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Coursera co-founder raises $175 mn artificial intelligence fund

Andrew Ng, the founder of Google Brain deep learning project and co-founder of online education firm Coursera, has raised a $175 million artificial intelligence (AI) fund.

The AI Fund is backed by Japan's SoftBank Group and Silicon Valley venture capital firms New Enterprise Associates (NEA), Sequoia Capital and Greylock Partners, among others, Ng said in a blog post on Medium.

"We... will be sequentially initiating new businesses that use AI to improve human life. As we grow these businesses, we also hope to help many of you enter the field of AI, and do the important work of building an AI-powered society," Ng wrote in the post.

Ng rose to fame in the machine learning community when he joined Baidu as chief scientist in 2014. He left the company last year to launch two AI projects--Deeplearning.ai course and Landing.ai, a programme that aims to bring AI to manufacturing companies.

The AI Fund is providing capital to Landing.AI and is scouting for more projects to invest in.

"As such projects mature and turn into businesses, the AI Fund will provide additional capital to these teams and thereby give them the ability to move quickly, and not be distracted by months of fundraising," Ng said.

Ng will be the general partner at the new fund. Eva Wang will be partner and COO, and Steven Syverud will also serve as partner. Wang was formerly a partner at Fenwick & West. Syverud had led the development of Coursera’s specializations product and was CEO of Sycamore.

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