Skype Co-Founder Reveals He is Invested Over $130 Million Into Tech Begin-Ups

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Skype Co-Founder Reveals He's Invested Over $130 Million Into Tech Start-Ups


  • Skype co-founder Jaan Tallinn has now invested round £100 million ($132 million) of his private wealth into start-ups.
  • Tallinn advised CNBC that he is backed someplace between 100 and 200 firms.
  • The entrepreneur-turned-investor has targeted on firms which have synthetic intelligence at their core.

LONDON — Jaan Tallinn, an Estonian pc programmer who helped to arrange Skype, says he has now ploughed round £100 million ($132 million) of his private wealth into start-ups around the globe since he began investing in tech. 

Chatting with CNBC Wednesday, Tallinn stated he is backed someplace between 100 and 200 firms, including that round 100 of them are nonetheless “alive and kicking” at present.

By means of his numerous funding corporations (the primary one being Metaplanet Holdings), Tallinn’s at the moment investing in roughly one new firm a month with wherever from $500,000 to a number of million {dollars}.

The entrepreneur-turned-investor has targeted on firms which have synthetic intelligence at their core. He profited from an early guess on London AI start-up DeepMind, which Google acquired for $600 million in 2014. Elon Musk and Peter Thiel additionally backed DeepMind early on.

Tallinn has additionally given funding to plenty of college analysis labs together with Oxford’s Way forward for Humanity Institute and Cambridge’s Heart for the Research of Existential Threat. 

Considered one of Tallinn’s extra controversial start-up bets is a cryptocurrency funding of round $1 million into College.ai, a London agency that builds AI software program for firms and governments worldwide.

College gained notoriety after it emerged that it had helped the “Vote Go away” marketing campaign to take Britain out of the European Union. “I did not know that that they had been doing that,” stated Tallinn. The Guardian newspaper reported in July that the corporate obtained £260,000 from Dominic Cummings, who was British Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s chief advisor till final week. College was additionally awarded an $800,000 contract by the Dwelling Workplace to develop an AI system that would spot terrorist propaganda on social networks.

Investing after the eBay acquisition

Tallinn began investing more cash into tech start-ups after Skype was purchased by eBay for $2.6 billion in 2005, two years after the web video-calling platform was launched.

On the time, it was not solely the most important exit in European tech, but in addition the most important tech exit globally for the reason that dot-com crash.

In 2009, eBay offered 70% of Skype for $2.75 billion to an investor group referred to as Silver Lake that included a few of Skype’s cofounders. EBay and Silver Lake then offered it onto Microsoft for $8.5 billion in 2011.

Different Skype co-founders together with Niklas Zennstrom and Ahti Heinla have gone on to make substantial investments in tech start-ups.



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