The most promising 100 AI startups working across the artificial intelligence value chain, from hardware and data infrastructure to industrial applications.
CB Insights’ third annual cohort of AI 100 startups is a list of 100 of the most promising private companies providing hardware and data infrastructure for AI applications, optimizing machine learning workflows, and applying AI across a variety of major industries.
Our research team selected the 100 startups from a pool of 3K+ companies based on several factors, including patent activity, investor profile, news sentiment analysis, proprietary Mosaic scores, market potential, partnerships, competitive landscape, team strength, and tech novelty.
Startups are categorized by their main focus areas. Categories in the market map below are not mutually exclusive.
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Table of contents
- 100 startups in different stages of R&D
- Most well-funded companies
- US patent activity
- Startups outside the United States
- Most active investors
- Table of 100 startups by industry and focus area
- Previous winners (2018, 2017)
100 startups in different stages of R&D
The AI 100 companies are disrupting 12 core sectors, including healthcare, telecommunications, semiconductors, government, retail, and finance, as well as the broader enterprise tech stack.
From emerging startups to established unicorns, the cohort is a mix of startups in different stages of funding and product commercialization.
For example, Prowler.io is a Series A company in the UK that’s focused on scaling practical applications of reinforcement learning. The team has published around 38 papers accepted for presentations at conferences including NeurIPS and the International Conference on Learning Representations.
Palo Alto-based One Concern raised a $33M equity round last year from New Enterprise Associates. Its AI platform helps governments plan for and predict the impact of natural disasters like earthquakes and floods.
Others, like SenseTime and Graphcore, are valued at over $1B.
A total of 11 companies on the list are unicorns (private companies valued at $1B+).
|Company||Sector||Focus Area||Country||Max Valuation ($M)|
|UiPath||Enterprise Tech||Other: RPA||United States||$3,000|
|Automation Anywhere||Enterprise Tech||Other: RPA||United States||$2,600|
|Graphcore||Semiconductor||Data Centers||United Kingdom||$1,700|
|Butterfly Network||Healthcare||Imaging & Diagnostics||United States||$1,250|
|4Paradigm||Finance & Insurance||Anti-Fraud||China||$1,200|
|Pony.ai||Auto||Autonomous Vehicles||United States||$1,000|
Most well-funded companies
The top 2 most well-funded companies — SenseTime and Face++ — are both from China and focused on facial recognition tech, with government investors and clients.
The third is California-based Zymergen, which uses ML for material discovery. One of its focus areas is finding alternatives to plastics and petroleum-based products.
US patent activity
Patent applications are one measure of a company’s R&D focus. A total of 62 of the 100 startups have applied to patent their tech in the US, accounting for over 600 patent applications. (Note: this excludes patent applications in international markets by US and non-US startups.)
Hover, for example, allows users to take pictures of their home using a smartphone camera, and uses image processing techniques to stitch together a 3D model of the home. In one recent patent filing on “directed image capture,” machine learning algorithms are used to assess the quality of captured images based on various features.
Butterfly Network has built a portable, hand-held ultrasound for less than $2K. Computer vision will be integrated within the hardware to help to interpret the images. The image below is from a patent filing for “portable electronic devices with integrated image processing capabilities.”
Cerebras, which has revealed few details about its AI processor, filed 3 patents in 2018 that highlight its R&D on semiconductor fabrication and accelerating deep learning. The image below highlights “neural network training and inference using a deep learning accelerator.”
|Company||Sector||Number of patent applications (as of 1/28/18)|
|Shape Security||Enterprise Tech||100|
|BioCatch||Finance & Insurance||55|
Startups outside the United States
23 startups on the list are headquartered outside the US, including 6 each from China, Israel, and the United Kingdom.
Most active investors
Over 680 unique investors have funded this year’s cohort, including corporations, CVCs, VC firms, and angel investors.
|Investor||Number of deals||Most recent portfolio companies backed|
|Google Ventures||27||Machinify, mabl, Benson Hill Biosystems, Viz.ai, Tamr|
|Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers||22||AEye, Shape Security, Area 1 Security, Viz.ai, Jask Labs|
|Data Collective||21||Zymergen, Area 1 Security, Mythic, Fortem Technologies, Atomwise|
|New Enterprise Associates||19||Data Robot, One Concern, Tamr, Automation Anywhere, DataVisor|
|Accel||16||Demisto, UiPath, DeepMap, Vectra Networks, Trifacta|
|Norwest Venture Partners||15||Shape Security, Agari Data, Qventus, Mist Systems, Dremio|
|Battery Ventures||15||HyperScience, Dataiku, Habana Labs, Machinify, Jask Labs|
|Intel Capital||14||Habana Labs, AEye, DataRobot, Syntiant, Gamalon|
|IA Ventures||13||DataRobot, Signifyd, Vectra Networks|
|AME Cloud Ventures||13||Mythic, Vectra Networks, Zymergen, Arterys, Atomwise|
Table of 100 startups by industry and focus area
|Benson Hill Biosystems||Agriculture||Agricultural Biotech||United States|
|Iris Automation||Auto||Perception||United States|
|Perceptive Automata||Auto||Perception||United States|
|AI.Reverie||Enterprise Tech||Training Data||United States|
|DefinedCrowd||Enterprise Tech||Training Data||United States|
|Mighty AI||Enterprise Tech||Training Data||United States|
|Dataiku||Enterprise Tech||Data Management||United States|
|Machinify||Enterprise Tech||Data Management||United States|
|DataRobot||Enterprise Tech||Data Management||United States|
|Tamr||Enterprise Tech||Data Management||United States|
|H2O.ai||Enterprise Tech||Data Management||United States|
|Trifacta||Enterprise Tech||Data Management||United States|
|Dremio||Enterprise Tech||Data Management||United States|
|SigOpt||Enterprise Tech||Data Management||United States|
|mabl||Enterprise Tech||Software Development||United States|
|Applitools||Enterprise Tech||Software Development||United States|
|Demisto||Enterprise Tech||Cybersecurity||United States|
|Shape Security||Enterprise Tech||Cybersecurity||United States|
|Vectra Networks||Enterprise Tech||Cybersecurity||United States|
|Area 1 Security||Enterprise Tech||Cybersecurity||United States|
|Agari Data||Enterprise Tech||Cybersecurity||United States|
|Jask Labs||Enterprise Tech||Cybersecurity||United States|
|PerimeterX||Enterprise Tech||Cybersecurity||United States|
|BounceX||Enterprise Tech||Ads, Sales, & Marketing||United States|
|Unbabel||Enterprise Tech||Ads, Sales, & Marketing||United States|
|Gong||Enterprise Tech||Ads, Sales, & Marketing||United States|
|Gamalon||Enterprise Tech||Ads, Sales, & Marketing||United States|
|FullStory||Enterprise Tech||Ads, Sales, & Marketing||United States|
|UiPath||Enterprise Tech||Other: RPA||United States|
|Automation Anywhere||Enterprise Tech||Other: RPA||United States|
|Orbital Insight||Enterprise Tech||Other: Alternative Data||United States|
|Descartes Labs||Enterprise Tech||Other: Alternative Data||United States|
|Element AI||Enterprise Tech||Other||Canada|
|SparkCognition||Enterprise Tech||Other||United States|
|Prowler.io||Enterprise Tech||Other: RL Platform||United Kingdom|
|4Paradigm||Finance & Insurance||Anti-Fraud||China|
|BioCatch||Finance & Insurance||Anti-Fraud||Israel|
|DataVisor||Finance & Insurance||Anti-Fraud||United States|
|HyperScience||Finance & Insurance||Back Office Automation||United States|
|Behavox||Finance & Insurance||Behavioral Analytics||United Kingdom|
|AppZen||Finance & Insurance||Auditing||United States|
|One Concern||Government||Disaster Management||United States|
|Fortem Technologies||Government||Security||United States|
|Shield AI||Government||Security||United States|
|Insitro||Healthcare||Drug R&D||United States|
|OWKIN||Healthcare||Drug R&D||United States|
|Atomwise||Healthcare||Drug R&D||United States|
|PAIGE.AI||Healthcare||Imaging & Diagnostics||United States|
|Niramai||Healthcare||Imaging & Diagnostics||India|
|Butterfly Network||Healthcare||Imaging & Diagnostics||United States|
|IDx Technologies||Healthcare||Imaging & Diagnostics||United States|
|Arterys||Healthcare||Imaging & Diagnostics||United States|
|Viz.ai||Healthcare||Imaging & Diagnostics||United States|
|Mindstrong Health||Healthcare||Mental Health||United States|
|Gauss Surgical||Healthcare||Operating Room||United States|
|Medopad||Healthcare||Remote Monitoring||United Kingdom|
|Sense Labs||Industrials||Energy Disaggregation||United States|
|Kebotix||Industrials||Material Discovery||United States|
|Zymergen||Industrials||Material Discovery||United States|
|Landing AI||Industrials||Quality Inspection||United States|
|LawGeex||Legal, Compliance, & HR||Contract Review||Israel|
|Eigen Technologies||Legal, Compliance, & HR||Contract Review||United Kingdom|
|Onfido||Legal, Compliance, & HR||Onboarding & Compliance||United Kingdom|
|Textio||Legal, Compliance, & HR||Augmented Writing||United States|
|AI Foundation||Media||Fake News Detection||United States|
|New Knowledge||Media||Fake News Detection||United States|
|Arraiy||Media||Motion Pictures||United States|
|Hover||Real estate||3D Modeling||United States|
|Skyline AI||Real estate||Asset Management||United States|
|AiFi||Retail||Checkout-Free Store Tech||United States|
|Habana Labs||Semiconductor||Data Centers||Israel|
|Graphcore||Semiconductor||Data Centers||United Kingdom|
|Cerebras Systems||Semiconductor||Data Centers||United States|
|Horizon Robotics||Semiconductor||Edge Devices||China|
|Thinci||Semiconductor||Edge Devices||United States|
|Syntiant||Semiconductor||Edge Devices||United States|
|Mythic||Semiconductor||Edge Devices||United States|
|Mist Systems||Telecom||WLAN||United States|