The recent IPO of Chinese social media giant Kuaishou demonstrates that, for some emerging large companies, AI is their core product. Global VC funding supports this software architecture with rapidly increasing deal sizes across segments, including horizontal platforms, vertical applications, autonomous machines and semiconductors. End-user spending is also poised to escalate in 2021, given the improving performance of AI for language processing tasks.
Our latest installment of Emerging Tech Research includes updated market size estimates and spotlights on private companies, including Databricks, DataRobot and Samsara. The report also tracks major industry trends in AI and machine learning—covering developments in data preparation, computational biology and manufacturing. Takeaways include:
- Driven by healthcare, autonomous vehicles and AI core software each receiving over $2 billion in invested capital, Q1’s VC funding for AI set its second consecutive quarterly record, with more than $20 billion invested across 995 deals.
- Buoyed by consumer AI giant Kuaishou’s $55.5 billion IPO valuation, VC exit flow broke out in China in Q1—resulting in a $74.1 billion exit value in Q1 alone, which exceeds 2020’s total.
- Startups are seeing high valuation growth in the core, healthcare and industrial categories of AI.