Money making machines
When the subject of Soul Machines comes up, most of us think immediately of the company’s startlingly realistic AI-powered digital humans. But you could argue that the company’s rapid international expansion is almost as striking. The numbers certainly ready well: To date, the company has raised NZ$25 million from investors such as Horizons Ventures, Iconiq and Mercedes Benz. Created as a result of the spin out from the University of Auckland, the company was co-founded and serial entrepreneur Greg Cross, whose last company, PowerbyProxi, was sold in 2017, and by Dr. Mark Sagar, who had led the scientific research since 2012. With R&D headquartered in Auckland and executives located in LA, San Francisco, and New York City, the company combines neuroscience, cognitive science and developmental psychology to create new ways for humans to interact with AI. Current customers include Autodesk, P&G, Royal Bank of Scotland and ANZ Bank. Not a bad resume for a local company, we reckon, so we asked Greg Cross, Soul Machines co-founder and chief business officer, just what it takes to grow something so big starting somewhere so small.