Evolving Landscape: AI Startups Take Centre Stage in 2024
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The tech industry tends to move in waves, driven by the significant, disruptive changes in technology, such as cloud and smartphones. Sometimes, it is driven by external events that bring tech buyers into sync – such as Y2K and the more recent pandemic. Some tech providers, such as SAP and Microsoft, are big enough to create their own industry waves. The two primary factors shaping the current tech landscape are AI and the consequential layoffs triggered by AI advancements. 

While many of the AI startups have been around for over five years, this will be the year they emerge as legitimate solutions providers to organisations. Amidst the acceleration of AI-driven layoffs, individuals from these startups will go on to start new companies, creating the next round of startups that will add value to businesses in the future. 

Tech Sourcing Strategies Need to Change 

The increase in startups implies a change in the way businesses manage and source their tech solutions. Many organisations are trying to reduce tech debt, by typically consolidating the number of providers and tech platforms. However, leveraging the numerous AI capabilities may mean looking beyond current providers towards some of the many AI startups that are emerging in the region and globally. 

The ripple effect of these decisions is significant. If organisations opt to enhance the complexity of their technology architecture and increase the number of vendors under management, the business case must be watertight. There will be less of the trial-and-error approach towards AI from 2023, with a heightened emphasis on clear and measurable value. 

AI Startups Worth Monitoring 

Here is a selection of AI startups that are already starting to make waves across Asia Pacific and the globe. 

  • ADVANCE.AI provides digital transformation, fraud prevention, and process automation solutions for enterprise clients. The company offers services in security and compliance, digital identity verification, and biometric solutions. They partner with over 1,000 enterprise clients across Southeast Asia and India across sectors, such as Banking, Fintech, Retail, and eCommerce. 
  • Megvii is a technology company based in China that specialises in AI, particularly deep learning. The company offers full-stack solutions integrating algorithms, software, hardware, and AI-empowered IoT devices. Products include facial recognition software, image recognition, and deep learning technology for applications such as consumer IoT, city IoT, and supply chain IoT. 
  • I’mCloud is based in South Korea and specialises in AI, big data, and cloud storage solutions. The company has become a significant player in the AI and big data industry in South Korea. They offer high-quality AI-powered chatbots, including for call centres and interactive educational services. 
  • H2O.ai provides an AI platform, the H2O AI Cloud, to help businesses, government entities, non-profits, and academic institutions create, deploy, monitor, and share data models or AI applications for various use cases. The platform offers automated machine learning capabilities powered by H2O-3, H2O Hydrogen Torch, and Driverless AI, and is designed to help organisations work more efficiently on their AI projects. 
  • Frame AI provides an AI-powered customer intelligence platform. The software analyses human interactions and uses AI to understand the driving factors of business outcomes within customer service. It aims to assist executives in making real-time decisions about the customer experience by combining data about customer interactions across various platforms, such as helpdesks, contact centres, and CRM transcripts. 
  • Uizard offers a rapid, AI-powered UI design tool for designing wireframes, mockups, and prototypes in minutes. The company’s mission is to democratise design and empower non-designers to build digital, interactive products. Uizard’s AI features allow users to generate UI designs from text prompts, convert hand-drawn sketches into wireframes, and transform screenshots into editable designs. 
  • Moveworks provides an AI platform that is designed to automate employee support. The platform helps employees to automate tasks, find information, query data, receive notifications, and create content across multiple business applications. 
  • Tome develops a storytelling tool designed to reduce the time required for creating slides. The company’s online platform creates or emphasises points with narration or adds interactive embeds with live data or content from anywhere on the web, 3D renderings, and prototypes. 
  • Jasper is an AI writing tool designed to assist in generating marketing copy, such as blog posts, product descriptions, company bios, ad copy, and social media captions. It offers features such as text and image AI generation, integration with Grammarly and other Chrome extensions, revision history, auto-save, document sharing, multi-user login, and a plagiarism checker. 
  • Eightfold AI provides an AI-powered Talent Intelligence Platform to help organisations recruit, retain, and grow a diverse global workforce. The platform uses AI to match the right people to the right projects, based on their skills, potential, and learning ability, enabling organisations to make informed talent decisions. They also offer solutions for diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI), skills intelligence, and governance, among others. 
  • Arthur provides a centralised platform for model monitoring. The company’s platform is model and platform agnostic, and monitors machine learning models to ensure they deliver accurate, transparent, and fair results. They also offer services for explainability and bias mitigation. 
  • DNSFilter is a cloud-based, AI-driven content filtering and threat protection service, that can be deployed and configured within minutes, requiring no software installation. 
  • Spot AI specialises in building a modern AI Camera System to create safer workplaces and smarter operations for every organisation. The company’s AI Camera System combines cloud and edge computing to make video footage actionable, allowing customers to instantly surface and resolve problems. They offer intelligent video recorders, IP cameras, cloud dashboards, and advanced AI alerts to proactively deliver insights without the need to manually review video footage. 
  • People.ai is an AI-powered revenue intelligence platform that helps customers win more revenue by providing sales, RevOps, marketing, enablement, and customer success teams with valuable insights. The company’s platform is designed to speed up complex enterprise sales cycles by engaging the right people in the right accounts, ultimately helping teams to sell more and faster with the same headcount.  

These examples highlight a few startups worth considering, but the landscape is rich with innovative options for organisations to explore. Similar to other emerging tech sectors, the AI startup market will undergo consolidation over time, and incumbent providers will continue to improve and innovate their own AI capabilities. Till then, these startups will continue to influence enterprise technology adoption and challenge established providers in the market.

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Tim Sheedy is the VP of Research at Ecosystm - a digitally native technology research and advisory firm. Tim brings more than 20 years of experience in designing and implementing cloud, IoT, AI and automation strategies to the Ecosystm network, to support businesses in their IT decisions. In his role he sets the research strategy for Ecosystm, and works with the advisor and analyst community to deliver a future vision for the technology sector. In his previous role, Tim spent 12 years at Forrester Research, most recently as a principal analyst, helping IT leaders improve their digital capabilities. Prior to this, he was research director for IT solutions at IDC in Australia, where he assisted IT vendors in designing solutions to better fit market requirements, and IT buyers in improving the effectiveness of their IT functions. Beyond the office, he boasts an international reputation as an entertaining and informative public speaker on the key trends in the IT market. He graduated from University of Technology Sydney with a BA majoring in Marketing and Research. In his free time, Tim enjoys bushwalking, playing football (badly!) and tennis and watching the amazing Wolverhampton Wanderers play the beautiful game, and the terrible Waratahs butcher the game they play in heaven

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