Top AI startup news of the week
December 16, 2022 8:48 AM
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Back in 2013, funding to companies using artificial intelligence (AI) was $3 billion, with fewer than 1,000 deals, according to Crunchbase. In 2021, AI startup funding peaked at $69 billion across more than 4,000 deals, but this year it dipped to around $38 billion.
That is, of course, still a mountain of money — so as we get ready for 2023, we introduce the first VentureBeat weekly roundup of AI startup news. Here are some of the growing companies that made headlines over the past week:
1. Dataiku raises $200 million late-stage funding round for “Everyday AI”
Dataiku, which provides data science tools for building artificial intelligence software, continued its 2022 momentum with a $200 million late-stage funding round.
The company calls itself the platform for “Everyday AI” — enabling data and domain experts to work together to design, develop and deploy new AI capabilities into daily business operations.
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According to a press release, in 2022 the AI startup grew its customer base above 500, including over 150 of the world’s largest enterprises, and surpassed $150 million in annual recurring revenue.
2. Market intelligence firm Zappi snags $170 million to help drive better insights
Market intelligence firm Zappi helps organizations with research efforts around marketing, advertising and product innovation. It’s a business that got started in 2012 and in recent years has deeply integrated AI and machine learning (ML) into its processes and platform to help organizations get better insights.
In a bid to help the company further grow its technology and go-to-market efforts, Zappi has raised $170 million in new funding, seeing an opportunity for growth in an economic downturn.
“Our focus is embedding human expertise into software for the analysis, interpretation and communication of data that will help clients make better decisions,” Steve Phillips, CEO and cofounder of Zappi, told VentureBeat. In his view, organizations are looking to find more efficiencies and automate as much as they can to reduce costs.
3. Accounting automation platform Vic.ai raises $52 million
Vic.ai, founded in 2017 by Norwegian entrepreneurs, says it is “pioneering the use of autonomy and intelligence to digitally transform accounting and finance processes to improve productivity, decision-making and ROI.”
With $52 million in new cash, the company has now raised $115 million, which CEO Alexander Hagerup says will boost customer acquisition in North America; expand its AI solution to include corporate credit cards, purchase orders and bill pay; and add new capabilities to the Vic.ai platform.
In a press release, Hagerup said that “we always knew that successfully automating back-office accounting work was only the beginning of what our AI can do for finance teams. We envision a future where AI handles the majority of cost transaction processing, resulting in faster and more accurate month-end closes for our customers.”
4. Beamery gets $50 million haul for talent lifecycle management
London-based Beamery is continuing to build out its AI-powered talent management platform, which the company’s leadership is hopeful will satisfy existing and future regulations. It raised $50 million this week.
Beamery users include General Motors, Uber, the BBC (British Broadcasting Corporation) and Johnson Johnson. Founded in 2014, the company had an initial focus on the talent-acquisition side, helping organizations find the right staff. Its capabilities and AI technologies have improved over the years, and Beamery’s platform now includes a host of other talent lifecycle capabilities, including skill development and mobility.
5. AI learning platform startup Sana gets $34 million
Stockholm, Sweden-based Sana was founded in 2017 with an eye on using artificial intelligence to help organizations learn and share knowledge.
Sana offers everything from personalized learning recommendations to an AI writing assistant that automatically generates content, while its AI-powered semantic search allows employees to get the knowledge they need from anywhere in their organization. The platform connects and indexes tools like Slack, Salesforce, Notion, LinkedIn Learning and Google Workplace to provide employees with automatically generated answers in natural language.
According to a press release, with the new funding, Sana will extend its product development and expand its team across its Stockholm, London, and New York offices.
6. LexCheck raises $17 million for AI-powered contract review
New York-based LexCheck raised $17 million in funding to expand its contract acceleration and intelligence platform. LexCheck uses AI — including natural language processes — to automate simple processes around editing and negotiating contracts.
According to a press release, the funding comes on the heels of a significant period of growth, with the company’s customer base tripling in the past year. Its customers include some of the world’s largest financial institutions and top law firms.
“The ability to accelerate revenue and actualize on business decisions typically delayed by prolonged negotiations is critical for businesses as they navigate today’s how-to-do-more-with-less economy,” said Gary Sangha, CEO of LexCheck, in the press release.
7. Synthetic data AI startup Infinity AI raises $5 million
Los Gatos, California-based Infinity AI offers a platform to allow engineers to upload a single real-world video and turn that into hundreds of similar and perfectly-labeled synthetic videos.
The company uses a combination of physics-based simulations and generative techniques, with a self-serve API so engineers can generate hundreds of videos that meet desired statistical distributions of camera location, lighting conditions, avatar appearances and more.
With a $5 million seed round, Infinity AI will also launch the Infinity Marketplace, a large open-source marketplace for synthetic datasets.
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