Startup from ex-Apple team raises $100 million, works with OpenAI

By Stephen Nellis

(Reuters) - Humane Inc, a startup founded by former Apple Inc employees, said on Wednesday it has raised $100 million and will release its first products this spring.

The company, founded in 2018 by Imran Chaudhri and Bethany Bongiorno, has now raised $241 million but has yet to disclose what it is building, saying only that it is a "software platform and consumer device built from the ground up for artificial intelligence."

A video posted by the company and patent filings suggest that a wearable device will project information onto the real world and allow users to manipulate that information with their hands.

Humane also said that it is collaborating with OpenAI, the creator of AI products such as ChatGPT that can generate human-like conversational text and Dall-E that can generate images, to integrate OpenAI's technology into Humane's device.

Sam Altman, OpenAI's founder and a previous Humane investor, participated in funding round on Wednesday, the company said.

Humane also said that Microsoft Corp, which has built a massive cloud computing infrastructure specifically for AI, took part in the funding round.

Humane said it will partner with Microsoft's cloud to bring Humane's software services platform to market.

"Our products are built on an integrated device and cloud platform that will allow us, and others, to create AI-driven experiences that feel natural, fun and needed," Patrick Gates, another Apple veteran who is Humane's chief technology officer, said in a statement.

Humane also said that it is working with Korean electronics giant LG Electronics Inc "on potential (research and development) projects for the next phase of Humane products" and with Volvo Car's Tech Fund on "a potential future collaboration which would be the first example of Humane’s offering being applied to the automotive industry."

(Reporting by Stephen Nellis in San Francisco; Editing by Marguerita Choy)