These Are The 10 Hottest AI Startups To Watch For 2024
Anthropic, Cohere, Concentric AI and Robin AI are among the companies that could prove to be a force in the coming year.
Closing out 2023 and entering 2024, artificial intelligence is perhaps the most exciting technological advancement for customers, solution providers and vendors alike.
And while larger, established organizations including Microsoft, OpenAI and Google dominate the space so far, a variety of smaller upstart companies could prove to be a force in this emerging space in the new year.
CRN has reviewed some of these startups that raised money in 2023, looking at their partner- friendly motions and other factors. OpenAI, perhaps the hottest AI organization at the moment, was founded in 2015, pushing it beyond the startup age used for this list.
Hot AI Startups In 2024
The startups on this list include science-based AI for developing better chemical and material products, AI to aid security cameras in detecting firearms and an AI copilot for contracts.
Some of them have launched partner programs to entice solution providers to help them stand out in an ever-crowded space.
The startups on this list are:
- Robin AI
- Inflection AI
- Concentric AI
Gartner recently predicted that by 2026, over 80 percent of enterprises will have used GenAI APIs and models and/or deployed GenAI-enabled applications in production environments, up from less than 5 percent in early 2023.
The firm also forecasts worldwide IT spending to reach $5.14 trillion in 2024, up from $4.72 trillion this year. This would represent an annual growth rate of nearly 4 percent year over year.
Read on for more information on these compelling AI startups.
New York, London
Founder, CEO: Richard Robinson
Robin AI bills itself as the AI copilot for contracts, promising 85 percent faster contract review and as a replacement to contract life-cycle management (CLM) systems.
The startup got a strong early start to 2023 with a $10.5 million Series A round of funding in February led by Plural. The round included Episode 1, a cohort of angel investors including Tom Blomfield and senior executives across the legal and private equity industries from Bridgepoint, Apollo and Barings.
Since then, the startup has rolled out a clause compare feature, natural language querying and an AI add-in for Microsoft Word powered by Anthropic’s Claude, among other advancements.
So far, Robin has processed more than 500,000 contracts and trained its AI with more than 100 million clauses, according to the company.
The company was founded by Robinson in 2019, according to his LinkedIn bio. His resume includes about three years as an associate with the Boies, Schiller & Flexner law firm and about three years as an associate for litigation and arbitration with the Clifford Chance law firm.
Co-Founder, CEO: Kanjun Qiu
Imbue made some powerful partners this year on its road to building AI systems that can reason.
In September, Imbue raised a $200 million Series B round of funding at a valuation of more than $1 billion. Astera Institute, Nvidia, Cruise CEO Kyle Vogt, Notion co-founder Simon Last and others participated. The startup also changed its name from Generally Intelligent.
The following month, Amazon’s Alexa Fund and former Google CEO Eric Schmidt contributed an additional $12 million to the round.
And in November, Dell Technologies entered a $150 million agreement with Imbue to build a high-performance computing cluster for training reasoning-optimized foundation models—models that know when to ask for more information, analyze and critique its outputs and break down difficult goals into plans.
The Imbue-Dell cluster is powered by Dell PowerEdge XE9680 servers with Nvidia H100 Tensor Core GPUs, according to the startup.
Qiu co-founded Imbue in 2021, according to her LinkedIn account. She previously co-founded AI-powered candidate sourcer Sourceress and led it as CEO.
Her resume includes more than two years with Dropbox, leaving in 2015 with the title chief of staff.
Co-Founder, CEO: Dario Amodei
In 2021, former OpenAI executives left to start rival Anthropic.
And while OpenAI, founded in 2015, is most closely associated with Microsoft, Anthropic has forged ties with some of Microsoft’s chief rivals in cloud and AI.
Anthropic’s Claude 2 product was unveiled in July and goes head-to-head against ChatGPT. Anthropic also revealed Claude Pro in September for users to pay $20 a month for five times more usage of Claude 2 and early access to new features.
Also that month, Amazon said it will invest up to $4 billion in Anthropic. Claude also became generally available (GA) on Amazon Bedrock, a fully managed service that provides AWS users secure cloud access to foundation models and tools for building GenAI apps.
Anthropic has also shown an interest in services partnerships, unveiling in September a new collaboration with Boston Consulting Group to bring Claude to more enterprises.
Anthropic has raised more than $7 billion in total, according to The Information.
Co-Founder, CEO: Aidan Gomez
Cohere brands itself as the AI platform for enterprises, a message that in June helped the company raise $270 million in a Series C financing round led by Inovia Capital.
Other investors included Nvidia, Oracle, Salesforce Ventures and SentinelOne.
Like Anthropic with Boston Consulting Group, Cohere has shown interest in services partners by launching a relationship with McKinsey in July.
That month, Cohere also revealed its GenAI enterprise knowledge assistant Coral, which features more than 100 integrations with CRM, collaboration, database, search infrastructure and other tools.
The organization also made its foundational AI models available on Amazon Bedrock in July, and promised that its Command flagship enterprise AI model will come to the Microsoft Azure AI Model Catalog and Marketplace.
In December, Cohere launched build-your-own connectors for companies to connect their datastores to Command and build AI assistants to answer specific questions about their own business and sector even if the user’s data is on Slack, Google Drive or another third-party product.
Gomez co-founded Cohere in 2019.
He previously interned at Google, according to his LinkedIn account.
Palo Alto, Calif.
Co-Founder, CEO: Mustafa Suleyman
Microsoft isn’t only betting on itself and OpenAI in the AI race. The tech giant and co-founder Bill Gates were among the investors in a $1.3 billion round for startup Inflection AI announced in June.
Other investors in the round include Inflection co-founder Reid Hoffman, who also co-founded Microsoft subsidiary LinkedIn, chipmaker Nvidia and former Google CEO Eric Schmidt.
Inflection released its personal AI Pi in May. In November, the startup said it finished training Inflection-2 and called it “the best model in the world for its compute class and the second most capable LLM in the world today.” In December, Pi became available on Android in 35 countries.
Suleyman co-founded the startup in 2022.
Suleyman’s resume includes co-founding DeepMind in 2010. Google bought the company in 2014. Suleyman stayed with Google until 2022, leaving with the title of vice president of AI product management and AI policy, according to his LinkedIn account.
Founder: Elon Musk
xAI’s story is only just starting, having been created in March and releasing “a very early beta” of its ChatGPT competitor Grok in November.
However, with more than $135 million raised as of Dec. 5 and Musk at the helm—when he’s not busy with Tesla, X (formerly Twitter), SpaceX and other endeavors—xAI could prove a force in 2024.
Its employees come from Google, Tesla, OpenAI, Microsoft, Meta and other tech giants, according to Fortune.
A regulatory document revealing the amount xAI has raised put its location in Burlingame, Calif., near San Francisco.
For now, xAI’s early access program is restricted to premium subscribers of Musk’s social media company.
xAI proved to be a notable customer of Oracle’s during the cloud and database products and services vendor’s latest quarterly earnings report.
San Jose, Calif.
Co-Founder, CEO: Karthik Krishnan
Since CRN named Concentric AI to its midyear AI startups list, the startup has been busy developing its offerings for customers.
The company—which aims to help businesses address their unmet data security needs by discovering and protecting business-critical content—updated its Semantic Intelligence data security posture management (DSPM) service with the industry’s first sensitive data discovery, identification, risk monitoring and remediation protection for audio and video files, according to a December statement.
The update means protection for sensitive data communicated in meetings using Zoom, Microsoft Teams, WebEx and other popular collaboration tools.
In October, Concentric AI made Semantic Intelligence available on the CrowdStrike Marketplace and added data lineage functionality to the product.
In April, Concentric AI unveiled a new channel partner program with a promise of better enablement for partners selling the startup’s SaaS product.
Before founding Concentric AI in 2019, Krishnan worked at Hewlett Packard Enterprise’s Aruba for about two years as vice president of product management. He joined HPE through the acquisition of Niara, where he served a similar role, according to his LinkedIn account.
Co-Founders, Co-CEOs: Jon Reilly, Abe Parangi
Akkio calls its generative business intelligence offerings for small and midsize businesses a first of its kind.
The startup offers a reseller program with training, support, embeddable interface and models and more, according to the vendor.
In August, Akkio raised a $15 million Series A round of funding. Bain Capital Ventures and Pandome participated.
In October, Akkio released its generative reports AI tool that creates real-time reports automatically from connected data and user descriptions of a project, according to the vendor. Users can forecast revenue, score leads, improve customer experience and perform other activities.
Reilly and Parangi co-founded Akkio in 2020. They previously worked at Markforged, with Reilly leaving with the title of vice president of product and marketing and Parangi leaving with the title of technology and creative director.
Reilly worked at Markforged for about three years. Parangi was there for about five years, according to his LinkedIn account.
Reilly’s resume includes more than eight years with Sono, leaving in 2016 with the title of leader for the music player product management team, according to his LinkedIn account. He also worked in global channel development at Sonos.
Founder, Chairman, CEO: Mike Lahiff
ZeroEyes provides software for existing security cameras that analyzes more than 36,000 images a second for firearms.
In August, AI-based gun detection video analytics platform vendor ZeroEyes launched a channel partner program and brought on Darren Crawford, former North American sales leader for Arrow subsidiary Seneca.
Shortly after the program’s launch, the startup raised $23 million in capital and said it had grown more than fourfold year over year. Octave Ventures, Alliance Holdings and other existing investors led the round. Developing channel partnership programs is part of the reason for the funds.
Since the round, ZeroEyes has landed more customers, including schools, school districts and a state capitol. It also established a research center for analyzing gun-related violence across various commercial and infrastructure sectors, according to the startup.
Lahiff founded the startup in 2018. His resume includes time as director of digital programs at Comcast NBC Universal and 10 years in the U.S. Navy as a Navy SEAL, according to the company’s website.
CEO: Sunil Sanghavi
NobleAI promises users science-based AI for developing better-performing, environmentally sustainable and reliably sourced chemical and material products.
The startup’s AI aims to deliver accurate predictions and designs, and it scales from molecules to materials to formulations to complete systems, according to NobleAI. It bills the technology as more accurate than classical machine learning and faster and less expensive than traditional simulation.
Applications so far include battery development, new chemical compounds and simulations for the energy industry.
The startup also features a partner program for go-to-market partners and technology companies. Microsoft Azure and Amazon Web Services are partners, according to NobleAI.
In April, NobleAI raised $17 million in a Series A round of funding. Microsoft venture capital fund M12 led the round. Chevron Technology Ventures, General Purpose VC, Alumni Ventures and other investors participated.
Sanghavi served as senior investment director at Intel Capital for about seven years, accordingto his LinkedIn account.