SALT LAKE CITY, May 19, 2021 /PRNewswire/ — Blackrock Neurotech, the world’s leading platform for brain-computer interface (BCI) technology and manufacturing, has closed a $10 million financing round, led by Christian Angermayer’s re.Mind Capital with participation from Peter Thiel, German entrepreneur Tim Sievers, and Sorenson Impact’s University Venture Fund II.
Christian Angermayer and Jan Hardorp of re.Mind, as well as Tim Sievers will join the Blackrock Neurotech Board of Directors. The funding will be used to further expand the number of programs on the Blackrock platform – including clinical studies and cutting-edge research – and to continue development of its technology platform to maintain a leading position in the market.
In addition to the investment announcement, Blackrock today will begin using the brand Blackrock Neurotech to better reflect the company’s longstanding focus on neurotechnology and BCI. The company will keep the Blackrock Microsystems brand in place for continuity with its thriving research community.
“Blackrock is at the forefront of making BCI in humans a reality,” said Marcus Gerhardt, CEO and co-founder of Blackrock Neurotech. “Dozens of human patients are currently using our implants and technology to accomplish things directly with their minds that were unimaginable ten years ago. We have spent over a decade developing our technology with several hundred of the world’s leading research institutions and over 20 clinical partner centers.”
Professor Florian Solzbacher, co-founder and Chairman of Blackrock Neurotech, added: “We have achieved all this by running a revenue focused business servicing our customers in the research community and supported by Friends & Family – but in essence we were bootstrapped. Now imagine where we are able to take things having closed our first institutional investment round. Our goal is to provide every person in need access to our technology by partnering with leading medical device companies and universities who are building applications on our unique platform.”
Blackrock Neurotech has powered a wide range of “firsts” in human BCI applications: for example, the first to provide tetraplegic patients the ability to control robotic limbs directly from and with the brain; and the first to enable ALS patients, even completely locked-in ones, to communicate again via an auditory speller, directly controlled by their mind.
“Enabling people to walk, talk, see, hear and feel again is a massive market as more than 5 million people in the US are living with some form of paralysis,” said Christian Angermayer, founder of Apeiron Investment Group and its mental health venture arm, re.Mind Capital. “Blackrock’s first applications will enable patients with severe physical and neurological impairments to regain function and reclaim their lives.”
Patients equipped with Blackrock’s small in-brain implants have demonstrated usable lifetimes of over seven years. Blackrock is the only company in the world with an implantable penetrating array with almost 100 electrodes per device, that is already FDA cleared and used in humans. Some patients even use several devices.
“To date there have been 30 human patients around the world who are living with a BCI in their head, and 28 of those use Blackrock’s technology,” said Jan Hardorp, founding partner of re.Mind. “The first Blackrock device was implanted more than fifteen years ago, making their technology the go-to platform for the world’s leading teams who are actively building BCI applications.”
Angermayer concluded, “In the future, I can see BCI devices becoming more common than cardiac pacemakers are today. The ultimate potential of this technology is to be a fundamental input-output device used by large portions of society. We can responsibly unlock truly astonishing use cases and abilities and I believe Blackrock will be the one to take us there.”
About Blackrock Neurotech
Blackrock Neurotech is dedicated to the company’s accelerated efforts in clinical translation and brain-computer interface (BCI) technology. Blackrock, founded in 2008, is the world’s leading platform company for BCI technology for teams developing implantable solutions to improve human lives. Blackrock’s precision electrode technology is at the core of many worldwide innovations in BCI and has enabled dozens of early users (known as “BCI Pioneers”) to SeeAgain, HearAgain, MoveAgain, TalkAgain and more. For more information, visit www.blackrockneurotech.com.
About re.Mind Capital
re.Mind Capital is the mental health venture arm of Christian Angermayer and his family office Apeiron Investment Group. Angermayer is best-known for his pioneering investments into psychedelics-based treatments for mental health, and is a co-founder of atai Life Sciences and seed investor of Compass Pathways. With re.Mind, together with partners Jan Hardorp and Max de Vere, he invests in companies with radical new ideas to improve mental health and wellbeing globally. www.apeiron-investments.com