Jul 26, 2019

AI startups net record funding in Q2

Adapted from CB Insights; Chart: Axios Visuals

Artificial intelligence startups generated their highest level of funding ever in this year's second quarter, according to research firm CB Insights.

By the numbers: The number of deals in the startup AI space rose to 488, the second-highest number on record, trailing only the 513 deals notched in the second quarter of 2018.

  • More than 3,600 AI startups have raised $66 billion since 2013 in over 70 countries, data shows.
  • At least 10 companies raised $100 million "mega-rounds" during the quarter. Eight of the top 10 were U.S. companies, with China's Face++ and France's Meero also on the list.

Go deeper: AI learns to write headlines (but not this one)

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The world is catching up on AI

Data: CB Insights; Chart: Axios Visuals

Last year for the first time ever, the U.S. share of global artificial intelligence startup funding deals fell to less than half the world's total.

By the numbers: The U.S. was home to nearly 75% of all deals in 2013, data shows, but is fast losing share in the startup market — a key driver of innovation.

Go deeperArrowJul 29, 2019

A reality check for AI hubris

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

For the better part of a decade, artificial intelligence has been propelled by a rocket fuel in seemingly endless supply. Deep learning, a method that allows machines to identify hidden patterns in data, has powered commercial applications like autonomous vehicles and voice assistants, and it's potentially worth trillions of dollars a year.

The other side: The rosy portrait of unstoppable progress belies a fear among some AI luminaries that things are not on the right path. In a new sort of resource curse, they say that deep learning has sucked energy away from other strains of inquiry without which AI may never approach even a child's intellectual capabilities.

Go deeperArrowAug 23, 2019

An exclusive club of media unicorns survives media industry turmoil

Data: Axios research; Chart: Harry Stevens/Axios

The exclusive club of companies that have built billion-dollar content distribution businesses has a new member: SmartNews, the Japanese news discovery app that has amassed 20 million subscribers in the U.S., and raised $28 million in its latest funding round.  

The big picture: It's a small club, mainly because the media industry is in turmoil as Facebook and Google siphon ad dollars. Companies have struggled to maintain their highest valuations amid issues like missed revenue goals, layoffs and management changes.

Go deeperArrowAug 6, 2019