In the rapidly evolving landscape of AI, keeping an eye on the frontrunners becomes essential. The year 2023 saw some major players emerge and established names challenged.
As we march into 2024, a year poised to witness further technological strides, certain AI companies are set to stand out not only for their groundbreaking solutions but also for their approaches toward a smarter future.
Here are AI Business’ top seven up-and-coming AI companies to watch in 2024. They were vetted to ensure they meet our strict criteria: They must be backed by a notable venture capitalist, angel investor or top-tier company; they must have been in operation for at least two years and the management team must have work or educational experience at renowned institutions.
Founded by OpenAI alumni and siblings Dario and Daniela Amodei, Anthropic builds frontier AI systems with an emphasis on safety, reliability and interpretability. Widely considered a strong rival to OpenAI, its Claude family of large language models gives ChatGPT a run for the money. CEO Dario Amodei has been included in AI leadership meetings with President Biden, U.K. Prime Minister Rushi Sunak and other dignitaries.
Investors: Google, Amazon, Salesforce, Zoom and others
Management: CEO Dario Amodei was formerly vice president of research at OpenAI. His sister, Daniela Amodei, who is president of Anthropic, used to be vice president of safety and policy at OpenAI.
Cohere builds large language models to power generative AI applications for enterprises. An alternative to OpenAI, Cohere’s platform is used by clients including Spotify, Glean and Oracle. McKinsey is offering Cohere’s tech for customers to integrate into their operations. Cohere was even touted as a potential buyer for Stability AI, the startup commercializing the popular image generation model, Stable Diffusion.
Turing award winner Geoffrey Hinton (who is an investor) had this to say about Cohere: “Very large language models are now giving computers a much better understanding of human communication. The team at Cohere is building technology that will make this revolution in natural language understanding much more widely available.”
Investors: Oracle, Salesforce, Nvidia, Geoffrey Hinton, Fei-Fei Li, Index Ventures
Management: Founders Aidan Gomez and Nick Frosst were researchers at Google Brain.
#3 AI21 Labs
Considered a rival to OpenAI, AI21 Labs is developing large language models, notably the Jurassic family of models that includes the powerful Jurassic-2. AI21’s models are powering its own NLP-as-a-service platform, AI21 Studio, designed for enterprises to leverage AI tools. It has also built Contextual Answers, an AI engine that allows developers to build information query capabilities into their applications.
Capgemini, electronics giant Samsung and video game developers Ubisoft are listed as users of the AI21 Studio. AI21 has also teamed up with the likes of AWS, Google Cloud, Snowflake and Dataiku to improve and integrate its tech.
Investors: Nvidia, Google, Intel Capital, Comcast Ventures, Samsung Next
Management: Founder and co-CEO Yoav Shoham has sold two companies to Google (Katango, sold in 2013 and Timeful, in 2015) and was a principal scientist at Google. Co-CEO Ori Goshen is formerly an entrepreneur in residence at Cisco and founded Crowdx. AI21’s chair, Amnon Shashua, founded Mobileye, the Intel-owned autonomous driving startup.
#4 Hugging Face
Hugging Face had quite a year in 2023 - hosting some of the most popular open source AI models including Llama 2 and partnering with big-name firms like Dell and AWS and launching its own models. It is the happy-faced home to many repositories for open source AI systems.
Investors: Salesforce, Google, Amazon, Nvidia, Intel, Qualcomm, IBM
Management: Co-founder and CEO Clément Delangue previously worked at eBay, while CTO Julien Chaumond boasts Infosys and Stanford on his resume. Chaumond was also previously an advisor to France’s deputy minister for digital affairs.
#5 Aleph Alpha
The company is working on a host of models and multimodal systems designed for enterprise use. The company also builds AI solutions for governments, offering them the ability to apply AI “in a sovereign environment.”
Investors: Bosch Ventures, HPE, SAP, companies of Schwarz Group
Management: CEO Jonas Andrulis is a former senior AI engineer at Apple. The company’s tech VP and co-founder, Samuel Weinbach was previously at Deloitte.
#6 Scale AI
San Francisco-based Scale AI is an AI company that helps enterprises train and label their own AI software. OpenAI is partnering with the company to help fine-tune turbo versions of its GPT large language models back in August. Scale has also worked with Meta, Microsoft, Toyota and General Motors, among others.
Scale also worked with the Biden administration in May to help develop a large language model and AI platform to work on classified U.S. government networks.
Investors: Y Combinator, Founders Fund, Accel, Index Ventures, Tiger Global Management, Accel, Quora co-founder Adam D'Angelo, Dropbox co-founder Drew Houston,
Management: Founder and CEO Alexandr Wang is an MIT dropout who previously worked at Quora, while field CTO Vijay Karunamurthy was a former engineering director at Apple.
Toronto-based Tenstorrent sells AI processors, and licenses AI and CPU intellectual property to customers that want to own and customize their silicon. Its tech can be used for training and inference, with its hardware optimized specifically for AI workloads. The company has offices in Austin, Texas; Silicon Valley; Belgrade, Serbia; Tokyo and Bangalore, India.
Investors: Samsung Catalyst Fund, Hyundai Motor Group, Kia Motors, Fidelity Ventures, Maverick Capital
Management: CEO Jim Keller is a renowned chip engineer. He was the lead architect of the AMD K8 microarchitecture and was also part of the Apple design team for the A4 and A5 processors.