The Kind of AI Our Fund is Tracking: 5 examples

It’s poised to be an exciting year in artificial intelligence. Sure, there’s a TON of hype in this space. Last year, artificial intelligence deals topped a billion for the first time. The White House started publishing reports on AI and the economy. Samsung just announced a new $150 million fund for early-stage AI startups. There’s are even AI startup incubators popping up, like deep learning mastermind Yoshua Bengio’s Element in Montreal. And yet, the more I use “Andrew Ingram” from X.ai–some of you know what I mean–the holes in the approach and the hype level are also incredibly apparent. Gamechanging AI in 2017 Still, we’re convicted that self-correcting, learning code, with or without humans in the loop, is going to be a foundation of software to come. Last year, Viv Labs was one of the companies on my roundup of game-changing artificial intelligence startups. Other movers from that list include Persado from New York, which since then has raised $30 million more to pursue content that persuades and Mintigo, a predictive marketing platform that raised another $15 million in 2016. Looking at artificial intelligence startups to watch in 2017, I narrowed the lens to U.S.-based AI startups founded in the...

It’s poised to be an exciting year in artificial intelligence. Sure, there’s a TON of hype in this space. Last year, artificial intelligence deals topped a billion for the first time. The White House started publishing reports on AI and the economy. Samsung just announced a new $150 million fund for early-stage AI startups. There’s are even AI startup incubators popping up, like deep learning mastermind Yoshua Bengio’s Element in Montreal. And yet, the more I use “Andrew Ingram” from X.ai–some of you know what I mean–the holes in the approach and the hype level are also incredibly apparent.

Gamechanging AI in 2017

Still, we’re convicted that self-correcting, learning code, with or without humans in the loop, is going to be a foundation of software to come. Last year, Viv Labs was one of the companies on my roundup of game-changing artificial intelligence startups. Other movers from that list include Persado from New York, which since then has raised $30 million more to pursue content that persuades and Mintigo, a predictive marketing platform that raised another $15 million in 2016.

Looking at artificial intelligence startups to watch in 2017, I narrowed the lens to U.S.-based AI startups founded in the last three years that are charge out of 2016 with significant momentum to give you a sense of the kind of AI we’re tracking–and looking for. Here’s five examples, all focused in frontier areas of AI with multiple exit paths:

1. Avaamo

Apps are so 2010. The future belongs to chatbots, according to Avaamo. They are building a suite of chatbot tools to help make your airline experience, your grocery list and your clothes shopping more conversational, to name just a few potential enterprise applications. The co-founding team of veterans from Apple, SAP, and Siebel just raised $3 million.

2. Clarifai

Founded in 2013 in New York, Clarifai just released two products at the end of last year that provide visual recognition as a service to app developers. Google and Nvidia are notable investors and it’s attracted customers like Buzzfeed and Unilever. Before its visual recognition as a service offering, Clarifai also developed a naughty content moderator, a travel image logger, and a food recognition module.

3. Datalog

Talk about off the races, Datalog raised three million and was founded both in May of last year. They announced their beta on Christmas Eve. Datalog provides natural language conversation as a service.

4. Defined Crowd

Amazon Alexa and Sony are among the customers of Defined Crowd, a software-enhanced data science service founded by Daniela Braga and Amy Du in Kirkland, Washington. “As a former data scientist, the lack of quality, consistency and slowness when sourcing data from traditional vendors was reducing our time to market. At the same time, about 90% of the entrepreneurs in this field were focusing on the machine learning training piece of the game, while only 10% would focus on the data. It was time to bring a smarter and more scalable company in the field of data for AI,” says Braga.

DefinedCrowd provides high quality training data to help data scientists define better data faster. “We are working with all the big voice and NLP technologies providers and expect that more than 60% of our revenue in 2017 will come from Fortune 500 companies,” she continues.

5. Galaxy.AI

Headquartered in New York, Galaxy is a disease intelligence platform aimed at healthcare, insurance and pharma. The dream is to build a classic sector-AI. It works on private, regulated healthcare datasets to help doctors see disease patterns more completely in patient data. It is also designed to help insurance companies manage costs. For pharma, Galaxy is building an artificial intelligence engine that makes new drug discovery faster.

Published first in my innovation column in Inc. Magazine.