Founded by billionaire Elon Musk, neural interface developer Neuralink, which is working on a chip to implant in the human brain, has raised $205 million in a venture funding round. It was headed by the Dubai company Vy Capital, founded by a former partner of Russian billionaire Yuri Milner. According to Bloomberg, this funding round was the largest in history in terms of the amount of venture capital investments raised in the development of neural interfaces. Musk's startup was backed by Google Ventures, DFJ Growth, Valor Equity Partners, Craft Ventures, Founders Fund and Gigafund. They were also joined by Paradigm and Coinbase co-founder Fred Ersam, PayPal and Founders Fund co-founder Ken Howery, and others. The round was led by the Dubai-based venture capital fund Vy Capital, founded by Alexander Tamas, a former partner of billionaire Yuri Milner's DST investment company.
Neuralink managed to raise $51 million in the previous funding round, and $107 million in 2017. The funds raised will allow the company to continue working on a chip implant for people with partially or completely paralyzed arms and legs. The chip will allow them to interact with computers and phones directly "in a high-bandwidth, naturalistic way."
According to Neuralink, the first development will soon be ready for market launch. The company's immediate plans include clinical trials of the devices in humans after successful experiments with rats and pigs and monkeys. Elon Musk registered Neuralink in 2016. For more than three years, this project remained “top secret”, but in the summer of 2019, the billionaire first revealed his developments at a presentation in San Francisco. We are talking about neurobiological implants that allow you to connect the capabilities of a computer and the human brain.
Neuralink's main product is the N1 Link chip, a 1024-channel device that can be implanted into the brain using ultra-thin electrode threads (neural lace technology). They are implanted into the human brain in 32 minutes with the help of a robot, bypassing all blood vessels. Thanks to a chip connected to them and "smart stimulation", in the future it will be possible to treat Alzheimer's and Parkinson's diseases, as well as schizophrenia, autism and dementia - today these diseases are considered incurable. In the future, Elon Musk is sure, innovations from Neuralink will become a bridge between humanity and artificial intelligence.