DarwinAI raises $3.9 million CAD to help devs design neural networks


Waterloo-based DarwinAI has emerged out of stealth with $3.9 million CAD ($3 million USD) in seed funding.

The round was co-led by Obvious Ventures and iNovia Capital, and angels from the Creative Destruction Lab accelerator in Toronto. DarwinAI’s platform works to help developers accelerate deep learning development. Currently, development in this area relies on finding the right reference models, determining how the model performs with certain training sets, and seeking out holes in the data.

DarwinAI said that its Generative Synthesis platform generates optimized models based on user-defined requirements in days, rather than weeks or months.

“From autonomous vehicles to mobile devices, we are seeing edge-based scenarios where AI is having a profound impact on business outcomes,” said Sheldon Fernandez, CEO of DarwinAI. “A critical challenge in this realm is designing these powerful networks to run in situations where computational and energy resources are limited. To this end, our platform is much more than an optimization tool. It allows engineers to collaborate with powerful AI to develop efficient and interpretable network models.”

The founding team include Fernandez, who was a co-founder of software consultancy Infusion that was acquired by Avanade last year; Dr. Alexander Wong, a professor at the University of Waterloo; and Arif Virani, a former McKinsey & Company technology consultant. The technology itself was developed by Wong’s team at the University of Waterloo.

“Dr. Wong is a recognized authority in deep learning who has realized, practical AI solutions with resounding success,” said Antoine Nivard, principal at iNovia Capital. “As a founding member of Waterloo’s AI Institute and Canada’s Research Chair in AI, Professor Wong exemplifies the talent emanating from Canada and the innovation that is capturing the attention of Silicon Valley.”

Jessica Galang

Jessica Galang

Freelance tech writer. Former BetaKit News Editor.

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