Robot Investments Weekly: Cash Flows for AI Firms

Credit: Pixabay

April 20, 2018      

There’s little doubt that companies that claim either an artificial intelligence or machine-learning component to their offerings will attract attention from the investment community. Over the past few weeks, at least 10 AI companies found funding.

While some of these AI companies have little to no connection to the robotics world, it’s worth noting their projects to see how their software develops, for potential use within robotics in the future.  These investments and more can be found in the RBR Transactions Database, which lets you sort deals by company, industry, technology, or transaction type.

Using AI to speed up drug research

Two impressive investments this week are related to the process of discovering new drug possibilities for disease treatment. BenevolentAI announced it raised $115 million from new and existing investors for its AI-enabled drug development platform.

The company’s technology “has been shown to outperform human scientists in understanding the cause of disease and is capable of quickly generating drug candidates at scale.”

In addition, the company says the technology can “decipher the molecular process of disease and link these disease signatures within patients to ensure that the best drug candidate is given to the best patient responders.”

The company said it will use the additional money to scale its drug development activities, broaden the disease areas it focuses on, and extend the AI platform further. Part of the money will also be used to expand the platform into other science-based industries, including advanced materials, agriculture, and energy storage.

The second company, ReviveMed, announced it closed an oversubscribed seed round of $1.5 million for its AI-driven platform “that unlocks the value of metabolomics data for drug discovery and development.”

Dr. Leila Pirhaji, founder and CEO of ReviveMed, said metalbolomics data can “provide a critical link between the activity of genes and proteins, and phenotypic behavior in normal and disease states.”

The company’s platform, which spun out of MIT research, aims to more quickly apply metabolic data to “discover new disease mechanisms for drug discovery,” as well as identify the patients who would benefit via metabolomic biomarkers.

AI drives research on new materials

AI tools are also being used to accelerate the creation of advanced materials in the product manufacturing space. Citrine Informatics this week announced it received additional capital in the form of an $8 million convertible note from China’s Tencent Holdings and Australia private equity firm B&C Holdings. The company said it will use the money to assist its international expansion, hire new employees in the data science, engineering and sales fields.

In a statement announcing the funding, Citrine said “the product manufacturing process has seen tremendous innovation fueled by automation and advanced analytics, yet the process for developing cutting-edge chemicals and alloys remains largely unchanged.” The company uses AI to help predict materials behavior during the development process.

Could AI reduce the workload of lawyers?

Another area in which AI can speed up processes is in the legal space. LawGeex announced this week it closed a $12 million funding round for its contract review automation service. The platform uses AI to “remove the legal bottleneck of reviewing and approving everyday business contracts before signing.”

AI companies contract pixabay stock image

In the future, will AI review contracts instead of lawyers? Credit: Pixabay

In a statement, LawGeex CEO and co-founder Noory Bechor said “Customers who once waited weeks to get a simple contract approved can now complete the entire review and approval process in under sixty minutes.”

To prove that the AI was just as accurate, if not more accurate, than humans, the company cited a study that said its AI was 94% accurate in its NDA contract review, compared with 85% for human lawyers on average. In addition, the human lawyers spent 92 minutes to complete the review of five non-disclosure agreements, compared to 26 seconds for the LawGeex AI.

The Tel Aviv, Israel-based company said it plans to use the money to expand its product offering and U.S. presence. Earlier this year it opened an office in New York.

Additional investments in the AI space

Applitools announced it raised $31 million to fuel expansion of its AI-powered visual testing and monitoring system. The company’s platform mimics the human eye and brain to analyze images to assist test automation engineers, DevOps teams, front-end developers and digital transformation executives in their creation of mobile, web and native apps.

The AI-powered system aims to “ensure that an application appears correctly and functions properly on all mobile devices, browsers, operating systems and screen sizes.” The company claims a 99.999% accuracy rate, with less than 10 false detections in a million comparisons. announced it acquired AI-powered sales intelligence platform ONDiGO for an undisclosed amount. The ONDiGO system “automatically analyzes sales teams’ activities such as emails, meetings, and phone calls,” as well as measuring performance and alerting sales executives on “when to take action that could save or advance a pending deal.”

AcuityAds announced the closing of its sale of some common shares in a private deal to raise about $3.63 million ($4.6 million Canadian) to help fund its previously announced acquisition of Adman Interactive. The company’s AI technology allows advertisers to connect with audiences across video, social, mobile and online display advertising campaigns.

In the financial technology space, Singapore-based Silot announced completion of its pre-series A funding of $2.87 million from Arbor Ventures and Eight Roads Ventures. The Silot banking platform uses artificial intelligence to help connect “the silos of payments, on-boarding, operations and anti-fraud/anti-money laundering” operations within banking systems.

The Apax Digital Fund announced the acquisition of Finnish digital transformation company Solita, which includes AI and analytics development, as well as consulting, service design and managed cloud services. Financial terms of the transactions were not disclosed.

AI tools maker DimensionalMechanics recently announced $1.25 million in Series A-2 funding, as well as conversion of $4.22 million of debt to preferred stock for a total of $5.48 million. The company runs the NeoPulse Framework, a development and management platform for AI that includes tools for companies to build AI systems based on several data types, including video, numerical, text, images or audio.

Robot firms find funding

It’s not just about AI companies these days – there were some investments within the robotics space over the past two weeks. Medical Microinstruments, an Italy-based creator of a robotic platform for microsurgery, raised $24.5 million (€20 million) in Series A financing.

The company’s tele-operated robotic platform is designed for suturing in open surgery with wristed microinstruments. It is intended to give surgeons the ability to “scale motion and eliminate tremor, and aims to facilitate existing procedures” in the areas of microsurgery, post-oncological and trauma reconstructions, as well as organ transplantation, ophthalmology, and pediatric surgery. The platform is not yet commercially available, the company said.

Another surgical robotics company, Mazor Robotics, recently received about $258,000 after Dumont & Black Investment Advisors acquired a new stake in the company. The company develops medical devices and robotic surgery systems in the orthopedics and neurosurgery space.

Rotimatic flatbread maker Zimplistic AI companies

Rotimatic flatbread maker

In the consumer robotics space, Singapore-based Zimplistic raised $30 million in Series C funding to help expand its Rotimatic robotic flatbread-making device.

The company said it plans to expand its offerings into new markets, including the U.K., Australia, New Zealand, the Middle East, and Canada in an attempt to convert “25% of the world’s population that eats flatbreads” into Rotimatic users.

The best of the rest

We could be here all weekend, so let’s wrap up the week’s transactions with a handy bulleted list of transactions:

See you next week!