Home Finance Venture Capitalist Invest a Record $9.3B into AI Startups in 2018

Venture Capitalist Invest a Record $9.3B into AI Startups in 2018

Artificial intelligence is one of the most popular technologies of this modern era.

The technology has attracted the attention of most of the leading technology companies and nations across the globe including China and the United States.

Nations and companies that have ventured or invested in this technology are currently competing to see who emerges as the leader in this space.

As such, artificial intelligence (AI) was a no-brainer bet for most humans in 2018.

According to a recent report from both CB Insights and PricewaterhouseCoopers (PWC), venture capital financing of artificial intelligence companies increased by 72% last year, reaching a record of $9.3 billion.

READ MORE: China’s Tech Giants Invest More on AI than Silicon Valley

READ MORE: Top 25 AI Software for the Banking Industry

The increment comes just three years after a steady increase in investment, with the average yearly growth from 2015 to 2017 standing at 28 percent.

The recent surge partially reflects the frothy financial environment overall: venture investing in the United States reached $99.5 billion in 2018, which is the highest level since back in 2000.

The report also indicated larger excitements across the entire industry.

Last year, college students enrolled in introductory machine learning and artificial intelligence classes in huge numbers.

As a result, Stanford University’s analysis of transcripts revealed that the number of academic papers on this topic rose and the officials talked about the technology in over 70 meetings of the United States Congress.

Artificial intelligence (AI) technology has grown significantly in recent years, as additional companies have begun utilizing predictive algorithms among other automated approaches across a wide array of disciplines.

In the fourth quarter of 2018, the biggest artificial intelligence deal in the United States was a $400M financing round led by Zymergen Inc., a synthetic biology startup.

Zymergen utilizes artificial intelligence (AI)-driven in genetically engineering microbes to build novel materials such as flexible glass and boost existing ones like paint that can resist radar detection.

The biggest deal in artificial intelligence (AI) in the United States throughout 2018 was autonomous –driving vehicle startup Zoox Inc’s $500 million financing round.

However, the deal was outperformed by the $600 million that investors plowed into SenseTime Group Ltd, a Beijing-based startup.

SenseTime is involved in selling software that can recognize objects and people, and thanks to its valuation of $4.5 billion, it is the most valuable startup in the world.

Even though the growth of artificial intelligence deals has not been distributed uniformly, the number of AI deals decreased for the first time ever at least since back in 2013, even as the total amount plowed increased, which clearly shows that investors are starting to focus their bets on the entities that they view as the winners.

The trend leading to selectivity was common in seed-stage startups, with all the seed-stage deals dropping from 39% back in 2017 to about 30 percent last year.

“There’s big overcrowding at the seed stage,” said CB Insights intelligence analyst Mike Wholey. “It’s gotten really easy with open-source products to start an AI company.”

As the world ushers 2019, the artificial intelligence space could trigger new trends, especially as more companies and nations embrace the potential of this technology.

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KC Cheung
KC Cheung has over 18 years experience in the technology industry including media, payments, and software and has a keen interest in artificial intelligence, machine learning, deep learning, neural networks and its applications in business. Over the years he has worked with some of the leading technology companies, building and growing dynamic teams in a fast moving international environment.
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