AI witnessed highest number of venture capital investors in 2019

Among all of the emerging technologies, artificial intelligence (AI) attracted the highest number of venture capital (VC) investors during 2019 while big data and internet-of-things (IoT) led in terms of investors-to-idea ratio (number of venture capital investors / number of funded companies) and average deal size, according to GlobalData, a leading and data analytics company.

Around 2,300 AI start-ups received funding worth ~US$30bn from around 4,000 investors during 2019, which is the highest among all emerging technologies. However, AI lagged behind other technologies (including cloud, Fintech, Big Data and IoT) in terms of average deal size and had the second lowest investors-to-idea ratio.

Key funded companies across these disruptive technologies were mostly located in US or Asia-Pacific regions such as China. Some of the key funded AI companies of 2019 included US-based Nuro, Chinese firm Megvii Technology, and US firm UiPath.

Aurojyoti Bose, Financial Deals Analyst at GlobalData, comments: “AI has already made its way through many sectors and virtually no major industries today remain untouched by AI. However, with different companies, industries and countries at different phases of their AI journey, the technology is gearing up to play a bigger role in conjunction with other disruptive technologies.

“One such example is big data, which has been witnessing the use of AI for data analysis. Interestingly, big data registered the highest investors-to-idea ratio of 1.87 in 2019. With the huge volume of data generated and used for making decisions on daily basis, big data plays a crucial role in data processing. Consequently, companies working in the space are gaining prominence and investors are also taking a note.”

Some of the key funded big data companies of 2019 included Chinese firm Tenglong Holdings, which is also active in the IoT and cloud space, and US-based Databricks.

On the other hand, IoT occupied the top position in terms of average deal size in 2019, riding on the back of some of the big ticket VC investments announced in the space during the year. Examples of such big ticket deals included US$3.7bn raised by Tenglong Holdings (Tamron); and US$1bn raised by Flexport.

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