Ascend Raises $25 Million for Pre-Seed AI Startups in Pacific Northwest

Ascend, which is based in Seattle and operates in the field of artificial intelligence, announced the closure of the second round of raising funding for $25 million.

Ascend Raises $25 Million for Pre-Seed AI Startups in Pacific Northwest


The firm intends to direct the attracted investment funds to finance the development of startups that are engaged in developments in the field of artificial intelligence technologies and specialize in machine learning. Financing will be provided to companies that are based primarily in the Pacific Northwest.

The first round of Ascend financing resulted in an investment of $15 million. The firm’s founder and sole proprietor Kirby Winfield has been working in the field of artificial intelligence as a founder or investor since the 1990s. He stated that many years of experience make it possible to avoid mistakes typical for beginners who create a demonstration of vertical AI but are not ready to offer anything substantial in a material sense.

Winfield calls the current time a good time to invest in the field of artificial intelligence. Ascend specializes not only in AI and machine learning. The company also invested in brands and trading platforms. Gradually, the firm stops interacting with this commercial space.

Winfield says $25 million was received from individuals. He noted that in 2019, when the first round of financing took place, the inflow of money was much stronger. Some participants in the first investment process responded to another offer to provide funds since the prospects of the AI sphere have increased significantly.

Winfield says that when deciding to provide investments to a particular firm, he does not focus on marketing statements about the specialization of the company, but pays attention to the actual content of activities in which artificial intelligence-based technologies can be applied. The head of Ascend notes that it is not the fact of using AI that matters, the solution that is offered to customers. Winfield said that many investors prioritize technology over benefits.

Ascend is doubling its attention to companies in the Pacific Northwest. This prioritization may be perceived as a limitation for people focused on Silicon Valley. Winfield disagrees with this, recalling the talents that come from Microsoft and Amazon, as well as companies that are incubated at the non-profit Allen Institute for Artificial Intelligence, where he has been a regular investor for almost six years.

In the field of AI, there is currently competition among investors. The founder and CEO of Xembly, Pete Kristotulu, says that against the background of a high level of activity in providing financing to companies, it is better to cooperate with venture investors since many people have the desire to give money in artificial intelligence, but not all eventually provide sufficient support.

As we have reported earlier, Sound Ventures Invests Half Its $240 Million AI Fund Into Three Companies.

Serhii Mikhailov

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Serhii’s track record of study and work spans six years at the Faculty of Philology and eight years in the media, during which he has developed a deep understanding of various aspects of the industry and honed his writing skills; his areas of expertise include fintech, payments, cryptocurrency, and financial services, and he is constantly keeping a close eye on the latest developments and innovations in these fields, as he believes that they will have a significant impact on the future direction of the economy as a whole.