In a quiet room amid the chaos of the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, Mycroft AI CEO Josh Montgomery gleefully told Startland News Friday that his tech firm raised a significant seed round.
Mycroft recently raised a $1.75 million round that will help the Kansas City-based artificial intelligence startup accelerate hiring plans and corporate partnerships. The seed round exceeded the firm’s goal by more than $1 million, Montgomery said.
“It’s fantastic — it shows we’re in an exciting space and positions the company for huge success,” Montgomery said. “It’s exciting to be growing a company in Kansas City.”
Mycroft created an open-source voice assistant similar to Apple’s Siri, Microsoft’s Cortana or Amazon’s Alexa. The firm’s Mark I device — which raised $335,000 in a Kickstarter campaign — uses natural language processing technology to enable its everyday use in a consumer’s home.
A 2016 Sprint Accelerator grad, Mycroft AI will be deploying a smart speaker — the Mark II — via a Kickstarter campaign Jan. 25.
Among those joining in the seed round were the Missouri Technology Corporation, Kansas City-based Northland Angels, Deep Space Ventures, TechNexus and Social Starts, Montgomery said. The local support is meaningful to Mycroft, Montgomery said.
“It shows Kansas City has an up-and-coming startup scene,” Montgomery said. “There’s funding available for good ideas with solid execution.”
With an open-source, open-hardware approach, Mycroft allows users across the globe to develop software and hardware add-ons. Already working with Jaguar Land Rover, Mycroft aims to be a neutral integration for other corporations that view Google or Amazon as competition.
“Lots of companies want to deploy voice assistants but aren’t excited about sending their data to big tech,” Montgomery said. “This positions us for success with corporate engagements.”
Mycroft AI hopes to hire up to 40 staffers in 2018 to build out its software and business development teams, Montgomery said.
Mycroft AI was named a Startland Top Startup to Watch in 2017. To watch Montgomery in a full video interview with Techcrunch, check out the video below.