America's Most Promising AI Companies

By Leigh Manning

Artificial intelligence is beginning to be usefully deployed in almost every industry from customer call centers and finance to drug research. Yet the field is also plagued by relentless hype, opaque jargon and esoteric technology making it difficult for outsiders identify the most interesting companies.  

To cut through the spin, Forbes partnered with venture firms Sequoia Capital and Meritech Capital to create our second annual AI 50, a list of private, U.S.-based companies that are using artificial intelligence in meaningful business-oriented ways. To be included, companies had to be privately-held and focused on techniques like machine learning (where systems learn from data to improve on tasks), natural language processing (which enables programs to “understand” written or spoken language), or computer vision (which relates to how machines “see”).  

The list was compiled through a submission process open to any AI company in the U.S. The application asked companies to provide details on their technology, business model, customers and financials like funding, valuation and revenue history (companies had the option to submit information confidentially, to encourage greater transparency). In total, Forbes received about 400 entries. From there, our VC partners applied an algorithm to identify the 100 with the highest quantitative scores and then a panel of eight expert AI judges identified the 50 most compelling companies.

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