Google, Amazon, Apple, IBM, Yahoo, Facebook, Intel, and Salesforce are all hustling to either invest in new artificial intelligence technology or acquire it outright both in New York and in other hubs across the USA.
Lumped into this category are a variety of innovations, including image processing, natural language, machine learning and predictive APIs (application program interface). To find out how much activity has been going on within the AI sector in Silicon Alley, the New York Business Journal tapped PitchBook for help. Here’s what they discovered:
- New York’s AI startups have raised an aggregate $42.3 million in 2016 across just four deals.
- Drivers of the activity are newcomers like x.ai and DigitalGenius — two New York start-ups that recently raised capital.
- Since 2013, the amount of total capital invested in AI is north of $166.7 million.
PitchBook expects that as more AI technology gets integrated into different categories — business intelligence, e-commerce, and healthcare — the number of deals this year will surpass 2015 totals, both in terms of volume and capital invested (see the infographic above). According to previous coverage, a wide majority of deals across the U.S. (between 2010 to 2015) were seed stage, accounting for 50 percent of overall activity in 2015.
The herd mentality of investors partly explains why the AI stampede has taken shape in New York, even if the burgeoning tech scene was slow to adopt. There were just 14 AI deals sourced in New York throughout 2015. The U.S. total hovered at around 113. And of the top 10 venture capital firms that are the most active in the space, two are based in New York — RRE Ventures and Two Sigma Investments. Since 2013, RRE and Two Sigma have just six and eight AI investments in their portfolios, respectively.
The major AI players are mostly headquartered in California. They include San Francisco-based Data Collective, with 14 AI deals since 2013, followed by Palo Alto-based AME Cloud Ventures (12), Santa Clara-based Intel Capital (11), Palo Alto’s StartX (10), and Menlo Park-based Khosla Ventures (8). Chevy Chase, Md.-based New Enterprise Associates had 8 AI deals while Boulder, Colo.-based Techstars and Cambridge, Mass.-based Charles River Ventures each had 7.
Three AI-focused companies have already raised funds in 2016, but none are based in New York. They include Ontario’s Maluuba, United Kingdom’s Seldon and Seattle-based Kitt.ai. Still, N.Y.C.’s East Village is where IBM Watson — arguably the most notable name in AI today — chose to set up shop. It very recently completed the $2.6 billion acquisition of Truven Health Analytics, a provider of cloud-based healthcare data, analytics and insights.