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L’école AI, Creator of “Machine Teaching” Technology, Raises 3 Million USD in Seed Funding From Sofinnova Partners

  • The company’s technology, which removes the engineering complexity around AI systems for image analysis, will initially assist medical professionals
  • Founder co-created Madbits, a deep-learning image-analysis start-up that was acquired by Twitter

PARIS & NEW YORK–(BUSINESS WIRE)–L’école AI, creator of ÉO, a “machine teaching” technology that removes the engineering complexity around deep-learning systems for computer vision, announced that it has raised 3 million USD in Seed funding from Sofinnova Partners. The funds will be used to develop the company’s proprietary technology, which will be rolled out to medical professionals and researchers, enabling them to create bespoke AI systems to assist in their area of expertise. In addition, the financing will fuel the expansion of the team, accelerate product development and structure business efforts. Also participating in the round are notable business angels including Preston-Werner Ventures, the fund started by co-founder and former CEO of GitHub, Tom Preston-Werner.

We’re building a user interface for AI so anyone can create and benefit from their own personalized AI assistant,” said Louis-Alexandre Etezad-Heydari, Co-Founder and President of L’école AI, which means “AI school” in French. “We also are creating a system that will open possibilities for secure collaboration between organizations.”

Etezad-Heydari co-founded Madbits, a deep-learning image-analysis start-up, with Clément Farabet in 2013. A year after its founding, Madbits was acquired by Twitter, where the two entrepreneurs ran Twitter Cortex, an internal team that built a Deep Learning platform to power recommendation systems, search, ranking and filtering at Twitter.

Kim Nilsson and Jonathan Alexander Brown teamed up with Etezad-Heydari to perfect the AI development framework for computer vision that initially inspired Madbits, and the three founders set off with the goal to make creating computer vision models simple enough for non-engineers.

L’école’s technology is designed to democratize machine learning by enabling life science researchers and other non-machine learning experts to utilize tailored computer vision systems, thus accelerating life sciences research,” said Edward Kliphuis, Partner at Sofinnova Partners. “The focus on digital medicine is a logical entry point,” he noted.

We’re starting with a focus on health care and life sciences because we want to make a positive impact right away,” said Jonathan Alexander Brown, Co-Founder and Chief Executive Officer.With Sofinnova’s support, we are confident we have the right skills to partner with researchers and clinicians in these tightly regulated markets.”

Farabet, an investor in L’école, is an AI pioneer. Currently VP of Research at Google DeepMind, he spent six years as a senior executive at NVIDIA, working on its autonomous vehicles and the company’s data science platform. Farabet is also famous in the AI world as one of the creators of Torch, a machine learning framework that provides a simple and flexible interface for building and training deep neural networks.

L’école AI counts a number of other AI pioneers among its investors, including Nicolas Pinto, head of Deep Learning at Apple, Clément Delangue, Co-Founder and CEO at Hugging Face.

About the Founders

Jonathan Alexander Brown, Co-Founder and CEO

A mathematician-turned-actuary, Jonathan has crafted statistical models for natural catastrophes (wildfires, hurricanes, earthquakes, etc.) and introduced innovative risk management and data-analysis strategies at top multinational companies. He has navigated regulated environments throughout his career, always with a keen focus on addressing the needs of key stakeholders.

Louis-Alexandre Etezad-Heydari, Co-Founder and President

Louis-Alexandre is a computer vision pioneer, a successful entrepreneur, and an accomplished artist who dropped out of the Neuroscience PhD program at New York University to found Madbits in 2013 with Clément Farabet. The pair “built visual intelligence technology that automatically understands, organizes and extracts relevant information from raw media,” Etezad-Heydari said when Madbits was acquired by Twitter.

Kim Nilsson, Co-Founder and CTO

Kim has more than 20 years’ experience as a software engineer. A former senior developer at Opera, he has always displayed the hacker spirit, solving one of the biggest cryptocurrency heists ever in his spare time, an effort the Wall Street Journal described in detail.

About Sofinnova Partners

Sofinnova Partners is a leading European venture capital firm in life sciences, specializing in healthcare and sustainability. Based in Paris, London and Milan, the firm brings together a team of professionals from all over the world with strong scientific, medical, and business expertise. Sofinnova Partners is a hands-on company builder across the entire value chain of life sciences investments, from seed to later-stage. The firm actively partners with ambitious entrepreneurs as a lead or cornerstone investor to develop transformative innovations that have the potential to positively impact our collective future.

Founded in 1972, Sofinnova Partners is a deeply established venture capital firm in Europe, with 50 years of experience backing over 500 companies and creating market leaders around the globe. Today, Sofinnova Partners has over €2.5 billion under management. For more information, please visit:


CEO and Co-Founder

Jonathan Alexander Brown


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