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Google to focus on investing in women-led early-stage startups

Google will focus on investing in women-led early-stage startups through its Rs 75,000-crore India Digitisation Fund, a senior company official said on Monday.

The company had launched $10 billion—about Rs 75,000 crore as per the prevailing exchange rate—at the end of 2020, to make access to the internet affordable.

Through the India Digitisation Fund (IDF), the company bought a 7.73% stake in Jio for $4.5 billion and a 1.2% stake in Bharti Airtel for $700 million.

“Moving forward, as part of our IDF investments, we will be targeting support for early-stage companies with a particular focus on women-led startups,” Sanjay Gupta, Country Manager and VP, Google India, said at the Google for India event, held in New Delhi.

The company announced several projects powered by artificial intelligence (AI), including those related to speech technology and voice and video search.

“With AI, text content can convert to video in an instant … Translations from English to virtually any language are possible at scale. AI can bring quantum leaps in online safety through advanced threat detection,” said Sanjay.

The company announced a collaboration with Bengaluru-based Indian Institute of Science to collect speech data from 773 districts across India to fine-tune its language translation and search technology.

It also announced a grant of $1 million to set up India’s first centre for responsible AI at IIT Madras.

Edited by Swetha Kannan

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