Elon Musk startup 'to spend £100m' linking human brains to computers

Filing shows Neuralink company has raised almost $27m so far from 12 investors - but Musk denies it is seeking outside backers

Chantal da Silva
Monday 28 August 2017 17:31 BST
The Tesla chief executive has denied that the company is fundraising
The Tesla chief executive has denied that the company is fundraising (Reuters)

A company set up by Elon Musk to develop advanced biotechnology enhancements for the human brain has raised $27m (£20.9m) from 12 investors, according to a Securities and Exchange Commission filing.

Neuralink could be seeking as much as $100m within the next 12 months, the filing appears to state, but Mr Musk has taken to Twitter to deny that the company was actively fundraising.

The Tesla and SpaceX chief executive wrote in response to a Wall Street Journal story: “Neuralink is not raising money.”

He said the newspaper’s reporter had “misinterpreted” the filing, adding: “WSJ has been laboriously negative for over a decade. I’m surprised they haven’t bored their readers to death by now.”

When asked to explain the filing, which stated clearly that 12 investors were involved, Musk responded with two emojis.

The filing states that $26.9m (£20.9m) has been raised, with a total offering amount of $100m (£77.3m).

Mr Musk insisted the company was not looking for outside investors, which some have suggested might mean the billionaire is planning on footing the rest of the bill himself.

And although Mr Musk has been adamant that Neuralink is not looking for further funding, Bloomberg has reported that he “has taken steps to sell as much as $100 million in stock to fund the development”.

While Neuralink and what Mr Musk hopes to achieve with the start-up is largely shrouded in mystery, its overarching mission appears to be to connect the human mind with computer technology.

The company’s website states it is “developing ultra high bandwidth brain-machine interfaces to connect humans and computers”.

The firm is investigating the use of electronic devices that can be embedded in the brain to improve human performances in specific areas, such as memory.

The biotechnology company, based in San Francisco, is also putting out the call for “exceptional engineers and scientists”.

“No neuroscience experience is required: talent and drive matter far more,” the website states.

“We are primarily looking for evidence of exceptional ability and a track record of building things that work.”

Mr Musk has said he believes Neuralink’s work will be crucial to ensuring the survival of humanity amid advancements in artificial intelligence.

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