The 25 most-funded AI (artificial intelligence) startups


AI Funded Startups

Here’s a list of the top AI startups receiving the biggest checks from investors.

Plug: We just published a list of 1,000 funded AI startups.

Artificial intelligence (AI) used to be something reserved only for science fiction. However, as technology has developed, the storybook notions of self-learning robots have shifted straight from the pages of fantasy to the realms of reality.

The surge in AI development has come thick and fast, with AI companies addressing a whole host of issues in manufacturing, business operations, and daily workings to create software and machinery that not only automates many of our processes but also has the capacity to improve itself.

We’re starting to see the birth of a new dawn of technology that’s infiltrating every sector of our economy from payment systems to household help robots. Thanks to a wealth of brilliant minds, companies are popping up left, right and center, with ideas that make the ground shake. For venture capitalists and investors, now is the time to join the party, helping to manifest these concepts into a reality.

But we’re not talking about a few dollars through a GoFundMe campaign. Instead, big bucks are being put on the table with unprecedented sums of money being pumped into the generation of these businesses. Last year, alone, $9.3 billion was pumped into AI startups to get this tech revolution off the ground.

But who is reaping the benefits? Here’s a list of the top 25 AI startups receiving the biggest checks from investors.

1. SenseTime

Founded in 2014, SenseTime has managed to net the highest amount of investment so far in the AI realm - a staggering $2.6 billion. SenseTime is working on AI-driven facial recognition technology. This tech can be used for a wide variety of purposes, predominantly for payment identification and to analyse pictures and videos (presumably from surveillance footage). A tool that can be implemented across a wide range of public and private sectors, their software has an error rate of less than 1/100,000 - it’s no wonder they managed to draw such a massive interest. They already 300 companies on their books who use their software including China Mobile Communication Co, UnionPay, and Huawei Technologies.

2. UBTech Robotics

Straight from fiction, UBTech Robotics is in the business of making human-like robots. They design, engineer, manufacture, and retail these robots, with 4 models already out for purchase. Alpha 1 Pro is a humanoid robot, designed for education and entertainment purposes, while they also have a residential and commercial robot, called Cruzr, providing service applications. UBTech Robotics have also designed an interactive robot building system for children to build robots called Jimu Robot and an Alexa style robot called Lynx. Based in China and California, UBTech are already retailing across the US, China, and Europe and have raised $940 million investment for their business.

3. Horizon Robotics

Horizon Robotics leads the industry in embedded AI. This means that they’re designing the ‘brains’ to go in the hardware. For example, Horizon Robotics are designing and manufacturing AI software to be implemented in self-driving cars which will improve the perception and decision-making of the vehicles. Their vision is to equip more than 1000 different types of devices with embedded AI, enabling these things to interact across IoT. They have a world class C-Suite and engineering team, supported by a phenomenal R&D team with broad-ranging industry experience to better angle products directly to the needs of the world. As the third highest funded AI startup so far, they have raised $700 million toward their project.

4. AIWAYS

Having raised $625 million in capital investment, AIWAYS are well on their way to fulfilling their goal of building a revolutionary smart electric car. Based in Shanghai, China, AIWAYS combine electric cars and AI with the aim of entering 3 main industry sectors: energy operations, personal vehicles, and travel. They are dedicated to designing a different kind of future with the next generation in mind - a future where people can own a car without the worry of what the automobile industry is doing to the world now. With such massive amounts of funding under their belt, AIWAYS are moving fast - you can already pre-order their U5 model, which will be available for purchase at the end of this year.

5. MEGVII

MEGVII are also working on embedded AI technology and an operating system to connect all this together. Having already developed the deep learning system, Brain++, MEGVII are working on an operating system for IoT, which will connect people, places, and objects together to work with each other automatically. They are also working on different types of standardized hardware to encourage the widespread adoption of IoT, such as robots, personal communications devices, and sensors for Big Data analysis. By building an operating system that connects everything, MEGVII is taking us into the era of AI+Iot (AIoT), and with $607 million of investment, they sure have the funds to get us there.

6. 9F Group

With over 68 million registered users already, 9F Group are steaming ahead in the financial sector offering AI financial services with a plethora of Big Data risk management and mobile application technologies to support their platform. Having received over $581 million in investment, 9F Group have already released wallets, security technology, education programs, and cash alternatives to use within their ecosystem. They also have an investment fund where they have already invested in 10 tech companies to explore the use of their technologies within 9F’s systems. They are supported by some pretty prevalent organizations, such as The People’s Bank of China and The China Banking Regulatory Commission.

7. Dataminr

Founded in2009, Dataminr has a revolutionary platform that identifies breaking news and high impact events faster than any other system today. With clients in over 70 countries worldwide, their technologies are used as a 24/7 vital tool for (mostly corporate) customers in sectors such as news, crisis management, finance, and corporate security. With such as diverse application potential and $577 million of invested capital in their remit, Dataminr is already being hailed as one of the world’s leaders in machine learning technology and AI, having been named one of the world’s 50 most disruptive private technologies by CNBC in 2016.

8. Zymergen

Zymergen is a revolution in biological science, manipulating and developing microbes via AI technology for huge companies around the world. With their finger in many pies already, Zymergen work with the chemicals, materials, electronics, cosmetics, agriculture, and pharmaceutical industries, among others. By engineering microbes in such a way, they’re redefining the potential of biology to solve problems and build better products. Headquartered in NYC, Zymergen was founded in 2013 and has received over $574 million in funding so far.

9. CloudWalk Technology

Operating out of Beijing, China, Cloudwalk Technologies are developing AI-assisted facial recognition technology. They focus on the aviation, financial, and public security markets, providing both hardware and software. Some of their most successful devices include door entry scanners, infrared facial scanning binoculars, and facial recognition terminals. To complement its tech, Cloudwalk Technologies has big-data management platforms to support its devices in analysing the data collected and providing actionable solutions, such as pairing airline passengers with their tickets. They have had $565.5 million of investment so far, which has led them to branch out rapidly into the niches they are trying to serve.

10. Yitu Technology

Yitu Technology are predominantly a research and development company for AI. They work closely with businesses to provide tailored solutions to apply within each company’s operations to automate processes and enhance them through machine learning. With one of the most technically brilliant R&D teams on the planet, Yitu Technology are working on AI that supports the transportation, finance, security and healthcare industries, pointedly focused toward natural language understanding, computer vision, AI hardware and robots, and knowledge reasoning. With #355.1 million in capital investment, they are focusing their efforts on exploring human wisdom and how it can be patterned and replicated to expand both computer and human capabilities into the next generation.

11. Tempus

Tempus is battling cancer through their artificial intelligence platform. The cutting-edge technology company is designing breakthrough ways to work with genome data in order to utilize the data within clinical settings to better manage cancer treatment. By utilizing patterns in data from patient to patient, evry cancer victim will be able to take advantage of every lesson learned from patients who came before them. With such advanced genome data management, doctors will be able to provide far better personalized treatment for each patient based on machine learning and interactive analytics. With $320 million at their disposal, they’re hoping to scale their technology up to become a global phenomenon very quickly.

12. Graphcore

Graphcore have received $310 million in invested capital to help bolster their hardware systems business. Graphcore are designing and engineering an IPU-Accelerator card and IPU-Appliance products, having already developed a brand new IPU with a revolutionary architecture to work specifically with AI. The devised architecture of their IPU will allow developers to work with machine learning models faster than any other IPU to date, allowing them to branch into AI concepts that are not currently available in the machine intelligence industry.

13. Moviebook Co.

Founded in 2009, Moviebook is one of the world’s leading visual technology businesses. Moviebook is the biggest intelligent imaging manufacturer in China, having clinched over $312 million in funding. With a focus on providing AI+ to the entertainment industry, Moviebook is also developing commercial technologies for AI video and image recognition. Their company works on Big Data, video structure, computer vision, and deep learning to provide video recognition technology to outstrip anything currently on the market. They are hoping that implementation within businesses can push ideas beyond what is currently conceived.

14. Rubicon Global

Focusing on waste management solutions, Rubicon Global has developed a marketplace with a comprehensive selection of SaaS tools for the waste and recycling sectors. The enterprise tools help to collect and analyze data using AI, while also providing smart city solutions to help tackle the existing problems of over consumption and poor waste management. The technology is aimed at both the private and public sectors, and with $296.1 million of invested capital at their disposal, they are focusing on broad-scale adoption - they already have 1.5 million service locations worldwide. In 2018, they won a place in Glassdoor’s ‘Top Ten Companies with Seriously Impressive Benefits’.

15. Mobvoi

Also known as Chumenwenwen, Mobvoi is taking the world by storm with their dynamic AI language technologies. Using the $252.7 million of invested they have secured, they are developing the enterprise capabilities for Chinese language recognition, vertical mobile searches, and natural language processing. Their technology has already been implemented in a number of applications, such as their Smartwatch Operating System which has speech Chinese speech recognition on various platforms, such a iOS, Google Glass, and Wechat.

16. Insidesales-com

Introducing AI to the sales sector, Insidesales-com are designing a range of powerful tools to help accelerate sales processes and increase sales conversions. Playbook is a tool that helps sales reps to convert sales faster, while PowerDialer is a communications tool for more streamlined call center operations. Predictive Pipeline is a powerful forecasting tools that collects all data and works with predictive analysis to help provide acceleration solutions for sales pipeline. This works well with their lead prioritization software, Neuralytics. With $251.2 million invested in their company, Insidesales-com now has office in the UK and the US, and is providing tailored, customizable solutions to enterprises.

17. Terminus Technologies

Terminus Technologies is aiming to be a one-stop shop for AI solutions that build smart infrastructure. Working with private companies and governments around the world, Terminus Technologies is already prevalent in 70 cities. Leveraging AIoT, they are looking to implement their systems into public security, building energy management, urban design, and so on. Their solutions will allow clients real time monitoring and data analysis of cities in order to find actionable solutions. Their technologies include device perception, vehicle perception, fire perception, facial recognition, and much more, with the purpose of connecting all elements of a city into a large smart ecosystem.

18. Darktrace

Cybersecurity focused, Darktrace uses machine learning technology to identify previously unknown threats and combat them. With $230 million in funding, Darktrace are already rolling out their AI software on a large scale, having already identified 63,500 unknown threats across 5000 networks. Threats are identified in real time and the software learns to incorporate any information it receives to better search for threats in the future. Darktrace already have an outstanding reputation having been named ‘Bloomberg Innovator’ and having won the ‘GSN Homeland Security’ award.

19. C3

Having secured $228.5 million in funding, C3 is aiming to be the backbone of AI acceleration, offering a proven set of capabilities to speed up technological applications of the next generation. C3’s tools will allow developers and users to design and operate predictive analytics, IoT apps, and broad-scale AI at much faster rates than previously conceived - up to 100x faster, in fact. Aside from the development of this acceleration layer, C3 also build their own AI tools and softwares. Their AI Suite for enterprises also provides a range of AI softwares that help to optimize supply chains, manage energy systems, combat against money laundering and fraud, and provide predictive maintenance advice.

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20. DataRobot

DataRobot have managed to acquire over $224 million toward their project, which offers a platform for data scientists to create predictive models faster than the tools they have today. Thanks to its machine learning capabilities, the platform can change the economics and speed of predictive analytics, helping to deal with the shortage of human power. The platform searches through thousands of models to piece together algorithms, features, tuning parameters (and so on) to help better develop predictive models for datasets for more accurate results. By speeding up this process, data can be managed in a much more fluid manner, with this software becoming applicable across all industry sectors.

21. Uptake Technologies

Headquartered in Chicago, Uptake Technologies have been funded $218 million to develop their predictive analytics platform. Aimed across all industry sectors, Uptake Technologies have been particularly focusing on transport, manufacturing, construction, and healthcare. The platform enables users to analyze large datasets in order to predict ways in which companies can increase profit margins, to uncover untapped profit margins, and to prevent failures in the systems. Their platform combines a range of capabilities such as equipment monitoring, troubleshooting, operations optimization, workflow management, and risk assessment.

22. Pony.ai

Pony.ai is building both software for autonomous vehicles and the cars themselves, using AI to create safety and reliability in their technologies. Their vision to scale globally has been considerably helped by the $214 million invested into the concept. Aside from high quality and enhanced safety, Pony.ai are attempting to design the most stylish vehicles, with an emphasis on craftsmanship. With offices in the US and China, Pony.ai are dedicated to developing their growing staff, with a big focus on mentorship and collaboration.

23. Wave Computing

Named Frost & Sullivan’s ‘Machine Learning Industry Technology Innovation Leader’ in 2018, Wave Computing are aiming to make AI more accessible for everyone, allowing companies to better analyze their customers’ data. With over $203 million in capital funding in their hands, Wave Computing’s software is looking to speed up the dataflow process, making insights far more readily available and far more approachable to the average user. Wave Computing already has over 400 patents either granted or pending.

24. Cambricon Technologies

iCarbonX is like a personalized health roadmap that helps users to look back at their personal health history to look for risks and indicators of what is to come. The platform combines the user’s life data (such as exercise, food consumption, sleep patterns) with genomics, metabolism, and other markers to define a specific and continuous roadmap to help user manage their health and potential risk factors. Founded by Founded by Jun Wang, former CEO of Beijing Genomic Institute, iCarbonX has raised over $200 million in investment. The company has already released its digital health platform, Meum, which is up and running and being used by thousands of customers.

25. Superdesk

Cambrian Technologies makes smart chips. Founded by Chen Tianshi, renowned for his work in processor architecture and AI, the company is in the process of designing and engineering core process chips that go into robots, smart terminals, and cloud servers. The first of its kind, Cambria Technologies has broken records by becoming the first smart chip company in the world to have successful mature products on the market. In fact, they have developed the first commercial deep learning processor, which can be implemented into wearables, drones, smart cars, and smartphones - this was released back in 2016. With $200 million of funding, Cambrian Technologies has already showcased what it can do and isn’t slowing down.


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