AI startups valued at $1B+ nearly doubled in 2018. From banking fraud prevention to handheld ultrasounds to recruiting software, here's the newest crop of AI unicorns.
The AI unicorn club is getting crowded.
A total of 17 AI startups reached $1B+ valuations in 2018, up from 9 the previous year.
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We define AI companies as those that use machine learning as a core differentiator, sell AI software, or build AI chips.
A few companies on the list, like Face++ and SenseTime, are selling AI software-as-a-service (SaaS). Both companies offer facial recognition technology to clients in government, retail, and other sectors.
Others use ML in innovative ways to develop their core product.
For example, Indigo Agriculture initially started off as a developer of microbial seed treatments for corn, cotton, rice, soybeans, and wheat, using a machine learning platform “to predict which microbes are most beneficial to the plant’s health.” It has since diversified its services, positioning itself as a one-stop shop for growers, from providing Indigo-treated seeds to final sales and delivery through a marketplace that connects growers with buyers.
Butterfly Network has built a portable, hand-held ultrasound machine for less than $2K. Computer vision will be integrated within the hardware to help to interpret the images.
Avant, one of the earliest to reach a $1B valuation in 2015, is primarily a personal lending startup. In addition to traditional metrics such as credit history, Avant uses ML to generate its own score to better serve “subprime” customers with little credit history.
Below, we take a look at all of the AI startups in the unicorn club.
The chart below includes startups offering AI SaaS, building chips for AI applications, or using machine learning in innovative ways to build their core products. It excludes hardware-focused robotics startups and AR/VR companies.
Please click to enlarge.
The table below highlights the main areas of focus for the companies on the list.
|Company||Current valuation ($B)||Core focus areas||Country|
|4Paradigm||$1.2||Anti-fraud for insurance & banking||China|
|Afiniti||$1.6||Behavior analytics||United States|
|Automation Anywhere||$2.6||Robotic process automation||United States|
|Avant||$1.9||Credit scores for personal lending||United States|
|BenevolentAI||$2.1||Drug R&D||United Kingdom|
|Butterfly Network||$1.3||Portable ultrasound||United States|
|Bytedance||$75.0||Personalized news curation||China|
|C3||$1.4||IIoT platform||United States|
|Cloudwalk||$3.3||Facial recognition tech||China|
|Dataminr||$1.6||Business intelligence||United States|
|Face++||$1.0||Facial recognition tech||China|
|Graphcore||$1.7||AI processors||United Kingdom|
|Indigo Agriculture||$3.5||Microbial seed treatments||United States|
|InsideSales.com||$1.7||Platform for sales teams||United States|
|Momenta||$1.0||AV perception software||China|
|OrCam Technologies||$1.0||Advanced wearables for visually impaired||Israel|
|Pony.ai||$1.0||Autonomous vehicles||United States|
|Preferred Networks||$2.0||Deep learning for manufacturing, medical imaging & diagnostics, and auto tech||Japan|
|SenseTime||$4.5||Facial recognition tech||China|
|SoundHound||$1.0||Voice-enabled AI assistants||United States|
|Tempus Labs||$2.0||Drug R&D||United States|
|UiPath||$3.0||Robotic process automation||United States|
|Unisound||$1.0||Voice technology and AI chip for NLP applications||China|
|Uptake Technologies||$2.3||IIoT platform||United States|
|YITU Technology||$2.4||Facial recognition tech and medical imaging & diagnostics||China|
|ZipRecruiter||$1.0||Recruitment platform||United States|
|Zoox||$3.2||Autonomous vehicles||United States|