Artificial intelligence (AI) continues to redefine how technology is applied to modern use by the mankind. From recruitment resume screening to the complex Quantum Computing applications, AI has come a long way in causing an optimistic change. Sensing the huge disruption AI is capable to make, funding in the AI sector has climbed steadily and impressively over the past decade. In 2017 alone AI industry saw investors pumping nearly $5 billion in US-based AI startups. As trends point out, 2018 will be a promising year for venture investing in AI startups. AI funding is not restricted to Series A, B or C rounds but rather has progressed to supergiant rounds.
Interestingly, according to Crunchbase, 40% of the 30 most funded AI startups that have raised funding since 2016 are based in China. Credit goes to the Chinese government that aims to become a world leader in the development of artificial intelligence technologies which has assisted Chinese startups to reap the benefits of the current innovation-focused state of the AI industry in the country.
In the August 2018 VC reports, Crunchbase has compiled Top well-funded AI Startups to watch in 2018. Here are the firms that made the list.
SenseTime also known as SenseTime Group Ltd is a unicorn artificial intelligence startup headquartered in Beijing China that focuses on innovative computer vision and deep learning technologies. In 2018, SenseTime has raised Series C funding for $600M in April from the Alibaba group and other investors and $620 million in May from Fidelity International and others.
UBTech Robotics is a unicorn artificial intelligence startup headquartered in Shenzhen city of Guangdong province in China. UBTech Robotics focuses on artificial intelligence and humanoid robotic capabilities. In 2018, UBTech Robotics has raised Series C funding for $820 million in May from Tencent Holdings and other investors.
Megvii Technology is a unicorn artificial intelligence company which operates in face detection, analysis, and recognition platform for websites, smart televisions and mobile applications. Headquartered in Beijing China, Megvii Technology is said to be raising at least $600 million in Series D funding from investors including Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. and Boyu Capital.
Dataminr’s main products include a real-time AI platform that uncovers critical breaking news and high impact events much in advance of the existing information systems. Headquartered in Greater New York Area in the East Coast, Dataminr has raised Series E funding in June for $391.6M from undisclosed investor(s).
CrowdStrike is a Califonia based cybersecurity technology firm whose products include endpoint security, security operations, threat intelligence across Finance, Public Sector, Healthcare and Retail industries. CrowdStrike has raised Series E funding of $200 million by Accel, General Atlantic and other investors.
YITU technology is an artificial intelligence research and innovation company with an extensive presence in security, finance, transportation, and healthcare sectors. Operating from Shanghai, China, YITU Tech integrates AI technologies and industrial applications through state-of-the-art fundamental research to build a safer, faster and healthier world. YITU technology has raised Series C funding for $200 million in June from undisclosed investors and $100 million in July from the China Industrial Asset Management Ltd.
Beijing Unisound Information Technology Co., Ltd. founded in 2012, operates from Beijing, Shanghai and Shenzhen, China. Unisound offers specialized networking of AI services for smart home, intelligent car, intelligent education and intelligent medical solutions. In 2018, Unisound has raised Series C funding for $100 million in May from China Electronics Health Fund and CNY600 million from the China Internet Investment Fund and other investors in July.
Pony.ai based in Fremont, California, US is a developer of an AI-based robot designed for autonomous driving and is the first startup having secured the T3 autonomous vehicle testing license in Beijing. Pony.ai has raised two funding rounds in 2018, in January the startup raised $112 million from Legend Capital, Morningside Venture Capital among others and $102 million from ClearVue Partners, Eight Roads Ventures and other investors in July 2018.
9. Cambricon Technologies
Founded in March 2016, Cambricon Technologies is headquartered in Beijing, China and develops artificial intelligence chips which have applications in smartphones, security and surveillance cameras, servers, robots, drones, wearable devices, and autonomous driving devices. Cambricon Technologies has developed the world’s first commercial deep learning processor (Cambrian-1A processor) for smartphones, wearable devices, unmanned aerial vehicles and smart driving terminal equipment. Cambricon Technologies has raised $100 million in Series B funding from SDIC Venture Capital and other investors in June 2018.
MiningLamp is a fast-growing startup based in Beijing, China. MiningLamp offers enterprises with big data solutions. Their customers include China UnionPay, CCTV, China Postal Savings Bank, etc. MiningLamp has raised CNY1 billion in Series C funding from the China Renaissance and Tencent Holdings in April 2018.