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Vy Capital leads series C funding in Elon Musk's Neuralink

written by Bella Palmer
elon-musk

The funds will help Neuralink work on its brain implant for quadriplegics, a device which in time could also assist other people with neurological disorders

The futuristic brain-computer interface company, Neuralink, said it has raised $205 million in fresh venture backing, the biggest funding secured by any company in its field.

The Elon Musk-founded company said in a blog post Thursday that Dubai-based venture firm Vy Capital had led the latest funding round. It comes two years after filings showed Neuralink was raising $51 million in a previous round.

According to the announcement, the funds will help Musk’s Austin, Texas-based Neuralink work on its brain implant for quadriplegics, a device which in time could also assist other people with neurological disorders. The technology could help provide patients “digital freedom” by allowing them to interact with computers and phones in a high bandwidth and natutralistic way.

The next big step for Neuralink will be clinical trials of its device in humans, which so far has been shown off in pigs and a Pong-playing monkey.

It is a bet on cool tech meets Elon, said Robert Nelson, the co-founder of Arch Venture Partners who took part in the round. A very hard but very big vision.

Seven months in, 2021 has already become a record year in 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. All told, including the latest funding rounds, 2021 has already tripled the $97 million raised in all of last year, according to PitchBook data.

Neuralink first registered as a California company in 2016, although Musk didn’t discuss the company publicly until the following year.

Neuralink’s first product, the N1 Link, is a 1024 channel device that, once implanted, is completely invisible and transmits data via a wireless connection.

Vy Capital was founded by Alexander Tamas, a former partner at DST, the investment firm founded by billionaire Yuri Milner. Other investors in the Neuralink round include Alphabet Inc.'s GV, Founders Fund and Craft Ventures.

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