Neurala Secures $14M Round|
January 20, 2017
the software company that has invented The Neurala Brain, a deep
learning neural networks platform that is making smart products like
toys, cameras and self-driving cars more autonomous, interactive and
useful has closed a $14 million series A funding round.
The round was led by Pelion Venture Partners, with participation from
Sherpa Capital, Motorola Solutions Venture Capital, 360 Capital
Partners, Draper Associates Investments, SK Ventures, and Idinvest
Partners through its Electranova Capital II Fund and in partnership with
Ecomobility Ventures. Both 360 Capital Partners and Draper Associates
also provided seed funding. Neurala will use the capital to accelerate
servicing of its rapidly increasing customer demand, as well as to
revolutionize additional application areas by adding built-in
intelligence and autonomous behavior.
“The Neurala Brain was designed from the beginning to transform
industries,” said Massimiliano “Max” Versace, co-founder and CEO of
Neurala. “Bio-inspired brainpower can be built right into drones, cars,
toys, cameras, and other devices found in the home so that they can
learn, see and act. This is essential for applications like drones and
self-driving cars, where reaction time is critical and where you can’t
always get fast network access. It’s also an endearing capability when
built into toys that recognize their young owners by sight and give them
a smile without communicating with a server.”
Neurala pioneered the development of deep learning neural network
software for NASA to use in planetary exploration, where processing
power, battery life and communications are limited. Instead of designing
deep learning neural networks for super computers, as other companies
do, The Neurala Brain was designed to work where the decisions need to
be made. Today, Neurala has customers deploying a broad range of
applications, including autonomous drones and cars. Customers include
Teal Drones, Parrot and multiple members of the Fortune Global 500. Neurala
is currently working with Motorola Solutions on new applications of
video, image and audio analytics for public safety.
Neurala’s neural network software uses a bio-inspired approach to mimic
the way the human brain learns and analyzes its environment. This
software enables a variety of smart products—from self-driving cars and
industrial drones to toys, consumer electronics and smart cameras—to
learn, adapt and interact in real time. With The Neurala Brain, toys can
learn to identify their owners, security cameras can identify specific
threats, drones can “learn” how to diagnose problems at the tops of cell
towers, saving humans considerable danger and drudgery, and self-driving
cars can be safer and learn to avoid obstacles.
One significant differentiator of Neurala’s deep learning software is
that it scales from embedded hardware to powerful servers. Neurala calls
this an “Anywhere Brain.” By operating “on the edge” and locally on the
device, toys can entertain without communicating personal information to
a third party, and applications like self-driving cars need not rely on
the internet—which can be slow or unavailable—to avoid accidents.
Neurala’s software development kit (SDK) supports industry-standard
NVIDIA, ARM and Intel processors, so teams can develop for the processor
that is best for their product instead of being forced to select a
high-priced proprietary processor.
“Motorola Solutions is constantly seeking ways to accelerate technology
innovation for our public safety and commercial customers, who work
in demanding and often dangerous environments," said Paul Steinberg,
Chief Technology Officer, Motorola Solutions. “Neurala brings advanced
deep learning capabilities that will enable us to further explore the
potential of artificial intelligence to augment our customers'
experiences 'at the edge. ’ This has the power to do things like help
police find a missing person faster or guide a field worker's
maintenance activities by turning their body-worn camera into a sensor
that can recognize actionable information in video and images—in real
time at the edge."
every application on earth can benefit from becoming smarter,” said Tim
Draper, well-known venture capitalist and founder of Draper Associates.
“Neurala is the only platform that enables products to see and react in
their worlds, with fast, local, real-time learning. It’s already driving
innovative new intelligent hardware applications even as it makes
current ones more efficient, with greater financial feasibility.”
“Pelion is a firm that believes in a future in which automobiles,
robots, drones and other mobile hardware devices will need to navigate
the world autonomously and safely, and we believe that Neurala has the
right solution to enable that future,” said Senior Associate Ben Lambert
of Pelion Venture Partners. “Neurala's executives have a deep technology
background and have been leading development efforts in this industry
since 2006. As a result, the company is far ahead of its competitors and
is at the forefront of the deep learning and computer vision space.”
"Neurala technology is already achieving great traction in Europe. We
will be able to help the company’s founders build upon that momentum to
accelerate growth,” said Idinvest Director Julien Mialaret. “Our fund
sponsors have ideas for ways to deploy Neurala's exciting technology."