Top 10 Most Promising AI Startups

If you’ve heard it once, you’ve heard it a thousand times: Artificial Intelligence is the future. No other technology in the world has achieved so much in so little time, or has been integrated into so many fields in the last few years. You’ll find AI applications for nearly everything from marketing to engineering, and we’re only really just beginning to scratch the surface.

Many of the major tech companies in the world have ventured into AI and are investing increasing amounts of money into artificial intelligence-based technologies. Because as widely as AI is already in use, the biggest AI applications are yet to come. Several companies are at the forefront of developing, improving and further implementing artificial intelligence in several aspects of our everyday lives.

There’s no doubt that artificial intelligence will play a major role in shaping humanity’s future. So the following ranking lists the most promising AI startup companies to date, and what they have to offer.

Note: Only AI companies that are pure AI companies and were founded within the last decade are counted here.

The 10 Most Promising AI Startups 2021

top 10 ai startup

1. SenseTime

sense time - most valuable AI startup

The Hong Kong-based AI company SenseTime is the most valuable AI startup in the world currently. Looking just at the extraordinarily wide field of branches the artificial intelligence startup is already serving, this really shouldn’t come as a surprise. Over 700 companies, and some large globally known ones among them, are using SenseTime’s services. This list will more than likely further expand in 2021, so definitely keep an eye on this AI Allrounder unicorn.


2. Argo AI

argo AI - second most valuable AI startup

Argo AI was founded in 2016 by former Google and Uber employees. Despite its short time of existence, the AI company has already evolved into the major player in the rapidly growing autonomous driving industry. At this point, nobody doubts self-driving cars will be a thing in the not-so distant future and Argo AI is at the forefront of assuring that future. With Ford and more recently Volkswagen, the AI startup has gained two major car companies as investors. What’s also notable about this young company is that it is legally structured as an LLC, allowing, among other things, for a more flexible management structure.


3. Pony.ai

Pony.ai is a Chinese AI company and startup involved in developing self-driving cars. While mainly based in China’s capital Beijing, Pony.ai also has offices in Silicon Valley and cooperates with a number of investors and companies all around the world, most notably with the Japanese car giant Toyota.


4. Nuro

Founded by former Google employees, Nuro is another top name to remember in the AI industry and one that’s definitely here to stay. Nuro uses AI for its autonomous driving systems and is more specifically focused on autonomous delivery driving. As such, Nuro became the first company to receive clearance by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to use its self-driving delivery vehicles on American roads in 2020. A year before that the young startup saw a $1 billion investment from SoftBank. Currently valued at $5 billion, this autonomous delivery startup is going full speed shaping the future.


5. Megvii Technology

Megvii Technology is another major Chinese AI startup. Founded in 2011, it has quickly established itself as a globally leading AI company in the fields of computer vision and image recognition. Megvii is especially well known for its flagship product, Face++, which now is the biggest open-source computer vision platform in the world.


6. Scale AI

Scale AI has proven there’s not much of a barrier to what artificial intelligence can do. Valued at a whopping $3.5 billion, the San Francisco-based company is mainly utilizing machine learning and data labeling. The AI company trains systems to analyze written documents and is making big waves on the tech market. Despite its relative youth, the company has already broken some impressive records, and looks ready to continue to grow in the next years.


7. Aurora Innovation

Another leader in the self-driving car category, Aurora Innovation is producing safe and efficient AI solutions for transport. With a valuation of $3.1 billion, it is also contributing to making a driverless future seem closer and more possible than ever. Its self-driving trucks are set to hit the streets in Texas, and if testing goes well you might just see them closer to home.


8. DataRobot

Boston-based AI startup DataRobot has defied the odds to become one of the most intriguing unicorns around. With a current valuation of $2.7 billion, the company hopes to democratize AI in enterprises, making it so simple and easy that basic training could be enough to make you an expert. Certainly one of the most unique AI companies currently on the market.


9. Graphcore

We can’t talk about successful AI companies and not mention one of the driving forces of the industry. Many experts within the industry predict the British AI startup to power and shape the AI industry as a whole in the near future. Graphcore’s AI accelerator chips and emphasis on machine learning could redefine the future of AI, as they are set to ensure future AI technology can process more data and act more independently.


10. Hippo

As mentioned at the start, artificial intelligence will find its way into most industries and everyday services. The insurance industry is no exception. As the leading property insurance technology (InsurTech) startup, Hippo uses AI to simplify the process of aggregating and analyzing property information. With a current valuation of $1.5 billion, the young company is steadily becoming a big player on the insurance market.



Top 10 Most Promising AI Startups for 2021

(as of December 2020)

Top 10 Most Promising AI Startups:
1. SenseTime
Valuation: ~ $7.7 billion
2. Argo AI
Valuation: ~ $7.5 billion
3. Pony.ai
Valuation: ~ $5.3 billion
4. Nuro
Valuation: ~ $5.0 billion
5. Megvii Technology
Valuation: ~ $4.0 billion
6. Scale AI
Valuation: ~ $3.5 billion
7. Aurora Innovation
Valuation: ~ $3.1 billion
8. DataRobot
Valuation: ~ $2.7 billion
9. Graphcore
Valuation: ~ $2.0 billion
10. Hippo
Valuation: ~ $1.5 billion

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