Neuralink, the futuristic brain-computer interface company founded by Elon Musk, said it has raised $ 205 million in startup support, by far the biggest loot of any company in its field.
In a blog post on Thursday, Neuralink said that Dubai-based venture firm Vy Capital had led the latest round of funding. It comes two years after filings showed Neuralink was raising $ 51 million in a previous round.
The funds will help Musk’s Neuralink, based in Austin, Texas, work on his tetraplegic brain implant, a device that could eventually help other people with neurological disorders as well. The technology could help give patients “digital freedom” by allowing them to interact with computers and phones “in high bandwidth and in a naturalistic way,” according to the announcement.
The next big step for Neuralink will be human clinical trials of its device, which has so far been shown in pigs and a monkey playing Pong.
“It’s a bet where cool technology meets Elon,” said Robert Nelsen, co-founder of Arch Venture Partners who participated in the round. “A very hard but very big vision.”
Neuralink has yet to announce human trials, although one of its rivals, Synchron, announced the first trials for its own brain-computer interface this week.
Seven months later, 2021 has already become a record year for brain-computer interface funding. A few days ago, Paradromics said it had raised $ 20 million. Excluding that round and the latest Neuralink funding, brain-computer interface companies had raised $ 132.8 million this year. In total, including the latest rounds of funding, 2021 has already tripled the $ 97 million raised in all of last year, according to data from PitchBook.
Neuralink was first registered as a California company in 2016, although Musk did not discuss the company publicly until the following year. Musk has said that Neuralink could alleviate conditions ranging from depression to traumatic brain injury, claims that scientists have agreed are plausible.