Amazon and Founders’ Co-op back new Seattle startup KITT.AI, born in Paul Allen’s AI2 incubator


A new Seattle-based artificial intelligence startup called KITT.AI, incubated inside Paul Allen’s Allen Institute for Artificial Intelligence (AI2), has landed funding from Founders’ Co-op and Amazon’s Alexa Fund — preparing to launch a platform that will let developers build apps, devices and services that communicate conversationally with users through natural language.

The company was co-founded by Xuchen Yao, a Johns Hopkins University PhD graduate who last year joined the AI2 incubator, led by Oren Etzioni, the former University of Washington computer science professor who now heads the Allen Institute for Artificial Intelligence.

The startup’s other co-founders are Guoguo Chen, a deep learning and speech recognition expert who created the “OK Google” hotword detection prototype for Android; and Kenji Sagae former professor of Natural Language Processing at USC and an expert in natural language parsing and dialogue systems, as noted by Chris DeVore, the Founders’ Co-op co-founder and general partner, in a post announcing the funding.

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