The number of companies handling AI technology is increasing dramatically both in Japan and overseas. While AI research is mainly led by major IT companies, the success of startup companies is essential for the introduction of AI into society.
For example, the influence of a group of giant IT companies called GAFA (Big Tech) is tremendous, and among the world’s AI startup companies, there are quite a few unicorn companies with a company valuation exceeding 1 billion dollars (about 125 billion yen). .
In this article, we will introduce various AI companies through the AI efforts of domestic and overseas companies.
The flow of AI development and necessary skills are also explained in the following articles.
Table of contents
- About corporate AI initiatives
- Background of the rapid progress of AI startup companies
- Efforts in the AI business of large companies
- Notable AI companies in Japan
- Top 10 startup AI companies in Japan
- 5 large companies actively adopting AI
- Notable overseas AI-related companies
- Top 10 startup AI companies in America
- About GAFA’s AI business
- Top 4 startup AI companies in China
About corporate AI initiatives
First, let’s take a look at what kind of initiatives companies are taking with respect to AI by type.
Notably, startup companies are active in the AI field. What are the circumstances behind it?
Background of the rapid progress of AI startup companies
The term “startup company” was coined in Silicon Valley, a city where the world’s most advanced IT companies gather.
The term “startup company” has a strong meaning of “aiming for rapid growth with an innovative original business”, but there is no big difference between the words “venture company” and “startup company”.
AI technology is advancing rapidly, and the invention and spread of AI services in recent years has been unfolding at a remarkable speed.
Against this background, the services of start-up companies have a good chance of gaining a market share equal to or exceeding that of the services of conventional major companies.
Efforts in the AI business of large companies
During the 1980s, which is said to be the dawn of AI, and the 1990s and 2000s, when IT companies made great strides, large companies that have worked on AI development over a long period of time are in a position to lead the industry.
For example, in Japan, large companies such as Fujitsu and NEC have long been engaged in AI development, and overseas, a giant IT company called GAFA is leading the world’s AI business.
In addition, these large companies also invest in and acquire start-up companies, and contribute to the innovation of AI technology by providing financial and organizational support.
Notable AI companies in Japan
In this article, we will introduce major AI companies divided into three categories: domestic (Japan), the United States, and China. First, let’s take a look at the specific AI initiatives of Japanese companies.
Top 10 startup AI companies in Japan
First of all, among the many AI-related business start-ups in Japan, we will introduce companies that have received a lot of funding and are attracting a lot of attention from the media.
The 10 domestic AI startup companies introduced this time are as follows.
- atama plus
- Thinksite Co., Ltd.
- legal force
- Preferred Networks
- ExaWizards Inc.
- QuantumCore Co., Ltd.
- Eliza Co., Ltd.
- Paksha Technology
I will explain each.
atama plus is a company that develops AI teaching materials “atama +”.
“atama +” is a learning system that optimizes individual instruction, and when used, can significantly streamline the process of learning learning materials.
For example, by teaching the AI where the student does not understand, the AI can provide accurate assistance, or identify the weak unit individually and provide the support necessary to overcome it.
Atama plus aims to halve the time it takes to acquire basic academic skills, and instead increase the time to cultivate the ability to live in society.
The Z-kai Group and the Sundai Group are already promoting the introduction of “atama +”, and further success is expected in the future.
②Thinksite Co., Ltd.
Thinksite is a startup company that promotes the introduction of AI in the fields of life science and healthcare.
The company aims to commercialize technology that classifies single cells (single cells) using cutting-edge optical and machine learning techniques.
The development of a cell analysis and separation device was the first achievement in the world, and we are currently proceeding with research and development of a drug discovery and diagnostic platform that applies this technology.
Legal Force is a company that provides a service that uses AI to streamline contract review work.
By uploading a contract to the system, this service immediately identifies risks, unfavorable clauses, and incomplete expressions in the contract, and provides revised examples for review.
It supports various languages, and has a rich commentary function such as “Why did AI make this point?”
In this way, Legal Force is promoting the introduction of AI in the legal tech field and the introduction of IT in legal-related work.
Preferred Networks is a company that is famous as a unicorn company from Japan. We provide visual inspection software that utilizes deep learning, mainly for the manufacturing industry.
Its corporate value is said to exceed 350 billion yen, making it one of the most prominent start-up companies. We aim to utilize AI in all fields while cooperating with large companies such as Toyota Motor Corporation, NTT, and Hitachi.
ExaWizards Co., Ltd. is a company that is working on “Industrial innovation and solving social issues by developing services that utilize AI.”
In particular, we aim to simultaneously improve productivity and the happiness of workers through HR and AI.
For example, we will focus on providing AI services that support human resource development and personnel labor management, such as cloud-based personnel data utilization services that introduce AI, and personal AI that supports employee work efficiency, skills, and mental health. is inserted.
⑥ QuantumCore Co., Ltd.
QuantumCore Co., Ltd. is the first company in the industry to provide AI services using reservoir computing. The company’s technology enables high accuracy and overwhelming speed of AI processing.
By reducing the time loss of conventional large-scale data collection and the time loss of waiting for learning after tuning, it is possible to improve the operational efficiency of the process of introducing AI.
Furthermore, even in fields where it was difficult to utilize AI in the past, we aim to lower the technical hurdles with new technology.
⑦ Eliza Co., Ltd.
Eliza Co., Ltd. is an AI professional group centered on Deep Learning from the University of Tokyo Matsuo Laboratory. With the motto of “Creating commonplace in unexplored areas”, we aim to introduce AI in new areas.
Among the products developed by Eliza, the epoch-making and famous one is “ELYZA Brain”.
“ELYZA Brain” is the largest Japanese AI engine in Japan in the area of natural language processing technology, and boasts astonishing accuracy that surpasses native Japanese speakers in partial technical tasks.
⑧ Parksha Technology
PKSHA Technology is a company that conducts research and development and social implementation of “technology to intelligentize various software and hardware” using machine learning and deep learning technology.
With the vision of “shaping the software of the future”, we provide algorithm modules and software specialized for specific functions.
Paksha Technology is known as a particularly profitable company and is expected to continue to play an active role in a wide range of fields in the future.
GHELIA is a startup company launched in 2017.
The company is developing an integrated AI platform with the goal of enabling everyone to freely use cutting-edge deep learning technology. We are proceeding with the introduction.
Engineers from the Sony Group are members of the organization, and it is also a company that emphasizes collaboration with large companies in AI development.
ABEJA Co., Ltd. provides the cloud service “ABEJA Platform” that utilizes deep learning, and has supported the introduction of AI to many companies.
ABEJA is also known for receiving funding from Google. We are a company that focuses on promoting the introduction of AI from a global perspective while collaborating with overseas IT companies.
5 large companies actively adopting AI
Next, I would like to introduce major companies involved in AI in Japan and their initiatives. The following five companies are introduced here.
- SONY AI
- Toyota Ventures
I will explain each.
⑪NEC | Formulation of original AI technology brand
In 2016, NEC established an original AI technology brand called “NEC the WISE.” This name contains the idea that people and AI will work together to solve social issues with advanced wisdom.
As shown in the diagram above, NEC possesses cutting-edge technologies in each field of AI technology. NEC aims to “maximize people’s intellectual creation activities” by branding these technologies and promoting business.
⑫Fujitsu｜Providing a platform for AI utilization
Fujitsu provides FUJITSU Human Centric AI Zinrai, a platform for AI utilization.
In addition, the company is promoting joint research with many companies and universities with the aim of “human-centered AI that cooperates with people” and “continuously growing AI.”
Fujitsu has been engaged in research and development of AI utilization since the 1980s, the dawn of AI, and has been developing AI that is strong in the Japanese language and Japanese business, with a focus on “domestic” AI.
⑬NTT｜New value creation with partners and local governments
NTT has given the brand name “corevo” to initiatives that utilize AI-related technologies cultivated through research and development, and aims to create new value with collaboration partners and local governments.
“corevo” is promoting social implementation in various fields such as business, transportation, infrastructure, healthcare, and life support, with the four AI technologies shown above as the core.
⑭ SONY AI | Promotion of research and provision of AI utilization
“SONY AI” was established in 2019 as an organization that promotes research on AI utilization, focusing on the three fields of games, imaging & sensing, and gastronomy (food).
We are developing AI that expands the creativity of artists and creators and AI that provides unprecedented entertainment.
“SONY AI” is also known for establishing its own Sony Group AI Ethics Guidelines. While producing AI products, it is an organization that actively proposes the future of AI and human society.
⑮Toyota Ventures | Investing in startups and launching new funds
In 2017, Toyota launched “Toyota AI Ventures” based in Silicon Valley (Los Altos, California).
It was reported that the company name will be changed to “Toyota Ventures” in June 2021 and that it will expand its activities on a larger scale.
“Toyota Ventures” is a company aimed at investing in the technology of startup companies and launching new funds.
In this way, there are large companies that are trying to promote the introduction of AI in society by not only developing AI themselves, but also financially supporting the AI technology of startup companies.
Notable overseas AI-related companies
After domestic AI companies, we will introduce overseas AI companies by dividing them into three categories: “America’s Noteworthy Startups”, “GAFA’s AI Business”, and “China’s AI Venture Companies”.
Top 10 startup AI companies in America
From here, we will introduce companies that have received a lot of funding and are attracting a lot of attention from the media.
The following 10 companies are introduced.
- Automation Anywhere
- Aurora Innovation
- Sentinel One
I will explain each.
NURO is a start-up company engaged in research and development of autonomous driving technology. We are developing a small robot for home delivery, a so-called delivery robot.
Autonomous driving technology for human-carrying cars faces various regulatory issues, but this small delivery robot can avoid such difficulties.
Also, the demand for contactless delivery systems is increasing, especially with the current Corona pandemic. Therefore, the delivery robot developed by NURO will likely attract more and more attention in the future.
ZOOX is currently the hottest autonomous mobility company. In 2017, we partnered with NIVIDIA, and in 2020, we entered the umbrella of Amazon.
ZOOX is developing a robotaxi. In the near future, it is predicted that robo-taxis will spread rapidly as a means of transportation in urban areas.
The robotaxi developed by ZOOX is superior in terms of safety and functionality, and is already capable of level 5 autonomous driving (fully automated).
Samsara is an AI startup company specializing in services for the manufacturing industry.
We are promoting the introduction of AI to sensor systems. We are also active in introducing AI to logistics operations, and have succeeded in improving the efficiency of managing the location of delivery trucks and the temperature inside trucks, for example.
Automation Anywhere is a startup company that promotes RPA using bots.
We provide an automation platform that applies AI technology to analysis functions. Automation Anywhere has business partnerships with many companies, including major Japanese companies, and is also contributing to the promotion of RPA.
⑳ Thought Spot
ThoughtSpot is a company that develops AI analysis tools that anyone can easily use.
Using conventional search and analysis tools required a high degree of specialized knowledge, but the analysis platform developed by the company enables analysis with the same ease as searching and clicking.
Through a simple and easy-to-understand UI, you can finish the analysis in just a few seconds, so you can achieve overwhelming work efficiency.
Aurora Innovation is a startup company founded by former self-driving divisions of well-known companies such as Google, Uber, and Tesla.
Autonomous driving technology is facing a “wall of practical application” due to various laws and regulations, but rather than presenting a grand vision, the company is seeking a more realistic path.
In addition, the company has been highly evaluated for its attitude of tackling the issues at hand one by one, such as technical issues of machine learning and proof of safety.
Dataminr is a start-up company in the business of risk detection. By analyzing the huge amount of text data and image data posted on SNS, risks can be detected earlier than any means of information transmission.
Receive only relevant alerts according to the user-defined areas of interest. Datamiinr’s services are used not only by individuals, but also by many financial institutions, investment institutions, and media outlets.
TEMPUS is a company that promotes the introduction of AI in the medical and healthcare fields.
In particular, the ECG (electrocardiogram) analysis platform developed by the company has attracted wide attention. This service is an epoch-making service that can predict the risk of developing atrial fibrillation within the next 12 hours.
TEMPUS is expected to further promote the development of AI-based medical and healthcare risk prediction technology in cooperation with research institutes and hospitals.
DataRobot is a startup company that provides AI services for enterprises.
By automating the construction, deployment and management of machine learning models for many companies, we provide services that realize highly reliable AI technology and return on investment (ROI).
SentinelOne is a startup company that develops security countermeasure services using AI. Autonomous AI seamlessly detects, blocks, and recovers from threats.
The company points out that cybercrime is increasing while many companies are promoting IT during the corona pandemic.
In an era where remote work is becoming standardized, there is an increasing demand for improved security technology.
About GAFA’s AI business
Next, I would like to introduce GAFA’s efforts toward AI.
GAFA is an acronym for four major American IT-related companies ( Google, Apple, Facebook, and Amazon ) that have great influence in the world .
GAFA is a company active in the IT field, and each company uses AI in many businesses.
Therefore, from here, I will introduce how AI is utilized in GAFA and incorporated as a business.
Google can be said to be the driving force behind the third AI boom.
The third AI boom is often talked about because a team from the University of Toronto won an overwhelming victory in an image recognition contest in 2012 using deep learning, but Google was launched by the leader of that team the following year. acquired a company called DNN Research.
And in 2016, “Alpaha Go” developed by Google beat the world champion at that time in Go. This event symbolizes the 3rd AI boom through deep learning.
In addition, Google was one of the first to start developing AI services that can be used without specialized knowledge.
For example ” TensorFlow “. TensorFlow is a machine learning / deep learning /multilayer neural network library, and is widely used by well-known overseas companies such as Airbnb and Coca-Cola to individuals in Japan.
In addition to TensorFlow, “Auto ML” is also an AI service developed by Google.
Auto ML is an AI service designed to eliminate the need for detailed machine learning knowledge and technically cumbersome processes. In this way, Google continues to lead trends and the latest technology in current AI services.
Amazon is known for providing AWS machine learning, artificial intelligence , and deep learning services.
AWS (Amazon Web Services) is a cloud computing service provided by Amazon for individuals and corporations. This has made it easier for individuals and companies to introduce AI into their businesses.
Apple has increased its presence in recent years with the acquisition of AI companies. According to a report in April 2021, the company will invest $430 billion (approximately ¥46 trillion) in AI technology over the next five years.
By acquiring AI technology, it seems that the purpose is to expand the functions of Siri’s voice recognition system and iPhone.
Facebook has announced a breakthrough AI model called “SEER”.
Developed using a large collection of Instagram images, the model allows image classification without the labeling process.
This learning is named ‘self-supervised learning’ and is expected to revolutionize AI technology.
Top 4 startup AI companies in China
Finally, I would like to introduce Chinese AI companies. Chinese AI companies are growing on their own soil and are known for their strong ties to sovereign wealth funds.
Among the AI startup companies in China, the four companies that are attracting particular attention are “ Sense Time ”, “ Megvii ”, “ CloudWalk ” and “ Yitu ”.
And these four companies are called ” AI Dragons “. “AI Dragons” has achieved remarkable development both in China and abroad, and Sense Time in particular is a top unicorn company that has ranked first in the market capitalization ranking among AI startup companies.
From here, we will introduce four of China’s notable AI companies “AI Dragons” and their efforts.
Sense Time (Shoyu Technology Development Co., Ltd.) is a company that conducts research and development of AI and face recognition technology that applies deep learning technology.
The company is also ranked at the top of the market capitalization ranking of startup companies in the world.
In 2021, we announced the AI brand “SenseAuto Zetsuei” for smart cars.
This technology aims to upgrade from single-vehicle intelligence to collaborative intelligence that connects both the vehicle and the road traffic system.
Megvii is China’s first unicorn company known for its facial recognition platform Face++.
In addition to developing an advanced face recognition system, the company is also actively working on the development of an AI temperature detection analysis system (thermo-thermal camera).
Also, due to the coronavirus pandemic, the company’s technology that can instantly check the body surface temperature of people walking is attracting attention.
Cloud Walk is an AI unicorn company originating in China that is mainly funded by government-affiliated funds, and is a company that boasts a large number of achievements in public projects and infrastructure projects in China.
The company has established a unique position in China, handling particularly sensitive businesses such as Chinese ministries, police organizations and state-owned banks.
The face recognition system “Dragonfly Eye” developed by Yitu boasts accuracy enough to identify 2 billion face data.
This technology is mainly used in the security maintenance system in China. The system has helped reduce crime rates in China’s urban areas and locate a large number of wanted criminals and suspects.
The company’s system has achieved certain results in China, despite privacy and human rights issues.
In this article, we introduced domestic and overseas AI companies.
The startup companies introduced this time have all brought about technological innovation in a specific field, and are showing a positive attitude toward implementing it in a wider field in cooperation with large companies and research institutes.