Brodmann17, an Israeli computer vision startup that has taken a new approach to entering a market dominated by Mobileye, closed this week.
Brodmann17 co-founder and CEO Adi Pinchas announced the move to LinkedIn, saying that while the company won't be able to bring its products to the mass market as it had hoped, "we're confident that our innovation will hopefully make an impact." on the market. Thinking and others will continue their mission to create safer mobility for everyone.
In a later interview, Pinchas told TechCrunch that he felt "a strong sense of sadness because we've proven the technology, there's a lot of demand, and we have customers in production."
Brodmann17, named after the primary human visual cortex, was created six years ago by deep learning and computer vision specialist Pinchas and artificial intelligence scientists Amir Alush and Assaf Mushinski. The trio have focused their efforts on developing a new approach to computer vision technology designed to support advanced driver assistance systems.
Computer vision systems are considered an integral part of automated driving functions. This multibillion-dollar market only promises to grow as automakers move away from their autonomous vehicle goals and instead focus on short-term revenue-generating products such as advanced driver assistance systems.
According to Pinkhas, Brodmann17 knew he couldn't compete with Mobileye in front-facing cameras if he couldn't bring a new angle to the technology. “So we focused on the blue ocean,” he added.
This blue ocean should develop deep learning based computer vision technology that does not depend on bulky hardware. This "light" software product could run on inexpensive processors in the car itself and was designed to complement the sensors already installed in the car, such as cameras, radars, and even lidars.
According to Pinkhas, Brodmann17 has applied its technology to blind-spot cameras, surround and reversing cameras, video telematics and even two-wheelers.
“The demand in the market is much more diverse than people think,” he said. “We have chosen a path that many other companies in the ecosystem have not taken. We just needed more time."
The startup has attracted investors throughout its life. Brodmann17 raised $11 million in a 2019 Series A round led by OurCrowd. Also present were Maniv Mobility, AI Alliance, UL Ventures, Samsung NEXT and Sony Innovation Fund.
But the company struggled to raise new funds. While the team is "very small" at less than 30 people, Pinchas said it would be impossible to continue without the support of private firms and venture capital firms. He added that "everyone" is waiting for next year and something will happen before new investments are made.
Brodmann17 has generated some interest as a possible acquisition target. He added that there were several proposals, but they were all rejected, mainly due to lack of time.
Despite the grim news, Pinchas said he was ready for another project.
“I love deep technology and new product development,” he said, without specifying what he might focus on. "Life is too short to break up."
Computer vision startup Brodmann17 has been shut down by Kirsten Korosek, originally posted on TechCrunch.