The billionaire owner of Tesla and SpaceX Elon Musk’s brain-chip startup Neuralink has raised $205 million in new venture funding led by Dubai-based venture firm Vy Capital.
US-based Neuralink intends to implant wireless brain-computer chips in people to help cure neurological diseases like Alzheimer’s, dementia, and spinal cord injuries.
The funds will help Neuralink to work on its brain implant for quadriplegics, a gadget that could eventually aid patients with other neurological problems. According to the company statement, the technology could help provide patients with “digital freedom” by allowing them to interact with computers and phones “in a high bandwidth and naturalistic way.”
Furthermore, the funds from the round will be used to accelerate the research and development of future products. The next big step for the US company will be clinical trials of its device in human beings, as per the statement.
Vy Capital was founded by Alexander Tamas, a former partner at DST, the investment firm founded by billionaire Yuri Milner. Other main investors in the Neuralink round include Google Ventures, DFJ Growth, Valor Equity Partners, Craft Ventures, Founders Fund, and Gigafund.
“It is a bet on cool tech meets Elon. A very hard but very big vision,” commented Mr. Robert Nelson, the co-founder of Arch Venture Partners, who took part in the round.
Although Neuralink has yet to announce human trials, one of its competitors, Synchron, just announced early trials for its own brain-computer interface.
Earlier this year, Neuralink has released a video showing a monkey playing a simple videogame after getting the latest technology implants. The 3-minute video shows a male macaque with chips implanted on either side of his brain, playing ‘Mind Pong’.