Five Canadian artificial intelligence (AI) startups were featured on CB Insights’ fifth annual AI 100 list, which aims to highlight the world’s most promising and innovative private AI companies. CB Insights’ 2021 list includes three representatives from Quebec and two from Ontario.
This year’s list includes four new Canadian additions, Coveo, TensTorrent, Algolux, and Brainbox AI. DarwinAI is the only Canadian start-up returning from the 2020 edition of CB Insights, which lists seven other Canadian companies.
Among the startups that made this year’s list, Coveo of Quebec City was ranked tenth overall in terms of funding raised.
The CB Insights team selected these companies from a pool of more than 6,000 companies including candidates and candidates. The research company based its decisions on factors such as business relationships, investor profile, news sentiment analysis, research and development (R&D) activity, proprietary evaluation scores, market potential, competitive landscape, team strength and technological novelty.
“This year’s cohort covers 18 industries and works on everything from climate risk to accelerating drug R&D,” said Anand Sanwal, CEO of CB Insights.
Sixty-four percent of the companies selected are headquartered in the United States, while eight of the winners are based in the United Kingdom, followed by six in China and Israel and five in Canada.
Among the startups that made this year’s list, Coveo of Quebec City was ranked tenth overall in terms of funding raised. To date, the AI-powered business software provider has raised around C $ 446 million in total, far more than any other Canadian tech startup listed.
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Coveo is supported by investors including the Fonds de Solidarite FTQ, Evergreen Coast Capital, OMERS Private Equity, Investissement Québec and BDC Venture Capital. Last year, he also completed CB Insights’ first annual Retail Tech 100.
Coveo was one of three Quebec startups to break through the list, joining software startup Algolux and HVAC trading company Brainbox AI, both based in Montreal.
Algolux develops AI-based perception software. According to CB Insights, the startup has raised around $ 19 million from investors such as Drive Capital, Playground Global, Real Ventures, Intact Ventures and GM Ventures.
Founded in 2017, Brainbox AI aims to develop stand-alone HVAC technology for commercial use. According to CB Insights, the startup is supported by Desjardins Capital and Esplanade Ventures. The company raised a C $ 12 million round last April to expand into new markets.
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TensTorrent, a Toronto startup that develops AI-based computer processors, was also on CB’s latest list. Founded in 2016 and backed by Eclipse Ventures and Real Ventures, TensTorrent has raised around $ 21 million to date, according to CB Insights.
Kitchener-Waterloo’s DarwinAI, which was also on last year’s roster, cracked the AI 100 from CB Insights 2021. Backed by Obvious Ventures, Inovia Capital, Honeywell Ventures, Plug and Play Accelerator and ACVC Partners, DarwinAI wants help developers accelerate the development of deep learning. The startup aims to tackle the ‘black box’ problem by facilitating explainable AI that allows companies to create AI models they can trust.
In December, DarwinAI raised approximately US $ 5 million. Last year, the startup set its sights on detecting COVID-19, partnering with Red Hat to accelerate the deployment of its coronavirus solution, which it first revealed in March.
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Last year, seven other Canadian tech startups made CB Insights’ AI 100 list: Xanadu, Invenia, Deeplite, Korbit, Cyclica, ProteinQure, and Integrate.ai. This was a significant increase from 2019, when only one Canadian startup was on the list – Element AI from Montreal. Earlier this year, Element AI was acquired by ServiceNow for US $ 230 million.
More than half of all companies participating in last year’s AI 100, according to CB Insights, secured additional funding after being listed, raising a total of $ 5.2 billion, including 16 rounds. valued at over $ 100 million. Six of all the startups listed in 2020 also came out, three with an initial public offering, two by acquisition and one through a special purpose acquisition company (SPAC).
“As industry after industry embraces AI, we expect this year’s class to see similar levels of interest from investors, acquirers and customers,” said Sanwal.
Photo courtesy of Coveo