A prominent Alexa developer has successfully financed a new AI startup with big ambitions.
- William Tunstall-Pedoe, a key developer on Amazon’s Alexa and Echo, raised $20 million in investments for his artificial intelligence (AI) startup company, Unlikely AI.
- Tunstall-Pedoe will use the funds to hire developers to create a new type of artificial-intelligence software.
- “The start-up will use the funding to boost the development of its ambitious, fresh approach to artificial intelligence (AI), and expand its team,” says the company press release.
WHY IT’S IMPORTANT
Unlikely AI is hoping to develop new approaches and applications for artificial intelligence, however, its website says it has not announced any of its work or plans yet.
Tunstall-Pedoe has suggested that part of his work will involve taking a new look at machine learning, big neural networks, and general intelligent machines.
“However, an early example illustrating some of what we can do is Crossword Genius—an app containing an AI, Ross, who can solve and explain even the most difficult cryptic crossword clues. The app also uses state-of-the-art machine vision to read in crosswords found in newspapers via the smartphone camera and allow solving on your device,” says Unlikely AI.
Backing up a bit
Tunstall-Pedoe was originally a developer at a startup called Evi that developed a voice-activated search app.
“Tunstall-Pedoe left Amazon in 2016 and became one of a group of UK-based early-stage investors, advising AI companies such as Ada Heath and Fluent.ai,” says Bloomberg.
“I always knew I had one or two Evi-sized startups left in me. I’ve been thinking about it since I left Amazon,” says Pedoe.
Bloomberg reports that Octopus Ventures, Amadeus Capital Partners, and Twitter board member Patrich Pichette are among the investors backing the initial $20 million investment.
Unlikely AI previously received a £1.1m angel-only investment round in October 2020 with 26 prominent investors joining the company.
“The angels include Christopher North, who was the UK country manager for Amazon following Amazon’s acquisition of Evi; Patrick Pichette, the former CFO of Google and current Twitter board member; the prominent Silicon Valley executive Barak Berkowitz; and many members of Cambridge Angels, a group of more than 60 high-net-worth investors of whom Tunstall-Pedoe is also a member,” says the press release.