AI Startups Culled $9.3B In 2018


New data shows that venture capital funding of artificial intelligence (AI) companies jumped a whopping 72 percent last year, hitting a record $9.3 billion.

The data from PwC and CB Insights comes after three years of steady growth, with the average annual investment increase from 2015 to 2017 coming in at 28 percent. The largest AI deal in the U.S. last year was self-driving car startup Zoox’s $500 million funding round, while internationally, Beijing-based SenseTime Group was awarded $600 million in funding. The company, which sells software that recognizes people and objects, has a $4.5 billion valuation, making it the world’s most valuable AI startup.

But there is a flip side to the data: It also shows that for first time since 2013, the number of AI deals have decreased, especially when it came to seed-stage startups. Those deals fell from 39 percent in 2017 to just 30 percent in 2018.

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

In recent years some of the world’s biggest tech companies have been jumping on the AI bandwagon, with giants such as  Google, AppleFacebook and Intel all snapping up AI startups.

One Google exec, in fact, recently said he believes that AI — along with data — has the power to advance the healthcare system. Toby Cosgrove, an executive advisor to the Google Cloud healthcare team, noted that doctors and researchers will be able to use the technology to discover trends and decide on treatments while protecting patient privacy.

In addition, it was reported that AI in the healthcare market is expected to grow to $36.1 billion by 2025. The “Artificial Intelligence in Healthcare Market by Offering, Technology, End-Use Application, End User And Geography — Global Forecast to 2025″ report revealed that AI utilized in healthcare will grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 50.2 percent during the period.