Plus, a link to the CB Insights Top 100!
From Nanalyze, June 10:
The world’s most powerful person used to be Vladimir Putin. This year he was defeated by the Chinese president, Xi Jinping, according to the Forbes ranking of powerful people who make you question what you’ve been doing with your life so far. It’s safe to say that Mr. Putin knows plenty about power, and he believes that advances in artificial intelligence (AI) will not only change the world as we know it, but the global balance of power as well. It looks like other world leaders agree, with China and the US fighting for AI supremacy and the EU scrambling to catch up. Real growth is fueled by cold hard cash, so we’ve put together a list of the 10 biggest artificial intelligence startups in the world by funding. In order to compile this list, we’ve used data taken from Crunchbase and the CB Insights AI Top 100 list.
The Biggest AI Startup in The World
Founded in 2012, Chinese startup Toutiao has raised a whopping $3.1 billion in funding from the likes of Sequoia Capital, making it the biggest artificial intelligence startup in the world right now, and also the most highly valued at $20 billion. Toutiao is the news aggregation platform of Beijing company ByteDance that focuses on the Chinese market and uses AI to curate users’ news feeds and write news stories autonomously. While in other parts of the world Facebook seems to be the news outlet of choice these days, in China local companies are serving the hundreds of millions of people looking for a curated newsfeed.
Since we covered the company earlier this year, they’ve joined forces with clickbait giant Buzzfeed to distribute entertainment content to Toutiao’s Chinese audience of 120 million, presumably to be vetted by the company’s 10,000 in-house censors. The company is also seeking international expansion to both emerging and developed regions, and is considering manufacturing their own AI chips to support this effort. In April, Toutiao and some of its competitors were ordered to suspend parts of their service in another instance of the regular government clampdowns trying to purge government criticism and risqué content from the internet.
The Second Biggest AI Startup in China
Founded in 2014, Chinese startup SenseTime has raised $1.6 billion to develop computer vision algorithms with a focus on facial recognition. Since we wrote about the company in February of this year, they’ve received two new funding rounds totaling $1.2 billion, led by Alibaba and Fidelity, that valued the company at $4.5 billion. Besides selfie apps, personalized shopping, and weather forecasts, SenseTime algorithms are used by local and federal Chinese government for public surveillance, contributing one third of the total company revenue.
The company is investing heavily in R&D and claims one of its latest algorithms can censor review and filter web content with a 99.5% accuracy rate. A few days ago, SenseTime announced the launch of a non-profit lab in collaboration with their partner and investor Alibaba to foster AI talent in Hong Kong.
The Biggest AI Startup in the United States
Founded in 2017, Pittsburgh startup Argo AI has raised $1 billion from Ford Motor Company to develop the “brains” for their new line of Level 4 autonomous self-driving cars to be launched starting in 2021. Featured earlier this year in our article on the 10 Most Funded Self-Driving Startups in 2017, the company is headed by Carnegie Mellon alumni who are also ex-Google and ex-Uber employees.
The team seemed to appear out of nowhere in February 2017 with Ford’s huge investment, and has grown to include more than 320 employees since. According to the company’s books, Ford now owns a majority stake but the team’s operational independence remains intact, and the Argo management team shares the board equally with Ford. The company remains open to strategic partnerships with other firms as well as a potential IPO in the future.......MORE