Round Led by Temasek With Participation From Lakestar and Salesforce Ventures Along With Further Investment From Horizons Ventures
AUCKLAND, New Zealand, Jan. 09, 2020 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Soul Machines, the ground-breaking company re-imagining how humans connect with machines, today announced its US$40 million series B financing. Soul Machines is an AGI Research company developing the world’s leading Autonomous Animation platform to help humanize brands and the ways people engage with them. The investment was led by Temasek from Singapore, with participation from Lakestar, a leading European Venture Fund, and Salesforce Ventures, along with further investment from existing investors Horizons Ventures, University of Auckland Inventors Fund and others from their earlier rounds. With the funds, Soul Machines plans to continue expanding globally with specific focus on R&D and increasing its operating footprint around the world to meet growing demand.
Soul Machines was founded by Academy Award winner Mark Sagar and serial entrepreneur Greg Cross in 2016 when it was spun out of the University of Auckland. Together, technology pioneers Sagar and Cross are fusing AI, computational brain models and experiential learning to usher in a new era of customer experience. With Soul Machines’ technology, their clients’ Digital Heroes are able to democratize personal experience in a way that has not been previously possible.
“We have enjoyed getting to know and work with the teams at Temasek, Lakestar and Salesforce Ventures and believe they are the perfect partners to help as we continue to expand and grow our business, technology and client base globally,” said Greg Cross, Co-Founder and Chief Business Officer, Soul Machines. “We are very grateful for the continued support from Horizons Ventures who are highly valued partners that understand how great technology businesses are built.”
Soul Machines has deployed its HumanOS™ platform and created Digital Heroes for some of the biggest global brands in retail, automotive, banking and finance with customers including Procter & Gamble, Bank ABC, The Royal Bank of Scotland and more. Key initiatives in the education and healthcare fields are underway as well with Soul Machines. The Soul Machines’ technology creates a new kind of customer experience and overall engagement. Brands now have the opportunity to create a digital version of their ambassadors or an entirely digitally employee, like a service agent, to more effectively interact with their fans and customers in meaningful ways.
“We’re proud to announce Salesforce Ventures’ investment in Soul Machines because it has an obsessive focus on improving customer experience by using artificial intelligence technology in new ways,” said Rob Keith, Head of Australia, Salesforce Ventures. “We look forward to continuing to work with Soul Machines as it scales and realises its global aspirations.”
ABOUT SOUL MACHINES™
Soul Machines™ is a ground-breaking, high-tech company of AI researchers, neuroscientists, psychologists, artists, and innovative thinkers, re-imagining how we connect with machines. The company brings technology to life by creating incredibly lifelike, emotionally responsive, Digital Heroes with personality and character that allow machines to talk to us face-to-face. Their vision is to humanize artificial intelligence to better humanity. Soul Machines™ is now deploying the world’s first digital humans with some of the biggest corporate brands in the world in Banking and Finance, Software and Technology, Automotive, Healthcare, Energy, and Education industries. Soul Machines currently has over 120 employees with offices in San Francisco, Los Angeles, New York City, London, Tokyo, Melbourne and Auckland. The company has a deep research and engineering talent pool with 4 Professors and 18 PHDs. For more about Soul Machines™, visit www.soulmachines.com.
Lakestar is one of Europe’s leading venture capital firm investing in technology companies led by exceptional entrepreneurs. Early investments included Skype, Spotify, Facebook and Airbnb. Since raising a first fund in 2013, Lakestar manages an aggregated volume of EUR 1bn across three early stage funds, and more recently a growth fund. Lakestar has expanded and broadened their portfolio, with more recent investments in Harry’s, Opendoor, Oscar, GYG, Glovo, Sennder, Eigen, FiveAI and Revolut. Lakestar has presence in Berlin, Zurich and London. Lakestar helps companies to identify new markets and expand into them rapidly, with a focus on the US and Europe. The team advises and supports portfolio companies in business development, recruitment, technology and marketing. The investments range from early stage companies to those in their growth stage.
ABOUT SALESFORCE VENTURES
Salesforce Ventures—Salesforce’s corporate investment group—invests in the next generation of enterprise technology to help companies connect with their customers in entirely new ways. Portfolio companies receive funding as well as access to the world’s largest cloud ecosystem and the guidance of Salesforce’s innovators and executives. With Salesforce Ventures, portfolio companies can also leverage Salesforce’s expertise in corporate philanthropy by joining Pledge 1% to make giving back part of their business model. Salesforce has invested in more than 150 enterprise cloud startups since 2009. For more information, please visit www.salesforce.com/ventures.
For Soul Machines