Beyond OpenAI: 7 promising startups that have saved lives, sped up drug development and improved manufacturing
By Jon Swartz
Startups are also generating buzz in fields such as translation and content moderation
OpenAI is stealing the spotlight as the definitive artificial-intelligence startup -- for now. Backed by Microsoft Corp. (MSFT), the progenitor of ChatGPT-4 has become the focus of the AI wave, but other AI startups are emerging in fields including healthcare, education and manufacturing.
Based on recent interviews with venture capitalists and tech executives in the AI space, here areseven promising startups that are making waves of their own in Silicon Valley and beyond.
Inflection AI, founded by LinkedIn co-founder Reid Hoffman and Google (GOOGL)(GOOGL) DeepMind co-founder Mustafa Suleyman, released its first AI chatbot product, named Pi, in May. The ChatGPT competitor uses generative-AI technology to interact with users through dialogues in which people can ask questions and share feedback.
Suleyman has said the Palo Alto, Calif., company is developing so-called "boundary training" to ensure its technology does not violate its behavior policies, including by engaging in romantic conversations.
Imagene AI is emerging as a leader in the field of AI-based precision oncology via its molecular-testing technology. This has led to at least one patient with lung cancer getting lifesaving treatment because of early detection.
"This very technology helped save a lung-cancer patient's life through its ability to diagnose her specific type of cancer in minutes and come up with a treatable form of chemotherapy," said David Blumberg, founder and managing partner of Blumberg Capital, which is an investor in Tel Aviv-based Imagene.
SafelyYou is an AI system headquartered in San Francisco that detects and analyzes falls at senior centers in more than 30 states. "We see AI as a means to an end, and not an end in itself," says Justin Butler, a partner at Eclipse Ventures, an investor in the system, which puts a premium on privacy and does not keep surveillance videos for a short period of time. SafelyYou been able to identify and bring aid to older people as soon as they fall, and to help caregivers understand how a fall happened.
"Every person you talk to shares this story. The No. 1 cause of hospitalization for those with Alzheimer's disease is falling down," SafelyYou CEO George Netscher said in an interview. His company spun out of a research project at the University of California at Berkeley. About 20% of mishaps are "silent falls" in which the victim has fallen and gets back up without telling anyone, he added.
DeepL is not exactly an overnight AI sensation. The six-year-old German company is an advanced subscription-based service that lets users take advantage of in-house AI translation technology. It is most often used by multinational companies for operational use and by universities for research and learning purposes. "AI is now a mainstream topic, but translation has been one of its earliest uses for years," said CEO Jarek Kutylowski.
Earlier this year, DeepL reportedly raised more than $100 million, although the company declined to comment on that.
Absci Corp. (ABSI),a generative-AI drug-research company in Vancouver, Wash., that went public last year, has the capability to shave two years off the drug discovery process. The company's technology, which evaluates protein combinations for medicine, has partnerships with St. John's Cancer Institute and Oxford University's Kennedy Institute of Rheumatology, as well as with customers such as Merck . The company also just made a strategic expansion into Europe and has recruited top pharma and AI talent from OpenAI, Facebook parent Meta Platforms Inc. (META), Tesla Inc. (TSLA), Bayer and others.
Aligned AI, a startup based in Oxford, England, has developed a technique for content moderation that it claims outperforms models from OpenAI. On a content-filtration challenge that Google's Jigsaw division created, OpenAI's GPT-powered content moderation was only able to accurately filter about 32% of the problematic chatbot responses, while Aligned AI's found 97%.
Bright Machines is a software company working with manufacturers to add flexibility and scalability to their production. Through intelligent automation, the San Francisco company is helping its unnamed business partners ramp up production of electronics parts of various sizes and shapes on the same assembly line. This has allowed them to manufacture components closer to where they are sold and thereby to avoid supply-chain issues.
This content was created by MarketWatch, which is operated by Dow Jones & Co. MarketWatch is published independently from Dow Jones Newswires and The Wall Street Journal.
(END) Dow Jones Newswires
June 03, 2023 15:30 ET (19:30 GMT)
Copyright (c) 2023 Dow Jones & Company, Inc.