Noble.AI, an SF/French AI company that claims to accelerate decision making in R&D, has raised a new round of funding from Solvay Ventures, the VC arm of a large chemical company, Solvay SA. Although the round was undisclosed, TechCrunch understands it to be a second seed round, and we know the company has closed a total of $8.6 million to date.

Solvay was previously an early customer of the platform, prior to this investment. The joint announcement was made at the Hello Tomorrow conference in Paris this week.

As a chemical company, Solvay’s research arm generates huge volumes of data from various sources, which is part of the reason for the investment, confirmed the firm. Noble.AI’s “Universal Ingestion Engine” and “Intelligent Recommendation Engine” claim to enable the creation of high-quality data assets for these kinds of big data sets that can later be turned into recommendations for decision making inside these large businesses.

Founder and CEO of Noble.AI, Dr. Matthew C. Levy, said he is “enthusiastic to see what unfolds in its next phase, tackling the most important and high-value problems in chemistry” via the partnership with Solvay.

“Noble.AI has the potential to be a real game changer for Solvay in the way it enables us to utilize data from our 150-year history with new AI tools, resulting in a unique lever to accelerate our innovation,” said Stéphane Roussel, Solvay Ventures’ managing director.

Prime Movers led a seed round in Noble.AI in late 2018, which was never previously disclosed to the press. Solvay Ventures is now leading this second seed round.

The move comes in the context of booming corporate R&D spending, which in 2018 reached $782 billion among the top 1,000 companies, representing a 14 percent increase relative to 2017 and the largest figure deployed to R&D ever. However, R&D in corporates lags behind the startup world, so these strategic investments seem to be picking up pace.



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