Josh Ong is the US Editor at The Next Web. He previously worked as TNW's China Editor and LA Reporter. Follow him on Twitter or email him a Josh Ong is the US Editor at The Next Web. He previously worked as TNW's China Editor and LA Reporter. Follow him on Twitter or email him at [email protected].
Expect Labs, the maker of a promising anticipatory computing platform, has announced adding IDG Ventures and international cable company Liberty Global Ventures as participants in its strategic investor round.
The startup is creating a futuristic digital assistant technology that will be able to intelligently listen to conversations and automatically call up related information. Artificial intelligence that knows what we need before we need it is certainly an exciting proposition, and Expect Labs, without even releasing a product, has attracted a group of investors that are each major players in their respective fields..
Back in April, Expect Labs brought on Samsung, Intel and Telefónica as strategic investors. Liberty Global and IDG have now piled on with the same deal structure.
While the company hasn’t disclosed the size of the most recent investment, we do know that the strategic round from April was larger than the $2.4 million it raised from Google Ventures and Greylock last fall shortly after emerging from stealth mode. IDG participated in that first institutional round and is now upping its investment.
Expect Labs’ investors currently have access to the alpha version of MindMeld, an iPad app that showcases the startup’s computing platform. The firm expects to release its platform and MindMeld to the public by the end of this year.
A portion of the funds from the latest round will go toward supporting additional languages and regions for its investors, as well as adding vertical-specific information to its knowledge base. Liberty Global, for instance, will work with Expect Labs to build on-demand video content discovery on the platform.
“The reason that we’re raising this strategic round isn’t because we need a huge amount of money, although it certainly helps with that, the main reason is these companies, after we came out of stealth, all these companies approached us wanting to build their own applications on our platform, so this investment is about us ramping up to help them build the applications they want to build,” Expect Labs CEO and founder Tim Tuttle said in an interview.
The amount of buzz surrounding MindMeld is going to amount to high expectations. If it lives up to its promise, it’ll effectively be a next-generation to today’s virtual assistants, such as Siri and Google Now. For those worried about the privacy aspects of sending their conversations into the cloud, Tuttle speculated that a time will come in the near future when these intelligent assistants will be able to operate on device without even having to go online.
We’ve still got at least a few more months of waiting for MindMeld to arrive, but hopefully these latest investments will help speed things up.
Image credit: iStockphoto
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