Artificial Intelligence: Air Street Capital’s New Fund; Intel’s Snaps Up AI Startup SigOpt

London-based Air Street Capital floats a $17 million fund for AI startups. Intel buys SF-based SigOpt.

London-based Air Street Capital announced Friday its close of a $17 million fund to back early-stage “AI-native” startups. The venture firm positions itself too as an AI-native investor – because “generalism is dead.”

Besides, its team of Operating Partners combines AI expertise with deep sector-specific knowledge.

AI-first by design

“Everyone knows that there is a huge opportunity in AI investment, but far fewer investors know what great AI companies look like in their earliest days,” says founder and general partner Nathan Benaich, an investor with a Ph.D. in experimental and computational cancer research. “Air Street Capital invests from day zero onwards, frequently before companies enter the strike zone of generalist venture firms.” (techeu)

Air Street Capital’s Operating Partners include Phil Keslin (Niantic), Gaile Gordon (TYZX, acquired by Intel), Julien Cornebise and Gabriel Dulac-Arnold (Google Research, DeepMind), as well as Jan Erik Solem [Facebook (NASDAQ: FB), Mapillary], amongst others.

Key portfolio success stories include Mapillary, Graphcore, Tractable, and LabGenius.

Investors in the new fund

Investors in the latest fund aimed at AI startups include Twitter, Vitruvian Partners, Google Senior Fellow Jeff Dean, Supercell co-founder Ilkka Paananen, Unity co-founder David Helgason, Point Nine Capital co-founder Christoph Janz, and LocalGlobe & Basecamp co-founders Robin and Saul Klein.

On the other side of the Atlantic, Intel scoops AI startup SigOpt

Chip giant Intel (NASDAQ: INTC) has acquired San Francisco based AI startup SigOpt for an undisclosed amount. (THE TECHEE)

SigOpt is the provider of a leading platform for the optimization of artificial intelligence (AI) software models at scale. Its technology will help Intel in its drive to develop next-generation chips and become the world’s leading AI chipmaker.

“In the new intelligence era, AI is driving the compute needs of the future,” said Raja Koduri, Intel senior vice president, chief architect and general manager of the Architecture, Graphics and Software (IAGS) Group. “It is even more important for software to automatically extract the best compute performance while scaling AI models. SigOpt’s AI software platform and data science talent will augment Intel software, architecture, product offerings and teams, and provide us with valuable customer insights.”

Scott Clark and Patrick Hayes founded SigOpt in 2014. The startup has raised $8.7 million, including from Y Combinator, Andreessen Horowitz, DCVC, SV Angel, and Stanford University.

Related Story:  Apple Shells Out $50M For Video AI Startup Vilynx                                                 

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