Founding member of Elon Musk brain implant startup Neuralink resigns as executive exodus continues
Just last week, longtime Tesla Autopilot Executive Andrej Karpathy announced on Twitter he was leaving the company. The announcement came just two weeks after Tesla laid off hundreds of autopilot employees and closed its San Mateo, California office.
Today, a founding member of Elon Musk’s Neuralink has left the company, according to a report from Reuters, citing two people familiar with the matter. The news is the latest in a string of high-profile departures at the brain implant startup Musk co-founded six years ago.
The sources told Reuters that Paul Merolla, who worked on the Neuralink chip design program and helped launch the company, is no longer with the Silicon Valley-based startup. The sources did not elaborate on why Merolla decided to leave the company. Merolla, Musk, and Neuralink representatives also did not respond to requests for comment.
The two sources also told Reuters that Merolla was one of the original eight people, along with Musk, who helped start Neuralink years ago. With his exit, only one Neuralink founding member, implant engineer Dongjin “DJ” Seo, now remains with the company in addition to Musk.
We wrote about Neuralink last year ago after the company shared a video of a monkey playing a video game with his mind using a brain chip. During the demonstration, Musk shared a video of Pager, a nine-year-old Macaque, playing a MindPong video game telepathically using a brain chip. In a series of tweets, Musk explained that the first Neuralink product will enable someone with paralysis to use a smartphone with their mind faster than someone using thumbs.
Musk added that later versions of Neuralink will be able to “shunt signals from Neuralinks in the brain to Neuralinks in body motor/sensory neuron clusters, thus enabling, for example, paraplegics to walk again.”
A year ago, Neuralink raised $205 million in a Series C funding round led by Dubai-based venture capital firm Vy Capital, with participation from Alphabet Inc’s Google Ventures, Valor Equity Partners, Craft Ventures, and Founders Fund. The company said the funding would be used to implant wireless chips into the human brain and cure diseases
Co-founded by Musk in 2016, the San Francisco-based Neuralink is working towards improving the brain-machine implant process until the procedure becomes as seamless as Lasik. The company also claimed that its Neuralink device can make anyone superhuman by connecting their brains to a computer.