Worlds Raises $10M in Series A Funding as Dave Copps’ AI Startup Launches From Stealth

The startup, spun out of Hypergiant Sensory Sciences, plans to use the funding to power its "first-of-its-kind" Extended Reality environment, which can be used to build AI-models to give businesses and organizations a new way to view their physical world.

"It's almost like turning real life into a video game," says CEO and co-founder Dave Copps.

worlds Copps AI artificial intelligence

Now out of stealth, Worlds—a spinout of Hypergiant Sensory Sciences—announced it has raised $10 million in Series A funding and plans to use it to power a vision of building AI-models that gives businesses a new way to view their physical world.

Worlds is a year-old software company on a mission to “deliver human perception at an impossible scale,” Worlds co-founder and CEO Dave Copps told Dallas Innovates. “We provide companies that have a critical need to perceive their physical environments with software that amplifies and augments their ability to do it at scale.”

The possibilities for use cases are endless, Copps says. “We’re creating AI-powered models of the real world. It’s almost like turning real life into a video game.” 

The funding round was led by Align Capital of Austin, and also included Chevron Technology Ventures, Piva, and Hypergiant Industries, according to a release. Capital Factory and GPG Ventures are also among Worlds’ partners, investors, and clients.

Targeting Fortune 500 and government clients, Worlds is strategically aligned with Texas-based Hypergiant Industries. Hypergiant’s roster of vertical divisions includes space science and exploration, satellite communications, aviation, healthcare, and transportation, among others.

Ben Lamm, CEO of Hypergiant Industries, says Worlds was spun out of its Hypergiant Sensory Sciences division, and “we will continue to be a big shareholder, investor, and supporter.” Hypergiant Sensory Sciences was founded by Copps, Lamm, and Chris Rohde in 2018.

“Functionally, this means that we will continue to support [Worlds], like all Hypergiant divisions and companies as they grow. We will have co-locating offices and joint go-to-market strategies. We will use our network of companies to make them stronger and offer combined offerings across companies and divisions to deliver for Fortune 500s and governments,” he told Dallas Innovates, adding, “Worlds is a big game-changing company that we are putting a huge amount of energy behind.”

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Worlds’ Spatial AI Platform combines deep learning and IoT within a 4D environment, which gives organizations the ability to observe their physical space and learn from those physical surroundings in ways that are otherwise impossible.

“This has been in the works for quite some time,” Lamm says. “The Worlds’ spatial AI platform is a game changer and an incredibly ambitious idea on its own. We started to realize that it was an enormous concept in an incredibly rapidly growing market.”

Live AI-powered Models of the World

The platform is a first-of-its-kind Extended Reality (XR) environment for “active physical analytics,” according to a release.

“We are creating one of the most powerful manifestations of AI yet: an AI-driven automation platform for physical environments,” Copps said. 

The platform creates live AI-powered models of the real world, which could potentially enable companies to achieve higher levels of automation, increase efficiency, enhance safety and security, raise productivity, and dramatically lower costs.

“We’re about to change the world, and we are doing it with an absolutely incredible team of people who know that ‘impossible’ is only a temporary state,” Copps said.

To that end, Copps says he is fully engaged in every aspect of the business.

“I wear a lot of hats. My partner, co-founder Chris Rohde, and I are pitching investors, hiring new employees, connecting with customers to lock in an accurate product/market fit, and making unreasonable requests of an incredibly talented team so we can make miraculous progress in not enough time!” Copps previously told Dallas Innovates

Worlds’ platform offers major growth potential

Lamm thinks that the AI market has huge potential.

“IoT is expected to grow to 500 billion devices in 2030 which means rapidly growing markets and opportunities,” Lamm said in a release. Hypergiant cited a recent report saying the XR market is expected to grow to more than $209 billion in the next four years—an 800 percent increase from a 2018 forecast of $27 billion. That growth points to a significant opportunity for Worlds to capitalize on a rapidly growing and emerging space, according to a release. 

Some of Worlds’ investors see the platform as helping them grow their own businesses.

“Our investment in Worlds reflects our belief that digital innovation plays a critical role in accelerating business value at Chevron,” Chevron Technology Ventures president Barbara Burger said in a release. “CTV evaluates digital technologies that can help Chevron make better and faster decisions to enable us to deliver on our mission to produce reliable, affordable, and ever-cleaner energy.” 

Copps and Rohde have a history of startup success

“This investment will allow us to continue our high rate of growth,” Worlds Chief Operating Officer Chris Rohde said in a release. “What we are creating has the potential to revolutionize major industries and by going to market with Ben and his team at Hypergiant Industries we are amplifying and accelerating our mission.”  

Copps and Rohde have previously founded, launched, and sold two companies focused on machine learning and AI. Before Hypergiant, Copps was the founder and CEO of Brainspace Corp. and Rohde was previously co-founder and vice president of business development for Brainspace, where he brought machine learning, data analysis, and visualization to Fortune 500 enterprises, global consulting firms, legal service providers, and government agencies.

Dream Team: Worlds Inc. was founded by CEO Dave Copps, President Chris Rohde, and CTO Ross Bates.

Dream Team: Worlds Inc. was founded by CEO Dave Copps, President Chris Rohde, and CTO Ross Bates. [Photos: Worlds Inc.]

Hypergiant Sensory Sciences will remain a division of Hypergiant Industries and will continue to prioritize creating products integrated with the senses such as geospatial mapping, acoustic predictive modeling, and computer vision.

“Later this year we will announce other technology that is currently nestled in the Hypergiant Sensory Sciences division which we will also look to use, to create, build and scale additional companies with,” Lamm says.

Lance Murray and Lauren Hawkins contributed to this report. 

A version of this story was originally published in January in Dallas Innovates 2020: The Magazine.

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