Brain-machine interface startup Paradromics closes $7M seed funding round

By Laura Lovett
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Paradromics, a San Jose, California-based startup that is working to create streaming capabilities between the brain and computers, has just landed $7 million in seed funding. The round was led by Arkitekt Ventures and Synergy Ventures with participation from It-Farm, Dolby Ventures, Alpha Edison, Loup Ventures, and existing investor Fusion Fund. 

The goal is for the company's brain-machine interface technology is to help people with connectivity disorders like blindness, deafness, and paralysis to “reconnect with the outside world” through prosthetic devices, according to a statement. 

“We are developing our technology to power the next wave of neural interfacing medical devices — from advanced prosthetics to bioelectronic medicine. The high-bandwidth feature of our technology has revolutionary implications for the field of neuro-prosthetics and beyond,” Matt Angle, founder and CEO of Paradromics, said in a statement. “The financial backing and strategic expertise of our investors will help us expand the team, grow the IP portfolio and more rapidly execute our technical development plan.”

According to the company, one of the major challenges is that the brain and computers work differently. 

“To connect high-speed digital devices like a camera to the brain you need to create a neural interface that can translate between high-speed digital signals and neural circuits,” an informational video on the startups webpage says. “This requires a massively parallel interface on the brain side. In other words, you need lots of individual channels to individual neurons. Not tens, not hundreds, but hundreds of thousands of channels.”

The company is currently working on an offering that will enable patients who cannot currently move or speak to communicate through a computer in real-time.

The company was founded in 2015 by Angle and his team of engineers and neuroscientists. However, this isn’t the company’s first funding boost. In 2017, the startup raked in $18 million from the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency when the agency pledged $65 million to Paradromics and other organizations developing neural engineering system design programs. 

“We are thrilled to back this team of leading scientists and engineers. They are fundamentally changing the way that humans and computers will interact and are opening the door to a whole new field of medicine,” Enke Bashllari, managing director of Arkitekt Ventures, said in a statement. “The future of BMI goes way beyond conventional prosthetics. Soon, we will address brain diseases not only via a small molecule or biologics, but via targeted electrical signals. Closed-loop systems that enable high bandwidth interfacing of the cortex with the outside world (and vice-versa) will radically improve patients’ lives."

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