CareCredit - Women's Health April 2024

VC Veterans: AI Now a Part of 80% of Funding Pitches

AI Is Not Perfect but Use Cases Are Being Improved

For Mamoon Hamid and Ilya Fushman, hearing investment pitches means hearing about AI.

The two venture capital (VC) veterans talked about the funding landscape and their firm Kleiner Perkins in a Saturday (Feb. 3) TechCrunch interview in which artificial intelligence (AI) was a central focus.

“From a percentage standpoint, I’d say more than 80%,” Hamid said when asked how many AI pitches Kleiner Perkins receives in a given month.

“To be fair, if you were building a company in 1996 and you didn’t mention the internet, you’d be out of your mind, right?” he added. “In the same vein, not mentioning AI or utilizing it would be a missed opportunity.”

Fushman added that many of the AI companies the VC firm backs are outfits that are “taking a big problem space that a company can and should own.”

“Enterprise assistant, for example, that’s a big space, and the people who figure that out first are going to be the people who move the fastest,” he continued.

Looking at the AI space, Fushman said, companies aren’t likely to get distribution for free the way they might have during the mobile phone revolution, unless they’ve put out a product that’s “just flying off the shelves.”

“AI requires distribution and it requires data to improve the product experience, so the first movers who define a category of a product can, in our view, run much faster than anyone else,” Fushman told TechCrunch.

Their comments come as tech companies continue to invest heavily in AI, including giants like Meta. Last week, CEO Mark Zuckerberg expressed optimism that Meta’s AI investments will pay off in the long run.

Zuckerberg said during his company’s earnings call that a leaner business model has contributed to the company’s goal of the most popular and most advanced AI products and services for the 3 billion-plus people using its messaging apps. 

“If we succeed, everyone who uses our services will have a world-class AI assistant to help get things done,” he said. Every creator will have an AI that their community can engage with. Every business will have an AI that their customers can interact with to buy goods and get support, and every developer will have a state-of-the-art open-source model to build with.”