Lionel Bonaventure | AFP | Getty Photographs

LONDON — Jaan Tallinn, an Estonian laptop 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. 

Talking to CNBC Wednesday, Tallinn stated he is backed someplace between 100 and 200 corporations, including that round 100 of them are nonetheless “alive and kicking” immediately.

Via his varied funding corporations (the principle one being Metaplanet Holdings), Tallinn’s presently investing in roughly one new firm a month with wherever from $500,000 to a number of million {dollars}.

The entrepreneur-turned-investor has centered on corporations which have synthetic intelligence at their core. He profited from an early wager 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 numerous college analysis labs together with Oxford’s Way forward for Humanity Institute and Cambridge’s Middle for the Examine of Existential Danger. 

One in every 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 corporations 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 House Workplace to develop an AI system that would spot terrorist propaganda on social networks.

Investing after the eBay acquisition

Tallinn began investing extra money 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 largest exit in European tech, but additionally the biggest 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.