Artificial intelligence is quickly becoming an integral part of every tech company’s strategy, so it’s no surprise that big firms are ramping up their acquisition of AI startups.
M&A activity has already seen a fivefold increase in the number of AI startup acquisitions — from 22 in 2013 to 115 in 2017. While the race is far from over, Google and Apple have acquired the most AI startups since 2012.
With close to 14 acquisitions, Google is currently leading the charge to buy AI startups. The company’s most recent acquisition involves the conversational commerce platform Banter, which helps businesses connect with their customers over popular messaging platforms like Facebook Messenger, Twitter, and Snapchat.
In 2017, Google purchased Halli Labs and Kaggle for undisclosed sums. Halli Labs is an Indian AI startup with a focus on building deep learning and machine learning systems to address what it describes as “old problems.” Data science startup Kaggle is a service connecting a growing number of data scientists and machine learning enthusiasts to create the most accurate predictive models and market models.
Last year, under undisclosed terms, Google also acquired Belarus-based AIMatter. AIMatter built both a neural network-based AI platform and a software development kit (SDK) for detecting and processing images. Under its wing is Fabby, AIMatter’s photo and video editing app that allows users to take creative selfies and is considered “distinct from recently trendy style transfer’.”