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DeepMind Co-Founder Suleyman Exits Google for VC Firm Greylock

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(Bloomberg) -- The co-founder of Google’s high-profile DeepMind artificial intelligence lab has left Alphabet Inc. to join venture capital firm Greylock Partners, following a turbulent tenure.

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Mustafa Suleyman will be a venture partner at Greylock, the company said on Thursday, advising early-stage companies and investing in artificial intelligence startups.

He’d previously been vice president for AI product management and policy at Google, joining the parent company after being placed on leave at DeepMind following controversy over some of the projects he led.

DeepMind was founded in 2010, and the business was bought four years later by Google. Suleyman was a key public face for the company, speaking to officials and at events about the promise of AI and the ethical guardrails needed around the technology.

However, the unit was heavily criticized for its work in the U.K. health sector.

Read more: Ethical Worries Are Marring Alphabet’s AI Health-Care Initiative

DeepMind Health’s first product was a mobile app called Streams that was originally designed to help doctors identify patients at risk of developing acute kidney injury.

In July 2017, the U.K.’s data privacy watchdog said DeepMind’s partner in the project, London’s Royal Free Hospital, illegally gave DeepMind access to 1.6 million patient records. Suleyman apologized in a statement at the time.

His departure for a position in VC comes as British lawmakers prioritize funding for businesses developing advanced technologies, such as AI, in addition to startups working in health care.

The U.K. took stakes in more than 150 high-growth companies, Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak said in September, as he hosted a meeting of investors and tech companies in order to spur the sector onward.

It was a change in tack by the ruling Conservative Party, which is traditionally averse to state intervention in private companies. The taxpayer now holds stakes in companies including Vaccitech Plc, which co-invented the Covid-19 vaccine with Oxford University, and in Century Tech, which uses artificial intelligence to tailor learning for children, the Treasury said.

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