The AI Foundation raises $17 million to create digital AI-powered personas
The AI Foundation, which ambitiously hopes to develop “ethical” AI agents that can be trained to complete tasks, today closed a $17 million funding round. A spokesperson said the funds will be used to scale the company’s platform, which allows people to create a digital persona that mirrors their own.
As the pandemic makes virtual meetups a regular occurrence, the concept of personal AI — tailored to your life or replicating your personality — is gaining steam. Startups creating virtual beings, or artificial people powered by AI, have raised more than $320 million in venture capital to date. As my colleague Dean Takahashi points out, these beings are a kind of precursor to the Metaverse — a universe of virtual worlds that are all interconnected, as in novels such as Snow Crash and Ready Player One. Like Soul Machines, Brud, Wave, Samsung-backed STAR Labs, and others, the AI Foundation intends to will the Metaverse into existence by pursuing new and existing machine learning techniques.
Established in 2017, the AI Foundation, which was founded by Rob Meadows and former EA vice president Lars Buttler, is a dual commercial and nonprofit enterprise with the stated mission of bringing “the power and protection of AI to everyone in the world so they can participate fully in the future.” At the center of this mission is the company’s proprietary “human-AI collaboration” platform, which brings together innovations from third-party research partners.
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The AI Foundation’s series B was raised in partnership with Mousse Partners, You & Mr. Jones, Founders Fund, Alpha Edison, and Stone. It brings the San Francisco-based company’s total raised to around $28 million, following a $10.5 million series A in September 2018.
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