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10 February 2014

Singularity warps in $50m

Singularity University reveals plans to raise a $50m fund for start-ups and spin-outs.

Author: Gregg Bayes-Brown, editor

Singularity University (SU) has announced its intention to raise a $50m fund later this year to fuel start-ups and spin-outs coming out from the education-accelerator hybrid institution.

Singularity, an unaccredited university based in Silicon Valley, will begin raising capital in the second quarter of 2014. Technologies the institution will be pursuing including robotics, biotech, and nanotechnology.

SU differentiates itself from its more contemporary peers in terms of scope, structure, and objectives. It was launched in 2008 by Ray Kurzweil, director of engineering at Google, and Peter Diamandis, the founder of philanthropic tech competition the X Prize, and echoes the forward-thinking agenda of both organisations. Its 11 subjects include entrepreneurship, computing and artificial intelligence, biotech, space, robotics and future studies. Corporate founders and sponsors include Google, Nokia, Linkedin, the Kauffman Foundation, the X Prize Foundation, and others.

In an interview with tech news provider Gigaom, Sandy Miller, managing director of new venture development, said: “The (accelerator) companies have to use an exponential technology as part of their product solution in markets, applications that are addressing at least one or more of the grand challenges. Being one or more years ahead of the market, that’s something that I see working with some of the companies in our portfolio.”

Rob Nail, chief executive of Singularity University, added: “A lot of things are changing far faster than most of us realise and we’re living in a world that has problems and capabilities that will not be solved by the infrastructure from hundreds and thousands of years ago that we’re currently using. There’s a critical need for us to be aware of how technology is shifting our lives and the world we live in, but also there’s a gigantic opportunity to take advantage of those technologies that are on the near cusp to deploy them to solve the big problems.”

Supporting articles: Scanadu crowdfunds trekkie future

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