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Profiling the world’s top AI start-ups, from AEye to Unbabel

Pioneers in everything from medtech to autonomous driving were chosen by CB Insights as the top AI start-ups in terms of funding and market reach for its AI 100 list

Companies specialising in facial recognition, cyber security and healthcare are among the world’s top AI start-ups highlighted for 2019.

Technology analyst CB Insights selected the top 100 AI start-ups from a pool of 3,000 global companies based on a number of criteria, including patent activity, investor profile and market potential.

Collectively, the businesses have raised $9.4bn (£7.3bn) across 375 funding deals, while ten of the 100 have reached unicorn status – which describes a company valued at more than $1bn (£0.78bn).

In total, eight different countries are represented in the AI 100 list, with all but 23 headquartered in the US.

Artificial intelligence is one of President Donald Trump’s core economic aims and he recently signed an executive order that prioritised the growth of its AI technologies in order to stave off competition from China.

China is currently investing more than the US in the tech and pledged $150bn (£116bn) to invest in the domestic AI industry in 2017.

This is reflected in CB Insights’ research, which reveals the top two most well-funded companies come from China – SenseTime and Face++ – which received $1.63bn (£1.26bn) and $608m (£471.85m) respectively.

 

Top AI start-ups: AEye

top AI start-ups
AEye’s Advisory Board – from left to right: Tim Shiple, Luke Schneider, Willie Gault, Adrian Kaehler, Admiral David Bill, Scott Pfotenhauer, David Gardner, Greg Hitchan, James Doty, and Elliot Garbus (Credit: AEye)

San Francisco start-up AEye is developing advanced vision hardware, software and algorithms to be used in autonomous vehicles.

AEye CEO Luis Dussan decided to transfer his knowledge of surveillance, reconnaissance and defence systems for fighter jets to the autonomous vehicle space.

Both technologies require vehicles to see, classify and respond to other objects and has led to the development of iDAR – which the company claims is the “world’s first solid state, leading-edge artificial perception platform for autonomous vehicles”.

 

Top AI start-ups: Medopad

Medopad has the bold mission statement of “creating a world where people can live longer”.

It offers doctors a technology-based service that monitors patients’ symptoms, medication and test results.

The AI works across a wide variety of chronic diseases and can help personalise healthcare for individuals.

The London-based start-up has so far raised $31m (£24m) in funding and hopes to use it to expand its services to one billion patients.

 

Top AI start-ups: Unbabel

Unbabel uses AI to improve language translations and is capable of helping customers communicate fluently in 28 languages.

The company translates text by combining bespoke neural machine translation (NMT) and a global network comprising tens of thousands of human “Unbabelers” who post-edit the automatic translations to ensure professional quality.

Clients of Unbabel include Microsoft, Facebook, Expedia, Booking.com, easyJet, Pinterest and Skyscanner.

Speaking to Compelo, CEO Vasco Pedro said: “At the moment, our goal is to get to the point where we have translated 25% of the entire world’s customer service communication.”

 

Top AI start-ups: Sense

top Ai start-ups
The Sense home energy monitor (Credit: Sense)

US-based company Sense was inspired by founder and CEO Mike Phillips’ commitment to improving energy efficiency in homes.

Sense uses machine learning technology to monitor energy usage in people’s homes and to give users real-time insights into the efficiency of appliances and electricity usage.

Mr Phillips said: “By applying AI to residential energy, Sense gives homeowners a lens into the hidden energy activity of their homes.

“We estimate that most homes can reduce their energy consumption by 30% or more using Sense’s insights.

“In the US alone, this reduction could create annual savings of $53bn (£41.05bn) for consumers and avoid 293 million metric tonnes of CO2 emissions into the environment.”

 

Top AI start-ups: BounceX

BounceX is using AI to provide clients with more sophisticated information on their website traffic.

Working with clothing companies such as Hugo Boss, Quicksilver and Uniqlo, BounceX is able to tailor results from their e-commerce sites to different visitor segments.

The AI start-up claims it is able to identify 40% of anonymous traffic and has so far received $79m (£61.27m) in funding.

 

Top AI start-ups: DataVisor

Yinglian Xie CEO of DataVisor (Credit: DataVisor)

DataVisor uses AI to identify patterns of fraud online, meaning it can adapt to detect new methods of attacks earlier.

The company claims to improve detection results by 30% to 50% compared to existing systems.

To date, the business has raised $55m (£42.65m).

  

Top AI start-ups: Graphcore

Graphcore is looking at ways to improve the speed of AI processing and develop technologies for the next generation of AI enterprises and innovators.

To that end, the company has invented the Intelligence Processing Unit (IPU), which can lower the cost of accelerating AI applications, while improving performance and efficiency anywhere between ten and 100-times over.

At the end of last year, Graphcore received $200m (£155m), which included capital from BMW and Microsoft.

The recent funding round brought the AI start-up’s valuation up to $1.7bn (£1.32bn).

 

Top AI start-ups: Drive.ai

top AI start-ups
Drive.ai’s fleet of autonomous cars (Credit: Drive.ai)

The US-based autonomous vehicle start-up is developing the latest AI systems to create driverless cars.

Drive.ai began trialling its technology in the city of Frisco, Texas, in 2018 and uses an app similar to Uber’s to call for a ride.

The company has raised $77m (£60m) in funding and aims to launch another self-driving service in Arlington, Texas.

 

Top AI start-ups: DataRobot

DataRobot is a machine learning platform for data scientists to speed up their work and simplify processes.

The company’s machine learning tech also has applications for businesses, which can use it to power their predictive analytics.

The start-up has received $225m (£174.5m) in funding.