BOSTON (TIP): Indian American entrepreneur Venkat Srinivasan has launched a $100 million venture capital firm to promote startups working in the area of artificial intelligence.
The launch of Innospark Ventures comes more than a year after he sold RAGE Frameworks, which develops AI-based automation technology and software for data aggregation, analytics and task.
Innospark, based in Boston, will primarily invest in AI-driven startups and ventures that are focused in the areas of life sciences, business services, education and cybersecurity, and located around Boston, Cambridge and New England.
The firm plans to provide capital and support “at all stages of the innovation and entrepreneurship lifecycle” and will “take a patient and proactive approach to investing,” according to a press release issued by the new company.
“The current wave of AI is still in its early innings, and we are likely to see new architectures emerge for AI which will address the challenges of transparency, context, causality and noisy data,” said Srinivasan, who will serve as the Managing Director of the company. “The Innospark team believes this creates enormous opportunities for startups to play a role in shaping the ecosystem of tomorrow.”
The release said, though a plethora of companies are exploring in artificial intelligence technology, not many firms are engaged in its application and product development.
“We are thrilled by the opportunity to create a friendly and open local community for entrepreneurs navigating through the challenges of applying AI successfully,” said Sophie Meralli, an associate at Innospark.
“The principals invest their own money and are fully aligned with each and every entrepreneur the fund invests in,” the release said. “They believe that high-impact innovation can take several years, and their capital has no fixed time horizon.”
Innospark is the culmination of Srinivasan’s decades-long interest and expertise in artificial intelligence and computational algorithm.
In addition to RAGE, Srinivasan has founded and exited from a number of companies, including AI-based firms eCredit and Corporate Fundamentals. Another company he founded, EnglishHelper, uses artificial intelligence to address literacy challenges.
Srinivasan, who holds a bachelor’s degree from Delhi University and a PhD from the University of Cincinnati’s College of Business, is an academic-turned entrepreneur. He quit a tenured faculty position at the Northeastern University’s Business School to become an entrepreneur.
In a June 2017 interview, Srinivasan told the American Bazaar that he didn’t “find much difference in being a professor” and his “brand of entrepreneurship.”
“My work is very innovation-centric; we are always innovating something radically new and different. And in that sense, it is similar to the research I loved doing when I was in the academe,” he said.
Srinivasan, who holds several patents in the area of knowledge-based technology architectures, also talked about how he ended up creating his first company. “When I was a professor, I had the opportunity to be a consultant for a number of Fortune 500 firms like Apple and at some point, I decided that what my clients needed was an expert system [AI],” he said. “I proceeded to build it. That eventually led to my first company.”
Srinivasan is a member of the Board of Directors and Trustees of the American India Foundation’s Boston chapter.