Sheffield silicon synapse startup secures "significant" seven-figure seed support
A Sheffield biotechnology startup has announced that it has raised £2.1m in seed funding.
Opteran, which reverse engineers silicon brains, has raised the funding ahead of the launch of its ‘Natural Intelligence’ product, which it expects to “significantly” expand the market for autonomy in robots and machines.
The round was led by IQ Capital, and was also backed by Episode1, Join and Seraphim.
Following on from a pre-seed round from the Connecting Capabilities Fund (CCF) of the British Business Bank, the latest funding round also includes angel investors and a CCF grant.
Opteran reverse engineers insect brains to produce algorithms requiring no data centre or extensive pre-training, meaning it can mimic sensory tasks and decisions.
David Rajan, CEO of Opteran, commented: “2021 will be the year when Natural Intelligence will challenge deep learning in solving some of the most fundamental short-comings in autonomous applications and this funding round will set Opteran on a path to be at the forefront of this next wave.
“Already in a position to demonstrate the technology, we are confident that Natural Intelligence will become highly sought after as the way to deliver lightweight, low-cost and effective autonomy in a radically new way that will open up huge growth opportunities for robotics.”
Ed Stacey, partner at IQ Capital, said: We are hugely excited to be working with Opteran, as Natural Intelligence adds a whole new dimension that will transform the way in which we create intelligent machines - starting with the design of more efficient silicon brains for robots and autonomous vehicles.
“We are delighted to be supporting them at the start of their commercial journey and are excited to see the technology they create and the role it plays in the wider AI market in the years ahead.”
Rob Desborough, partner at Seraphim Space Fund and CEO of Spacecamp, commented: “The benefits and step change Natural Intelligence can bring to the field of autonomy are profound.
“Within a space environment autonomous systems are truly on the edge where size, weight and efficiency are critical.
“Opteran has the potential to be the world leader in this area and was an exceptional fit for our Seraphim Space Camp accelerator. Our experience of working with the team gave us the conviction that this was a company that could revolutionise this sector.”
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