Tech Moves: Microsoft’s M12 creates advisory board; former Integris CEO joins VC firm; and more

Clockwise from top left: Matthias Troyer, Saurabh Tiwary, Jocelyn Moore, Ann Johnson and Jason Warner. (M12 Photos)

— M12, Microsoft’s venture capital arm, announced a formal advisory board drawing from industry experts and past mentors. The inaugural advisory board members, all from within the Microsoft organization, include:

Distinguished Scientist Matthias Troyer

VP and Distinguished Engineer Saurabh Tiwary

Diversity and Inclusion Global Practice Leader Jocelyn Moore

CVP of Security, Compliance and Identity Ann Johnson

GitHub CTO Jason Warner

“The formation of our Advisory Board marks a new way that we can provide value as a fund: tapping best-in-class industry experts from Microsoft to help inform our investment focus and to advise our portfolio companies,” said M12 General Manager Samir Kumar, in a post announcing the new board.

Kristina Bergman. (Pender Ventures Photo)

— Former Integris CEO Kristina Bergman is now a partner at Pender Ventures,

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Baby Yoda joins astronauts on historic SpaceX Crew-1 mission to ISS


Baby Yoda is the chosen zero-gravity indicator for SpaceX Crew Dragon Resilience.

Video screenshot by Bonnie Burton/CNET

Baby Yoda captured hearts as soon as he appeared in the Disney Plus series The Mandalorian. The breakout Star Wars star is now an honorary member of the Crew-1 mission thanks to astronauts who picked the character to be the “gravity indicator” on their historic SpaceX flight to the ISS. 

NASA astronauts Mike Hopkins, Victor Glover and Shannon Walker, along with Japanese Space Agency astronaut Soichi Noguchi, were en route Sunday night to the International Space Station. The Baby Yoda toy could be seen floating in the spacecraft during the NASA livestream. 

The astronaut crew — as well as NASA and SpaceX — kept Baby Yoda’s presence a secret until they reached zero-gravity. “Baby Yoda says you

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Crew Dragon Astronaut Noguchi Joins Elite Spacecraft Club

Japanese astronaut Soichi Noguchi is currently on his way to the International Space Station (ISS) aboard the SpaceX Crew Dragon spacecraft with three other crew members.

SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket lifted off from the Kennedy Space Center in Florida in the early evening of Sunday, November 15, carrying NASA astronauts Michael Hopkins, Victor Glover, and Shannon Walker, along with Noguchi from Japan’s JAXA space agency.

Upon reaching space tonight, Noguchi became only the third astronaut in history to experience Earth orbit in three different kinds of spacecraft.

In Noguchi’s case, the spacecraft include a 2005 ride aboard the Space Shuttle Discovery for the STS-114 mission, a trip aboard the Russian Soyuz TMA-17 in 2009, and Sunday’s mission aboard the SpaceX Crew Dragon on the capsule’s first-ever operational flight.

Only NASA astronauts Wally Schirra and John Young have experienced Earth orbit in more than two different types of spacecraft — Schirra

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Yaskawa Solectria Solar Joins Tigo Enhanced, Further Streamlining Offering for Commercial Rooftop PV

Four inverter models are certified as PV Rapid Shutdown Systems with Tigo’s rapid shutdown devices

Yaskawa Solectria Solar has joined the Tigo Enhanced initiative, aimed at providing customers with simple and reliable rapid shutdown solutions that meet all safety and code requirements. All Solectria inverters that are Tigo Enhanced are plug and play out of the box with Tigo’s latest generation rapid shutdown devices.

“We are excited to join the Tigo Enhanced program to generate more awareness about our solutions and make fulfilling safety and certification requirements as easy as possible for our customers,” said Mark Goodreau, General Manager of Yaskawa Solectria Solar.

Solectria’s Tigo Enhanced inverters have integrated Tigo’s RSS transmitter – which communicates with Tigo’s rapid shutdown devices – and completed UL PV Rapid Shutdown System (PVRSS) certification. The following inverters are part of the program:

  • Solectria PVI 60TL (3 phase, 60kW, 480Vac)

  • Solectria PVI 50TL (3 phase,

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Silicon Valley Firm Joins Gulf Investors to Fund Tech Deals

(Bloomberg) — A Silicon Valley venture-capital firm is targeting cash-flush Middle Eastern investors to fund technology companies, all while scouting the Gulf for buying opportunities.

a flock of birds sitting on top of a body of water: The Burj Khalifa skyscraper, center, stands above other skyscrapers on the city skyline in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, on Sunday, Sept. 6, 2020. Dubai made a rare foray into public bond markets, revealing along the way that its debt burden is now a lot smaller than estimated by analysts only months ago.

© Bloomberg
The Burj Khalifa skyscraper, center, stands above other skyscrapers on the city skyline in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, on Sunday, Sept. 6, 2020. Dubai made a rare foray into public bond markets, revealing along the way that its debt burden is now a lot smaller than estimated by analysts only months ago.

Tribe Capital Management LLC partnered with Dubai-based boutique financial and investment adviser Arrow Capital in a first-of-its-kind cooperation deal for the Gulf, according to Arjun Sethi, Tribe’s co-founder.


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“We need a touch point everywhere,” he said in an interview. The need to adapt to the “future at a faster pace” has seen premiums for tech companies soar, while also spurring Silicon Valley companies to broaden funding sources as they

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Singapore gov’t fund joins $930M venture backing West Philly life-science projects

Real estate trust Ventas Inc. has formed a joint venture with a Singapore sovereign wealth fund to finish developing $930 million in research and lab space, including projects on West Philadelphia’s uCity Square complex and with Drexel University, as the life-science sector proves resilient to a downturn in other property types.


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The newly formed venture between Ventas and Singapore’s GIC Pte. Ltd. will own 1.4-million square feet of lab-and-research space across four projects under development in Philadelphia, Pittsburgh and Phoenix, Az., Ventas said in a release Friday.

“We are pleased to establish this partnership … and look forward to scaling our venture together,” Lee Kok Sun, GIC’s real-estate-investment chief, said in the release. “We are confident that the life sciences sector will continue to flourish, driven by the growing and aging global population, as well as increased public and private funding.”

The deal comes as Philadelphia finds itself

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Quantum Physics Professor and Children’s Book Author Chris Ferrie Joins Q-CTRL as Quantum Education Advisor

LOS ANGELES, Nov. 5, 2020 — Q-CTRL, a startup that applies the principles of control engineering to accelerate the development of quantum technology, today announced the appointment of Chris Ferrie, a renowned quantum physics instructor and author of popular children’s books such as “Quantum Physics for Babies,” as the firm’s Quantum Education Advisor.

Ferrie will maintain his position as Associate Professor at the University of Technology Sydney and Centre for Quantum Software and Information while he leads content development for a highly interactive, web-based educational software package Q-CTRL is designing to help non-experts begin their journey in quantum computing.

In addition to his academic career, Ferrie turned to a decidedly younger audience a few years ago as author of the international best-seller “Quantum Physics for Babies,” the first in a series of well-received board books teaching children about the wonders of science. Recently, Ferrie has also begun posting video lectures

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Atos joins forces with start-up Pasqal to accelerate High Performance Computing using quantum neutral atom technology

Paris, November 4, 2020 – Atos, a global leader in digital transformation, will collaborate with French start-up Pasqal to develop a quantum accelerator based on neutral atom technology for High-Performance Computing (HPC) systems. This technology would make it possible to strengthen the computing capacities of current computers and thereby develop hybrid quantum-HPC systems that can be used in the short term.

World leader in the manufacture of quantum processors, Pasqal has developed a promising technology based on neutral atoms, which today enables it to master more than 100 atoms, whereas superconducting circuits, the most advanced quantum method to date, are currently limited to about 50 qubits. For its part, Atos has been studying the acceleration opportunities offered by neutral atoms for more than two years and is contributing to advances in research by developing the software specific to this technology, which has led to several scientific publications and patent

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Tech Moves: UW announces director for new DoD program; Microsoft vet joins EQT; and more

Justin Dunnicliff. (UW Photo)

— The University of Washington announced a new partnership with the National Security Innovation Network (NSIN), a program within the Department of Defense, that will spur students and researchers to come up with solutions for communications, data management, artificial intelligence, logistics, disaster relief, healthcare, and other areas related to national security.

NSIN tapped Justin Dunnicliff as its university program director at the UW. He’ll be based at the CoMotion, the university’s innovation hub, and will run programs including Hacking for Defense and Starts. Dunnicliff graduated from the UW in 2006 and joined the DoD in 2013.

“The University of Washington is unquestionably one of the premier research institutions in the world and I see many opportunities for collaboration,” Dunnicliff said in a statement. “As a UW alumnus, I am particularly excited to bring the full spectrum of NSIN programming to the University and to work

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Former Uber CTO Thuan Pham joins South Korean e-commerce leader Coupang

Thuan Pham, who in May stepped down as Uber’s chief technology officer and longest-serving top executive, has a new job in South Korea. Coupang, the country’s largest e-commerce company by market share, announced today it has hired Pham as its new CTO.

For Pham, joining Coupang, a SoftBank-backed unicorn that holds a 24.6% market share in South Korea, the fifth-largest e-commerce in the world, is a departure from his original post-Uber plans. In an interview with Bloomberg after leaving Uber, which Pham joined in 2013, he expressed relief about his decision, describing leading the ride-hailing giant’s technology division as “a very heavy burden.” After leaving, Pham intended to spend his time teaching university students and mentoring entrepreneurs instead of joining another large tech company.

“I thought that there was a slim opportunity that I would take on another operational role again, but the bar for that would have been super

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