AI enjoys lion's share of investment in 2018

Artificial intelligence attracted more funding during 2018 than any other emerging technology, according to analysis from GlobalData. With an increasing application of AI technologies across all sectors of industry, more than 1,900 investors funded 1,000 AI-based companies throughout the year, among them Horizon Robotics, Beijing SenseTime, Zoox, Yitu Technology and Pony.ai.

The figures show that AI technologies had the lowest investors-to-idea ratio (number of venture capital investors / number of funded companies) among the emerging technologies analysed. On the other hand, companies working in the payments segment held the top position with 2.4 investors-to-idea ratio in 2018, something GlobalData attributes to the expanding payment solutions ecosystem, with mobile payments, digital transactions, cryptocurrency and digital wallets gaining traction.

It says payments technology is also ahead of other emerging technologies in terms of average deal size. Its leadership position on average deal value is driven by a US$14bn funding received by the Chinese payments major Ant Financial Services – the parent company for Alipay. Other key funded companies include Bitmain Technologies, Revolut, Coinbase and Tradeshift.

Financial deals analyst at GlobalData, Aurojyoti Bose says this upward trend is here to stay: “With expanding technology-driven disruption across industries, we expect further growth in disruptive tech companies’ funding in coming years. These technologies will play a central role in the companies’ future strategies, with early adopters likely to emerge as winners.”

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