From Mark Zuckerburg to Ashton Kutcher, everyone’s backing artificial intelligence startup Vicarious

BENGALURU: No other startup in the world probably counts as many marquee Silicon Valley names as investors as artificial intelligence startup Vicarious.

Facebook founders Mark Zuckerberg and Dustin Moskovitz, Jeff Bezos, Peter Thiel, Vinod Khosla, Jerry Yang, Aaron Levie, Sam Altman and Marc Benioff have all backed it.

Even Hollywood actor Ashton Kutcher has parked some funds in the early-stage firm. At the helm of Valley-based Vicarious is an Indian-born entrepreneur and researcher, Dileep George, who along with Scott Phoenix founded it in 2010.

When asked if having such heavyweight investors put additional pressure on Vicarious, George said: “I don’t think there’s any pressure. The opportunities are great and I think that finding an opportunity to do something like this is great.”

Now with Wipro making an investment in Vicarious, the company has another India connection. Earlier during the year, Wipro’s venture capital arm and Samsung’s VC arm both invested less than $20 million each into Vicarious. For now, George and his team are dedicated to working on and researching futuristic solutions around artificial intelligence to solve everyday human problems.

And some of the solutions George talked about would not be out of place in a science fiction novel. “AI has many applications. Starting from optical character recognition to scanning receipts from hand-written notes and converting those to digital form and understanding what is written in the notes – that’s one example of an application that can have a big impact. It’s a niche application,” George said.

And with companies like Wipro, Vicarious is working on similar interesting projects that can automate an entire function that is currently being handled by human engineers. For example, Wipro is using one of Vicarious’ solutions and fitting it into its own cognitive computing system, Holmes, to automate a task like identifying handwritten text.

“One example of the thing that Wipro does is looking at a lot of documents and understanding the contents of that. And entering into different tables and making it easy to access. In that workflow, there are many manual steps … many of those manual steps can be automated and done much more efficiently using AI,” said the 38-year-old who graduated from IIT-Bombay in 1998.

George was introduced to Wipro CEO TK Kurien through a mutual friend a few months ago. Since then, Kurien has met the Vicarious team a number of times in the Valley. “TK is great — he has a great view about the world. I have met with him many times. We found a good amount of camaraderie. Another person I talk to is Doc (Wipro’s head of business outcomes Anurag Srivastava),” said George.

Source: From Mark Zuckerburg to Ashton Kutcher, everyone’s backing artificial intelligence startup Vicarious

Via: Google Alerts for AI