Tim Draper backs Boston robot software company Neurala

Neurala CEO Max Versace
Neurala CEO Max Versace

Local robotics software company Neurala announced Thursday that it has received $750,000 in seed funding from a group of investors including well known Silicon Valley investor Tim Draper of Draper Fisher Jurvetson and Draper Associates.

The company is built by Boston University alums (that’s right, MIT doesn’t have the market cornered on robotics innovation!) and was a participant in last year’s Techstars Boston cohort.

Founded in 2006 by BU doctoral students Massamiliano Versace, Heather Ames, and Anatoli Gorshechnikov, Neurala aims to bring our understanding of biology, specifically how the brain works, to the software development of robots.

The company uses what it calls “deep learning algorithms” to make robots learn more like humans do. The company’s goal is to create software that enables people to tell a robot what to do, and not how to do it.

Neurala has contracts from NASA and the US Air Force to develop smart learning systems. The company says potential applications include collision avoidance systems for drones on Earth, and autonomous navigation systems for robots on Mars.

Draper is a key investor in companies like Skype, Hotmail, Twitter,  and SpaceX. Robolution Capital, a Paris-based venture capital firm focused on robotics, also took part in this round of funding.

Dennis Keohane was a Senior Staff Writer for BetaBoston.
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