American startup Neuralink, founded by Elon Musk, raised record $205 million in investments. The company is working on a brain-machine wireless interface that lets people with paralysis use their neural activity to interact with digital devices easily. That is, Neuralink plans to develop a brain implant for patients with paralysis.
Neuralink was funded as part of the Series C round, led by Dubai-based venture capital firm Vy Capital. Bloomberg notes that the amount of investment is the largest in the history of venture capital investments in the development of neural interfaces.
Other investors include Valor Equity Partners, Founders Fund, DFJ Growth, Craft Ventures, and Gigafund. Private investors include ARCH Venture Partners co-founder Robert Nelson, Blake Byers of Byers Capital, YC Group Chairman and OpenAI CEO Sam Altman, Paradigm and Coinbase co-founder Fred Ehrsam, and PayPal and Founders Fund co-founder Ken Hoveri.
Neuralink plans to spend the funds raised to launch the N1 Link brain chip, the startup's first product, and invest in accelerating research.
“Our first product, the N1 Link, is a 1024 channel device that, once implanted, is completely invisible and transmits data via a wireless connection. The first indication this device is intended for is to help quadriplegics regain their digital freedom by allowing users to interact with their computers or phones in a high bandwidth and naturalistic way,” says Neuralink.
Neuralink believes that the use of such chips will not be limited to patients with paralysis in the future. Over time, this device will help people with neurological disorders, such as Parkinson's or Alzheimer's. The project could be the first for Neuralink to run clinical trials in humans rather than pigs or monkeys.