In 2016, co-founder of Tesla and Paypal Elon Musk discreetly started a San Francisco-based neurotechnology company called Neuralink. Bloomberg reports that the company has now raised $39 million of its planned $51 million funding round.
It’s not totally clear if this money also includes traditional venture capital investors or if they comprised Musk and Neuralink employees, as a spokesman did not immediately respond to Bloomberg’s request for comment. The company reported two years ago in a filing after a planned funding round of as much as $100 million, it had raised $27 million.
Neuralink was originally registered as a medical research company, inciting little press attention since its inception. The company is currently conducting research on primary in a contracted laboratory at the University of California, Davis.
It’s no wonder that the company has tried to keep quiet, as its endeavors focus largely on creating technological links between brains and computers. Researchers affiliated with Neuralink recently published a paper outlining a method in which they connected electrodes to rat brains.
“[The method] uses a stiff needle to insert a bendable and thin polymer electrode, just a few millimeters in length, deep into the brain,” writes Bloomberg, who gives a detailed outline of the technology. “The machine injects an electrode every few seconds, much faster than alternative methods. Attached is a small circuit board, which sits on the back of the rat’s head and records signals from the brain.”
When asked by a Twitter user for updates on the company, Musk replied “Probably something notable to announce in a few months.”
Neuralink employs various high-profile neuroscientists who previously worked at a variety of different universities. Tim Gardner, a notable neuroscientist previously employed by Boston University, was an early hire who has now accepted a position at the University of Oregon as a professor of neuroengineering.