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1 December 2017

MindTrace draws $1.8m seed round

Based on research at University of Manchester, MindTrace is working on artificial intelligence for autonomous vehicles that is able to continuously improve itself.

Author: Thierry Heles, editor

UK-based artificial intelligence (AI) technology developer MindTrace has raised £1.3m ($1.8m) in seed funding from investors including Accelerated Digital Ventures (ADV), managed by the government-owned British Business Bank.

Another publicly backed vehicle, the Northern Powerhouse Investment Fund, through NPIF - Mercia Equity Finance, managed by Mercia Fund Managers, also contributed to the round.

MindTrace is working on AI technology that is able to continuously improve itself through teaching itself without human interaction. The technology would have applications in a wide range of areas, from autonomous vehicles to cybersecurity and data management.

MindTrace is initially focusing on self-driving cars, where it is working on an advanced collision avoidance system that will deliver faster response times than current technologies, while requiring less power and bandwidth and performing better in poor lighting conditions.

The seed round will allow the spinout to hire a chief executive and an R&D team, as well as developing a prototype with an unnamed car manufacturer ahead of a series A round.

The spinout is exploiting research conducted by Kameliya Dimova and Michael Denham, emeritus professor of adaptive and neural computation at Plymouth University, with Steve Furber, ICL professor of computer engineering at University of Manchester.

Furber previously designed the BBC Microcomputer and processors for semiconductor firm Arm Holdings.

Hossein Yassaie, former chief executive of chipmaker Imagination Technologies, has been appointed as chairman.

Ken Cooper, managing director at British Business Bank, said: “It is good to see ADV, a platform backed by British Business Bank (BBB), and the Northern Powerhouse Investment Fund through Mercia working together to back high-tech businesses like MindTrace.

“The north plays a vital role in the growth of the UK technology sector, and BBB is committed to providing the right funding to support innovative digital technology businesses which will drive further growth and job creation.”

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