Xnor.ai Announces $2.6 Million in Seed Funding from Madrona, Allen Institute to Bring Powerful, Lightweight AI to Mobile Phones and IoT Devices

Company officially spins out of Allen Institute for Artificial Intelligence (AI2)

SEATTLE--()--Xnor.ai, a startup focused on the development and commercialization of AI models that can run directly on edge devices, today announced seed funding of $2.6 million from Madrona Venture Group with support from the Allen Institute for Artificial Intelligence.

“Alexa and the Echo have changed how we think about voice recognition systems. Google and Facebook have enabled us to easily identify the faces of our friends in photos. But all of those services require a solid connection to the cloud and intensive GPU data farms”

Xnor.ai has pioneered a lightweight AI framework that enables deep learning, machine vision, and speech recognition to be done directly on devices – scalable all the way down to the $5 Raspberry Pi Zero. Today, AI technologies like image and voice recognition are changing how we interact with the world, but scalable, commercial applications of these AI algorithms require massive computations and connections to server farms. Xnor.ai’s technology makes these kinds of AI services portable on resource constrained devices such as phones, smart watches, cameras, cars, embedded devices and the smallest Raspberry PI device. Xnor.ai’s platform does not require sending data to servers so the data can remain on the device ensuring the highest levels of privacy and battery-efficient performance.

The team, led by co-founders Ali Farhadi, CEO and Mohammad Rastegari, CTO will use the funding to further develop the platform and work with application developers, chip designers and companies developing AI applications for edge devices such as drones, cars, industrial machinery, and smart cameras.

“We believe that AI is core to the future of computing and Xnor.ai enables unprecedented levels of responsiveness, speed, and reliability,” said Ali Farhadi, CEO, Xnor.ai. “Our technology closes the gap between the demands of state of the art AI and the resources available in computer platforms around us – we are making AI ubiquitous.”

“Alexa and the Echo have changed how we think about voice recognition systems. Google and Facebook have enabled us to easily identify the faces of our friends in photos. But all of those services require a solid connection to the cloud and intensive GPU data farms,” said Matt McIlwain, managing director, Madrona Venture Group. “Imagine what is possible if that style of computing could be done on the device in your hand, on your wrist, or in your car. We believe the future of AI will rest on creating systems that combine the value of core and edge device learning. We are excited to work with Ali and Mohammad on building Xnor.ai.”

“While AI and machine learning are powering incredible apps and soultions that can automatically drive cars, identify people and objects in photos and videos, and act on our every word, they require GPUs to perform massive computations. Our technology at Xnor.ai enables running state of the art AI on commodity CPUs which changes the game,” said Mohammad Rastegari, CTO.

Oren Etzioni, CEO of AI2 added, “Ali and Mohammad are some of the best technical minds in the field of machine vision, and have a remarkable technological breakthrough that’s led us to spin off xnor.ai. I foresee a very bright future for the company.” Oren Etzioni and Matt McIlwain join the board of Xnor.ai as part of the funding.

About Xnor.ai

Xnor.ai is a group of experienced innovators working to make AI dramatically more efficient, and put it into every device. For more information on our technology, research, and team please visit www.xnor.ai

About Madrona Venture Group

Madrona (www.madrona.com) has been investing in early-stage technology companies in the Pacific Northwest since 1995 and has been privileged to play a role in some of the region's most successful technology ventures. The firm invests predominately in seed and Series A rounds across the information technology spectrum, including consumer Internet, commercial software and services, digital media and advertising, networking and cloud computing, and mobile. Madrona manages approximately $1 billion and was an early investor in companies such as Amazon.com, Apptio, Rover.com, and Redfin.

About AI2

AI2 was founded in 2014 with the mission of contributing to humanity through high-impact AI research and engineering. AI2 is the creation of Paul Allen, Microsoft co-founder, and is led by Dr. Oren Etzioni, a world-renowned researcher and professor in the field of AI and computer science. AI2 has undertaken four main projects, AristoSemantic ScholarEuclid and Plato to drive fundamental advances in science and medicine through AI. AI2 has spun out two start-ups, KITT.AI in 2015 and Xnor.ai in 2016.

Contacts

For Xnor.ai
Erika Shaffer, 206-972-5514
Erika@madrona.com

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Release Summary

Xnor.ai, a startup bringing a AI processing power to mobile devices, received $2.6 million in seed funding from Madrona Venture Group, Allen AI institute

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