Brain Corp welcomes $114m funding from SoftBank's Vision Fund

By Prasun Bose

San Diego-based AI company Brain Corp has raised $114m through SoftBank’s Vision Fund.

Brain has secured the money to help realise the potential of its technology; artificial intelligence that can turn a manufacturer’s manual equipment into a robot.

The robot is able to recognise its environment, control motion and avoid obstacles, with the AI currently used with manufacturers Ice, NSS and Minuteman International.

SoftBank’s investment will allow Brain to develop its technology for ‘multiple types of commercial and consumer robots’. 

“At Brain, we believe tomorrow’s robots will be intelligent autonomous machines that take care of us. Such robots will be as commonplace as computers and mobile phones are today,” said Brain CEO Dr Eugene Izhikevich. 

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“This funding will allow us to accelerate our mission, and we look forward to collaborating with the SoftBank Vision Fund as a long-term strategic partner.”

Qualcomm Ventures, Brain’s first institutional investor, joined SoftBank on the funding round and will have a seat on the company’s board.

Japanese giant SoftBank has made this commitment at the same time as investing $159m in auto-tech company Nauto and $200m in Silicon Valley indoor farming startup Plenty.

Its Vision Fund is a combination of equity and debt from backers such as the state governments of Saudi Arabia and Abu Dhabi, as well as the likes of Apple and Sharp.

“Brain is developing truly ground-breaking technology that transforms manually operated machines into autonomous robots," added Masayoshi Son, Chairman & CEO of SoftBank Group Corp. 

“Brain's team is at the forefront of creating the future and a more convenient way of life through technology. We are confident in their success and look forward to seeing them realize their vision.”

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