed bin Salman bin Abdulaziz, Crown Prince, Prime Minister, and the Chairman of the Human Capability Development Program Committee, one of Saudi Arabia’s Vision 2030 Realization Programs.

Aiming to set new standards in policy studies, the school offers a two-year master’s degree and executive education programs designed to enable and empower future policy leaders and professionals within Saudi Arabia and globally to address the most pressing domestic and international public policy challenges in the public, non-profit and private sectors.

This significant achievement was announced by His Royal Highness, Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman Al Saud, the Minister of Energy, Chairman of the Board of Trustees of KAPSARC: “The vision for KAPSARC School of Public Policy is to develop the knowledge and skills that the new generation needs to shape public policy both locally and globally. Our mission is to empower and equip future policy leaders and professionals within Saudi Arabia and internationally to make informed socio-economic decisions.”

In a statement on the sidelines of the school’s launch, Fahad Alajlan, President of KAPSARC, stressed the Center’s mission to impact public policy on national, regional, and global levels. “Our new School of Public Policy will equip future leaders with the right skills to create data-driven and evidence-based public policy in line with Vision 2030 goals.”

Dr. Ghadah Alarifi, Founding Dean of KSPP, stated that, “Public policy serves as the foundation of societal progress. At KSPP, we aim to be a catalyst for collaboration, building a robust ecosystem that bridges academia, industry, and government in the public policy arena.”

By leveraging KAPSARC’s network, KSPP provides a platform for global engagement and career growth opportunities, offering practical application and flexible courses tailored to empower policymakers in different tracks including energy policy.

The school is committed to achieving high sustainability standards in the Saudi educational sector, including the goal of running on 100% renewable energy. This dedication ensures that KSPP meets its annual energy needs through on-site renewable resources, eliminating the use of fossil fuels.

For more information about KSPP, visit https://www.kapsarc.org/about-the-school/.

Follow KSPP on social media:

  • X: @KAPSARC_SPP
  • LinkedIn: @ KAPSARC School of Public Policy

About KAPSARC:

KAPSARC is a leading think tank dedicated to advancing knowledge on energy, environment, and regional economic issues. Accredited observer of UNFCCC, KAPSARC actively contributes to global climate action. The mission of KAPSARC is to advance Saudi Arabia’s energy sector and inform global policies through evidence-based advice and applied research. For more information about the center please visit: https://www.kapsarc.org/

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Cision View original content:https://www.prnewswire.co.uk/news-releases/kapsarc-launches-saudi-arabias-first-school-of-public-policy-302074721.html

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