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Bill Gates, TPG and Others Line up Big Dough for Breakthroughs

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Billionaire philanthropist and founder of Microsoft Bill Gates has formed a US$ 1 billion investment fund called Breakthrough Energy Ventures. This comes after Bill Gates, in November 2015, revealed a Breakthrough Energy Coalition of billionaires and business leaders who stated they were committed to investing in new forms of energy. The fund will invest in all forms of emissions-free energy, embarking on multiple-scenario approach. The fund is targeting a number of technologies to tackle greenhouse gas emissions in areas such as electricity, manufacturing, transportation, buildings and food. The fund aims to have a 20-year term, much longer than traditional venture capital or private equity fund terms. Bill Gates also wants to see ventures either show progress or quickly fail. A slate of global billionaires and investors have joined in. The fund also could work with corporate partners in the traditional energy space such as Total SA.

Here are the investors:

Investor Title Company / Relation Country Fund Board Member
Bill Gates Co-chair Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation United States Chairman
Mukesh Ambani Chairman and Managing Director Reliance Industries Limited India Board Member
Hasso Plattner Co-founder SAP SE Germany Board Member
Jack Ma Executive Chairman Alibaba Group China Board Member
John Arnold Co-chair Laura & John Arnold Foundation United States Board Member
John Doerr Chairman Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers United States Board Member
Vinod Khosla Founder Khosla Ventures United States Board Member
Chris Hohn Founder The Children’s Investment Fund United Kingdom  
Dustin Moskovitz & Cari Tuna Co-founders Good Ventures United States  
HRH Prince Alwaleed bin Talal Chairman Alwaleed Philanthropies Saudi Arabia  
Jeff Bezos Founder & CEO Amazon United States  
Julian Robertson Founder & Chairman Tiger Management United States  
Masayoshi Son Founder, Chairman & CEO SoftBank Group Corporation Japan  
Michael Bloomberg CEO Bloomberg LP United States  
Ms. Zhang Xin & Mr. Pan Shiyi Co-founder & CEO, Chairman SOHO China China  
Nat Simons & Laura Baxter-Simons Co-founders Prelude Ventures United States  
Patrice Motsepe Founder & Executive Chairman African Rainbow Minerals (ARM) South Africa  
Ray Dalio Founder Bridgewater Associates United States  
Reid Hoffman Co-founder LinkedIn United States  
Richard Branson Founder Virgin Group United Kingdom  
Xavier Niel Founder Illiad Group France

 

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Cryptocurrencies Creep into the Middle East

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Banking behemoth J.P. Morgan Chase disclosed its own digital currency called JPM Coin. The digital token will be used to settle payments between clients. JPM Coin will be backed by physical U.S. dollars and be based off Quorum. Quorum is J.P. Morgan’s private Ethereum-based chain. JPM Coin plans to compete with Ripple, which created XRP, another digital currency that is used for settlements. Ripple’s main target market is cross-border payments and remittances.

The Central Bank of the United Arab Emirates and the Saudi Arabian Monetary Authority have unveiled their plans for Aber, an interbank digital currency. Both banks have indicated that Aber will be limited to financial settlements using distributed ledger technologies. It will be rolled out on a probational basis, and used by select banks within the two countries. A date for rollout has not yet been declared. A joint statement hinted at a broader application of the currency in the days ahead. If “no technical obstacles are encountered, economic and legal requirements for future uses will be considered.”‏ Blockchains and Distributed Ledgers technologies will be employed. The plan is for ‘Proof-of-Concept’ testing, which involves studying and fully comprehending the ways modern technologies can achieve practical applications. The digital currency has the potential to become a reserve system for central payments.

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CPPIB Inks Partnership Vehicle with La Française and its Shareholder CMNE

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La Française and Canada Pension Plan Investment Board (CPPIB) formed a strategic partnership for the launch of a real estate investment and development vehicle: Société Foncière et Immobilière du Grand Paris. The joint venture between CPPIB (80%) and Caisse Fédérale du Crédit Mutuel Nord Europe (CMNE) (20%), La Française’s shareholder, will invest in major real estate projects linked to the Grand Paris infrastructure in the Greater Paris area. The parties will initially allocate €387.5 million in equity to the venture. The partnership will target regeneration and infrastructure-led investments.[ Content protected for Sovereign Wealth Fund Institute Standard subscribers only. Please subscribe to view content. ]

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Norges Bank Governor Voices Opinion on Relaxing SWF Withdrawals over Specific Uses

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Øystein Olsen, the Governor of Norges Bank, which oversees the Norway Government Pension Fund Global (GPFG), voiced his opinion on the Norwegian government’s plans to alter the rules that regulates the country’s SWF withdrawal rules in certain circumstances. The coalition government led by Norwegian Prime Minister Erna Solberg wants to relax the limits on SWF withdrawals in specific cases. Norway’s government seeks to raid the fund to pay for the replacement of four major state buildings impacted by a terrorist attack and a crashed Royal Norwegian Navy frigate (KNM Helge Ingstad).

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