Hyde Park Venture Partners Invests in UMichigan Startup Behind Open-Source AI

Aug04, 2016

Deal: $1.2M

Investors: Hyde Park Venture Partners, Ann Arbor-based eLab, and Ann Arbor-based Cahoots Holdings.

What they do: Ann Arbor, Michigan-based Clinc, developed by world-class A.I. and systems research professors at University of Michigan, is the startup behind Lucida, the world’s first open source intelligent personal assistant. Lucida enables developers and the open-source community to easily “create and deploy personalized voice and vision-based intelligent assistants in applications beneficial to society – such as non-profit education and improving technological access for the disabled.”

Clinc will use the funding to build upon its research in machine learning and to invest in the continued development of its deep learning platform and robust ecosystem of A.I. engines.

Explained Jason Mars, professor at University of Michigan, and co-founder of Clinc, “Transformative A.I. technologies can solve so many pressing societal problems. This financial support allows us to make our system easily adaptable for people around the world. The funds also enable us to address the architectural limits of servers and data centers and to build the infrastructure to deploy our system at scale.”

Clinc, unlike traditional A.I. systems that operate off of a set of rules and pre-programmed answers, learns naturally over time and does not require continual coding to grow.

Other details: Along with the $1.2M seed round, Clinc also secured a $225,000 grant from the National Science Foundation. According to Clinc, the funds from the Foundation Phase I Small Business Innovation Research Grant will be used to help strengthen and increase the intelligent capabilities of Lucida.

Launched in 2011, Hyde Park Venture Partners is an early-stage venture firm that focuses on Midwest tech companies raising their first or second rounds of capital. It has invested in a number of Chicago-based startups, including ShipBob’s $4M Series A, Geofeedia’s $3M roundIris Mobile’s $2.5M round, as well as ParkWhiz’s $10 million Series B, InContext Solutions’ $12 million Series B, and BaseCRM’s $15 million Series B.


By Will Flanagan

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