The fortunes of startups that leverage artificial intelligence have soared dramatically in recent years.
These AI-powered startups have seen quarterly investment totals rise from a few hundred rounds and a few billion dollars each quarter to 1,245 rounds and $17.3 billion in the second and third quarters of 2019, according to data from CB Insights. The rise in dollars chasing AI startups has been huge, demonstrating strong venture capital interest in the cohort.
But in recent quarters, the trend has slowed as VC deals for AI-powered startups fell off.
A new report from the business-data company looking at the second quarter of venture capital results for global AI startups shows historically strong but declining investing rates for the upstart firms. During a pandemic and widespread recession, this is not a complete surprise; other areas of VC investment have also fallen in recent quarters. This is The Exchange’s second look at quarterly data in the startup category, something partially spurred by our interest in the economics of the startups that make up the group.
The scale of decline is notable, however, as is the national breakdown of VC investment into AI. (The United States is doing better than you probably guessed, if you have only listened to politicians lately.)
Let’s unpack the latest results, determine how investing patterns have changed by stage and examine how different countries compare when it comes to deal and dollar volume for AI-powered startups.
Global declines, US dominance
In the second quarter of 2020, global investment into AI startups fell to 458 deals worth $7.2 billion. According to the CB Insights dataset, the deal volume is the lowest for 12 quarters, or since Q2 2017 when 387 investments into AI startups were worth $4.7 billion.