February 6, 2016
Artificial Intelligence has long been a controversial topic in tech circles and the general public. While it is hard to predict how AI will impact human life, it certainly excites us when we hear of another robot or AI machine getting closer to humanization. In case you have missed it, one AI bot called Evia has already replaced a human. And Evia is not a wealth management advisor as one would expect, rather it is an InsuranceTech startup's creation that threatens to turn the insurance industry upside down.
In a recent report, Bank of America predicted that robots/AI will become a $150 billion market by 2020. As expected, an increasing number of startups are looking to ride the golden wave with innovative solutions and technology.
Players in lending, trading and fraud detection are already using machine learning to provide services. And of course, the wealth management sector is the one most vulnerable to AI (or to benefit from it depending on your point of view) as machines like IBM Watson are learning at a rapid pace leaving humans far behind.
Notable FinTech players like Affirm, ZestFinance, BillGuard, Lending Club, Kabbage and LendUp are using machine learning for accurate decision making and predictive analysis. Affirm, for example, is mining vast amounts of data to successfully rewrite the rules on how credit is evaluated. To protect against fraud and build credit data, the company uses machine learning models.
There are other FinTech companies leveraging AI to improve their products and services. Even major players like PayPal are getting their hands into AI. PayPal’s efforts towards utilizing Deep Learning systems can be clearly seen in its current anti-fraud systems. The Deep Learning systems have been effective in analyzing factors such as timelines, location, etc. as part of payment transactions. PayPal is also utilizing this Deep Learning methodology to determine which fraud-detection models will be implemented. PayPal hopes to take this Deep Learning approach forward and one day also generate data-driven insights in real time to curb fraud.
As AI rapidly evolves with passionate supporters and believers, there are some especially hot and well-funded companies in the segment that are at the forefront of AI application.
Sentient Technologies has created the largest and most powerful intelligent system in the world to transform how businesses tackle complex problems. The company was founded in 2014 with HQ in California. Access Industries, Horizon Ventures and Tata Communications have invested in the company and brought in the total funding to $143 million.
Ayasdi offers an insights discovery platform that helps organizations discover and utilize insights from their data. From healthcare to financial services, Ayasdi's machine intelligence applications are transforming complexity into profitability. Siemens, Citi, Credit Suisse, General Electric, US Department of Homeland Security, Merck, Johnson & Johnson are among Ayasdi's clients. Total funding for the company reached $98 million.
Vicarious is building a unified algorithmic architecture to achieve human-level intelligence in vision, language, and motor control. Currently, the company is focused on visual perception problems, like recognition, segmentation, and scene parsing. Vicarious is interested in general solutions that work well across multiple sensory domains and tasks. The company is on a mission to build the next generation of AI algorithms. Mark Zuckerberg, Peter Thiel, Jeff Bezos, Vinod Khosla, Ashton Kutcher, Samsung, Formation 8, Khosla Ventures, Data Collective, Marc Benioff, Felicis Ventures, Founders Fund and Elon Musk are among the investors who have funded $72 million.
Digital Reasoning’s Synthesys solution consolidates the brainpower of thousands of people with the capability to read and understand vast volumes of data at blazing-fast speeds. Cloudera, Accenture, Tableau, AWS, Oracle and others are among the company’s partners. Credit Suisse, Goldman Sachs and other investors have brought in total funding of $52 million.
Context Relevant automatically explores complex combinations of inputs, even when there are hundreds or thousands of highly dynamic parameters. The company provides near real-time analytics applications like customer behavior analysis, sales intelligence, pricing strategy, and others to enable businesses to maximize the value of all data assets. Bank of America, Goldman Sachs, Formation 8, Vulcan Capital and others have brought total funding to $44 million.
Cortica was founded in 2007 with a vision to fundamentally revolutionize computers' approach to understanding images and video. Cortica's technology simulates the human cortex in order to understand and recognize images with the highest degree of accuracy. Cortica's technology reads and automatically associates images with relevant content in real time. This groundbreaking model gives the company’s partners a completely new way to engage highly targeted mass audiences. Horizons Ventures, Mail.ru and others brought total funding to $37 million.
WorkFusion is a SaaS company that radically reduces the cost and improves the accuracy of data collection and enrichment. The company combines business process design and management with data capture technologies such as OCR, scraping, parsing and NLP. The platform uses machine learning to optimize the performance of large data analyst workforces and automate repetitive tasks, delivering increased accuracy, speed and cost savings. The total funding of WorkFusion has reached $36 million.
RapidMiner is the industry’s #1 open-source predictive analytics platform that is disrupting the market by empowering enterprises to include predictive analytics in any business process—closing the loop between insight and action. RapidMiner’s solution makes predictive analytics lightning-fast for today’s modern analysts, radically reducing the time to unearth opportunities and risks. Hitachi, Cloudera, Tableau and many other notable companies are among RapidMiner’s partners. Early Bird Venture Capital, Nokia Growth Partners, Ascent Venture Partners and other investors have brought total funding to $36 million.
H2O.ai provides an open source machine learning platform that makes it easy to build smart applications. Using the company’s platform, data scientists and developers can import powerful algorithms into their applications. H2O.ai’s technology is already being used to predict fraud, customer churn, etc. at over 5,000 organizations, among which are Capital One, Cisco, PayPal and Progressive. Use cases and solutions include insurance analytics, risk and fraud analytics, healthcare solutions, customer intelligence and other applications. Cloudera, Hortonworks and other companies are among its partners. Investors brought total funding for the company to $33 million.
Viv is a global platform that enables developers to plug into and create an intelligent, conversational interface to anything. It is the simplest way for the world to interact with devices, services and things everywhere. Viv is taught by the world, knows more than it is taught, and learns every day. Horizons Ventures, Iconiq Capital and Pritzker Group Venture Capital have brought total funding for the company to $30 million. The company is trying to build a considerably more capable personal assistant, one that can answer sophisticated questions that connects different concepts.