Tim Draper and Robolution Capital Lead Seed Round Investment In Neurala
Robotics Company To Take Deep Learning Intelligence Software Designed For Mars And Bring It Down To Earth
BOSTON, MA (PRUnderground) December 10th, 2014
Neurala, Inc., which builds software that makes robots smarter so that people can tell a robot what to do instead of how to do it, announced today that it had closed a seed investment round of $750,000. The round was led by the fund run by well-known venture capitalist Tim Draper, Draper Associates Investments, LLC, and by Robolution Capital, the Paris-based venture capital fund dedicated to service robotics.
A pioneer in deep learning technologies that mimic the functions of the human brain, Neurala was named one of the 50 most influential robotics companies in 2014 by Robotics Business Review. The company holds a fundamental patent for the use of deep learning algorithms, often called Artificial Neural Networks (ANN), running on graphic processing units (GPUs), which were originally designed for computer games and 3D graphics. The invention is seen as an important foundation for real-time artificial intelligence and is the basis for many deep learning technologies used today. (U.S. Patent 8,648,867)
The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) and the United States Air Force Research Labs (USAFRL) have both contracted with Neurala to develop deep learning controllers that emulate brain functions. Uses range from autonomous exploration of Mars-like environments, to more Earthly use, such as collision avoidance for unmanned aircraft and persistent surveillance.
“With the new investment, Neurala will be able to make robots something that everyone will find useful in everyday life,” said Massamiliano Versace, CEO and co-founder of Neurala. “We plan to develop practical commercial applications for both flying robots and gound-based robots that utilize our deep learning software.”
Robolution Capital, the first venture capital fund exclusively dedicated to the growing service robotics market, will add its deep experience in robotics as well as its knowledge regarding expansion into the European market.
“Neurala will be one of the companies leading movement towards the next generation of robotics, in which robots will be able to act, adapt autonomously and interact with people. We look forward to working with them to build a global brand by providing the most advanced technology,” said Bruno Bonnell, a partner at Robolution Capital.
In addition to Draper Associates Investments and Robolution Capital, investors in Neurala include SK Ventures, TechStars and other angel investors.
About Neurala, Inc.
Neurala, Inc. (http://www.neurala.com) creates software that makes robots, drones, toys, consumer electonics, self-driving cars and smart devices (ioT) more autonomous, engaging and useful. The patent-pending Neurala Intelligence Engine (NIE) is based on the way the human brain works using passive sensors (e.g., cameras like eyes and microphones like ears), make intelligent decisions and act. NIE is based on technology that Neurala developed for NASA for planetary exploration and for the U.S. Air Force Research Labs. The company offers a Software Developers Kit (SDK) for companies wishing to integrate intelligence into their products. Neurala also offers two consumer apps: Neurala Selfie Dronie powers autonomous flight in drones to take stunning videos without human operation or specialized hardware. Neurala Roboscope turns a Parrot Jumping MiniDrone into a self-driving robot that can autonomously and playfully \”attack\” objects in the real world. The company was founded in 2006 and is a graduate of TechStars Boston 2013. It received a seed round of investment of nearly $1-million, led by Tim Draper and Robolution Capital. Follow Neurala on Twitter at @Neurala, on Facebook at www.facebook.com/neurala, or on YouTube at www.youtube.com/c/NeuralaTV.