The 10 Hottest AI Startups Of 2021
Startups Edifius, Eightfold AI and Orbital Insight are just some of the companies to grab CRN’s attention, as an IDC report puts revenue from the worldwide AI market in 2021 at $341.8 billion, up 15.2 percent year over year.
See the latest entry: THE 10 HOTTEST AI STARTUPS OF 2022 (SO FAR)A no-code web platform to build voice assistants that use artificial intelligence, an AI-driven talent intelligence platform for organizations to upskill and reskill workers and an AI-powered geospatial analytics platform are among those included in CRN’s list of the 10 hottest AI startups of 2021.
Startups Edifius, Eightfold AI and Orbital Insight are just some of the companies to grab CRN’s attention. These startups command notice through a combination of powerful products that spread the adoption of AI, through partnerships with tech giants such as Google and Amazon Web Services and through investors such as Alphabet private equity arm CapitalG, SoftBank and Sequoia Capital.
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A November report from CB Insights put global AI funding at $50 billion year to date, up 55 percent year over year. A summer report from research firm IDC’s Worldwide Semiannual Artificial Intelligence Tracker put revenue from the worldwide AI market in 2021 at $341.8 billion, up 15.2 percent year over year. IDC estimated that the market will break $500 billion by 2024.
Read on to learn more about the hottest AI startups of 2021.
Bindu Reddy, CEO
Abacus.AI provides an end-to-end autonomous platform for training custom deep learning models and deploying them. The platform supports streaming pipelines, data wrangling, model monitoring and drift tracking, online and batch predictions and other capabilities, according to the San Francisco-based company.
In October, the company raised $50 million in a Series C round of funding led by Tiger Global with participation from Coatue, Index Ventures and Alkeon.
The company has raised about $34.9 million to date, according to Crunchbase. It was founded in 2019.
Before co-founding Abacus.AI, CEO Bindu Reddy worked at Amazon Web Services for more than a year. She left the company in 2019 with the title of general manager of AI and deep learning, AI vertical services.
Post Intelligence, a previous startup she co-founded and led as CEO, was acquired by Uber in 2017.
Florian Douetteau, CEO
Dataiku delivers a central offering for AI application design, deployment and management by users no matter their level of coding knowledge.
The New York-based company’s software is applied in a wide range of use cases including fraud detection, customer churn prevention, predictive maintenance and supply chain optimization.
The company counts among its value-added resellers PwC, Hewlett Packard Enterprise, Productive AI and Abraxas Biosystems, according to Dataiku. Technology partners include Google Cloud, Microsoft Azure and Amazon Web Services.
Among its customers are Ubisoft, Schlumberger, General Electric, Cisco Systems and Sephora, according to Dataiku.
This year, Dataiku raised $400 million in a Series E funding round that brings the company’s total financing to $646.8 million and puts its pre-money valuation at $4.6 billion. It was founded in 2013.
The funding round was led by Tiger Global with participation from existing investors ICONIQ Growth, CapitalG—the private equity firm under Google parent company Alphabet—FirstMark Capital, Battery Ventures, Snowflake Ventures and Dawn Capital. New investors included Insight Partners, Eurazeo, Lightrock and Datadog CEO Oliver Pomel.
Perla Humphrey, CEO
Edifius provides AI automation tools and a no-code web platform to build voice assistants wrapped in a call center with transcribed call logs. The Simba digital agent aims to free staff time, books appointments to users’ calendars and comes with personalization options to make the bot fit a company’s brand.
The Atlanta-based company was founded in 2018 and is among the startups selected for the Google for Startups Black Founder Fund, according to Edifius.
Co-founder and CEO Perla Humphrey previously worked at self-service kiosk maker NCR Corp. for more than a year, Cox Automotive for more than two years and managed services provider Sierra Systems for more than three years, according to her LinkedIn bio. She left each company with the title of senior IT manager. She left NCR in 2019, Cox in 2017 and Sierra in 2015.
Ashutosh Garg, CEO
Eightfold AI offers a, AI-driven talent intelligence platform for organizations to upskill and reskill workers, recruit workers and reach diversity goals. Eightfold’s platform offers customers a way to look at the roles and skills of employees, job candidates and contractors, according to the company’s website. Its AI uses neural networks that pull from billions of global data points for its insight.
This year, the Santa Clara, Calif.-based company partnered with systems integrator Tata Consultancy Services to develop joint offerings and raised a $220 million Series E funding round to grow its partner ecosystem and its AI-powered platform for reskilling and upskilling employees.
It has raised a total of $396.8 million, according to Crunchbase. The company was founded in 2016.
Eightfold AI investors include a SoftBank fund, General Catalyst and Capital One Ventures. Among the startup’s partners are Deloitte, SAP, PwC, Accenture and Oracle. The company also ranked on CRN’s midyear “The 10 Hottest AI Startups Of 2021 (So Far).”
Before founding Eightfold AI, CEO Ashutosh Garg co-founded commerce experience cloud provider BloomReach. He worked at Google until 2008, leaving with the title of staff research scientist.
Sri Ambati, CEO
H20.ai provides automated machine learning capabilities around how AI is created and consumed. The Mountain View, Calif.-based company’s platform lets users build models and applications, monitor performance and adopt changes plus deliver solutions. Customers include Capital One, PwC and Progressive, according to the company.
This year, H20.ai raised $100 million in a Series E round of funding, boosting the company’s total financing to more than $250 million and raising its valuation to $1.7 billion.
Israel Krush, CEO
Hyro provides conversational AI offerings without a building platform for use in call centers, with virtual assistants like Amazon Alexa and other use cases. The New York-based company’s knowledge graph collects content from external and internal data sources to deliver conversational experiences to customers.
This year, Hyro was named the 2021 Microsoft for Startups’ Partner of the Year for offering a free COVID-19 virtual assistant. The assistant served more than 4 million patients, helped health-care organizations and provided information for members of the public. The assistant was adopted by Montefiore Health System, Mercy Health and Austin Regional Clinic.
The company was founded in 2018 and has raised $15 million to date, according to the company. In May, it announced the close of a $10.5 million Series A funding round led by Spero Ventures. Cloud communications platform Twilio and Mindset Ventures participated, as did existing investors Hanaco Ventures, Spider Capital and Entrepreneurs Roundtable Accelerator.
Before co-founding Hyro, CEO Israel Krush worked at virtual fitting room provider Zeekit, in-store gamified experiences creator Screemo and Intel. He left Zeekit in 2016 with the title of head of product. He left Screemo earlier that year with the title of product manager. And he left Intel in 2013 with the title of software engineer, according to his LinkedIn bio.
Kevin O’Brien, CEO
Orbital Insight provides an AI-powered geospatial analytics platform to help users with algorithms, monitor anomalies, conduct research and perform due diligence, among other use cases.
The platform can detect vehicles, aircraft, ships and other objects, according to the Palo Alto, Calif.-based company. It can determine land use, track movement and measure trends such as foot and car traffic.
The company was founded in 2013 and has raised $128.7 million to date, according to Crunchbase. In August, Orbital Insight released a supply chain intelligence offering combining AI, multisource data and location analysis to assist with upstream and downstream activities. Users include Unilever, RBC Capital Markets and Meyers Research.
The company’s investors include Sequoia Capital, Google Ventures, Goldman Sachs and Bloomberg Beta, according to the company.
This year, the company won a 2021 Amazon Web Services Global Public Sector Partner Award for “most customer obsessed mission-based win.” Other strategic partners include Microsoft Azure, Booz Allen Hamilton and Airbus, according to the company.
Before joining Orbital Insight in 2016 as its COO, current CEO Kevin O’Brien worked at FactSet for more than two years. He left the company with the title of regional director for the Americas, global banking and brokerage, middle market.
He also worked for about 11 years at Revere Data, leading the company as CEO before its acquisition by FactSet. In addition, O’Brien worked at Reuters Group for about seven years, according to his LinkedIn bio.
Sam Liang, CEO
Otter provides an AI-powered tool that records and reviews conversations in real time. The platform allows users to search past conversations, edit transcripts and organize them from any device.
This year, Otter launched a Google Chrome extension with the goal of simplifying how users add notes to Google Calendar invites and an Otter Assistant for Microsoft Teams and Google Meet video users. The Mountain View, Calif.-based company also ranked on CRN’s midyear “The 10 Hottest AI Startups Of 2021 (So Far).”
In February, the company raised a $50 million Series B round of funding to triple its employee base and increase marketing efforts. The company has raised a total of $63 million and was founded in 2016, according to Crunchbase.
Before founding Otter, CEO Sam Liang founded smartphone applications builder Alohar Mobile, which was acquired by Alibaba in 2013. He also worked at Google for more than four years, leaving in 2010 with the title of tech lead, according to his LinkedIn bio.
Wardah Inam, CEO
Overjet creates AI products to help dentists improve patient care and dental insurers improve operations. The Boston-based company automates parts of the clinical review process and provides algorithms that identify dental anatomy, oral diseases and quality of restorations, according to Overjet.
Insurance companies can use Overjet to review claims faster, reduce appeals, identify improper billing practices and reduce turnaround time, according to the company.
In the summer, the company closed a $27 million Series A round of financing led by General Catalyst and Insight Partners. Crosslink Capital and the E14 Fund affiliated with Massachusetts Institute of Technology participated.
The company has raised $34.9 million to date, according to Crunchbase. It was founded in 2019.
Before co-founding Overjet, CEO Wardah Inam worked at biotechnology company Q Bio for more than a year. She left in 2018 with the title of lead product manager.
CEO: Richard Schwartz
Pensa Systems offers a video-based computer vision and AI to give retailers more information on shelf inventory, product planning and product placement in physical stores. The system, which includes use of an autonomous drone, learns where products belong on the shelf and aims to identify errors missed by human eyes.
In June, Pensa raised $11 million in Series A funding. The round was led by ATX Venture Partners with new investor Circle K Ventures, part of convenience store operator Alimentation Couche-Tard. Previous investors include Anheuser-Busch InBev investment arm ZX Ventures, Commerce Ventures and Revtech Ventures, according to Pensa.
The Austin, Texas-based company has raised a total of $28.2 million to date, according to Crunchbase. It was founded in 2016.
Before joining Pensa, CEO Richard Schwartz previously worked at mobile device security and management company Good Technology for more than a year. He left in 2015 with the title of vice president, carrier head.