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CIA Backs Aussie Start-Up

IQT International Australia, the Sydney-based arm of the CIA’s venture capital firm, has been identified as a backer of computer-vision start-up Visionary Machines.

The company raised $7.5 million in a seed funding round led by the local venture capital fund Folklore Ventures, with co-investment by Our Innovation Fund, adding to initial investment by IQT, according to the Australian Financial Review.

VM technology uses camera arrays for 3D spatial sensing which it says is more accurate and robust than competing technology.

The company website says its technology enables machines so they can navigate, measure distance, perceive distance and intelligently interact with the world around them.

It’s not hard to see why the CIA would be interested in Visionary Machines although CEO, Amir Mashkoori, told the AFR he could not comment as to why the intelligence agency had backed the company.

Visionary Machines was founded in 2019 by researchers Rhys Newman and Samson Lee, who worked at Canon’s Sydney-based computer vision, image processing and machine learning research centre, CiSRA, which closed that year.

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