Thursday, June 14, 2018

"The Top-10 Russian Artificial Intelligence Startups"

From Nanalyze:
There are some frequent stereotypes you’ll hear about Russian men, mainly that they’re all a bunch of alcoholic football  soccer fans who die early because of their love for vodka, leaving behind some of the most beautiful women on the planet who outlive them by ten years on average. While the stereotypes have some serious merit, Russia isn’t just about hard drinking, chasing skirts, and hooliganism. All that vodka fuels some of the world’s brightest minds, like Russia’s fearless leader, Vladimir Putin, who believes that artificial intelligence will be the key to global supremacy. So, what about Russian artificial intelligence technology?

Artificial Intelligence in Russia
As China and the US are fighting for AI supremacy and the EU is scrambling to catch up, Russia’s growing its footprint in AI with a seemingly low-key approach. Hearing less about Russian AI companies doesn’t mean they don’t exist though. The Russian government’s investments into AI have been dwarfed by the billions of dollars China and the US have been spending but this may change with a growing number of public-private partnerships and the involvement of the Russian Ministry of Defense in AI projects. Russia also has a strong venture capital infrastructure in place that has helped grow her “AI industry” up to this point.
Science Guide, a Russian community dedicated to the development of applied science, has released a report on the Sttate of AI in Russia in 2017 which lists 150 Russian artificial intelligence companies. According to the report, most AI startups are working on machine vision (33%) followed by decision making algorithms (17%) and image/video recognition (14%). Russia seems to get much less coverage on the global stage, so we decided to analyze and cross-check the above-mentioned Science Guide report with Crunchbase to search the Russian AI ecosystem for the most funded startups in Russia. Here’s what we came up with....

... The Russians are Watching
Founded in 2012, Moscow startup Visionlabs has raised $5.5 million to develop computer vision solutions for facial recognition, object recognition, and augmented and virtual reality applications. The team created an open source platform partnering with Facebook and Google in 2016 to help startups launch projects in the field of computer vision worldwide. The collaboration was followed by a Series A funding coming from the venture capital arm of a Russian conglomerate. Since then, Visionlabs has partnered with major banks and corporates to provide their Luna biometric identification platform as a service, incorporating it into customer identification processes. By the end of last year, Sberbank, a leading Russian bank, acquired a 25% stake in Visionlabs to jointly work on building a face, voice, and retina ID platform for its clients. The company is also working with Siberia Airlines to provide personalized services to its business class travelers based on facial recognition.

Autonomous Forklifts
We first came across RoboCV in our article on “9 Industrial Robots for Your Warehouse”. Founded in 2012, this Moscow startup has raised $3.7 million to develop autonomous vehicle technology for use in logistics and warehousing. Their X-MOTION NG technology is aimed at warehouses and fast-moving consumer goods distribution centers and can be implemented without any major overhaul of existing processes....

We've previously looked at the military aspects of Russian developments:

April 25
Machine Learning Guru Pedro Domingos on the Arms Race in Artificial Intelligence
Jan. 30
"Russia and China could use AI to TAKE OVER world warns former Google CEO" 
Jan. 1
Military AI: China, Russia and the U.S. are Running Neck-and-Neck in an Arms Race
Septembe 2017
"CIA has 137 projects going in artificial intelligence