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Former Google China head targets AI opportunities with new $900M Sinovation fund

Sinovation  Ventures , one of China’s prominent funds which is helmed by former Google China head Kaifu Lee, has announced a new investment fund that’s targeted at a total raise of $900 million. This newest fund is the firm’s fourth, and it promises to be its largest to date. Sinovation is a little different from other firms in that it raises its fund using one U.S. dollar vehicle and another in Chinese RMB to give founders currency options, one of its competitive advantages. The firm confirmed today that it has closed the $500 million USD fund, and it has kicked off the process to raise an additional 2.5 billion yuan, or around $400 million, in Chinese currency to round out this new vehicle. The addition of that U.S. capital means it now has $1.7 billion under management across six funds, four of which are in U.S. dollars and two are Chinese RMB. The firm has invested in over 300 companies, some of which include Meitu ( Hong Kong IPO ), bike sharing startup Mobike ( which sold to Meituan this month ), AI firm Face++, English language learning service VIPKid and crypto mining giant Bitmain. Lee has made his mark in many ways, but in recent years he’s become recognized as an authority on artificial intelligence , both on tracking promising companies in the space and looking into the future at where the tech is headed. So it isn’t a huge surprise that this new fund is heavily focused on what the firm sees as the huge opportunity for AI, as well education and robotics. The focus on deals is at seed and Series A stage, and, while Sinovation operates in the U.S., it is strongest in the Chinese market.

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Facebook shakes up its AI research team

Yann LeCun has been the face of Facebook's AI research efforts since 2013, but you'll have to get used to some new people in the mix. An interview with LeCun at Quartz has revealed that he's stepping down from his position as part of a shakeup meant...

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Bitcoin was briefly legal tender at KFC Canada

Say what you will about its heart-stoppingly tasty chicken -- KFC is willing to get weird. Whether it's a zany VR cooking experience, suggesting orders based on your face or chicken-flavored nail polish, the chain has pulled its share of stunts over...

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