Mycroft has received a significant boost in horsepower.
Only a few weeks after entering 500 Startups, Mycroft has landed a strategic partnership with Jaguar Land Rover. The Kansas City-based artificial intelligence startup is among the first startups to enter the Portland-based Jaguar Land Rover Tech Incubator, which will provide Mycroft with a $110,000 investment and full-time engineering support.
A graduate of the Kansas City-based Sprint Accelerator, Mycroft developed an open-source, artificial intelligence device to challenge Amazon Echo and Apple’s Siri.
Mycroft CEO Joshua Montgomery said it’s the company’s goal to see Mycroft’s tech used in Jaguar vehicles by 2020. He noted that according to JD Power, voice control is the single most complained about feature of a new car, which makes an opening for his firm.
Mycroft taps natural language processing technology to enable its everyday use in a home or car. Natural language processing incorporates computer science, artificial intelligence and computational linguistics to understand human language as it is spoken. Similar to Apple’s Siri, Mycroft learns and adapts to a user’s voice, accounts for imprecisions in speech and allows one to issue commands.
“This is a huge opportunity,” Montgomery said. “Mycroft solves this problem, which means we have the potential to be the voice technology for more than 80 million vehicles globally.”
Jaguar Land Rover seems equally as excited to start working with Mycroft. This year, the firm’s incubator will be honing firms focused on emergency response technology, artificial intelligence and the electric vehicle ecosystem.
“We’re thrilled to see what our new startups bring in 2017 as we continue pushing the boundaries of mobility and the connected car,” said Rupert Poole, senior collaborations manager for future technology. “With the addition of HAAS Alert, Mycroft and OpConnect, we further diversify and strengthen the portfolio of ventures the Incubator has supported.”
The Jaguar Land Rover news — paired with its recent acceptance into the Silicon Valley accelerator 500 Startups — indicates what’s been a fruitful decision for Mycroft to expand into Silicon Valley. With deep connections throughout the valley and global tech community, 500 Startups invests $150,000 in exchange for six percent equity in a startup. The accelerator’s portfolio includes many success stories, including Twilio, Credit Karma, Sendgrid and many others.
Montgomery said it’s been exciting to see his firm find traction.
“Mycroft is taking off like a rocket,” he said. “In fact, one of our biggest problems is keeping up with incoming sales opportunities. Fundraising is going extremely well and, with help from 500, our team is starting to perform at the next level.”
A 2016 Sprint Accelerator grad, Mycroft raised $335,000 in September shortly before snagging a $50,000 LaunchKC grant. The firm has leveraged the funds into growth, as Montgomery said that revenue from its software service is growing 20 percent per month.
In addition to revenue growth, Mycroft recently was featured by the Free Software Foundation as a high priority project. Montgomery said that feature has helped drive developers into its community, which now numbers more than 600 developers from all over the world.
Mycroft recently was named a Startland Top Startup to Watch in 2017.