AnotherBrain Raises €19m To Speed Up Organic AI Chip

Paris based startup says its ‘organic AI’ is a fundamentally different way of doing AI, which is why it is in demand

Paris based artificial intelligence startup AnotherBrain has raised another €19 million in funding to accelerate development of its current software-based ‘organic AI’ solution into a frugal and efficient ASIC.

The company claims its organic AI is a fundamentally different way of doing AI, close to how the human brain works, and goes beyond current mainstream AI based on deep learning. Its head of public affairs, Petra Koudelkova Delimoges, told EE Times Europe that AnotherBrain didn’t need the funds, but with the enormous demand and high expectations for its AI solution for industrial automation, automobile and internet of things (IoT) markets, it needed to accelerate its development.

She said a crucial milestone had been reached in the development of its AI, with a number of successful proofs of concept realized with several Fortune 100 companies. The most significant proofs of concept have been in the quality control for production lines for several companies, including Renault.

Delimoges commented, “Our quality control solution is simple to install and to use, accessible to any type of industry, starting with applications that extend the reliability of quality control and the performances of guided robotics solutions. Operational from the first day of production, our technology learns continuously and operates locally without the cloud, which also ensures data security.” She added that the solution will be available in an FPGA in 2020, and the ASIC is planned for mid-2021.

Today’s AI is not really intelligent

Bruno Maisonnier
AnotherBrain CEO Bruno Maisonnier

Talking about how AnotherBrain differs and its ambition, CEO Bruno Maisonnier added, “Our technology doesn’t rely on huge databases of previous examples, but instead analyses what it perceives and therefore can explain its decisions. Our ambition is to build a powerful and human-friendly AI, acceptable to companies (certification) and consumers (privacy). The first commercial solutions are currently tested by Fortune 100 companies, with general availability early 2020. Our technology has the power to make every sensor an intelligent sensor sending back interpretation of signals rather than the flow of raw data. This will allow the generalization of AnotherBrain’s approach, in particular helping cars achieve full autonomous driving (Level 5) by the middle of the next decade.”

When EE Times interviewed Maisonnier earlier this year, he told us, “Deep learning, what everyone is calling AI today, is a lie. In deep learning, neural networks, big data, and AI, there is not a single drop of intelligence. It’s very powerful and there are a lot of possibilities — I’m not discrediting it, but there is no intelligence.” He added, “Real intelligence is a system able to analyze and understand the way our brain does in real time, without needing huge quantities of data, and in a very frugal way. This needs to be done in a chip consuming a fraction of a watt versus, say, 15 or 20 watts for the inference phase of deep learning and thousands of watts for the learning phase of the training.” The chip being developed by AnotherBrain doesn’t need big data or huge quantities of data, and he adds that the result should be explainable.

This latest funding round takes the company’s total funding to date to €35 million. The company said its fundraising is among the top 3 Series A of the past year in France, and the largest one for a company less than three years old; it follows the company’s seed round of €11 million in 2017. The round is led by blue-chip corporate investors, some public, such as SEB Alliance and Robinson Technologies (the holding company behind systems integrator Astek Group), together with high-profile individual investors from industrial families (Mr. Laurent Dassault), and with support of existing shareholders (including AI-dedicated global fund Alpha Intelligence Capital; France’s leading digital investor Daphni; and international private equity investment manager Cathay Capital).

Jean-Luc Bernard, founder and CEO of Astek Group, commented, “AnotherBrain is the first AI company to come up with a really intelligent way of doing AI, not simply categorizing based on past examples, but truly analyzing the flow of data in real-time, just like a human brain does. A handful of companies have tried it in the last 10 years with little commercial results. As a leading systems integrator Astek is well positioned to take this disruptive AI forward, first in the industry sector (where Astek has a strong position), but also more generally for all IOT applications.”

Nitin Dahad is a Correspondent for EE Times Europe.