Elon Musk wants to connect your brain directly to a computer, and investors are ready to make that science fiction a reality. Musk’s startup Neuralink has raised the $26.96 million of a technically still-open funding round that could grow to $100 million, according to a new SEC filing. However, Musk himself tweets that Neuralink is no longer raising cash.
The scientist-turned-geek icon followed up saying, “Neuralink is not seeking investors.” The tone of his terse responses to WSJ reporter Rolfe Winkler might be due to the fact that the paper initially broke the news that Musk was secretly building the company.
Given Musk’s high profile, he likely wouldn’t have any issue filling the rest of the round if he wants. But perhaps Musk is content with this $27 million and his comments indicate it won’t raise more for now. The filing lists that 12 total investors have back Neuralink, including six un-accredited investors.
Musk first revealed Neuralink in March, discussing the need for a brain-to-machine interface that would allow the human mind to keep up with fast-improving artificial intelligence. All that computing power won’t be as useful if we can only connect with it via traditional screens and input types.
Neuralink could potentially help people overcome chronic conditions like epilepsy. It could also one day allow people to communicate brain to brain, instead of having to compress ideas into words, transmit them through speech or writing and then have a recipient decompress the words into thoughts in their own mind. That’s a lossy series of steps that prevents people from sharing their mental visions as vividly.
The interface could require surgical implants unless a less-invasive connection to the brain is developed. Other companies like Facebook are also working on less ambitious forms of brain-to-computer connection that could allow people to type with their mind or “brain click” on something without a manual input device.
Musk will occupy the CEO role at Neuralink, along with leading Tesla and SpaceX, plus his tunnel-digging startup, The Boring Company.
We’re still seeking more details on the fate of this fundraising and will update if we find out more.