Launching Rewired, a Robotics-Focused Venture Studio and Fund

Santiago Tenorio is a Venture Partner at Rewired.

Rewired is officially open for business.

We have officially launched our new venture studio, focused on robotics and artificial intelligence. To start, we are investing $100 million in applied science and technologies that advance machine perception.

Sentient beings (both humans and otherwise) rely on highly evolved sensory and cognitive abilities to perceive and interact with the complex world around us.

Our first thesis is about the five senses: sight, touch, sound, and yes — smell and taste too. Improving machine perception will unlock the next-generation of smart robotics.

We’re investing not only in sensors but also in software and systems that help autonomous machines to interact with unpredictable environments and collaborate with humans. With such capabilities in hand, we think humans can do dramatically more, and do it more safely, with much less.

We’re delighted to welcome Open Bionics and Raptor Maps, our first portfolio companies.

Open Bionics is developing the next generation of low-cost bionic hands and democratizing access to custom-made prosthetics.

Raptor Maps develops software that makes sense of drone imaging and thermal sensor data to empower farmers and asset operators in energy infrastructure, solar farms, and adjacent sectors.

I am honored to be joined by Rewired Venture Partners Andy Hickl, Nova Spivack, and Gleb Chuvpilo as well as Rewired Investment Manager, Jae-Yong Lee.

We’re also privileged to be working with an elite group of highly qualified advisors hailing from places like MIT Media Lab, Mass Robotics, Imperial College London, SRI International, Intel, EPFL, Palantir, and the World Bank.

A full list can can he found here.

Way back in 1962, SRI’s Doug Engelbart described his pioneering research agenda in a paper titled “Augmenting Human Intellect: A Conceptual Framework.” You can read it here.

Engelbart and his team developed computer-interface elements such as bitmapped screens, hypertext, and the earliest precursors to the graphical user interface (GUI).

Engelbart, always the contrarian, felt that the future of our race lay not in replacing humans but in augmenting them. His work culminated in the invention of the computer mouse, which is still remembered by many as “the mother of all demos.”

The mouse is no more an extension of the human hand than a baseball bat is an extension of the human arm. Both serve a purpose outside of normal human capability but require consciousness and mastery. This was the core of Doug’s prescient vision. More recently, Bryan Johnson’s writings have picked up where Engelbart’s legacy left off.

In the coming decades, robotics and artificial intelligence will be driving forces behind a historical transformation of society in more ways than we can imagine.

Like Engelbart, we at Rewired are decidedly optimistic about the future. We believe that advancements in robotics will unlock not only a new economy but also massive opportunities for doing good and improving the quality of human life.

We are deeply committed to shaping these technologies towards outcomes that are socially responsible and beneficial to humanity as a whole, assigning as much importance to the ethical questions as we do to technological progress.

Robotics-related innovation comes from both universities and major corporate R&D operations. The urge to push the boundaries of human knowledge has led robotics experts to the forefront of science and has proven essential to the early maturation of machine-perception technologies.

Increasingly, however, startups are developing commercially viable component technologies essential to realizing the broader smart robotics vision. This is because the customers for those technologies have finally arrived in significant numbers and the core technologies are widespread and affordable enough to be used by the masses. Huge advances in networking, storage, processing, and manufacturing have also helped positively bend the curve of progress.

Santa Clara, Augmented LiDAR image courtesy of DIBOTICS

Rewired invests for the long term in core technologies that together lay the foundation for smart robotics while simultaneously leveraging some of those technologies for our studio, which targets persistent market gaps that we can tackle head-on, ourselves.

To start, Rewired is based in London and Lausanne, Switzerland. Chris Anderson, the founder of 3D Robotics, nailed it when he remarked last year that “Switzerland is the Silicon Valley of robotics.”

The region has a rich history of precision engineering, itself driven by a culture obsessed with building things that last. In the coming months, we plan to expand to the US, and we anticipate expanding into East Asia over time.

We’re hiring aggressively in almost every area. If you are a creative technologist or an entrepreneurial engineer, please consider joining us in-residence. As a family-office-backed venture, we are also looking to partner with and/or invest in select VCs with differentiated access to relevant deal flow.

We have an ambitious goal, and to achieve it, we’re going to need to work with an incredibly diverse group of portfolio companies, scientists, and visionaries.

Rewired is, above all else, a global hub for interdisciplinary innovation, one that we hope will affect all industries and most verticals.

We have a proven track record of building and managing billion-dollar companies. We have access at the highest levels to universities and governments around the world. We invest our own capital, we make decisions quickly, and we plan with you for the long haul.

If you are developing a novel sensor system, a new approach to computer vision, a viable neural interface, or any other supporting technologies that help robots perceive and interact with the world, let’s talk soon.

Rewired. Make sense.