Google’s mysterious artificial intelligence venture capital project is finally ready to talk about its work.
Gradient Ventures, which made one of its first investments last month in Seattle’s Algorithmia, formally launched Tuesday with a blog post from Anna Patterson, founder and managing partner of the operation. “Through Gradient, we’ll provide portfolio companies with capital, resources, and dedicated access to experts and bootcamps in AI,” she wrote in the post.
News of Google’s interest in an artificial intelligence investment vehicle — one distinct from its Google Ventures operation — leaked in May. Gradient is unique among investment firms because it is run by engineers, not financiers, and focused exclusively on companies working on AI-enabled products and services.
Algorithmia CEO Diego Oppenheimer was effusive in his praise of Patterson when discussing the $10.5 million investment Gradient made in his company last month and her new role on the company’s board of directors. “She’s a role model for a diverse engineering work force and the exact kind of leadership we wanted to bring into our company,” he said at the time.
Gradient has invested in three other California startups, according to its portfolio page: Cogniac, Aurima, and Cape (which is also backed by Madrona Venture Group). Ankit Jain and Shabih Rizvi, both longtime Googlers, are the other founding partners of Gradient, which is also being advised by a who’s-who of Googlers including Astro Teller of Google X, longtime research fellow Peter Norvig, and legendary engineer and Singularity enthusiast Ray Kurzweil.