Imandra Inc. – creator of the Imandra cloud-native automated reasoning engine – has completed a $5 million Seed investment led by AlbionVC, IQ Capital and LiveOak Venture Partners. The capital will be used towards further growth in financial services and fast-growing applications of their AI technology to autonomous vehicles, robotics and machine learning. Imandra democratises deep advances in symbolic AI for making algorithms safe, explainable and fair. Imandra’s “Reasoning as a Service ®” platform makes these techniques widely accessible to those without specialised background in these fields.
Since its founding in 2014, Imandra has pioneered advances in AI for algorithm safety and compliance and their application to new industries. In 2015 it won the UBS Future of Finance Challenge, coming in 1st place out of more than 600 companies from 52 countries by using its AI technology to find a fundamental flaw in the design of the UBS dark pool previously undetected by the bank and the US Securities and Exchange Commission. Imandra’s current clients include top global investment banks who rely on Imandra for design, testing and ongoing audits of their complex trading systems.
Since the public release of Imandra’s cloud services last year, the company has expanded into robotics, autonomous vehicles and reinforcement learning. Grant Passmore, co-founder and co-CEO, said “As our reliance on complex software grows, deep advances in AI are required to ensure the algorithms we depend on are safe, explainable and fair. We’re proud of our team and the advances we’ve made in turning groundbreaking research into a scalable product with wide-reaching positive impact. This investment is a strong recognition of our progress and we’re delighted for the support of our venture partners in our next phase of growth.”
Denis Ignatovich, co-founder and co-CEO, noted “The need for automated mathematical techniques for algorithm analysis has never been more pressing. Industry leaders including Facebook, Amazon and Google are recognising this with significant investments into automated symbolic reasoning for their business use cases. We could not be in a better position at a better time to provide a scalable and industry-agnostic platform. We’re excited to partner with Albion, IQ Capital and LiveOak on this journey and look forward to leveraging their expertise as we scale our company in this next stage.”
This latest round of seed funding will support Imandra’s expansion in both the US and the UK, with significant hiring of AI, engineering and product talent in Austin, London and Edinburgh.
Ed Stacey, Partner at IQ Capital, said: “The founders of Imandra – Grant and Denis – have taken their cutting edge research into characterising algorithmic behaviour and applied it in making a scalable product for the finance industry. We also believe this technology has great potential for a broad class of algorithmic and AI challenges. The founders have a proven track record both in academia – at leading institutions including the University of Cambridge and University of Edinburgh – as well as in business. Many of the companies IQ Capital invests in are IP-rich and spin out of university networks – Imandra is a great example of the type of businesses we want to invest in.”
Robert Whitby-Smith, Partner at Albion VC, said: “Increasing automation safely is critical to most sectors including automotive, aerospace, defence, healthcare, financial services and social media. The number and complexity of algorithms used in applications regarded as safety critical is increasing rapidly with the expansion of automation and machine learning and it is increasingly challenging to test software robustly at scale, and ensure the exhaustive creation of edge cases, using traditional techniques. Imandra’s proprietary software which provides automated testing for functional languages and model-based generation of tests will become a key element of the future mix of software testing. The completeness of the learning experience provided by Imandra will provide significant benefits beyond software testing including the evolution of the training of artificial neural networks. We are delighted to support Denis and Grant achieve their exciting vision.”
Krishna Srinivasan, Founding Partner at LiveOak Venture Partners, said: “Our investment in Imandra embodies the core of our investment thesis to back Texas based top notch entrepreneurs that are disrupting large industry categories. We recognized quickly that Denis, Grant and team are amongst the best in the world at this emerging area of algorithm and application security testing and that their approach has the ability for multi-industry transformational impact. We are also super excited to welcome Denis and Grant back to their Texas roots, leverage the tremendous local computer science talent and build something significant from where it all began.”
Denis Ignatovich and Grant Passmore, the founders of Imandra, have backgrounds in academic mathematics and financial trading. They founded the company in London in 2014, a decade after having met as undergraduate roommates at the University of Texas. Denis started his career at Deutsche Bank in New York, before moving to London to lead a trading desk that relied heavily on complex algorithms. Grant earned his PhD in AI for algorithm safety at the University of Edinburgh and is a Life Member of Clare Hall, University of Cambridge. In 2019, the company opened its new US headquarters in Austin, TX.
Imandra is an automated reasoning company with offices in Austin, London and Edinburgh. Imandra was founded by former UT Austin roommates, Denis Ignatovich and Dr. Grant Passmore, who first saw the need and opportunity to apply deep advances in AI to the design and regulation of complex algorithms in finance. The company has since released Imandra, an industry-agnostic cloud-native automated reasoning engine which brings its “AI for algorithms” technology to mainstream software development at scale.
About IQ Capital
IQ Capital is a Cambridge-based venture capital firm that invests in UK ‘deep-tech’ across sectors including machine learning, AI, engineering and materials, and data-focused propositions based on disruptive algorithms. All of the firm’s portfolio companies are capable of dominating their respective markets on a global scale. The team typically invest at seed and series A stage, with significant capital reserved to scale companies through their growth stages. Initial investments range from £300k to £5m, with capacity for follow on investment up to £10m.
The IQ Capital team has achieved over 20 exits to date, to companies including Oracle, Google, Apple, Huawei and Facebook and several IPOs. IQ Capital has led 28 investments over the last three years. In 2018, IQ Capital has invested in Apperio, Audio Analytics, Paragraf, and Myrtle – joining other portfolio including Speechmatics, Privitar, Thought Machine, Audio Analytic, Oxford Space Systems, Fluidic Analytics, Divido, Senseye and Spectral Edge. The team are currently investing from their third £125 million fund (IQCF III).
IQ Capital won Seed Fund of the Year at the GP Bullhound Investor Allstars 2018.
AlbionVC is the technology investment arm of Albion Capital Group LLP. The technology team invests from seed through to Series B in high growth companies, predominantly in the UK, with a particular focus on B2B software and technology enabled services. Albion has 20+ years’ experience investing in technology, has c.£450m FUM in technology companies and over 40 tech investments within its portfolios. Visit: www.albion.vc
About LiveOak Venture Partners
LiveOak Venture Partners is a venture capital fund based in Austin, Texas, founded by Ben Scott, Krishna Srinivasan and Venu Shamapant. With 20 years of successful venture investing in Texas, the founders of LiveOak have helped create nearly $2 billion of enterprise value. While almost all of LiveOak’s investments begin in the early stages, LiveOak is a full life cycle investor focused on technology and technology-enabled service companies based in Texas. LiveOak Venture Partners is a lead investor in exciting high-growth Texas-based companies such as CS Disco, Digital Pharmacist, NSS Labs, OJO Labs and Opcity. Visit: www.liveoakvp.com