Research Park-based company receives $650,000 in seed round funding

Rithmio, a software company based in the EnterpriseWorks Incubator at Research Park, recently gained $650,000 in seed round funding from business investors to develop their gesture recognition platform. 

The gesture recognition software that automatically learns new gestures as they are being performed, was cofounded by Prashant Mehta, professor in Engineering, and Adam Tilton, University alumnus.

The platform can be installed in wearable devices, such as: smart watches, cell phones, applications of health care and physical therapy rehabilitations and applications for security and video game controllers.

Tilton said that the typical training for gesture recognition in wearable devices can take up to three months to learn one gesture. This is because a large amount of data must be collected and processed through a machine-learning algorithm, which then creates a representation of what that gesture will look like. All of this is done before the device is shipped to users.

“Our devices, in as little as six to ten seconds, can learn new activities and all the user has to do to train it is to perform the activity. What that means is you go to the gym and you do your work out while wearing your wearable devices, and our software will learn all the unique activities that you did,” Tilton said. “This greatly increases the potential for use of gesture recognition. We break through all the limitations.”

The company won the University’s Cozad New Venture Competition in April, which encourages students to form their own businesses. Tilton said participating in and winning the competition was a breakthrough for Rithmio.

The seed funding, led by Marcin Kleczynski, CEO of Malwarebytes and University alumnus, began in May and its total was announced in late September. Contributions were made by: Illinois Ventures, Hyde Park Venture Partners, Techra Investments and Serra Ventures — all of which were Cozad judges.

Guy Turner, managing partner at Hyde Park Venture Partners, said Tilton was the main reason for investing in Rithmio, calling him a “brilliant technologist who also has a knack for business.”

Rob Schultz, vice president of Serra Ventures, said his company has been working with and advising the Rithmio team for the last six months.

“When we invested, their technology was in a prototype form. The initial funding will help them get the technology to more of a commercial form, so the customers can actually use it,” Schultz said. “We believe and we are hopeful that they will be able to identify and land a couple of big customers and companies that are building wearable hardware and wearable technology that will need Rithmio’s gesture recognition platform.”

Rithmio intends to use the seed funding to create a technology that can excel in a gesture recognition platform. Tilton said the company will soon release software developer kits for both iOS and Android, which will allow developers to use the gesture recognition platform to build their own applications.

“Many of the major electronic manufacture companies are interested in what we are working on in Rithmio, and I would expect that in 2015 you will start to see products in the market that are powered by the Rithmio gesture recognition platform,” Tilton said. “Even though we closed our seed round and things look very good, we’re still very much at the starting line. There’s a lot left for Rithmio to go and do and resolve to be a commercially reliable company.”

Jane can be reached at [email protected].