Geometric Intelligence, a company launched by NYU professor Gary Marcus and incubated at NYU Tandon’s Data Future Labs, has just been acquired by Uber as part of the company’s efforts to create a new division, Uber AI Labs.
New York University professor and Geometric Intelligence cofounder Gary Marcus will serve as director of Uber’s new artificial intelligence research arm.
“We live in an era where data is central to almost every major company and for almost any of them, even incremental improvements in artificial intelligence and machine learning can have immediate, significant payoffs,” Marcus says.
Geometric Intelligence was founded in 2014 by three professors—Gary Marcus, NYU professor of psychology and neural science, Zoubin Ghahramani, a Cambridge professor of machine learning and Fellow of the Royal Society, and Kenneth Stanley, a professor of computer science at the University of Central Florida—as well as Douglas Bemis, a recent NYU graduate with a PhD in neurolinguistics.
Geometric Intelligence benefited from a partnership seed-to-series program operated as part of a partnership between the Tandon School of Engineering and New York City: the Data Future Lab.
“The Geometric Intelligence acquisition is a two-part validation of the artificial intelligence start-up ecosystem,” says Steven Kuyan, managing director of Future Labs. “First, it shows that established companies are cognizant of AI start-ups and understand that despite having access to talent, start-ups are the niche expertise that can’t be developed internally. Second, artificial intelligence now has the necessary infrastructure in place to allow even novice developers to have access to AI resources and programs like the AI NexusLab (which supports pre-incubation companies) to support their entry to the marketplace.”
“NYU and the incubator treated us very well. We received a lot of great advice and had a nice place in SoHo to call home,” says Marcus. “We were really happy to get our start there.”
The Data Future Lab currently incubates four other AI start-ups and also supports companies in machine learning, data for industries, and computing infrastructure. Companies are part of a two-year program that provides curated resources, such as faculty, students, customers, investors, mentors, and service providers. To date, 68 companies have successfully graduated from the program, 13 through acquisition with such notable portfolio companies as CB Insights, Clarifai, Vettery, Honest Building, and HEVO Power, among others.
“We’re excited to learn about Uber's acquisition of Geometric Intelligence, founded by NYU entrepreneur and faculty member Gary Marcus,” says Frank Rimalovski, executive director of NYU’s Entrepreneurial Institute. “NYU has been a leader in the field of artificial intelligence for years, so it comes as no surprise to learn that a market leader like Uber has tapped one of our leading faculty in the space. As director of Uber’s AI Labs, Gary and team will help realize the transformative vision for applications of AI that Geometric Intelligence was beginning to commercialize.”