XNOR.AI today announced the close of its $12 million Series A financing led by Madrona Venture Group with participation from NGP Capital, Autotech Ventures and Catapult Ventures. The funding will be used to unlock the next wave of AI adoption, shifting AI from the cloud to run locally on intelligent devices.
Unlike traditional AI that runs in massive data centers and requires network connectivity, XNOR makes AI highly efficient by allowing deep learning models to run directly on phones, IoT devices and low power microprocessors. XNOR’s technology enables AI experiences that are up to 10x faster, 200 percent more power efficient, and use 15x less memory.
Developers and device manufacturers can now power drones to capture a bird’s eye view of immense fields, pinpointing failing crops and recommending optimum harvest time with no need for internet connectivity. Gamers can now create interactive, immersive worlds that can run on basic cell phones. And smartwatches can deliver real time health notifications without being connected to the internet.
“XNOR’s mission is to remove barriers that prevent the widespread use of AI in everyday devices. Our ‘AI everywhere for everyone’ technology eliminates the need for internet connectivity, runs on inexpensive hardware platforms and eliminates latency inherent in traditional cloud based AI systems,” said Ali Farhadi, Co-founder and CEO of XNOR.
The new funding will allow the company to accelerate development of the XNOR Developer Platform to be released in the Fall of 2018. This self-serve platform will enable enterprises, device creators and app developers, even those without AI expertise, to integrate state-of-the-art AI models into their apps and let them run on “edge” devices such as mobile phones, drones, and IoT cameras.
“Ali, Mohammad and their team are creating the technologies that will enable the next big innovation in AI – intelligence and computing at the edge. These edge devices need immediate intelligence to operate efficiently and intelligently,” said Matt McIlwain, Managing Director, Madrona Venture Group. “We believe that the next big advances at the edge will come through XNOR’s platform.” As part of the financing, Matt McIlwain will continue to serve on the XNOR board of directors.
“AI is becoming an integral component in the transportation industry. XNOR’s lightweight algorithms will enable ‘AI on the edge’ for a broad range of applications, from cars to fleet management to smart infrastructure,” said Alexei Andreev, Managing Director of Autotech Ventures who joins the board as an observer.
XNOR is working with leading semiconductor partners, such as Ambarella, to enable XNOR’s technology with their products, allowing customers to accelerate time to market for AI-enabled edge devices. “We’re pleased to be working with XNOR to offer their advanced AI capabilities on Ambarella’s low power, HD camera SoCs,” said Chris Day, VP, Marketing and Business Development of Ambarella. “The combination will help to enable a new generation of intelligent IoT cameras, including smart home monitoring devices, capable of delivering analytics at the edge.”
XNOR has quickly proven itself as a leading innovator in Seattle’s rapidly expanding AI space. The underlying technology was developed at the Allen Institute for Artificial Intelligence and spun out through AI2’s incubator program in 2017.