A Manchester artificial intelligence (AI) start-up has raised £1.3m investment from Accelerated Digital Ventures (ADV) and the Northern Powerhouse Investment Fund.
MindTrace was set up by Professor Michael Denham and Dr Kameliya Dimova, to develop software algorithms that can mimic the way the human brain works. The team work with Professor Steve Furber from the University of Manchester and Sir Hossein Yassaie, the former CEO of chipmaker Imagination Technologies plc, who will be the company’s chair.
MindTrace is one of the few companies worldwide developing machines capable of ‘unsupervised learning’ or teaching themselves independently. Its systems could have a wide range of applications including data management and cyber security.
The company is developing an advanced collision avoidance system which will offer faster response times than current systems, perform better in poor lighting conditions and require less power and bandwidth.
The £1.3m funding will allow the company to recruit a research and development team and a CEO. It will also develop a prototype in collaboration with a major car manufacturer and raise Series A investment to bring the product to market.
Ashwin Kumaraswamy, investment director at Mercia Fund Managers which manages NPIF – Mercia Equity Finance, said: “In MindTrace, we have brought together some of the world’s leading authorities who have transformed the computing and electronics industry and are now set on a new mission – to make machines think like humans. This revolutionary new technology will have the potential to solve some of the major real-life challenges society will face in the years ahead, but it will take time to develop and require support at each stage. As investors, we are committed to working with them over the longer term.”
Michael Dimelow, head of investment at ADV, said: “MindTrace represents a landmark opportunity to define the artificial intelligence industry through the development of unsupervised learning. Truly unsupervised machine learning has never been achieved and its potential to change society, business and the world is infinite. This combined with a team of global sector leaders based in Manchester – the original home of computers – is an extraordinary recipe. We’re really excited to support the company’s growth going forward”.
Ken Cooper, managing director at British Business Bank, said: “It is good to see ADV, a platform backed by British Business Bank (BBB), and the Northern Powerhouse Investment Fund through Mercia working together to back high tech businesses like MindTrace.
“The North plays a vital role in the growth of the UK technology sector, and BBB is committed to providing the right funding to support innovative digital technology businesses which will drive further growth and job creation.”
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