Gators Back Gators in New Artificial Intelligence Investment (Main Street Daily News)

Gators Back Gators in New Artificial Intelligence Investment

Former Gators Justis Mendez and Pablo Casilimas want to bring venture capital funding to startups sprouting at the University of Florida and their company, OneSixOne Ventures, has already hit its five- and 10-year goals set in 2020.  

OneSixOne Ventures, a UF Innovate | Accelerate graduate and local partner, has invested more than $2 million into 12 startups since February 2022. In February, the company announced a new $950,000 investment into Rain AI, a startup developing a computer chip designed for use by artificial intelligence. 

Rain AI is a Gator-led startup that could mirror NVIDIA or Vobile.  

Casilimas and Mendez met Jack Kendall, co-founder and chief technology officer for Rain AI, while at UF. Soon the startup caught the attention of national investors. Rain AI moved to San Francisco and, before long, Casilimas said the startup had gone through a first and second round of investing in 2018 and 2021.

OneSixOne has invested in two other Gator-led startups. Casilimas said UF has the resources to keep building on its top six ranking by U.S. News & World Report along with the Wall Street Journal’s designation of the number one public university in the nation.  

UF has also pushed artificial intelligence learning throughout all its programs. OneSixOne, while not exclusive to AI, has invested in five AI companies.  

“We see a lot of opportunity [at UF], and we want to keep building that ecosystem,” Casilimas said.

Learn how Gators back Gators in a new artificial intelligence investment.