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Florida SBA Votes to Prohibit Venezuelan Investments

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The Florida State Board of Administration (Florida SBA) unanimously approved a resolution to prohibit investments linked to Venezuela. The resolution was signed by the organization’s board members. Essentially, the new resolution modifies the current investment policy of Florida SBA.

Here are the changes:
1. Florida SBA is prohibited from investing in any securities issued by the Government of Venezuela.
2. Florida SBA is prohibited from investing in any company that is majority owned by the Government of Venezuela.
3. Florida SBA is completely prohibited from participating in any vote or resolution that advocates or supports the Nicolás Maduro regime.
4. Florida SBA is completely prohibited from doing business with any financial institution or U.S. company which directly, or through a subsidiary, and in violation of federal law, makes any loan, extends credit of any kind or character, advances funds in any manner, or purchases or trades any goods or services in or with the Government of Venezuela.

Florida Governor Rick Scott stated, “I am proud today to have the unanimous support of the Trustees of the Florida State Board of Administration in prohibiting Florida from doing business with those who support the evil dictatorship of Nicolas Maduro. I have heard firsthand from so many whose families have been hurt by the brutalities perpetrated by Maduro and his gang of thugs. As Maduro continues to totally disregard the will of the people and empower his dictatorship through his assembly, Florida stands firmly with the Venezuelan people in demanding absolute freedom and democracy now. Let me be clear, the policy we enacted today is a huge step in the right direction and ensures that SBA investments won’t benefit the Maduro regime.”

Florida SBA is determining its exposure to these Venezuelan-linked investments.

Anne Sheehan to Retire, CalSTRS 1st Corp Gov Director

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Anne Sheehan, the first Corporate Governance Director at California State Teachers’ Retirement System (CalSTRS) and the current one, plans to retire March 30, 2018. Sheehan’s team manages an activist portfolio worth around US$ 4.1 billion, seeking to influence and help turnaround its large portfolio holdings in select public companies. Sheehan was hired back in 2008.

Christopher J. Ailman, CalSTRS’ chief investment officer, said in a organization release, “Anne has been my most unconventional, best hire.”

A replacement search is underway.

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Temasek Rides with Google on Go-Jek

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Singapore’s Temasek Holdings has reportedly joined forces with Google LLC and Chinese on-demand service provider Meituan-Dianping as part of a US$ 1.2 billion fundraising effort for Indonesian ride-hailing startup Go-Jek that has put regional rivals like Uber and Singapore-based Grab on notice.

Screen Shot Go-Jek, January 19, 2018

Although exact figures for individual stakes have so far been kept secret, the new infusion of capital puts Go-Jek, incorporated as PT Aplikasi Karya Anak Bangsa, at a valuation of roughly US$ 4 billion. Samsung Venture Investment Corporation also participated in funding, as well as existing private equity investors KKR & Co. LP and Warburg Pincus LLC.

Google’s direct involvement in Go-Jek’s growth – rather than through its Google Ventures unit – highlights its faith in the latent potential of ride-sharing services – and the tech-enabled consumer services sector as a whole – in Southeast Asia. Home to more than 640 million potential customers, the region was identified as the fastest growing emerging market for e-commerce globally in an industry report published jointly by Google and Temasek last December. According to data compiled by the internet-giant and the Singaporean sovereign wealth fund, ride-sharing in Southeast Asia is expected to grow into a US$ 20.1 billion industry by 2025, compared to US$ 5.1 billion in 2017.

2011 Origin Story

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Temasek Leads Series B Round for Chinese Robo Startup Rokid

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Rokid Corporation Limited, a Chinese robotics startup that specializes in smart devices assisted by artificial intelligence (AI), announced the closing of a Series B extension round through its WeChat account on January 18, 2018. The capital-raising effort was led by Singapore’s Temasek Holdings, with additional contributions from Credit Suisse Group, China Development Bank’s overseas investment arm CDIB Capital International, and existing investor IDG Capital. Although Rokid did not disclose the size or terms of the deal in its announcement, the technology company reportedly secured US$ 100 million in funding.

Founded in 2014 by chief executive Mingming Zhu and chief financial officer Eric Wong, Rokid’s core products consist of its smart speakers, the Rokid Pebble and Alien, as well as the newly debuted Rokid Glass augmented reality spectacles. The company’s most exciting offering, however, is its Full Stack Open Platform, a collaborative effort made in partnership with Alibaba that gives third-party developers backdoor access Rokid’s software suite and hardware integration and will – it hopes – help give its offerings the accessibility and recognition they need to thrive outside its home market of China.

Rokid is particularly keen on bringing its products to the U.S., where it believes it can challenge Google and Amazon’s dominance in the smart home arena. Amazon makes the Amazon Echo, while Google has Google Home.

The Series B

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