Startup News: With latest funding, KoBold Metals reaches unicorn status

With latest funding, KoBold Metals reaches unicorn status

KoBold Metals sits at the intersection of two business trends: the move toward a greener economy and the use of artificial intelligence to solve age-old problems. The Berkeley, Calif.-based startup explores for metals such as copper, lithium, nickel and cobalt that are critical for the batteries that power electric vehicles. And it’s using machine learning to identify hard-to-find deposits.

Last week, the company announced that it surpassed $1 billion in value, thanks to a $200 million funding round backed by existing investors including Breakthrough Energy Ventures, a VC firm founded by Microsoft founder Bill Gates that invests money on behalf of the likes of Amazon founder Jeff Bezos and Alibaba co-founder Jack Ma, according to The Wall Street Journal.

The Journal reported that others involved in the funding round include venture-capital firm Andreessen Horowitz and BOND, a venture-capital firm co-founded by former star Wall Street analyst Mary Meeker.

Founded in 2018, KoBold has 60 continuing exploration projects in North America, Africa and Australia.

OpenAI may create an AI marketplace

OpenAI shot to worldwide fame over the past seven months following the release of its chatbot, Chat GPT. Now, according to original reporting from tech news site, The Information, San Francisco-based OpenAI is mulling another initiative that could broaden the role it’s playing in artificial intelligence.

The company is reportedly contemplating the idea of launching a marketplace in which customers could sell AI models they customize for their own needs to other businesses.

“The marketplace could be OpenAI’s version of an app store, offering businesses a way to access bleeding-edge large-language models that can, for instance, sniff out financial fraud…or answer questions about specific markets with up-to-date information,” The Information reported.

The tech news site added that OpenAI CEO Sam Altman discussed the potential plans during a London meeting last month. But in a statement, an OpenAI spokesman said the company does not have “active efforts” to develop a marketplace.

Upside foods, good meat get U.S. approval to sell lab-grown chicken

It’s now just a matter of time before chicken and other meat cultivated in laboratories will be coming to a restaurant or grocery store near you.

Last week, two rival companies, Upside Foods and Good Meat, announced that they have each received final U.S. Department of Agriculture approval to sell lab-grown meat.

With the twin approvals, according to Reuters, the U.S. will become only the second country in the world after Singapore to allow the sale of so-called cultivated meat. The companies plan to first serve their products at high-end restaurants before moving on to grocery stores.

Advocates of lab-grown chicken and other meat see these products as alternatives for meat eaters looking for a more environmentally friendly and humane option to raising and butchering livestock.

About the Author

John Kimelman is a veteran journalist who has worked at Barron’s and CNBC covering such topics as investing and commercial banking. Mr. Kimelman has received compensation from Forge Global, Inc. for authoring this article. Read more from John.

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