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The AI Fund is just the latest project from former Baidu and Google executive Andrew Ng. Photo: Andrew Ng

Andrew Ng has yet another AI-related effort on his plate: a new $175 million fund. Ng, who formerly led Baidu's artificial intelligence group, is today announcing the AI Fund.

What he's saying: Though billed as an investment vehicle, Ng told Axios it is more about providing funding for ideas his team is incubating than it is looking for outside startups to invest in.

AI Fund teams are currently pursuing three new AI-powered directions, some of which we hope to announce at a later date. 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. It also allows them to publicize their work only when they are ready.
Andrew Ng, in a blog post announcing the AI Fund

Its only announced investment is in Landing.ai, the AI-in-manufacturing startup that Ng announced last month.

Who's backing it: Investors include NEA, Sequoia, Greylock Partners, and SoftBank.

The partners: Ng will be the general partner, Former Sycamore CEO Steven Syverud will be a partner, while Eva Wang, a former partner at law firm Fenwick & West, will serve as partner and COO. Ng declined to say how many other people work at the Palo Alto-based fund.

The thinking: "I've been around and seen a lot of AI businesses," Ng told Axios, adding they are "more repeatable than people think."

Go deeper

Coronavirus has inflamed global inequality

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

History will likely remember the pandemic as the "first time since records began that inequality rose in virtually every country on earth at the same time." That's the verdict from Oxfam's inequality report covering the year 2020 — a terrible year that hit the poorest, hardest across the planet.

Why it matters: The world's poorest were already in a race against time, facing down an existential risk in the form of global climate change. The coronavirus pandemic could set global poverty reduction back as much as a full decade, according to the World Bank.

2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Kevin McCarthy's rude awakening

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy. Photo: Mark Wilson/Getty Images

Kevin McCarthy is learning you can get torched when you try to make everyone happy, especially after an insurrection.

Why it matters: The House Republican leader had been hoping to use this year to build toward taking the majority in 2022, but his efforts to bridge intra-party divisiveness over the Capitol siege have him taking heat from every direction, eroding his stature both with the public and within his party.

The next big political war: redistricting

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Democrats are preparing a mix of tech and legal strategies to combat expected gerrymandering by Republicans, who are planning to go on legal offense themselves.

Why it matters: Democrats failed to regain a single state legislature on Election Day, while Republicans upped their control to 30 states' Houses and Senates. In the majority of states, legislatures draw new congressional district lines, which can boost a party's candidates for the next decade.