Venture-backed Kindred Systems splits to two, Kindred and Sanctuary

Kindred Systems Inc. has split its Product and Artificial General Intelligence (AGI) divisions into two companies, to maximize “the likelihood of success for both divisions, as well as returns to Kindred shareholders.”

Kindred’ co-founders, Geordie Rose and Suzanne Gildert, will step down from Kindred to lead the AGI division under the name of Sanctuary, as co-CEOs.

Vancouver based Sanctuary will focus on the implementation and testing of a specific framework for artificial general intelligence. It will license some of Kindred’s patents and software. Kindred will maintain a minority ownership in Sanctuary.

Kindred’s board of directors has appointed Jim Liefer, previously Kindred’s COO, as its new President & CEO. George Babu, Kindred co-founder and Chief Product Officer will be joining Liefer on Kindred’s board of directors.

The Kindred team in Toronto will continue its applied research in machine and reinforcement learning, with the San Francisco office focused on robotics, product development and commercialization.

In October 2017, Kindred raised US $28 million in Series B round led by Tencent, with participation of existing investors, Eclipse Ventures and First Round Capital. The company has raised US $44 million to date. Google, Data Collective, and Bloomberg Beta are also backers of the company.

photo credit: Kindred

News Release

Kindred Announces Spin-off of AGI Research Division

Continues focus on commercial applications of human-like intelligence in machines
January 05, 2018 12:00 PM Eastern Standard Time

SAN FRANCISCO–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Kindred Systems Inc. was founded with the mission of creating human-like intelligence in machines and vision to commercialize its research work in tandem. Over the past few years, Kindred’s Product and Artificial General Intelligence (AGI) divisions have accomplished a tremendous amount in their respective domains, working independently to allow each team to optimize for their objectives.

The company has reached a point in its evolution where spinning off the AGI division maximizes the likelihood of success for both divisions, as well as returns to Kindred shareholders.

Geordie Rose is stepping down as CEO and President of Kindred to lead this new entity named Sanctuary based in Vancouver, Canada. Kindred co-founder Suzanne Gildert will also be stepping down from her role as Chief Science Officer and will join Sanctuary as co-CEO. Sanctuary’s focus is on the implementation and testing of a specific framework for artificial general intelligence. The new entity will license some of Kindred’s patents and software, and Kindred will maintain a minority ownership in Sanctuary.

Kindred’s Board of Directors has appointed Jim Liefer, previously the company’s COO, to serve as CEO and President. As COO, Liefer brought strong executive leadership alongside co-founder, George Babu, for the development and deployment of Kindred’s first commercial product Sort, and will continue to lead the company in its mission to research and develop human-like intelligence in machines. The Kindred team in Toronto will continue its applied research in machine and reinforcement learning, with the San Francisco office focused on robotics, product development and commercialization.

With Kindred Sort, the company aims to alleviate the massive pressures facing the retail and fulfillment industry, which includes significant online sales growth, labor shortages, and a lack of advancement in technology. Kindred Sort allows retailers to manage the exploding growth and demand of this sector more efficiently. During the 2017 holiday season, Kindred’s robots sorted thousands of items ordered at speeds averaging over 410 units per hour, and reaching peak speeds of over 531 units per hour, freeing human workers to perform other parts of the fulfillment process critical to meet growing customer demand.

“Kindred will maintain its commitment to building human-like intelligence in machines and applying those learnings to create and teach a new intelligent class of robots that will enhance the quality of our day-to-day lives, and in particular, the way we work,” said Liefer. “We look forward to advancing Kindred Sort, achieving new AI and robotic milestones while also helping to drive retail and other industries forward.”

Babu, Kindred co-founder and Chief Product Officer will be joining Liefer on Kindred’s Board of Directors. Babu will continue to oversee product strategy and the expansion of Kindred’s partnerships and pilot programs with major global retailers.

About Kindred

Kindred Systems Inc.’s mission is to build machines with human-like intelligence. The company’s central thesis is that intelligence requires a body. Since its founding in 2014, Kindred has been exploring and engineering systems that enable robots to understand and participate in our world, with the ultimate goal of a future where intelligent machines work together with people. Kindred is headquartered in San Francisco with an office in Toronto.

Contacts

The Hatch Agency
Judy Huang
kindred.ai@thehatchagency.com

Ted Liu

Ted Liu, M.Sc. (Mining, Queen's), MBA (Finance, Toronto), is the Editor of Private Capital Journal, CanadaMetals.ca, TechWire.ca, and the former Editor of Canadian Private Equity. Ted has been passionately tracking Canadian private capital industry since 1992, having most recently served as Research Director for The Canadian Venture Capital and Private Equity Association (CVCA).

Ted is the architect of CVCA infobase, and is the architect of CPE Media's Financings.ca, Canada's most sophisticated and advanced all private capital and public market financing database.