12 Disruptive AI Startups


The AI startup ecosystem is thriving. Find any problem in any industry, whether it’s in eCommerce, manufacturing, insurance, medicine, airlines, or anywhere else, and there are likely to be a dozen AI startups that can address the problem in some way, shape, or form.

In the CDN industry, AI is absent. However, AI is a tsunami waiting to happen that’ll change the landscape for the better. How specifically? That’s what we’re trying to figure out today. One thing is certain, in 2020, we’ll see the very first AI-CDN model.

All the pieces are in place for industry change – the data sets, training models,  3rd party AI platforms and their data science expertise, hardware for AI, open source tools, and much more. All that is needed are the right partnerships and technologies.

CDNs by their very nature are big data companies, generating more volume of data than just about anybody. Even a small CDN delivering 2Tbps of sustained traffic generates PB’s of data in a short time frame. Sure, a lot of the data is noise, but the benefit of AI is that it can work through the noise. Perhaps, AI can even discover something important in the noise. AI can improve many different areas in the CDN stack like performance (in different layers), security, monitoring, pre-fetching, load balancing, network overlays, pattern prediction, etc.

AI has the potential to generate jaw-dropping results when it comes to reducing latency in every part of the stack. Can it halve website performance by 50% and predict which content is likely to be viewed next – think of it as AI-based prefetching? Yes. The list of benefits goes on and on.

Here’s a list of twelve innovative AI startups disrupting just about every industry out there.

1. Affectiva

A spin-off from MIT Media Labs, Affectiva is leading the industry in emotion AI science, using patented recognition technology to analyze facial expressions and emotions. The startup has a data repository of 4.9M facial expressions from 75 countries, 8.3M faces analyzed, and +50B emotion data points. The company uses deep learning, computer vision, and speech analytics for its service. APIs are available to developers, which can turn mobile and web applications into “emotion-sensing” platforms.

  • Company: Affectiva
  • Founded: 2009
  • HQ: Boston, MA
  • # of Employees: 105
  • Raised: $60M
  • Founders: Rana el Kaliouby (CEO) and Rosalind Picard (MIT Professor)
  • Product: Emotion AI platform
  • Customers: 25% of Fortune Global 500 and 1400+ brands

2. Armorblox

This startup claims to have developed the world’s first natural language understanding platform that helps detect and prevent email attacks and data loss. The platform uses deep learning and natural language processing to analyze tone, context, and writing styles in email and attachments, blocking spear phishing and other types of attacks. The product works with Office 365, G Suite, and Microsoft Exchange Server.

  • Company: Armoblox
  • Founded: 2017
  • HQ: Cupertino, CA
  • # of Employees: 44
  • Raised: $16.5M
  • Founders: Dhanajay Sampath (CDO) and Chetan Anand (Architect)
  • Product: Email security and DLP
  • Customers: Mid-market

3. BigPanda

BigPanda defines itself as the Intelligent Automation for IT Incident Management. It uses open box machine learning to automate incident management and correlate the noise into insight. They fall under the category of AIOps. The target market for this product is IT Ops, NOC, and DevOps.

  • Company: Bigpanda
  • Founded: 2012
  • HQ: Mountain View, CA
  • # of Employees: 128
  • Raised: $51M
  • Founders: Assaf Resnick (CEO) and Elik Eizenberg (CTO)
  • Product: Platform that uses ML to manage IT alerts
  • Customers: Foot Locker, Blizzard, Shutterfly, Autodesk, Tivo…

4. Big Squid

Big Squid is an AI startup that provides automated machine learning (AutoML) services. AutoML is an industry category that aims to simplify the process of working with machine learning so non-data scientists can use the service to build and deploy various models.

Big Squid provides a BI platform that is tailored to meet the needs of business and executive users. Kraken, as the platform is called allows the user to forecast business outcomes that is “grounded in mathematical certainty and ROI.”

  • Company: Big Squid
  • Founded: 2009
  • HQ: Salt Lake, UT
  • # of Employees: 62
  • Raised: $26.8M
  • Founder: Chris Knoch (CEO)
  • Product: AutoML platform
  • Customers: UnitedHealth, Skullcandy, USC, Goodwill….

5. Blue Hexagon

Blue Hexagon provides advanced network threat protection using a real-time, deep learning neural network. The startup is able to detect threats in under 1 second and “stop threats pre-compromise and before execution.” They analyze payloads and headers in determining what is a threat. The product works out of the box, with no tuning or baselining required, supporting traditional networks and the cloud.

  • Company: Blue Hexagon Inc.
  • Founded: 2017
  • HQ: Sunnyvale, CA
  • # of Employees: 33
  • Raised: $37M
  • Founders: Nayeem Islam (CEO) and Saumitra Das (CTO)
  • Product: AI-powered threat detection platform
  • Customers: Mid-market

6. Dataminr

Dataminr has developed an AI-based alert service that informs companies of breaking news before they become public. The system analyzes public information from various sources including social media to identify high impact events, alerting organizations before it becomes public so clients can be prepare for the good or bad outcome.

  • Company: Dataminr
  • Founded: 2009
  • HQ: New York
  • # of Employees: 565
  • Raised: $577M
  • Founders: Ted Bailey (CEO) and Jeff Kinsey (CTO)
  • Product: Discovers high-impact events instantly before it’s in the news
  • Customers: Hundreds of companies in 70 countries

7. DefinedCrowd

DefinedCrowd is an AI platform that helps data scientists collect and enrich training data using a combination of automated tools and human touch. The training data results in more effective ML models. The three differentiators according to them: 1) 95%-98% quality data 2) 5x-10x faster processing than the competition and 3) supports 70 languages.

  • Company: DefinedCrowd
  • Founded: 2015
  • HQ: Seattle, WA
  • # of Employees: 197
  • Raised: $13M
  • Founder: Daniela Braga (CEO)
  • Product: Provide quality training data
  • Customers: Mid-market

8. Domino Data Lab

DDL is an AI platform for data scientists that helps achieve breakthroughs in medicine, manufacturing, growing crops, and countless other areas. DDL refers to themselves as an “open, unified data science platform to build, validate, deliver, and monitor models at scale.” They support cloud-based systems and products like Hadoop, Spark, Kubernetes, and Docker containers.

  • Company: Domino Data Lab
  • Founded: 2013
  • HQ: San Francisco
  • # of Employees: 170
  • Raised: $80.6M
  • Founders:  Nick Elprin (CEO), Chris Yang (CTO), and Matthew Granade
  • Product: Data science platform to build and run ML models
  • Customers: Allstate, Dell, GAP, Bayer, Moodys, Red Hat, Easy Jet…

9. Element AI

Element AI offers consulting services and a platform to help organizations build, deploy, and run AI models at scale. Their target market is retail, logistics, manufacturing, financial services, insurance, and cybersecurity.

  • Company: Element AI
  • Founded: 2016
  • HQ: Montreal, Quebec
  • # of Employees: 446
  • Raised: $257M
  • Founders: Jean-Francois Gagne (CEO) and Nicolas Chapados (CSO)
  • Product: Create AI products for financial services and supply chain verticals
  • Customers: LG, Port Montreal, National Bank, GIC….

10. Socure

Socure is a startup that uses AI to identify real people in real-time, preventing fraud, and helping companies improve business metrics such as auto-approval rates. They work across a variety of industries including eCommerce, lending industry, and financial services. The way the service work is simple, they deploy identity verification robots across email, social media, phone, address, IP, and other places to help identify real people. Through an API, they deliver a riskScore and other metrics to organizations to prevent fraud and improve top-line growth.

  • Company: Socure
  • Founded: 2012
  • HQ: New York
  • # of Employees: 111
  • Raised: $61.9M
  • Founders: Jonny Ayers (SVP)
  • Product: Identity verification and fraud prevention.
  • Customers: Small banks and financial institutions

11. Tamr

Tamr helps organizations unify and prepare data for use in machine learning models. The platform unifies data from thousands of sources, then with the help of human experts and automated tools, they prepare data for use in solving difficult problems.

  • Company: Tamr Inc.
  • Founded: 2012
  • HQ: Cambridge, MA
  • # of Employees: 175
  • Raised: $69.2M
  • Founders: Andy Palmer (CEO), Mike Stonebraker (CTO), and lhab llyas
  • Product: Enterprise data unification platform that leverages ML.
  • Customers: GE, Toyota, Reuters, Amgen, Toyota, GlaxoSmithKline….

12. Verkada

Verkada builds plug-and-play cameras for IoT and combined with its intelligent cloud-based platform that uses AI, they are able to secure facilities like gyms, sports venues, and other places more effectively than traditional products. The AI provides the system with the capability to help it understand the physical surroundings, including people, objects, dogs (?), and so on.

  • Company: Verkada
  • Founded: 2016
  • HQ: San Mateo, CA
  • # of Employees: 209
  • Raised: $58.9M
  • Founders: Filip Kaliszan (CEO) and Benjamin Bercovitz
  • Product: Provides IoT cameras and ML-based platform to protect facilities
  • Customers: Equinox, The Salvation Army, Acer, Hilton…
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