The 10 Hottest AI and Machine Learning Startups Of 2018

CRN identifies the 10 hottest AI and machine learning startups of 2018 that are already making an impact in the channel of have the potential to.


AI Startup Boom Continues

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Investments in artificial intelligence startups continued to surge in 2018, with investors pumping $4.2 billion into AI upstarts in the first half of the year alone, according to PwC and CB Insights' MoneyTree report.

There are a wealth of AI and machine learning startups that are aiming to improve various business processes within numerous verticals, including banking, manufacturing, retail and transportation and logistics. These companies may not be making the AI seen in sci-fi movies, but their technologies could end up becoming more consequential in our everyday lives.

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CRN looked across the ever-expanding field of upstarts and identified the 10 hottest AI and machine learning startups of 2018 that are already making an impact in the channel or have the potential to.


CEO: Akshay Sabhikhi

CognitiveScale makes "augmented intelligence" software that emulates and extends the human cognitive function to improve customer engagement and operational productivity.

The Austin-based startup's Cortex5 unified programming and operating environment allows companies to build artificial intelligence systems, simplify data access, integrate third-party AI applications and monitor cognitive process performance.

The company counts Intel Capital, IBM Watson and Microsoft Ventures among its investors, and customers include USAA, Morgan Stanley, NBC, JP Morgan Chase and ExxonMobil.


CEO: Alex Terry

Conversica provides artificial intelligence-driven lead engagement software for sales and marketing professionals that works across multiple CRM platforms.

The San Francisco-based startup's automated sales assistant identifies a company's top leads by reaching out to each prospect with a human-like persona and identifying pertinent details in responses.

The company raised $31 million Series C financing round in October to help it expand upon its current base of more than 1,000 customers, including CenturyLink, Oracle, Snowflake Computing, Box, Chrysler and the Sacramento Kings.


CEO: Jeremy Achin

DataRobot provides an enterprise machine learning software platform that automates the process of creating algorithms for a wide range of industries, including banking, healthcare and retail.

With a machine learning platform that automates the entire modeling lifecycle and draws upon the knowledge and experience of best practices of data scientists, the Boston-based startup aims to make machine learning accessible to users of all skill levels.

The company raised a $100 million Series D financing round in October from investors, including Intel Capital, bringing its total funding to $225 million.

Element AI

CEO: Jean-Francois Gagné

Element AI provides software that helps organizations build customized applications with artificial intelligence capabilities.

The Montreal-based startup provides products for banking and wealth management, capital markets, insurance, manufacturing, retail and transportation and logistics.

The company, which works with channel and integration partners, has raised more than $102 million from investors, including Intel Capital, Nvidia GPU Ventures and Fidelity Investments.

Habana Labs

CEO: David Dahan

Habana Labs is a fabless semiconductor company building what it says is the world's highest performance artificial intelligence inference processor.

The San Jose, Calif.-based startup launched out of stealth this fall and announced a $75 million funding round led by Intel Capital, with participation from other venture capital firms.

The company's PCIe-based Goya HL-1000 processor can deliver 15,000 images per second of throughput on the ResNet-50 inference benchmark only using 100 watts of power, which the company said provides a performance gain of up to 3x over solutions currently used in data centers.

CEO: SriSatish Ambati provides an open-source machine learning platform that is used by more than 14,000 organization across the world.

The Mountain View, Calif.-based startup's platform includes a leaderboard of the best statistical models and machine learning algorithms determined through its AutoML feature. The company also provides an enterprise platform called Driverless AI that aims to automate and accelerate data science projects.

The company has amassed $75 million in funding from investors, including Nvidia GPU Ventures, New York Life Insurance Co. and Wells Fargo.


CEO: Phil Tee

Moogsoft provides artificial intelligence software for IT operations that can reduce alert volumes by 90 percent or more and group remaining alerts to simplify tasks.

The San Francisco-based startup's platform integrates across the IT department's entire toolset and uses AI to identify problems as time-series, metrics data is ingested into the system. The platform then uses unsupervised machine learning models to reduce incoming alerts, correlate events across different tools and clusters them, and send them to the appropriate IT staff.

The company raised a $40 million Series D round in March from investors, including Cisco, HCL and Singtel Innov8, bringing its total funding to $90 million.


CEO: Dillon Erb

Paperspace aims to fast-track artificial intelligence by making GPUs more accessible with a cloud computing and machine learning development platform.

The New York-based startup raised a $13 million Series A round in October that was led by Intel Capital to scale sales and marketing efforts, expand the capabilities of its GPU provisioning platform, build tighter integration with hardware products from Intel and other chipmakers.

The company's platform provides a software layer that automates the provisioning and managing of GPUs for machine learning and deep learning projects.


CEO: Amir Husain

SparkCognition is a developer of artificial intelligence technology that spans applications for predictive maintenance, endpoint security, natural language processing and machine learning model development.

The Austin-based startup has raised $73.5 million in funding from investors, including former Cisco CEO John Chambers, former Cisco executive Pankaj Patel, Verizon Ventures and The Boeing Company.

The company's endpoint security platform, DeepArmor, eschews the typical signature-based approach used by security vendors and instead uses machine learning models to identify the underlying characteristics of malicious files on the network.


CEO: Kurt Busch

Syntiant is a fabless semiconductor company that makes neural decision processors that can enable machine learning capabilities in battery-powered edge devices.

The Irvine, Calif.-based startup raised a $25 million Series B round in October from a who's who of big artificial intelligence players, including Microsoft's venture fund, Amazon Alexa Fund and Intel Capital.

The company's neural decision processors enable functions such as image recognition and keyword spotting without the need to send information to the cloud for processing. Target devices include high-end mobile phones, fitness trackers, hearing aids, drones and security cameras.