BOSTON—Serial entrepreneur Venkat Srinivasan has launched a new venture capital firm, Innospark Ventures, with $100 million for AI-driven startups and ventures primarily in early-stage companies in life sciences, business services, education and cybersecurity.
The fund hopes to provide capital and support at all stages of the innovation and entrepreneurship lifecycle, the company said in a statement.
Mr. Srinivasan, who is the Founder and Managing Director of Boston-based Innospark, has been a successful entrepreneur for most of his career. He brings deep expertise in AI and computational algorithms, especially computational linguistics, combined with deep functional knowledge in multiple domains including finance and accounting.
He has founded several successful AI-led startups, including eCredit, which he sold to Internet Capital Group. Most recently, he sold enterprise artificial intelligence platform RAGE Frameworks to Genpact Limited.
Mr. Srinivasan believes that successful AI-led transformation will be characterized by traceability, context recognition and the ability to learn from sparse data environments through computational abstractions.
Although a large number of companies are exploring AI technology, there are not many companies that currently apply AI successfully in production, he said in a statement.
“The current wave of AI is still in its early innings and we are likely to see new architectures emerge for AI which will address the challenges of transparency, context, causality and noisy data,” said Mr. Srinivasan. “The Innospark team believes this creates enormous opportunities for startups to play a role in shaping the ecosystem of tomorrow.”
Bringing deep AI expertise and decades of entrepreneurial experience, Innospark’s founding team appreciates the disruptive impact of artificial intelligence on the future of our society. The team created Innospark with the goal of nurturing early and growth stage AI-led entrepreneurs around Boston, Cambridge and New England and creating funding bridges for underserved industries.
“Even though the region boasts a strong innovation eco-system with world class educational institutions, there is not enough patent and nurturing risk capital especially for early stage startups. Innospark aims to fill this void,” the statement said. “The team also strongly believes that AI enables organizations to be deeply purposeful and scale impact much better than conventional organizations.”
Innospark is a family office fund which allows it to take a patient and proactive approach to investing. The principals invest their own money and are fully aligned with each and every entrepreneur the fund invests in, the statement said. They believe that high-impact innovation can take several years and their capital has no fixed time horizon.
Mr. Srinivasan has also founded EnglishHelper, KnowYourMeds, and AIinGov all of which are double bottom-line enterprises leveraging AI, focused on education, health and the public sector, respectively. EnglishHelper aims to address literacy challenges at scale and has been successfully rolled out to 2.5 million+ children in economically disadvantaged communities across 13 States in India and is being piloted in Honduras, Sierra Leone, Nicaragua, and Sri Lanka.
KnowYourMeds is focused on informing patients and consumers the effects of pharmaceutical drugs and health foods so they can be educated patients and advocate for themselves. AIinGov is aimed at making the public sector become more efficient, transparent and improve their engagement with citizens/constituents across the board.
In addition, Mr. Srinivasan has founded Intelligent Machines Lab to create next generation technology based on fundamental research and innovation in AI that will both dramatically change the way software is developed and the way knowledge is acquired for AI machines. He is an expert in knowledge-based systems architectures, artificial intelligence, natural language processing, computational linguistics, corporate finance and accounting.
From his brief academic tenure, he has over 30 peer reviewed publications, 2 edited volumes and more recently, a book to his credit. His research has appeared in a number of prestigious academic journals including the Journal of Finance, Management Science, Financial Management, European Journal of Operations Research, and others as well as business and news publications such as The Wall Street Journal. His book titled, The Intelligent Enterprise in the Era of Big Data was published by Wlley in 2016 and he is the author of a forthcoming book titled, The Rise of Intelligent Machines, also to be published by Wiley.
Mr. Srinivasan and his wife, Pratima, are active in the community. Both are affiliated with the American India Foundation [AIF] dedicated to catalyzing social and economic change in India. He is a Vice-Chair of the Board of AIF. He also serves as member of the Board of Newprofit, a pioneering venture philanthropy organization that invests in breakthrough leaders and systems change initiatives. He is also a Trustee of BUILD, a non-profit organization focusing on entrepreneurship focused on disengaged, low-income students through high school to college success in the U.S. Mr. Srinivasan also serves on the Advisory Board of the Center for Emerging Markets at Northeastern University.