As recently as 2013, the [deep learning] space saw fewer than 10 deals. But since January 2015, deep learning startups have raised over 70 equity deals in aggregate, and over $600M in equity funding since 2012…
Computer Vision: Startups here are using deep learning for image recognition, analytics, and classification. Aerial image analytics startup Terraloupe was seed-funded this year by Germany-based Bayern Kapital. New York-based Calrifai — backed by investors including Google Ventures, Lux Capital, and NVidia — entered the R/GA accelerator this year, after raising $10M in Series A in Q2’15. Captricity, which extracts information from hand-written data, has raised $49M in equity funding so far from investors including Social Capital, Accomplice, White Mountains Insurance Group, and New York Life Insurance Company.
Speech analytics/conversational interface: Google made news last year when it entered the Chinese market with its investment — a $60M Series C round — in Shanghai-based Mobvoi. The smart watch maker’s core tech includes speech recognition, text-to-speech conversion, and semantic analysis. Another startup that has recently been in the news is Viv Labs, which demonstrated its Siri-like AI assistant earlier this year. The company has raised $30M in equity funding from investors including Horizons Ventures and Pritzker Group Venture Capital.
Core AI: Startups here are developing algorithms that can be applied across multiple industries like finance, healthcare, and e-commerce. To name a few, Japan-based LeapMindraised $3.4M from Archetype Ventures, ITOCHU Technology Ventures, and Visionnaire Ventures in Q3’16; Teradeep, a neural network startup that “accelerates” deep learning via field programmable gate arrays (FPGAs) — integrated circuits that can be programmed for customer-specific applications — received funding in Q1’16 from the corporate venture arm of XILINX.
Auto & Robotics: 5 out of 6 startups in this category raised their first equity funding rounds this year. Machine vision company Netradyne, which has developed a driver-safety platform called Driveri, received $16M in Series A from Reliance Industries in India. Two other auto tech startups, Andreessen Horowitz-backed Comma.ai and Oriza Ventures-based Drive.ai, raised $3M and $12M in early-stage funding, respectively. China-based Turing Robot, which was initially focused on voice technologies, is now expanding into the consumer robotics market. It raised $7.6M in corporate minority from Alpha Animation & Culture. Another China-based startup, Rokid, which also has an office in the US, is developing a social robot. You can read more about robotics startups in China in our post here.
BI, Sales & CRM: Applications here include voice analytics to extract information from calls, automated customer response solutions, business data analytics, and sales targeting. To name a few, Palo Alto-based Mariana raised $2M in seed money from investors including Blumberg Capital; London-based True AI, previously seed funded by Entrepreneur First, entered the Microsoft Ventures Accelerator in Q3’16; another UK-based startup, Ripjar, raised funds from Winton Ventures in Q2’16.
Healthcare: As we discussed in our webinar recently, healthcare is the hottest area of investment compared to other industry-specific applications of artificial intelligence. Deep learning startups here include drug discovery platforms Insilico and Atomwise, IBM-backed precision medicine startup Pathway Genomics, and diagnostics companies Butterfly Networkand Enlitic.
Security: Israel-based Deep Instinct, which claims to be the first startup to bring deep learning to cybersecurity, is backed by investors including Blumberg Capital, UST Global, and U.S. News & World Report. Other startups here include Seattle-based SignalSense, which applies deep learning to IT security and smart camera startup Umbo CV.
E-Commerce: Deep learning in e-commerce was spotlighted recently by Etsy’s acquisition of Blackbird Technologies. Three startups in the private sector using AI in e-commerce raised funding rounds this year: Reflektion raised $18M in Q1’16 from investors including Intel Capital, Battery Ventures, and Marc Benioff; ViSenze raised $10.5M in Series B from investors including Rakuten Ventures, Enspire Capital, and Phillip Private Equity; India-based Staqu raised angel funds in Q2’16.