Allen-backed AI2 incubator
Allen-backed AI2 incubator aims to connect AI startups with world-class talent.
You can’t swing a cat without hitting on some incubator or accelerator, or even a startup touting its intelligence chops — but for some reason, you will find few if any incubators focused just on the AI sector. Allen-backed AI2 incubator
The draw is the people — although startups will get the mentorship and advice on how to actually run a business. A excellent AI-based startup might get fancy office space and good advice from just about anyone — but AI2 is a concentration of three core competencies in computer vision, natural language processing, and machine learning.
“We want to make big bets and large businesses.”
However, the programs of supervised learning are countless, so applications of AI are encouraged — and machine learning has become a standard developer tool.
“Clearly AI is hot right now,” he told me, “but we’re not jumping on the bandwagon here.”
AI2, as the Paul Allen-backed nonprofit is more commonly called, already spun off two companies: XNOR.ai, that has made major advances in enabling AI tasks to run on edge devices, is working independently and licensing its own technician to eager customers. Natural language processing system, has been bought by Baidu just last month.
There are heaps more PhDs and printed investigators; AI2 has plucked (or politely borrowed) high-profile professors from around, but notably the University of Washington, a longstanding presence at the frontiers of technology. AI2 CEO Oren Etzioni can be proud of this team he’s built and is himself a veteran researcher.
XNOR.ai, still partially run from their AI2 office, is proof of that. The corporation’s latest computer vision program, YOLO, performs the rather incredible feat of both detecting and classifying hundreds of object forms — on exactly the same network, locally and in real-time. YOLO scored runner-up at the CVPR of this year for Best Paper, and that’s not the first time its authors are honored. It’s not what this article is about although I would spend more time.
The incubator is going to have a couple of organizations at one time, Colker and ” explained, and up to $ 250K’s potential investment is more than many organizations are eager to part with. And as a nonprofit, there are concerns about equity terms and ROI.
“We are two for two, and not in a little way,” said Jacob Colker, who has headed many Seattle and Bay Area startups and incubators, and is now currently the Entrepreneur-in-Residence charged with placing AI2’s app on the map. Until now the incubation program has kept a low profile.