Singularity University (SU), a California Benefit Corporation that educates individuals and organizations on navigating accelerating technological change, today announced that it has closed $32 million in Series B funding co-led by WestRiver Group and Boeing [NYSE: BA] with participation from Silicon Valley Bank, TAL Education Group, Mukita, and PeopleFund.
The investment is indicative of the growing trend to invest in impact companies and is an endorsement of SU’s mission to educate leaders globally on how to use exponential technologies (such as artificial intelligence, precision medicine, nanotechnology, virtual reality and more) to tackle humanity’s grand challenges.
“Exponential technologies can be humanity’s most powerful tools for solving the greatest challenges we face. But they will also cause tremendous disruption to our lives, industry, and society,” said Rob Nail, associate founder and CEO of SU. “This investment fuels SU’s mission to educate, inspire, and empower leaders to successfully navigate disruption by applying these powerful technologies in ways that positively impact the world.”
The funding will be used to further empower SU’s nearly 170,000-strong global ecosystem — spanning individuals, startups, corporations, governments, nonprofits, academic institutions, faculty, and investor groups — by supporting the worldwide expansion of SU’s programs, and the development and scaling of its digital learning offerings. This includes:
* Expanding its suite of digital learning solutions, including new content and courses
* Growing global membership programs for individuals and enterprises
* Accelerating the growth of international chapters, programs, and partnerships
* Engaging in digital media partnerships, such as its work with NBC and The Awesome Show
* Launching a new venture to support and grow its impact startup portfolio
As part of the investment, SU is also excited to announce that Peter Diamandis will move into a new role as executive founder, maintaining a position on SU’s Board of Directors and continuing his active engagement with SU’s programs, partnerships, and impact. Erik Anderson, founder and CEO of WestRiver Group, will become SU’s new Chairman of the Board with an emphasis on supporting SU’s global innovation.
“We need leaders to understand the exponential pace of change, and I am honored to be Chairman and work with this exceptional board and management team,” said Anderson. “I am also excited to deepen my relationship with SU and support its growth and global community as they strive to create meaningful and lasting impact in the world. SU has the mindset, skillset and network to create an abundant future.”
In addition, Bethany Tate Cornell, VP of leadership, learning and organizational capability at Boeing, will join SU’s Board of Directors.
“Singularity University shares Boeing’s commitment to continuous learning and innovation,” said Cornell. “I’m honored to join SU’s Board of Directors and look forward to working together to solve complex global challenges.”
The investment and board appointments kick off an exciting 2018 for SU, as the organization celebrates its 10th year and many successes, including:
* SU has facilitated international Summits for over 8,000 people in Johannesburg, Tokyo, Milan, and more, with participants representing over 127 countries.
* SU’s community has launched 5,059 global impact initiatives to date and is now able to convene and connect through 100 local chapters in 55 countries.
* Fifty-nine current startups and nonprofits supported by SU continue to scale with companies like 1QBit, Modern Meadow, Matternet, Getaround, Calorie Cloud, and Justdiggit collectively raising $290 million to bring people quantum computing applications, animal-free leather, automated last-mile delivery for hospitals, more convenient car rental services, nutrition for malnourished children, and landscape restoration solutions.
* SU partnered with the UN World Food Programme (WFP) to launch a Global Impact Challenge (GIC) to identify radical innovations in the quest to end hunger by 2030.
* SU and NBC announced The Awesome Show, a new series showcasing scientific and technological advances shaping the future hosted by Chris Hardwick and produced by Emmy Award-winning executive producer Mark Burnett (The Voice, Survivor). It is scheduled to air this Summer/Fall.
* SU opened its first Smart City Accelerator in Columbus, Ohio, the winning city of the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Smart City Challenge, to create new smart city innovations and reshape the future of cities.
* SU extended collaborations with key organizations like SAP and Google to continue to bring opportunities for innovation and transformation to established companies and governments around the world.
SU helps individuals and organizations embrace a new mindset about the future, adopt new tools to navigate that future, and join a passionate and action-oriented community collaborating to solve big problems. Together with its growing global network of multidisciplinary faculty, alumni, experts, practitioners, entrepreneurs, partners, and visionaries, SU has become a leading authority on exponential technologies and the future. The funding investment helps accelerate SU’s ability to bring innovative, life-changing, technology-driven solutions to communities the world over.
Chicago-based Boeing is the world’s largest aerospace company and leading manufacturer of commercial jetliners and defense, space and security systems. The company’s investment was made through Boeing HorizonX Ventures, which has a portfolio that includes investments in energy storage, autonomous systems technology, wearable-enabled technologies, augmented reality systems and artificial intelligence.
ABOUT SINGULARITY UNIVERSITY
Singularity University (SU) is a California Benefit Corporation that educates individuals and organizations of all sizes on navigating accelerating technological change via global learning and innovation programs. SU’s collaborative approach to innovation empowers communities across the globe to learn, connect, and create breakthrough solutions using accelerating technologies (like artificial intelligence, robotics, digital biology, and more) to tackle the world’s biggest challenges. Founded as a nonprofit in 2008 by renowned innovators Ray Kurzweil and Peter H. Diamandis, SU converted to a certified B (benefit) Corporation in 2012 and has had significant support and engagement from organizations like Google, Deloitte, and UNICEF. SU is headquartered at NASA Research Park in Silicon Valley. To learn more, visit SU.org, join us on Facebook, follow us on Twitter @SingularityU, and download the SingularityU Hub mobile app.
ABOUT WESTRIVER GROUP
WestRiver Group (WRG) is a collaboration of leading investment firms that provides integrated capital solutions to the global innovation economy. The Kirkland, Wash., based company has investment platforms focusing on the technology, life science, energy, and experiential sectors, with flexibility to invest in a variety of asset classes and capital structures. WRG’s unique network of partners provides best-in-class access to investment opportunities and thought leadership, and deep operational expertise allows it to work closely with portfolio companies and lead at the executive and board level.
Brian Wang is a Futurist Thought Leader and a popular Science blogger with 1 million readers per month. His blog Nextbigfuture.com is ranked #1 Science News Blog. It covers many disruptive technology and trends including Space, Robotics, Artificial Intelligence, Medicine, Anti-aging Biotechnology, and Nanotechnology.
Known for identifying cutting edge technologies, he is currently a Co-Founder of a startup and fundraiser for high potential early-stage companies. He is the Head of Research for Allocations for deep technology investments and an Angel Investor at Space Angels.
A frequent speaker at corporations, he has been a TEDx speaker, a Singularity University speaker and guest at numerous interviews for radio and podcasts. He is open to public speaking and advising engagements.