Intel Capital Invests $38 Million in 12 Promising Startups

Companies joining ICap's portfolio have come up with impressive IoT, video, vision and driverless vehicle solutions that we will be seeing in the future.

SAN DIEGO—As IT-plus-money conferences go, the Intel Capital Global Summit here at the waterfront Manchester Grand Hyatt is an A-lister, for sure.

Nearly 1,000 business and tech executives are spending a few days in the autumn sun to mingle, talk about business and the World Series, and hear respected thought speakers such as author and former NBA all-star Sen. Bill Bradley, Salesforce founder and CEO Marc Benioff, Intel CEO Brian Krzanich, PayPal Chairman John Donohoe, Workday CEO Aneel Bhusri and Verizon CEO Lowell McAdam.

Intel Capital, a global investment organization, itself made news Oct. 24 when it announced new investments totaling more than $38 million for 12 promising startups. The companies joining ICap's portfolio have come up with internet of things (IoT) solutions for seniors and disabled individuals, advanced audio for 360-degree virtual reality systems, and human-like vision systems for connected cars, among other products.

Following are details on Intel Capital's new investments in 12 pioneering startups:

Autonomous Machines

Chronocam (Paris) develops innovative computer vision sensors and systems for a variety of applications in autonomous navigation and connected objects. Formed by the leading pioneers in the field of neuromorphic vision, the company wants to establish a new computer vision standard by unlocking a paradigm shift in vision sensing and processing inspired by the human eye.

Embodied (Pasadena, Calif.), co-founded by Paolo Pirjanian, the former CTO of iRobot, maker of Roomba, and a world-renowned professor of robotics and neuroscience from the University of Southern California, is developing state-of-the-art products that aim to revolutionize robotics. Using major recent advances in machine perception, cognition and learning, its systems develop affordable personal robots that improve human wellness and quality of life.

Perrone Robotics (Charlottesville, Va.) provides software and solutions that make it easier to build robust mobile autonomous robotics applications. Its technology helps researchers and engineers develop partial and fully autonomous vehicle and robotics applications.

Data and Connectivity

Eazytec1 (Jiangsu, China) is a smart city developer and service provider with proprietary core firmware (BIOS) technology. Its headquarters and research park, located in Yixing City, Jiangsu Province, have been identified as a national science and technology business incubator in China. The company specializes in application software and firmware development, system integration, and data center services.

Grand Chip Microelectronics (aka Kangxi Communication Technologies; Shanghai, China) is committed to delivering high-performance, high-linearity and highly integrated WiFi front-end devices for WLAN infrastructure, wireless connectivity on cellular platforms and the internet of things.

Paxata (Redwood City, Calif.) is an enterprise-grade, self-service business information platform that serves the needs of both the business consumer and IT. With Paxata, business analysts, data engineers and data scientists are able to instantaneously transform raw data to information ready-for-business analysis with accuracy and efficiency. There is no need for code or sampling because Paxata uses a patent-pending, machine learning, natural-language processing and semantic text algorithm built on a distributed, in-memory columnar pipeline architecture for massive scale.

StealthMine (Sunnyvale, Calif.) enables enterprise applications to run on encrypted data. The technology provides full data insulation against server, network, storage and database attacks and insider compromises.

Sports and Health

CubeWorks (Ann Harbor, Mich.) delivers the next generation in millimeter-scale computing with its Cubisens platform, which enables the first truly autonomous wireless sensing platform measuring less than a millimeter. Cubisens systems are able to sense and process their environment, wirelessly transmit the results or store them for later usage.

Kinduct (Halifax, Canada) provides cloud-based data and analytics software for sports organizations, military and public safety units, physical medicine clinics, and health and wellness institutions. With a client list that includes teams in all five major sports leagues in North America, the Kinduct platform is changing the way information shapes human performance by allowing organizations to derive insights from multiple sources of data.

K4Connect (Raleigh, N.C.) creates solutions that serve older adults and individuals living with disabilities by integrating the latest smart technologies and applications into a single responsive system. Its first solution, K4Community, is specifically designed for residents of senior living communities, creating smarter and healthier living environments, as well as fostering family and community engagement, while also providing the operators with the insights and analytics needed to offer world-class care and hospitality.

Virtual Reality

Dysonics (San Francisco) leverages more than 20 years of academic research to deliver patented technologies that yield lifelike 360-degree sound experiences over headphones. Dysonics creates immersive audio software and hardware products for capture, creation and playback of next-generation content including virtual reality.

InContext Solutions (Chicago) develops scalable, cloud-based virtual reality solutions for retail that provide important insights for manufacturers and retailers. The company's enterprise SaaS VR platform and services help brands more efficiently and profitably visualize new concepts and better understand shopper behavior in a rapidly evolving retail space.

A number of these investments were made under the auspices of Intel Capital's new sports and health focus, which uses a cross-disciplinary approach that spans multiple investing teams.

The new concentration reflects recent comments by Intel CEO Krzanich that "digitization is the biggest change in sports in decades. With Intel's high-performance computing power, every aspect of sports and wellness can now be captured as a piece of data, measured and broadcast nearly in real time—fueling the continued buildout of the cloud."

In addition, Brooks announced the formation of the new Intel Sports Group, which will develop partnerships with major sports leagues to use Intel technologies to create new immersive experiences for fans. Brooks will oversee the business unit.

This year's Global Summit also demonstrated a group of new products from existing Intel Capital portfolio companies. They include:

--Altia Systems, creator of the PanaCast camera system, which demonstrated the PanaCast 3D Virtual Reality kit, which produces 4K 3D videos with real-time, in-device stitching;

--Braigo Labs, founded by Shubham Banerjee, one of the world's youngest entrepreneurs, which demonstrated a new iOS smartphone app for the visually impaired that features image recognition-to-text capabilities and converts text to speech;

--Keyssa, which showed a high-speed contactless connectivity solution for the two-in-one detachable market segment. It delivers the high-speed I/O of a PC while preserving an ultra-thin form factor; and

--NetSpeed Systems, which demonstrated a machine learning-based interconnect platform for streamlining system-on-chip (SoC) architectures and designs. Additionally, NetSpeed Systems CEO Sundari Mitra announced the completion of a $10 million Series C investment round led by Intel Capital.

Chris Preimesberger

Chris Preimesberger

Chris Preimesberger is Editor of Features & Analysis at eWEEK, responsible in large part for the publication's coverage areas. In his 12 years and more than 3,900 stories at eWEEK, he has...