Deep-learning startup MetaMind launches with $8M from Benioff and Khosla Ventures

Richard Socher never set out to place himself on the edge of AI. He merely wanted to blend language and math, two subjects he’d always liked. But one thing led to another, and he ended up developing an impressive technology called recursive neural networks.
Now the startup he established after leaving university, MetaMind, is launching with financial backing from some serious names. Socher and his team at the four-month-old startup want to demonstrate MetaMind’s ability to process images and text better than any other available technology out there to perform deep learning. Toward that end, in addition to announcing an $8 million initial funding round from Khosla Ventures and chief executive Marc Benioff, MetaMind today is introducing multiple demonstrations of its technical capabilities on its website.
A type of artificial intelligence, deep learning involves training systems on lots of information derived from audio, images, and other inputs, and then presenting the systems with new information and receiving inferences about it in response. Technology companies like Google and Facebook have been making technical advances and acquisitions in the field, and a few deep-learning startups have appeared.
But Socher thinks that as people try out MetaMind’s technology, they’ll see the startup has advantages, drawing as it does on New York University professor and Facebook employee Yann LeCun’s breakthrough convolutional neural networks for mining pictures as well as Socher’s own recursive neural networks, which have achieved breakthroughs in text processing.