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10 Promising Artificial Intelligence Startups for 2017

27 February
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Crunchbase’s Global Innovation Investment Report 2016, Year in Review, landed in my email on January 12, 2017. The newsletter covered Crunchbase’s comprehensive insights into growth sectors, exit trends, top metro areas, 2017 predictions, global funding and more about the technology industry based on their aggregate dataset.

Everyone in the tech world knows, and in some way discerned that 2016, was a year to reckon with for all startups. In our part of the space, we measured how the entire startup sector impacts the global market in attracting investors, raising consumers’ awareness and supporting competition within, and it is apparent to us that 2016 was a robust year for everyone. When Crunchbase cited Artificial Intelligence (AI) separately from VR in their data-driven report, the Global Innovation Investment Report 2016, to the extent of assigning one whole section of their report on everything about AIs. We realized that they had documented distinct signals that clearly identify AI as a sector that is noteworthy of attention and interest.

We delved into Crunchbase’s database and mined their dataset for signals, and we found we have similar predictions on some AI startups. Based on previous predictions they had done in past reports, we see that Crunchbase’s aggregate data are extremely advanced in reading and interpreting signals. So it is safe to say that we feel the following predictions we are enumerating below are reasonably sound, although our list differs slightly with Crunchbase’s ranking.

Important Properties of AIs which Defined Our Choices

Raising Consumer Awareness

Artificial Intelligence is all around us and touches our lives in more ways than one. For most people, it has positive impacts on changing lives for the better, while others view it with alarm and skepticism. They feel it might become uncontrollable at some point. AI is currently doing its best, though, in its role as human mind’s support, in pursuing ways to make lives easier and the world better.

AI has invaded homes, commerce, education, finance, and healthcare. They can be found in our machines, equipment, phones and favorite apps, facilitating convenient delivery of conveyance, communication, and entertainment. Undeniably we agree with everyone that Artificial Intelligence is doing a much better job than anything or anyone else could.

With AI, opportunities are limitless and indefinable, while the progress of human development must not be hindered, AI makes future prospects better. However, at this stage of its development, people perceive more probable complications than solutions.

To quote the experts that are devoting their time in industrializing AI, “Many are optimistic on what the future with super intelligent AI machine and software has in store for humans, at the same time they are also uneasy about unanticipated complications.” But once and for all AI is expanding and has already entrenched itself into our lives, deep enough to make enough people curious, about the extent of influence AI wield for the future.

The extent of AI’s influence with human interactions so far can be seen in several apps that are currently serving as software agents, bots, and virtual assistants. At present, provided to us by some of the most advanced Tech Giants leading the industry today. From Google’s – Deep Mind to IBM’s – Watson and Tesla’s self-driving cars we can say the future with AI is indeed promising. But these are just a few of the most ambitious ones. Google’s search engine, Facebook’s interface, Microsoft’s Cortana, Apple’s Siri, and lots of other apps like Virtual Talk, Tempo, Blippar, Microsoft Fetch, Bernie to name a few, all are using AI to advance the roles they were generated to do.

Attracting Investors

AI is still in its embryonic stage, however, even this early it already has attracted its fair share of followers.  In 2016, investment was robust for all startups, Crunchbase in their report reflected how seed deals proceeded in 2016. Even though seed deals were larger and raising them became harder towards the final quarter of 2016, many AI startups were already able to get some comparatively high portion of funding rounds and capital in the early part of the year. AI was appraised as one of the growth sectors in 2016 and is predicted to gain more traction and realize more investments in 2017.

Supporting Competition

In 2016 a hefty number of acquisitions in the AI space were realized; Intel’s $350 million for Movidius – a mobile vision technology company and Samsung’s for Viv – an AI virtual assistant developer. Semantic is also part of the trend and is tagging not far behind. How companies enhance their use of a technology defines how viable the technology is for competitions. In 2016 transportation, virtual reality and artificial intelligence were the spaces which gained the most attention.

As the demand for extremely responsive apps that has the capability to go through huge and complex data in the shortest possible time grows, innovators are in the race to come up with superior Artificial Intelligence that will just be about mind-blowing for humans. The race will be all about absurd combinations of super intelligent software, computers and Application Program Interfaces (APIs) germinating one after another just like opening up a box of nesting dolls, in reverse order. A small and simple app will become larger and superior as it opens up avenues of opportunities.

After digging around Crunchbase we found the following AI startups possess excellent potentials to grow into a progressive company in 2017. Of course, we peek into other resources like Mattermark too to verify the strong points of our picks. The ones we curated from Mattermark have remarkably proven they are up to par and beyond the reach of their competition. At this point these 3 companies we can say have already risen above their rivals.

Our Selections of 10 Promising Artificial Intelligence Startups


Short description:  This is a startup designed and built around predictive intelligence that is vital to B2B marketing and sales.

What is it? From the billions of time-sensitive private network of business interactions that passes through the communications database of companies and businesses 6sense can uncover and predict the most viable prospects; which of the prospective clients has the most intent to buy, which products will they buy, how much and when.

Why it’s hot? 6sense is backed by Battery Ventures, Venrock, Bain Capital Ventures, and Salesforce and many companies are already using its predictive capabilities in closing or attaining deals. 6sense is already in use by Dell; combining 6sense predictive intelligence with Forbes platform to build, optimize and innovate viable enterprise and outlays for future ventures.

Founders: Shane Moriah, Amanda Kahlow, Premal Shah, Viral Bajaria, Dustin Chang 2013
Founded: San Francisco, California
How much did they raise? $36M 3 Rounds, 6 Investors


Short description:  Banjo is an Artificial Intelligence startup that was created out of its founder’s frustration of missing a connection with a friend at the Logan Airport in Boston. It is a bespoke app that takes real time capture of everything that is happening in different places around the world.

What is it?  It is an Artificial Intelligence app platform adroitly capable of reading real time analysis from billions of information signals as it happens across the globe, and consolidate them by location, content and time. Conceived by Damien Patton to ensure people get up to date information, news and location as they need it.

Why it’s hot? It is an app that ensures people from all walks of life can gain access to vital real time information as they need it (on-demand). This app ensures that no one misses out on information. Whenever or wherever information is needed they can easily gain access to it. Very advantageous to businesses as a monitoring tool, to keep them abreast of the real time, live activities happening at every field location of their company around the world.

Founders: Damien Patton 2011
Founded: Redwood City, California
How much did they raise? $121M 4 Rounds, 6 Investors

Short description: is a personal assistant startup envisioned as a powerful, ultimate virtual tool of the future. This is a pro-active artificial intelligence driven meeting scheduler that may become indispensable to many businesses before long.

What is it? as a Virtual Personal Assistant artificial intelligence was created by its founders for busy professionals who are constantly over scheduled. They need to find time to fit in a number of meetings in the course of their day. can save the time it takes to schedule the meeting by doing the scheduling for them, fitting everyone in the right time slot, appropriate sequences and adequate transition time.

Why it’s hot? All one needs to do to network with another person and schedule a meeting is done for you. There is no software to download, or login credentials to remember.  You simply carbon copy for every communication sent, then meetings are scheduled; no overlapping, everything in perfect coordinated sync.

Founders: Alex Poon, Marcos Jimenez Belenguer, Dennis Mortensen 2014
Founded: New York, New York
How much did they raise? $34.3M 3 Rounds, 11 Investors


Short description: An artificial intelligence startup envisioned by its founder as a 2-in-1 hybrid software; an analyst and a writer rolled out as a single platform. It has the ability to simplify and extrapolate massive complex data into natural language so people can easily understand them.

What is it? Arria is a bundled software kit or product: an analyst and writer in one, designed to perform as a data management system, programmed to “read out” and transcribe complex data into easy-to-read, accurate reports of its analysis in natural human language. This will be extremely valuable for meteorological or financial assessment. As a bundled SaaS product or as an SDK software kit, it can accurately process 60 detailed weather forecasts in less than a second, compared to 24 hours for humans.

Why it’s hot? Arria is a patented artificial intelligence “Natural Language Generation” system bundled software or product. Marketed as more than just a simple data extracting and communication technology template, it is a very powerful tool that can unravel massive data at a fraction of a second. It takes in massive amount of complex data, runs it through its software, then come up with an insightful real time live and clear written report in simple and natural human language minus human intervention. Freeing company experts to make high quality decisions faster, reducing the risks while significantly improving operations and increasing opportunity for the company to profit.

Founders: Robert Dale, Stuart Rogers, Yaji Sripada, Matthew Gould, Ehud Reiter 2011
Founded: London, United Kingdom
How much did they raise? $40.27M, 1 Round


Short description:  Persado is a content platform designed to autonomously perceive and generate a detailed combination of words, phrases, and images to inspire response in non-spoken conversations.

What is it? Driven by cognitive computing technologies, it eliminates random processes typically used behind message creation. Currently geared towards maximizing all areas of communication with any type or volume of audience while generating unique insights for specific triggers that can stimulate reaction.

Why it’s hot? In 2012, Persado was able to infuse more than 45 million marketing messages on email, display, mobile, and Facebook, even while offline with its own brand of cognitive content, while continuously feeding its machine learning algorithms with unique conversation footprints that it was able to pick up from the interactions. Today more than a hundred global brands already use Persado with their marketing campaigns. Results showed 49.5% average increase in conversions, 68.4% growth on click-through rates, and a $1 billion increase in revenues.

Founders: Alex Vratskides, Assaf Baciu, Guy Krief 2012
Founded: New York, New York
How much did they raise? $66M 3 Rounds, 5 Investors

Short description: was created as an avatar-based, highly sympathetic reactive platform projected by its creators to help clinicians improve management care for their chronically ill patients.

What is it? This healthcare startup was created from the perception of its creators that doctors need the genuine interactive help of available technology (bots and sensors, on mobile/smart phones) to reach home bound patients in the shortest time possible to minimize expenses and maximize time, while optimizing patient health. A clinician interviews the patient during a physical consultation, inputs clinical protocol and goals into the system, then a virtual medical assistant takes over for patients follow ups; collection of clinical data from medical assessments and devices used during the physical review, tracking data progress, and reminding patients to follow prescribed medical plan. The system then goes through all the information it was fed, analyzes the information and forwards the results to the doctor, to the billing section for telemedicine procedures for hospitals, ultimately reducing operational costs.

Why it’s hot? It is the future of health care.’s creators; Adam Odessky has over 15 years of experience in the fields of technology and speech recognition. Adam owns provisional patents on works around telecommunications, security, healthcare and augmented reality. Merging his expertise with Dr. Ivana Schnur who holds a medical degree and a Ph.D. in clinical psychology, studied quality of life and pain management, with another study on the impact of therapeutic uses of film and digital media on palliative care is a brilliant contribution towards using their Virtual Reality expertise to advance behavioral medicine and mental health.

Founders: Ivana Schnur, Adam Odessky 2013
Founded: San Francisco, California
How much did they raise? $3.78M 4 Rounds, 6 Investors

Viv Labs

Short description:  Viv is a platform marketed as a Virtual Assistant app that is highly capable of providing a totally comprehensive brainpower said to simplify everything in the world through its intelligent interface.

What is it? As an Artificial Intelligence startup it was intended by its founder as a universal, highly compliant reality space that has the capacity to exert control over everything at home, at the workplace, with transportation and even with communications control. Learning more as it seeks answers. More users interacting with it, improves its capabilities and add more information to its knowledge base.

Why it’s hot? It is from the creators of Siri and it just closed its Series B funding with a whopping $12.5 million. It’s not only that, but the fact that this most recent of its funding round was oversubscribed and was led by an iconic “Club of Silicon Valley Billionaires”, The Iconiq Capital. This app is intended to become better than Siri by besting Siri’s static system with its retentive memory.

Founders: Adam Cheyer, Chris Brigham, Dag Kittlaus 2012
Founded: San Jose, California
How much did they raise? $30M 3 Rounds, 4 Investors


Short description:  The platform that will give companies data-driven customer insights from their own customer DNA. It mines data from company databases that exists in millions and are freely available in the World Wide Web then produce comprehensive data driven results that can help the company plan its future opportunities. It is a Predictive Marketing Platform intended to advance enterprise insight-driven customer engagement to retain customers.

What is it? Company data from financials, staff and hiring trends, technologies installed, marketing channels used, to company’s purchase intent, all can be processed by Mintigo’s platform. It analyzes a customer DNA fingerprint from the processed company data which can then be used by the company to score better prospects.

Why it’s hot? The process that Mintigo follows revolves around mastery of data science to revolutionize the methods used by people to market and sell. Combining the power of predictive analytics and big data, sales teams and marketers are able to discover ideal prospects, customize content for their lead development, and be provided with ready insights to shorten company’s sales cycle. Mintigo is currently a hot item due to the conviction it has gained from marketing leaders at companies like Oracle, Red Hat, Neustar, and Getty Images to help them find consumers faster.

Founders: Tal Segalov, Ehud Ben-Reuven, Jacob Shama 2009
Founded: San Mateo, California
How much did they raise? $34M 3 Rounds, 4 Investors


Short description: Quandoo is Europe’s fastest-growing real-time online Artificial Intelligence reservation system for restaurants. It is designed as an interactive online platform accessible by customers through mobile apps and channels, which they can use to find and reserve restaurants in real-time.

What is it? In a technology driven marketplace, Quandoo is providing its partner restaurants a state of the art reservation system that digitally manages inventory of restaurant’s daily offerings. It is easily accessible through online and mobile channels. Quandoo’s reservation platform has unlocked great opportunities to restaurateurs to fully launch an effective leverage to their customer base, drive engagement in low-traffic times and generate additional business on-demand.

Why it’s hot? Quandoo has expanded across 17 countries, into 95 markets and has seated more than 35 million diners in 15,000+ restaurants in less than 3 years since its launch. Quandoo has delivered an easy means for diners to explore the restaurant space, choose and reserve a table at their restaurant of choice with just a few clicks on their mobile devices. Choices range from local favorites to Michelin-starred gourmet restaurants. Choose a restaurant and hit the book button, immediately receive reservation confirmations and a share of its corresponding discounts or loyalty points.

Founders: Sebastian Moser, Philipp Magin, Daniel P. Glasner, Karin Lems, Konrad Richter, Ronny Lange, Antoine Martin, Charlotte Bruce, Tim-Hendrik Meyer 2012
Founded: Berlin, Germany
How much did the raise? $39.5M 5 Rounds, 8 Investors


Short description: HyperScience is an Artificial Intelligence Startup built as solutions targeted to partly automate corporate work processes.

What is it? HyperScience is an artificial intelligence company founded in Bulgaria by Peter Brodsky, Vladimir Tzankov, Krasimir Marinov. It is a specialized platform projected to automate office work for Global 2000 companies and government organizations. The company’s machine learning software takes over menial corporate works that at present are mostly done by humans and frees personnel to focus on more complicated tasks.

Why it’s hot? It has successfully raised $18 million on its Stage A funding round. An Artificial Intelligence that can tell you about the future, which most databases already in use today cannot do, all they can tell is the past. Intended as an automated data scientist, that is convenient to use because it operates minus the support of data science, statistics or distributed computing expertise. Essentially a stand-alone, autonomous machine platform that can support real time queries. The best platform that can enhance efficiency, expedite processing and response time, and in-the end save overhead costs.

Founders: Peter Brodsky, Vladimir Tzankov, Krasimir Marinov 2013
Founded: New York, New York
How much did the raise? $18.88M 3 Rounds, 10 Investors

We really like a few of them.

We used the following criteria to select which companies we think are the best of these 10:

  1. Space Disruption
  2. Market Size Opportunity
  3. Size & significance of problem to solve
  4. Team

First off, we like Sensely.  While it has not generated the most funding, we believe healthcare is the space that will benefit greatly from AI.

Sensely uses AI in the multi-billion dollar healthcare space and seeks to tackle CHF, Diabetes and Behavioral issues for patients. They are seasoned executives with the right mixture of market space knowledge and expertise.  Their product combines hardware, sensor, software and IoT solutions. In fact, we cannot believe they have raised only a small amount of funding. The healthcare business is also a sector that is ready for AI disruption

Viv is a close second.  When Siri arrived we thought it would revolutionize everything: how we search, how we communicate and how we find things.   We can say that at best it has been disappointing.

Fast forward 5 years later and you have the same team getting at it again injecting AI to make sure the interaction via voice gets more exciting, finally getting voice searches right and on top of it, they have top notch VC investors. Exciting!

Tell us what you think.

Zazmic Tech helps build, create & grow startups.  Software development is our space.  We are headquartered in San Francisco with offices around Europe.