Smart innovation fund targets AI, automation

May 13, 2019 //By Rich Pell
Smart innovation fund targets AI, automation
Seed stage venture capital fund and business accelerator Motus Ventures (Redwood City, CA) has announced the launch of the Motus Smart World Innovation Fund (SWIF) in partnership with strategic investors including several leading global technology companies.

The latest and third fund of Motus Ventures aims to help advance society and standards of living through artificial intelligence (AI), robotics and internet of things (IoT) technologies. Motus is targeting a total fund size of $30 million for the Smart World Innovation Fund.

The fund, says the firm, is uniquely positioned to establish stakes in startups targeting markets most ripe for automation by robots and AI, including transportation, warehouse/logistics, retail and office space management, agriculture, and manufacturing.

"We're thrilled to work closely with strategic investors and leading research institutions to accelerate the next-generation technologies that are pervading our economy," says Jim DiSanto, Managing Partner of Motus Ventures. "Motus Ventures believes automation and AI-based technologies will have the most dramatic shaping effect on business and society at large for decades. Artificial intelligence and robotics technology will transform consumer and industrial systems and products into self-operating and self-learning machines."

The firm, whose portfolio companies are eligible to participate in the Amazon Web Services Activate Program, has existing funds and expertise in the areas of transportation, industrial robotics, semiconductor, mobile communications, smart cities, agriculture technology, logistics, commercial workspace management, security and surveillance, and related fields.

"As Tesla discussed at their recent Tesla Autonomy Day," says DiSanto, "the current generation of sensing and AI technology isn't specialized enough, isn't reliable enough, isn't intelligent enough, consumes too much energy, generates too much heat, and is a generation behind, than the components, architectures, and systems that will enable automakers to implement the autonomy of the future."

"Motus identified these shortcomings years ago and placed investments in companies like Quanergy Systems – pure CMOS solid state low cost phased array LiDAR with no moving parts, Metawave – a metamaterials solid state phased array RADAR with pencil beam accuracy out to 350 meters, and recently MemryX – a UofM spinout leveraging crossbar ReRAM into a neural network accelerator for crunching matrix multiplications, 100s TOPS for only a


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