This Week's $200 Million Investment that Few Utahns Know About has Changed Control of a Pioneering Utah Biotech Firm

This Week's $200 Million Investment that Few Utahns Know About has Changed Control of a Pioneering Utah Biotech Firm
Blackrock Neurotech's "Utah Array," one of its Brain-Computer-Interface (BCI) components. Photo provided by Blackrock Neurotech 30 April 2024.

Utah's market-leading Brain-Computer-Interface company, Salt Lake City-based Blackrock Neurotech, has sold controlling interest to Tether for a $200 million investment

In news that will shock most executives in Utah's business, life sciences, and technology communities, Salt Lake City-based Blackrock Neurotech has sold controlling interest in its firm to Tether for a $200 million investment.

According to the Tether announcement that was released on Monday, the firm

"... has made a strategic investment of $200 million into Blackrock Neurotech, the globally leading pioneer for Brain-Computer-Interface (BCI) technology, through its newly formed venture division Tether Evo. With this investment, Tether is now the majority stakeholder in Blackrock Neurotech." 

Blackrock Neurotech was originally formed in 2008 as Blackrock Microsystems before it was rebranded in 2021 concurrent with its first round of venture funding of $10 million.

Prior to this week's funding announcement by Blackrock Neurotech, a company spokeswoman explained that "... we’ve (previously) raised approximately $100 million; (that said), we were a boot-strapped, profit generating company for almost 15 years." 

According to the UofU, the $10 million funding in 2021 was "... led by Christian Angermayer’s re.Mind Capital with participation from Peter Thiel, German entrepreneur Tim Sievers, and Sorenson Impact’s University Venture Fund II."

[NOTE: Angermayer and Sievers presently serve as Co-Chairmen of Blackrock Neurotech's Board of Directors.]

The company was launched around BCI technology licensed from the UofU where its initial products were envisioned and invented by professionals at the College of Engineering.

Since then, Blackrock Neurotech's products have been used by hundreds of universities around the globe as researchers explore the potential for BCI technologies to transform the lives of millions of mobility-challenged and speech-impaired individuals.

Such universities include

among others.

Additionally, as noted in the UofU announcement above,

"Blackrock Neurotech has powered a wide range of 'firsts' in human BCI applications: for example, the first to provide tetraplegic patients the ability to control robotic limbs directly from and with the brain; and the first to enable a fully locked-in ALS patient to talk again via a voice synthesizer, directly controlled by their mind."

For example, as shown in Blackrock Neurotech's YouTube video below, the company's BCI products are helping "... people with neurological disorders to walk, talk, see, hear, and feel again."

Video Title — "Ian Burkhart moves his wrist and hand with Blackrock Neurotech's BCI: The NeuroPort Array." Video downloaded from YouTube 01 May 2024.

Tether and its $200 Million Bet on Blackrock Neurotech

Tether describes itself in its news release announcing its investment in Blackrock Neurotech as "... a pioneer in the field of stablecoin technology, driven by an aim to revolutionize the global financial landscape."

According to its Q1 2024 Attestation Report, released today (with an opinion supported by global accounting firm BDO), Tether Group produced record net profits of $4.52 billion in the quarter ended 31 March 2024 on total Group equity of $11.37 billion.

As shown in the image shown below from Tether's Consolidated Financial Figures and Reserves Report Q1/2024, Tether had $115.41 billion in assets under management (AUM) at the end of the quarter.

Image highlighting Tether Group'sConsolidated Financial Figures and Reserves Report for Q1 2024 (ended 31 March 2024). Image downloaded from the Tether website 01 May 2024.

According to Wikipedia, Tether is the firm behind the USDT / USD₮ cryptocurrency stablecoin, which it launched in 2014, with several other stablecoins launched by the firm since then.

Since 2019, Tether stablecoins have surpassed Bitcoin in trading volume.

According to Crunchbase, since January 2021, Tether has invested $513 million in six companies, and an additional €597 million in three firms, with the Blackrock Neurotech investment being its third-largest in that time frame.

In describing Tether's investment in Blackrock Neurotech, CEO Paolo Ardoino said:

Blackrock Neurotech represents a leap towards a future where technology not only complements but enhances our human experience, and we at Tether are proud to begin this journey with them.
Tether has long believed in nurturing emerging technologies that have transformative capabilities, and the Brain-Computer-Interfaces of Blackrock Neurotech have the potential to open new realms of communication, rehabilitation, and cognitive enhancement.”

When asked about the company's willingness to accept the $200 million offer from Tether to purchase a majority position in Blackrock Neurotech, a company spokeswoman wrote:

Tether’s investment is providing significant resources to accelerate our innovations and work—with this support, we can expand the scope and scale of our technical development, bringing the benefits of BCI technology to more individuals, more quickly."


This majority investment by Tether into Blackrock Neurotech marks a significant milestone for the Utah-based leader in the still-evolving Brain-Computer-Interface industry.

It also serves as a major reminder of the breakthrough ideation, research, and creation being conducted on a regular basis by the professionals working at the University of Utah.

So huge props all around to everyone involved in every aspect of the exciting work led by and with Blackrock Neurotech.

And for the millions of people around the globe suffering with neurological disorders, I offer up my thoughts and prayers that the BCI advancements being created and broth to market by Blackrock Neurotech, and others in this field, will eventually bring you relief.


This article was originally published and distributed to our Subscribers on 01 May 2024.

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