This $2 Billion AI Startup Aims to Teach Factory Robots to Think
Japan’s Preferred Networks Inc. has only one publicly available product, a whimsical application that uses artificial intelligence to automate the coloring of manga cartoons.
Yet the four-year-old firm has become Japan’s most valuable startup, with a venture capital funding that priced it at more than $2 billion, according to people familiar with the matter. Toyota Motor Corp., its biggest backer, handed over $110 million on a bet its algorithms will help them compete with Google in driverless cars. Last February, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe posed for pictures with the firm’s two young founders at his office, where they were awarded a prize for promising new ventures.
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