Data Collective is the most active VC investor in artificial intelligence startups and has backed more than 20 companies since 2012.

From stopping cyberattacks to operating autonomous vehicles to visually searching through a wine database, 140+ startups using AI as a core part of their products raised $1.05B in funding in Q3’16. Since 2012, deals and dollars to AI startups have been on a rise, and this year is extending that trend.

Our AI category includes companies applying AI solutions to verticals like healthcare, security, advertising, and finance as well as those developing general-purpose AI tech. Our list excludes robotics (hardware-focused) and AR/VR startups, which we’ve analyzed separately here and here. Our analysis includes all equity funding rounds and convertible notes.

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2016 deals set new record

Deals have already reached a 5-year high this year, as of 12/20/2016. The top round went to Israel-based ride-hailing app Gett, which uses AI algorithms to assist in on-demand car deployment and the operation of autonomous cars. Volkswagen backed the company in a $300M corporate minority round, with the end goal of extending Gett’s predictive algorithms to on-demand autonomous cars.

“…Gett’s technology leverages big data, cutting-edge predictive algorithms, and artificial intelligence. It therefore serves as the foundation for a viable on-demand autonomous car operation,” Volkswagen said in a press release.

2016 also saw the emergence of 2 new AI-focused unicorns: China-based healthcare AI startup iCarbonX and California-based AI cybersecurity startup Cylance.


Q3’16 sees 3 mega-rounds

Q3’16 saw 155 deals across 22 countries. The deals tally made it the second most active quarter for investments after Q1’16, and on-par with Q2’16.

Last quarter also saw 3 mega-rounds: The top round in Q3’16 went to Texas-based StackPath, an AI-based security-as-a-service company. It raised $180M in a Series A mega-round. In addition, Stem, which develops a software platform for energy saving, and Indigo Agriculture, which uses machine learning to boost crop health, raised $100M each.


Deals outside the US

Last quarter, 59% of the deals went to US startups; the rest went to countries including India, the UK, Germany, Israel, and France.

The top rounds outside the United States include a $65M Series C round raised by UK-based Darktrace and a $45M in Series A to unicorn company iCarbonX (mentioned above) in Q3’16.

Most active VC investors

Data Collective is the most active VC investor, having backed over 20 unique AI companies since 2012, including Freenome, Atomwise, and Descartes Labs. Khosla Ventures ranked second and has backed more than 15 companies since 2012, including MetaMind (now acquired by Salesforce), Scaled Inference, Cylance, and Ayasdi.

Slack Fund, which backed Howdy in 2015, joined the top investors list when it funded several bot startups and development platforms in Q3’16, including Butter, Growbot, and Myra Labs.

Most Active VC Investors
2012-2016 YTD (as of 12/20/2016)
Rank Investor
1 Data Collective
2 Khosla Ventures
3 Intel Capital
4 New Enterprise Associates
4 Google Ventures
6 Andreessen Horowitz
7 Accel Partners
8 Plug and Play Ventures
8 Slack Fund
8 Horizons Ventures
8 General Catalyst Partners
8 Norwest Venture Partners
13 FundersClub
13 Bloomberg Beta
13 First Round Capital
16 Samsung Ventures
16 GE Ventures
16 500 Startups
16 Founders Fund
16 Bessemer Venture Partners

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