Tuesday 27 September 2016

Nuritas has the potential to grow bigger than Facebook - Partovi

The early-stage investor in Silicon Valley titans believes Nuritas can benefit humanity, writes Gavin McLoughlin

Published 01/11/2015 | 02:30

Nuritas, founded by mathematician Dr Nora Khaldi, uses artificial intelligence and machine learning to identify new food ingredients with health benefits. Picture: Deposit Stock Images
Nuritas, founded by mathematician Dr Nora Khaldi, uses artificial intelligence and machine learning to identify new food ingredients with health benefits. Picture: Deposit Stock Images

Irish food data-mining company Nuritas has the potential to be bigger than Facebook or Dropbox, according to an early-stage investor in all three of those companies

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High-profile Silicon Valley investor Ali Partovi was part of a $3.2m (€2.9m) funding round announced by the Irish company earlier this week.

"The scale of the benefits that it can bring to humanity are enormous. I measure these things by how much they make our lives better collectively. Nuritas has the potential to tremendously accelerate how we understand how to treat different maladies, how to slow down ageing, any single one of the different areas that they're applying their research to is a huge area," Partovi told the Sunday Independent.

"It is often hard to really see how big something can be because you have to have a vision to imagine a completely transformed world. I do think Nuritas could be as big or even bigger than Facebook or Dropbox."

Nuritas, founded by mathematician Dr Nora Khaldi, uses artificial intelligence and machine learning to identify new food ingredients with health benefits. It recently won the 'Thrive Accelerator' award at Forbes magazine's Reinventing America summit. Its areas of focus areas include anti- microbial research, anti-ageing, anti-inflammation, and muscle recovery, stroke and diabetes.

It has also been "seriously looking" at expanding its research into mood and cognition.

"It falls right at the juncture between two spaces that I've been passionate about for a long time, namely software and in particular machine learning, and the realm of food and wellness," Partovi said.

"I have made investments in machine learning in the past and I have made investments in food and wellness in the past - and this was the first time that those two different worlds have for me found a very interesting intersection.

"The other reason is I have been extremely impressed with the team, for me as an investor the people are the most important criterion.

"I do really believe that we will someday be looking back and we wouldn't believe the way we used to discover drugs was by having armies of biochemists kind of randomly trying things out to see what works. The idea of being able to systematically and predictively identify solutions to different needs, that makes much more sense.

"I think it is similar to Dropbox - in that it's hard to imagine a time when you would worry about whether you would lose your files, or a time when, before Facebook, you had trouble knowing how to get in touch with one of your old friends from university."

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