It’s been an exciting time since we announced the Innovate.AI startup competition with our partners at Microsoft Ventures last October. What started as an idea we shared with our friends there, evolved into a global competition generating interest from some of the most innovative companies in the ML/AI field. We’ve been thrilled with the enthusiasm and strong response we received and would like to thank each participating company for their submission and the judges for the countless hours they spent evaluating each application.
The competition showcased the breadth of problems and use cases that companies are addressing by applying ML/AI. A couple of interesting observations about trends from the applicant pool emerged:
- Intelligent Applications are on the rise – as data become plentiful and easily available and accessible, using AI and ML to build a continuous learning system is a fundamental fabric of every application is the way of the future. Many of the companies are targeting a variety of industries with plentiful and readily available datasets.
- Innovation follows data availability – most companies that are thinking about innovative ways to provide insights and predictive analytics focus a lot on their data strategy and how to best organize and use the data they have as an integral part of the value they can and want to deliver to their customers.
- Business models are still evolving: most ML/AI companies don’t fit the traditional software model of selling licenses or software-as-a-service. We saw a combination of business models, some leaning towards pure professional services, others a hybrid between licensing and SaaS. It’s clearly an area that will evolve as the companies mature.
Additionally, we saw a concentration in the following verticals:
- Healthcare & Research: personal and mental health assistants, drug research and diagnosis, and computer vision to spot patterns and abnormalities.
- Financial Services: research summaries and insights for investment professionals.
- IoT & Edge Computing: analyzing data from edge devices, predictive maintenance, security and autonomous vehicle applications
- Sales & Marketing: optimizing leads and focusing sales people on top opportunities.
- Retail: Using computer vision to automatically recognize and tag items in images and video, enhanced advertising & shopping experiences.
And finally, we’d like to congratulate all of our finalists and welcome them to the final stage of the competition. Here is a closer look at who they are:
- Alpha Vertex: cognitive systems for the financial services community.
- ConceptualEyes: accelerates the speed of pharmaceutical research and discovery with artificial intelligence.
- Envisagencis, Inc.: uses artificial intelligence to unlock cures for hundreds of diseases caused by RNA splicing.
- FunnelBeam: a customizable sales intelligence platform.
- ID R&D Inc: next-generation authentication solutions including voice, behavioral, and fusion biometrics.
- TARA Intelligence Inc: a SaaS application to scope projects, assign developers, and monitor ongoing performance to build software faster.
- Uru: fusing computer vision and artificial intelligence to create better ad experiences for video.
- Wallarm: an adaptive, intelligent, application security platform.
- Waygum, Inc.: intelligent IOT platform and mobile app for manufacturing.
To see a list of finalists in Europe and Israel, visit Microsoft Ventures.