Qualcomm announces AI Fund worth up to $100M, invests in Israeli startup AnyVision
Qualcomm has launched the Qualcomm Ventures AI Fund, which will invest up to $100M in AI startups, with a focus on those using on-device AI (i.e., where machine learning takes place on the end device, like smartphones or automobiles, and not the cloud). The fund will focus on startups that share the vision of on-device AI becoming more powerful and widespread, with an emphasis on those developing new technology for autonomous cars, robotics and machine learning platforms. This fund builds on more than a decade of Qualcomm’s AI research and its heritage of developing the foundational building blocks of low power processing and connectivity, which are essential for AI.
As part of the fund, Qualcomm also announced it’s investing in AnyVision, the world’s leading body, object and facial recognition startup that is mitigating privacy concerns by enabling the use of AI on cameras and other devices. Beyond its financial commitment, Qualcomm Ventures brokered introductions to its own technology leaders, resulting in AnyVision’s use of Qualcomm’s AI hardware platform.
Founded in 2015 by Eylon Etshtein, Tel Aviv, Israel-based AnyVision is an AI design and development company that specializes in face, object and human recognition in mass crowd events. Its use of on-device AI minimizes the spread of data, mitigating privacy concerns. Its unique data acquisition strategy, together with its proprietary algorithms, are expected to provide immense value to customers. This investment – the first made by the AI fund – will further AnyVision’s efforts to expand into other industries and develop new AI applications that transform how the world connects, computes and communicates. The announcement was made at Qualcomm Ventures’ 5G & AI Summit in San Francisco, where influential leaders in AI convened to discuss applications of the technology in different industry verticals.
Qualcomm Ventures has been an early investor in some of the world’s highest valued AI startups including Cruise, SenseTime and Brain Corp, and they have a clear vision: mobile will become the pervasive AI platform as 5G allows AI applications to become more powerful and widespread.
Qualcomm has set out to make on-device AI technology ubiquitous by inventing, developing, commercializing and, importantly, investing in it. As AI shifts towards the wireless edge – combining essential on-device capabilities with the edge cloud – the industry is already starting to see the full potential of 5G. Qualcomm’s ambitious 5G vision and strategic commitment to on-device AI goes hand in hand with mobile becoming the pervasive AI platform.
“At Qualcomm, we invent breakthrough technologies that transform how the world connects, computes, and communicates,” said Steve Mollenkopf, CEO of Qualcomm Incorporated. “For over a decade, Qualcomm has been investing in the future of machine learning. As a pioneer of on-device AI, we strongly believe intelligence is moving from the cloud to the edge. Qualcomm’s AI strategy couples leading 5G connectivity with our R&D, fueling AI to transform industries, business models and experiences.”
“Qualcomm Ventures is proud to invest in the future of AnyVision and many other key players in the AI industry,” said Quinn Li, senior vice president, Ventures, Qualcomm Technologies, Inc. and global head of Qualcomm Ventures. “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.”
The Qualcomm Ventures team has a demonstrated track record of investing in some of the top global AI startups. The AI Fund will continue to invest in those that share Qualcomm’s vision of making on-device AI ubiquitous. Qualcomm’s cutting-edge research, strong mobile footprint and leading development of 5G and AI will allow Qualcomm Ventures to serve as an ideal investor in AI startups bringing the next wave of innovation. Their success will provide significant value to many industries and billions of people.