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AI robotics firm Kindred appoints COO


Kindred Systems Inc. has hired former One Kings Lane executive Jim Liefer to be its Chief Operating Officer (COO). Liefer will be responsible for the deployment of Kindred’s first commercial product, including day-to-day execution across teams, building implementation and customer support groups, and overseeing procurement, people operations and finance.

“The skills and know-how Jim has developed throughout his career are precisely the broad operations and organizational expertise Kindred needs to begin quickly generating profitable sales,” said Geordie Rose, Kindred co-founder, and chief executive officer.

Mission of building machines with human-like intelligence

Kindred was founded in 2014 with the mission of building machines with human-like intelligence. Together with many leading figures in the artificial intelligence research community, the company is developing a framework that integrates recent advances in artificial intelligence with robots.

“Kindred’s approach is so distinct and appropriate for a broad range of commercial applications that I jumped at the chance to be part of this company,” said Liefer.

Liefer brings 35 years of operations and technology development experience to the role. Most recently he served as One Kings Lane’s COO where he supported three years of consecutive year-over-year growth of more than 100%, cut transportation costs by a third, kept total ops fulfillment spend to 20% of sales, and negotiated delivery rates that saved the company on average $4 million annually. Before One Kings Lane, he was vice president of operations for Walmart.com, responsible for identifying and implementing processes and systems that could scale and continually improve efficiency. Before operations, Liefer worked in technology, first in banking, followed by Fritz Companies, Inc. and United Parcel Service.

The announcement today comes just weeks after Kindred spoke publicly for the first time about the company’s origins, mission, and vision, and demonstrated early work. At the end of 2015, Kindred closed its Series A round of funding led by Eclipse Ventures with participation by GV, the venture capital arm of Alphabet, Inc. To date, Kindred has raised nearly $20 million.

About Kindred

Kindred Systems Inc.’s mission is to build machines with human-like intelligence. The company’s central thesis is that human-like intelligence requires a human-like body. Since its founding in 2014, Kindred has been exploring and engineering systems that enable robots to understand and participate in our world, with the ultimate goal of a future where intelligent machines work together with people to create abundance shared by all. Kindred has offices in San Francisco, Toronto, and Vancouver. Investors include Eclipse, GV, Data Collective, First Round Capital, AME Cloud Ventures, 11.2 Capital, Bold Capital Partners, Innovation Endeavors and Bloomberg Beta.