In October 2018, we lead a seed financing for Noble.AI, a physics-powered startup building AI software that helps enterprises do R&D with 10x lower cost. Noble.AI was founded in 2017 to help research and development teams to unlock novel discoveries faster leveraging the power of a unique synthesis of fusion physics and deep learning. In short, Noble.AI has built a smarter artificial intelligence engine by merging advanced machine learning with scientific principles. The suite of Noble.AI products is already being leveraged by leading global companies across the chemicals, automotive, electronics and pharmaceutical industries.
Corporate R&D spending in 2018 reached $782 billion among the top 1000 companies, representing a 14% increase relative to 2017 and the largest figure deployed firms to R&D ever. This rapid growth is projected to continue in 2019 and beyond. Despite these record numbers, R&D processes continue to be slow, manual, and underserved by existing software applications.
Although many conceive of popularized stories of Eureka moments in making new discoveries, the reality is that most researchers laboriously explore hundreds or thousands of concepts and experiments in a seemingly ‘random-walk’ prior to stumbling upon breakthrough inventions.
While there are startups delivering AI solutions to most other major areas of enterprise budgets (sales, marketing, finance, HR, and legal), R&D has been significantly more difficult to address with AI. Traditional AI performs best in domains with large quantities of data that can be used to train the underlying algorithms to predict the future based on the past. In the world of R&D, neither of these conditions exist. R&D teams have limited messy data on a small number of experiments from the large universe of ideas to explore. At the same time, there is often limited understanding about the relationship between past experimental results and future explorations.
In addition to the challenges above, in the world of R&D researchers usually reason from first scientific principles and expect any AI solution to respect their existing expert knowledge. As of today, it is still extremely challenging to merge AI with physics, chemistry, material science and biology. Noble.AI is pioneering a groundbreaking approach to the union of equations from these areas of science with deep neural networks and other machine learning approaches. As a result, researchers can leverage Noble.AI to virtually explore thousands of experiments and choose only the most promising ones to perform.
As seed investors funding physics-powered startups, we seek breakthrough scientific inventions that can transform billions of lives. Noble.AI’s ability to dramatically accelerate the rate of new discoveries in corporate R&D initiatives represents a major step forward in the future of computing applied to the physical world.
Their products will help inventors to produce more cost-effective energy, seamless transportation, clean water, scalable manufacturing, and life-enhancing drugs.
So why did we invest in Noble.AI? First, founder and CEO Dr. Matthew Levy combines the crucial traits of a Prime Mover: world-class technical pedigree, strong values, an impressive growth mentality, and a relentless passion for helping his target customers. Second, the core technology is powered by defensible scientific intellectual property highly differentiated from potential competitors and has reached a stage of maturity such that the primary research risks are already addressed. Third, the product creates massive value for researchers and is unique for its ability to deliver sophisticated AI in a software-as-a-service business model that can scale massively. In summary, Noble.AI fits our core investing criteria.
We look forward to supporting Matthew and the Noble.AI team to transform how R&D is performed.
Prime Movers Lab invests in breakthrough scientific startups founded by Prime Movers, the inventors who transform billions of lives. We invest in seed-stage companies reinventing energy, transportation, infrastructure, manufacturing, human augmentation and computing.