Venture Capital: Elon Musk’s Neuralink Raises $205M For Its Brain-Machine Interface
The investors in the Series C funding round included Google Ventures, Fred Ehrsam, and Ken Howery.
Elon Musk’s Neuralink, which is building brain interfaces that can help people with paralysis to connect with computers and phones, announced the completion of its Series C fundraise. The round, which raised $205 million, was led by Vy Capital, with participation from Google Ventures, DFJ Growth, Valor Equity Partners, Craft Ventures, Founders Fund, and Gigafund. (CNBC)
A group of leading executives and entrepreneurs in areas of strategic importance also joined the round, including Robert Nelson (Co-Founder of ARCH Venture Partners), Blake Byers (Byers Capital), Sam Altman (Chairman of YC Group and CEO of OpenAI), Fred Ehrsam (Co-founder of Paradigm and Coinbase) and Ken Howery (Co-Founder of PayPal and Founders Fund).
Neuralink, which Musk founded in 2016, has raised a total of $363 million to date. The company’s stated mission is to “help those with brain injuries in the near term and reduce AI risk to humanity in the long term.”
The company’s immediate target is to take its N1 Link brain interface device to market, and for this, the latest funding will be instrumental.
The N1 Link will help quadriplegics to interact with their computers and phones in a natural, high-bandwidth way. The N1 is a 1024 channel device that, once implanted, is completely invisible and transmits data via a wireless connection.
How it works (Source: Neuralink website)
The Link will connect to the thousands of neurons in the brain. As the users think about moving their arms or hands, this neural activity would be sensed by the Link and transmitted via Bluetooth to the user’s computer.
Initially, the users would learn how to control a virtual mouse. Later, with more practice, they would be able to control multiple devices such as a keyboard and game controller. Even the N1’s adaptive algorithms would improve with use, enhancing the user’s efforts.
The technology has so far been tested on pigs and a monkey that played the video game Pong with its mind.
Related Story: Elon Musk Demos Neuralink, A Future Brain Implant
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