We celebrate the 10th anniversary of [at] - Alexander Thamm in 2022.
In 2012, we were the first consultancy in the German-speaking world to take up the cause of Data & AI. Today, we can say that artificial intelligence has the potential to make an important contribution to some of the major economic and social challenges of our time: AI plays a role in the energy transition and climate change, in autonomous driving, in the detection and treatment of diseases or pandemic control. AI increases the efficiency of production processes and increases the adaptability of companies to market changes through real-time information as well as predictions.
The economic significance of the technology is growing rapidly. More than two thirds of German companies now use artificial intelligence and machine learning.
With #AITOP10 we show you what's hot right now in the field of Data & AI. Our TOP10 lists present podcast highlights, industry-specific AI trends, AI experts, tool recommendations and much more. Here you get a broad cross-section of the Data & AI universe that has been driving us for 10 years now.
Enjoy reading - and feel warmly invited to add to the list!
TOP 10 AI Start-Ups
Artificial intelligence (AI) has now conquered almost every industry. From the most mundane tasks to the most complex decisions, AI performs many tasks better and faster than humans. The use of AI already offers many advantages, although AI is only at the beginning of its development. However, many start-ups have taken up the cause of AI, and some companies are already so successful that they are considered unicorns.
*Company value as of February 2022
Rank 10 Icertis (USD 5 bn*)
Contracts are the foundation of commerce, and now they are even being digitised. The start-up Icertis uses digitised contracts to extract and analyse important data with the help of text recognition (OCR) and natural language processing (NLP). The Icertis Contract Intelligence Platform enables companies to gain deep insights into contractual relationships and performance, identify clauses in contracts, extract attributes and validate contract data. As a result, the contract review process can be shortened, contracts with third parties can be processed faster, and risks can be reduced. This allows for consistent negotiation with the opposing contracting party for the best possible terms and outcomes.
9th place Horizon Robotics (USD 5 bn*)
Running AI-based applications often requires a lot of computing power and is therefore often done in large data centres. This makes it all the more difficult to transfer these high computing powers to a smaller and more energy-efficient scale for robots or autonomous vehicles. The Chinese start-up Horizon Robotics is developing software solutions and hardware for this purpose that make it possible to use AI applications efficiently even for applications with a smaller form factor. With the support of the hardware company Intel and in cooperation with car manufacturers such as Audi, the start-up has already developed a driver's assistant that processes videos in real time to identify road boundaries, other vehicles and pedestrians. Horizon also makes processors for AI applications and develops algorithms and tools for autonomous driving and driving monitoring.
8th place 6Sense (USD 5.2 bn*)
AI has now become one of the cornerstones for developing tools for salespeople. Start-up 6Sense, one of the pioneers in using AI to improve the sales and marketing experience, captures customer signals from known sources such as the internet to identify accounts and classify customers. Using AI-based predictions, this can prioritise customers, recommend engagement times and create personalised customer experiences based on real-time customer buying behaviour. Combined with optimised and customised marketing, 6Sense can help businesses improve their conversion rates and reduce customer churn.
Rank 7 Pony.ai (5.3 billion USD*)
Another interesting company that has taken up the cause of autonomous driving is Pony.ai. Their specially developed deep-learning platform is already being used in tests with cars on public roads in China and California. One of the biggest challenges in developing such AI-based software for self-driving cars is the lack of large data sets. By testing the cars on public roads and collecting data in different driving and weather situations, the AI can gain a better understanding of the environment and driving behaviour, making autonomous vehicles safer on public roads. Therefore, Pony.ai is testing their AI in any conditions on the roads and managing to bring it closer and closer to production readiness.
6th place DataRobot (USD 6.3bn*)
Developing a complete ML project from scratch can take a lot of work and programming. The company DataRobot wants to simplify this development process with its end-to-end machine learning platform. Finding an algorithm that fits the existing data, is most effective and delivers accurate results is sometimes very time-consuming. Here, the DataRobot platform identifies a suitable algorithm for the underlying data set, simplifying the creation and modelling of an ML model. By simplifying many aspects of creating an ML pipeline, DataRobot seeks to make AI technology more accessible and shorten the necessary development times of ML applications.
5th place Automation Anywhere (USD 6.8 billion*)
Robotic Process Automation (RPA) and AI are a dream team when it comes to optimising business processes and workflows. In every company, there are tasks that are done by humans, but which could actually be done by software robots instead, in order to save time and focus on truly value-adding tasks. With RPA, these tasks are taken over by a software robot that imitates a human doing the task. With technology from start-up Automation Anywhere, automation doesn't stop there: By using AI, the company's services can accelerate digital business processes by learning to make decisions and discover new tasks for automation. As the largest start-up in the RPA space, Automation Anywhere uses machine learning and analytics to turn information into data, gain business insights and optimise automated task execution.
Rank 4 Gong (USD 7.25 billion*)
Sales is an important part of every company. The start-up Gong is dedicated to solving the typical problems in the sales & customer area with the help of AI. To help companies improve their customer success and sales performance, Gong tracks every customer interaction, such as sales calls and emails, and evaluates important factors such as conversation topics, duration or frequency of customer conversations using natural language processing and machine learning. This allows the AI to determine whether certain conversation topics, approaches or strategies are successful and lead to a deal more often. AI can be used to train the sales team, identify risks, make real-world predictions and apply smarter strategies, significantly optimising sales performance and customer relationships.
3rd place Argo AI (USD 7.25 bn*)
Start-up Argo AI, which has already attracted the attention of carmakers Ford and Volkswagen, is driving innovation in self-driving technology. Using lidar, radar and camera sensors, their AI-based self-driving system aims to make transport and delivery a breeze. With expertise from two car manufacturers, they are already testing their vehicles on public roads in six US cities. The system relies on detailed 3D maps created using the vehicle's sensors and AI, as well as cloud infrastructure to share data between the different vehicles. Volkswagen and Ford have since invested in the promising start-up and are providing it with test vehicles to bring the autonomous driving technology to the road.
2nd place Scale AI (USD 7.3 bn*)
Preparation is half the battle - this wisdom also applies when training an AI. In order to train a machine learning (ML) model for a specific purpose, labelled data is needed. The company Scale AI specialises in the field of data labelling and preparation, working with several companies from different industries, especially from the automotive industry, to generate the right data to train their ML models. Labelled data can be a square or frame around an object in an image or video, important sections in a text, or even structured audio data. Only by labelling data sets can an ML model be trained and used for its specific purpose. As Scale AI has quickly become an expert in the field of data labelling, innovative and large companies such as OpenAI, Airbnb, SPA and Toyota are among their best-known customers.
1st place ByteDance (USD 140 billion*)
Known for the social media platform TikTok, ByteDance is by far the most highly rated AI start-up to date. Its famous app provides users around the world with short video clips recommended by an AI based on their preferences, viewing habits and location. Another popular app from the software start-up, especially in China, is Toutiao. Through AI-based recommendations, the app offers its users personalised and unique news, sports and entertainment content, tailored to the user. With AI as a key ingredient for success, the company, founded in 2012, has quickly become a major start-up with sophisticated technology in the world of AI. ByteDance has even started to conquer the B2B market by selling its recommendation algorithms to the media company BuzzFeed, for example.
These are our carefully researched and compiled top 10 AI start-ups that are already using AI to change our world.
What's your favourite start-up that's using AI to make a difference? Tell us your insider tip below this article.