Nearly half of the AI companies acquired since 2011 have had VC backing.

Nearly 140 private companies working to advance artificial intelligence technologies have been acquired since 2011, with over 40 acquisitions taking place in 2016 alone. Corporate giants like Google, IBM, Yahoo, Intel, Apple and Salesforce, are competing in the race to acquire private AI companies, with Samsung emerging as a new entrant in October with its acquisition of startup Viv Labs, which is developing a Siri-like AI assistant, and GE making 2 AI acquisitions in November.

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Google has been the most prominent global player, with 11 acquisitions in the category under its belt (follow all of Google’s M&A activity here through our real-time Google acquisitions tracker).

In 2013, the corporate giant picked up deep learning and neural network startup DNNresearch from the computer science department at the University of Toronto. This acquisition reportedly helped Google make major upgrades to its image search feature. In 2014 Google acquired British company DeepMind Technologies for some $600M (Google DeepMind’s program recently beat a human world champion in the board game “Go”). This year, it acquired visual search startup Moodstock, and bot platform Api.ai.

Intel and Apple are tied for second place. The former acquired 3 startups this year alone: Itseez, Nervana Systems, and Movidius, while Apple acquired Turi and Tuplejump recently.

Twitter is the next most-active acquirer, with 4 major acquisitions, the most recent being image-processing startup Magic Pony.

Salesforce, which joined the race last year with the acquisition of Tempo AI, has already made two major acquisitions this year: Khosla Ventures-backed MetaMind and open-source machine-learning server PredictionIO. GE made 2 acquisitions in November 2016: AI-IoT startup Bit Stew Systems, and CRM-focused Wise.io.

We updated this timeline in November to include acquirers that have made at least 2 acquisitions since 2011.

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Major Acquirers In Artificial Intelligence Since 2011
Company Date of Acquisition Acquirer
Hunch 11/21/2011 eBay
Cleversense 12/14/2011 Google
Face.com 5/29/2012 Facebook
DNNresearch 3/13/2013 Google
Netbreeze 3/20/2013 Microsoft
Causata 8/7/2013 NICE
Indisys 8/25/2013 Yahoo
IQ Engines 9/13/2013 Intel
LookFlow 10/23/2013 Yahoo
SkyPhrase 12/2/2013 Yahoo
Gravity 1/23/2014 AOL
DeepMind 1/27/2014 Google
Convertro 5/6/2014 AOL
Cogenea 5/20/2014 IBM
Desti 5/30/2014 Nokia
Medio Systems 6/12/2014 Nokia
Madbits 7/30/2014 Twitter
Emu 8/6/2014 Google
Jetpac 8/16/2014 Google
Dark Blue Labs 10/23/2014 Google DeepMind
Vision Factory 10/23/2014 Google DeepMind
Wit.ai 1/5/2015 Facebook
Equivio 1/20/2015 Microsoft
Granata Decision Systems 1/23/2015 Google
AlchemyAPI 3/4/2015 IBM
Explorys 4/13/2015 IBM
TellApart 4/28/2015 Twitter
Timeful 5/4/2015 Google
Tempo AI 5/29/2015 Salesforce
Sociocast 6/9/2015 AOL
Whetlab 6/17/2015 Twitter
Orbeus 10/1/2015 Amazon
Vocal IQ 10/2/2015 Apple
Perceptio 10/6/2015 Apple
Saffron 10/26/2015 Intel
Emotient 1/7/2016 Apple
Nexidia 1/11/2016 NICE
PredictionIO 2/19/2016 Salesforce
MetaMind 4/4/2016 Salesforce
Crosswise 4/14/2016 Oracle
Expertmaker 5/5/2016 eBay
Itseez 5/27/2016 Intel
Magic Pony 6/20/2016 Twitter
Moodstocks 7/6/2016 Google
SalesPredict 7/11/2016 eBay
Turi 8/5/2016 Apple
Nervana Systems 8/9/2016 Intel
Genee 8/22/2016 Microsoft
Movidius 9/6/2016 Intel
Palerra 9/19/2016 Oracle
Api.ai 9/19/2016 Google
Angel.ai 9/20/2016 Amazon
tuplejump 9/22/2016 Apple
Bit Stew Systems 11/15/2016 GE
Wise.io 11/15/2016 GE

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  • http://www.mrpeasy.com Mrpeasy.com Mfg Software

    It is good to read – AI is the future of IT.

  • Huzaifa Ali

    The Noe-liberalism is taking over be careful citizen of the earth.

  • Jordan

    AI will be everywhere

  • Ezrad Lionel

    Except no one on the planet has made AI yet, nor is it, or ever has been a foregone conclusion that AI is even possible.

  • Jared Grabill

    AI has been around for years. Now *sentient* AI is a completely different matter.