Elon Musk has approached brain implant company Synchron for a possible investment, Reuters writes. It is not clear whether it concerns a merger with Neuralink, for example. Neuralink and Synchron are competitors and Musk is a co-founder of Neuralink.
Four sources say against Reuters that Musk has approached Synchrons founder and CEO Thomas Oxley in recent weeks for an investment. Oxley would not have made a decision about the investment yet. The sources don’t say what the deal is; Musk may want to acquire Synchron in order to merge with Neuralink.
The Tesla CEO would like to take over Synchron because he is frustrated by the lack of progress at Neuralink. Musk co-founded Neuralink in 2016 and expressed the expectation in 2020 and 2021 that the first human trials could begin in those years. To date, however, the company has not yet started a human trial, as the necessary approval has not yet been obtained.
Both Neuralink and Synchron want to implant chips in people so that paralyzed people can send emails, for example. Last year, Neuralink had a macaque monkey with brain implants play Pong. This company has not yet conducted human trials, while Synchron implanted the first chip in a human last year. Synchron has also conducted trials in Australia. Unlike Neuralink’s implants, Synchron’s chip does not require sawing into the skull.
Both companies were founded in 2016. Synchron now has 60 employees and has raised about $65 million in investments, according to market researcher Pitchbook. Neuralink has 300 employees and has raised $363 million, according to the same source.