Chip giant Qualcomm's venture capital arm Qualcomm Ventures announced last night that it has launched a $100 million fund to invest in Artificial Intelligence (AI) startups. Qualcomm will invest between $2 million and $5 million, mainly in Series A,B, and C rounds in such areas as image and voice processing and companies developing new algorithms and machine learning.
It also announced that the new fund has already made its first investment, as part of the Series A financing round of Israeli startup Anyvision. In July, Anyvision announced that it had raised $28 million led by Bosch Ventures. Based in Holon, AnyVision is developing a recognition-on-demand platform that identifies people through facial, body and bone characteristics. Its product is similar to the recognition technology found in the iPhoneX and the products being developed by Israeli startups such as Mantis Vision. Other products are designed for the sports, entertainment and retail industries.
AnyVision has also developed a smart surveillance camera that is, according to the company, designed to protect public privacy. While regular surveillance camers record everything, AnyVision's camera is designed only to expose parties of interest. The company's customers and strategic partners include Microsoft, Google, Telefonica, Genetech and Johnson Controls.
The company will use its new funds for continued growth, which has seen it expand from 20 to 130 employees in the past two years. The company operates in Israel the US and UK and plans opening offices in Los Angeles, London and Singapore in the coming month.
The connection between Qualcomm and AnyVision comes about because the Israeli company specializes in developing AI technologies for end-devices including mobile phones, IoT and robotics rather than remote processing in the cloud through Internet connections.
Qualcomm Ventures Israel managing director Merav Weinryb said, "Qualcomm has announced its own AI platform, and it thinks it should switch to developing end device capabilities, in order to create AI everywhere. Qualcomm wants to push the industry forward and the way to achieve that, as well as through internal developments and launching the platform - is with the assistance of a dedicated fund."
Qualcomm Technologies SVP, ventures and global head of Qualcomm Ventures Quinn Li said, “Qualcomm Ventures is proud to invest in the future of AnyVision and many other key players in the AI industry. This investment builds on our long history of successful AI investments, including Cruise Automation, Brain Corp., Clarifai, Prospera, SenseTime and Retail Next. Through the AI Fund, we’ll continue to seek out startups, with a focus on autonomous cars, robotics, computer vision and IoT, who are developing new AI applications, advanced machine learning technologies and AI/ML platforms across different verticals.”
Digital farming company Prospera, which develops computer vision technologies that continuously monitor and analyze plant health, is one of several Israeli AI companies in which Qualcomm Ventures has invested previously. Others include online video editor Magisto and sacalable parallel file system developer weka.io.
Published by Globes, Israel business news - en.globes.co.il - on November 29, 2018
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