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After 5 years of nothing, Humane 'startup' is now shifting to AI

Imran Chaudhri and Bethany Bongiorno, founders of Humane

Founded in 2018 by ex-Apple executives, the mysterious Humane company has announced $100 million in new funding plus a shift into AI — and still has no product to announce.

Humane was formed in 2018 by two Apple veterans, former director of software engineering Bethany Bongiorno and designer Imran Chaudhri. The two reportedly met while working on the iPad, and left Apple in 2017 to begin working on their company.

Originally stylized as, the company has steadily recruited Apple staff such as a former 5G modem lead, and an iCloud executive. The company now says that it has "been creating a first-of-its-kind software platform and consumer device built from the ground up for artificial intelligence (AI)."

That is more information than the firm has previously said. It's also a clear shift in the company's goals. The technology it will implement now wasn't in its infancy then.

On Wednesday, it announced that it has raised $100 million in what it calls a Series C round. Alongside the financing, Humane says in a blog post that it "has secured strategic collaborations with some of the most influential technology companies in the world."

The companies in question are Microsoft and OpenAI, Qualcomm, and SK Networks. And, "while the initial Humane device will be focused on delivering the next generation of personal technology," investors LG and Volvo Cars Tech Fund will be working to bring its technology into cars and other unspecified devices.

Humane now sees an AI future

"Our first device will enable people to bring AI with them everywhere," said Chaudhri. "It's an exciting time, and we've been focused on how to build the platform and the device that can fully harness the true power and potential of this technology."

"We are at the beginning of the next era of compute," he continued, "and believe that together we can begin the journey to fundamentally reshape the role of technology in people's lives."

The announcement was first spotted by the Wall Street Journal, which claims that Humane intends to launch its first product this spring. It also reports that filed patents imply that Humane has been working on wearables.

Separately, in 2021, Chaudhri was recently one of many people marking the 20th anniversary of OS X. He recounted buying a NeXT Cube for his office at Apple, just so Steve Jobs would stop insisting it was better than the Mac.