Soul Machines Raises $7.5m in Series A Financing Round
“New Zealand-based artificial intelligence (AI) and avatar company Soul Machines has raised $7.5 million in a Series A financing round led by venture capital firm Horizons Ventures along with Silicon Valley firm Iconiq Capital,” writes Tanu Pandey in an article for DealStreetAsia.
“Soul Machines, the University of Auckland spinout, was built on the Baby X technology created by Dr Mark Sagar and his engineering research team at the University’s Laboratory for Animate Technologies based in the Auckland Bioengineering Institute. In fact, it has come to life as a result of the investment from Horizon Ventures,” as reported in the article.
“Mark’s work on Baby X is leading the way in the development of a completely new interaction model between humans and machines,” said Horizons Ventures’ Phil Chen, who joins Soul Machines as executive chairman.
“The investment will allow Soul Machines to deliver on its vision of humanizing technology to create intelligent and emotionally responsive, human-like avatars that augment and enrich the user experience for customers and markets adopting AI-based platforms,” reports the article.
Experienced New Zealand-based technology entrepreneur Greg Cross has also joined Soul Machines as part of the transaction to launch the new company and accelerate commercialisation, as reported in the article.
“It’s a really exciting time for the Soul Machines team with both the investment led by Horizons Ventures and commercial leadership with Greg Cross in place. Now, our engineering team can focus on building core technology that will bring human life to technology that is intelligent, emotive and adaptive. Our goal is to define the user experience for AI systems and platforms,” said Sagar.
“As a result of the investment, Sagar and his research team now make up the newly formed Soul Machines brand, and Auckland UniServices has reassigned ownership of all Intellectual Property and associated research contracts to Soul Machines in return for a shareholding in the new company,” reports the article.
Soul Machines is a developer of intelligent, emotionally responsive avatars that augment and enrich the user experience for Artificial Intelligence (AI) platforms. The University of Auckland spinout company was built on the Baby X technology created by Dr. Mark Sagar and his engineering research team at the University’s Laboratory for Animate Technologies based in the Auckland Bioengineering Institute. The company is venture backed, with an investment led by Hong Kong-based Horizons Ventures, a leading artificial intelligence and virtual reality investor.
Article Source: DealStreetAsia, Tanu Pandey, November 28, 2016