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L’école AI Secures 3 Million USD in Seed Funding for “Machine Teaching” from Sofinnova

The company’s technology, which removes the engineering complexity around AI systems for image analysis, will initially assist medical professionals

L’école AI, creator of ÉO, a “machine teaching” technology that removes the engineering complexity around deep-learning systems for computer vision, announced that it has raised 3 million USD in Seed funding from Sofinnova Partners. The funds will be used to develop the company’s proprietary technology, which will be rolled out to medical professionals and researchers, enabling them to create bespoke AI systems to assist in their area of expertise. In addition, the financing will fuel the expansion of the team, accelerate product development and structure business efforts. Also participating in the round are notable business angels including Preston-Werner Ventures, the fund started by co-founder and former CEO of GitHub, Tom Preston-Werner.

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“We’re building a user interface for AI so anyone can create and benefit from their own personalized AI assistant,” said Louis-Alexandre Etezad-Heydari, Co-Founder and President of L’école AI, which means “AI school” in French. “We also are creating a system that will open possibilities for secure collaboration between organizations.”

Etezad-Heydari co-founded Madbits, a deep-learning image-analysis start-up, with Clément Farabet in 2013. A year after its founding, Madbits was acquired by Twitter, where the two entrepreneurs ran Twitter Cortex, an internal team that built a Deep Learning platform to power recommendation systems, search, ranking and filtering at Twitter.

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Kim Nilsson and Jonathan Alexander Brown teamed up with Etezad-Heydari to perfect the AI development framework for computer vision that initially inspired Madbits, and the three founders set off with the goal to make creating computer vision models simple enough for non-engineers.

“L’école’s technology is designed to democratize machine learning by enabling life science researchers and other non-machine learning experts to utilize tailored computer vision systems, thus accelerating life sciences research,” said Edward Kliphuis, Partner at Sofinnova Partners. “The focus on digital medicine is a logical entry point,” he noted.

“We’re starting with a focus on health care and life sciences because we want to make a positive impact right away,” said Jonathan Alexander Brown, Co-Founder and Chief Executive Officer. “With Sofinnova’s support, we are confident we have the right skills to partner with researchers and clinicians in these tightly regulated markets.”

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Farabet, an investor in L’école, is an AI pioneer. Currently VP of Research at Google DeepMind, he spent six years as a senior executive at NVIDIA, working on its autonomous vehicles and the company’s data science platform. Farabet is also famous in the AI world as one of the creators of Torch, a machine learning framework that provides a simple and flexible interface for building and training deep neural networks.

L’école AI counts a number of other AI pioneers among its investors, including Nicolas Pinto, head of Deep Learning at Apple, Clément Delangue, Co-Founder and CEO at Hugging Face.

[To share your insights with us, please write to sghosh@martechseries.com]

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