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Startups Disrupting Healthcare with AI and Machine Learning


CBInsights_AI_healthcare_mapCB Insights:

We identified over 90 companies that are applying machine learning algorithms and predictive analytics to reduce drug discovery times, provide virtual assistance to patients, and diagnose ailments by processing medical images, among other things.

A few investment highlights:

  • Increasingly crowded imaging & diagnostics: 17 out of the 22 companies under imagining & diagnostics raised their first equity funding round since January 2015 (this includes 1st Seed or Series A rounds, as well as a first round raised by stealth startup Imagen Technologies). In 2014, Butterfly Networks raised a $100M Series C, backed by Aeris Capital and Stanford University. This was the third-largest equity round to AI in healthcare companies, after China-based iCarbonX’s $154M mega-round and two $100M+ raises by oncology-focused Flatiron Health.
  • VCs invest in drug discovery: Startups are using machine learning algorithms to reduce drug discovery times, and VCs have backed 6 out of the 8 startups on the map. Andreessen Horowitz recently seed-funded twoXAR, developer of the DUMA drug discovery platform; Khosla Ventures and Data Collective backed Atomwise, which published its first findings of Ebola treatment drugs last year, and has also partnered with MERCK; Lightspeed Venture Partners invested in Numedii in 2013; Foundation Capital participated in 3 equity funding rounds to Numerate.
  • Khosla Ventures backs 5 companies: Khosla Ventures has been the most active VC investor in the space, having backed 5 unique companies: California-based Ginger.io, which focuses on patients with depression and anxiety; healthcare analytics platform Lumiata; Israel’s Zebra Medical Vision and California-based Bay Labs, which apply AI to medical imaging; as well as drug discovery startup Atomwise.
  • AI in oncology: IBM Watson Group-backed Pathway Genomics has recently started a research study for its new blood test kit, CancerIntercept Detect. The company will collect blood samples from high-risk individuals who have never been diagnosed with the disease to determine if early detection is possible. Other oncology-focused startups include Flatiron HealthCyrcadia (wearable device), CureMetrix, SkinVision, Entopsis, and Smart Healthcare.
  • Remote patient monitoring: New York-based AiCure raised $12.3M in Series A funding from investors including Biomatics Capital Partners, New Leaf Venture Partners, Pritzker Group Venture Capital, and Tribeca Venture Partners, for the use of artificial intelligence to ensure patients are taking their medications. California-based Sense.ly has developed a virtual nursing assistant, Molly, to follow up with patients post-discharge. The company claims Molly gives clinicians “20% of their day back.” Sentrian, backed by investors including frost Data Capital, analyzes biosensor data and sends patient-specific alerts to clinicians.
  • Core AI companies bring their algorithms to healthcare: Core AI startup Ayasdi, which has developed a machine intelligence platform based on topological data analysis, is bringing its solutions to healthcare providers for applications including patient risk scoring and readmission reduction. Other core AI startups looking at healthcare include H2O.ai and Digital Reasoning Systems.

106 Cybersecurity Startups



CB Insights:

Network & Endpoint Security: This is the largest category in our market map and includes startups like Red Canary, which specializes in protecting enterprise computer networks from vulnerabilities that arise as a result of remotely bridging users’ laptops, tablets, and other electronic devices (aka “endpoints”). Other companies like Cylance apply artificial intelligence algorithms to predict, identify, and stop malware and advanced threats in defense of endpoints. Unicorns in this category include the companies: Tanium ($3.5B), Cylance ($1B), and CloudFlare ($1B).

IoT/IIoT Security: Startups in this category include Argus Cyber Security which is an automotive cybersecurity company enabling car manufacturers to protect connected vehicles. Also, Indegy which provides security for industrial control systems used across critical infrastructures, including energy, water utilities, petrochemical plants, manufacturing facilities, etc. Unicorns include: ForeScout Technologies ($1B) and Zscaler ($1B).

Threat Intelligence: Companies include Flashpoint, which illuminates targeted malicious activities on the deep Web to uncover potential threats and thwart attacks.

Mobile Security: Companies in this category include Zimperium, which delivers enterprise mobile threat protection for Android and iOS devices. Unicorns include: Lookout ($1B), Okta ($1.2B), and Avast Software ($1B).

Behavioral Detection: Included are companies like Darktrace, which detects abnormal behavior in organizations in order to identify threats and manage risks from cyber-attacks.

Cloud Security: Startups like Tigera offer solutions for enterprises looking for secure application delivery across private, public, and hybrid clouds. Unicorns include: Illumio ($1B).

Deception Security: Companies like illusive networks can identify and proactively deceive and disrupt attackers before they can cause harm.

Continuous Network Visibility: Protectwise and others offer solutions for visualizing network activity and responding to cyber attacks in real time.

Risk Remediation: Companies like AttackIQ offer solutions for pinpointing vulnerabilities in technologies, people, and processes with recommendations on how to effectively fill security gaps.

Website Security: Distil Networks and Shape Security offer website developers the ability to identify and police malicious website traffic, including malicious bots, and more.

Quantum Encryption: Startups like Post-Quantum offer encrypted wireless and data communications technology that relies on the science underlying quantum mechanics.



99 Startups Disrupting the Restaurant Industry



CB Insights:

Table-top self-service ordering & payment devices – Companies like E la Carte, with its Presto dining system, provide interactive tablets that let guests scroll through digital menus, place orders by touchscreen, and pay by card directly from the table. E la Carte has raised $68.5M in funding with clients such as Applebees and Outback Steakhouse.

Smartphone payment platforms – Startups such as TabbedOut ($41M in funding) partner with restaurants to let guests pay and split the bill directly on their own smartphones.

Phone-charging stations – Several startups offer stations specifically geared toward restaurants, cafes, and event venues that let guests charge their mobile phones. Leading in funding with $5M is Powermat, which provides wireless charging mats to Starbucks.

Guest wi-fi – Purple Wifi and Zenreach in the US and WiWide in China provide restaurants with guest wi-fi systems that can also track who’s logging on and off to help restaurants better analyze customer behavior and demographics.

Wait-list management – Several startups help eliminate restaurant lines with mobile apps that let guests join digital queues and receive notifications by phone. Nowait ($22M in funding) integrates customer analytics and floor maps for servers, and works with restaurants including Buffalo Wild Wings.

Customer loyalty – Heavy hitters in restaurant loyalty include FiveStars ($90M in funding), LevelUp ($53M in funding), and Belly ($26M in funding). These startups offer points, reward systems, and sometimes pay-by-phone options for customers, as well as analytics and marketing options for restaurants.

Broad restaurant management software – These SaaS startups provide broad management platforms for restaurants that help control things like inventory, staffing, marketing, and financial management (some other categories in this graphic show startups that focus on just one of these features).

Tablet POS platforms – These startups all offer tablet-based point-of-sale systems for restaurants, aiming to give servers and cashiers faster and more mobile ways to process check-outs. (These are systems used by restaurant employees, not guests).

Staffing – Startups like When I Work ($24M in funding) provide software for restaurant employee scheduling and communication.

White-label delivery platforms – We’re all familiar with Seamless, of course, but the startups in this graphic offer white-label platforms for restaurants to create and manage their own online ordering and delivery systems. OLO leads with $62M in funding.

Restaurant music – These startups provide smart music systems for restaurants and cafes. TouchTunes ($65M in funding) offers a “digital jukebox” with a companion mobile app for guests, while Rockbot ($6M in funding) gives clients like McDonalds, Panera, and Buffalo Wild Wings a digital music dashboard with curated music stations.

Marketing & CRM – These companies focus on restaurant marketing, such as Fishbowl($23M in funding) that works with clients like Jamba Juice, Planet Hollywood, and Buffalo Wild Wings for data-driven marketing. Other CRM platforms like Upserve ($40M) offer features such as tracking frequent visitors, recording favorite dishes and upcoming reservations, and helping design personalized marketing campaigns.

Energy efficiencyLumaStream ($13M in funding) designs low-voltage LED lighting systems for restaurants. Small Box Energy ($4M) provides cloud-based HVAC control systems to restaurants and convenience stores to reduce energy and maintenance costs. Powerhouse Dynamics ($16M) works with restaurants like Burger King, KFC, Hooters, Bertucci’s, and Au Bon Pain to control HVAC and lighting and reduce energy usage.

Purchasing and inventory – Companies like BlueCart ($4M in funding) help restaurants track inventory levels, streamline supplier communications, aggregate different supplier orders, and analyze costs.


Cybersecurity market map



CB Insights:

Network & Endpoint Security: This is the largest category in our market map and includes startups like Red Canary which specializes in protecting an enterprise’s computer networks from vulnerabilities that arise as a result of remotely connecting users’ laptops, tablets, and other electronic devices. Other companies, like Cylance, apply artificial intelligence algorithms to predictively identify and stop malware and advanced threats in defense of endpoints.

IoT/IIoT Security: Startups in this category include Argus Cyber Security, which is an automotive cybersecurity company enabling car manufacturers to protect connected vehicles. Also, Indegy, which provides security for Industrial Control Systems (ICS) used across critical infrastructures, e.g., energy, water utilities, petrochemical plants, manufacturing facilities, etc.

Threat Intelligence: Companies include Flashpoint, which illuminates targeted malicious activities on the deep web and dark web to uncover potential threats and thwart attacks.

Mobile Security: Companies in this category include Zimperium, which delivers enterprise mobile threat protection for Android and iOS devices.

Behavioral Detection: Included are companies like Darktrace, which detects abnormal behavior in organizations in order to identify threats and manage risks from cyberattacks.

Cloud Security: Startups like Tigera offer solutions for enterprises looking for secure application and workload delivery across private, public, and hybrid clouds.

Deception Security: Companies like illusive networks can identify and proactively deceive and disrupt attackers before they can cause harm.

Continuous Network Visibility: Protectwise and others offer solutions for visualizing network activity and responding to cyberattacks in real time.

Risk Remediation: Companies, including AttackIQ, offer solutions for pinpointing vulnerabilities in technologies, people, and processes, with recommendations on how to effectively fill security gaps.

Website Security: Distil Networks and Shape Security offer website developers the ability to identify and police malicious website traffic, including malicious bots and more.

Quantum Encryption: Startups like Post-Quantum offer encrypted wireless and data communications technology that relies on the science underlying quantum mechanics.

Smart Home Today and in the Future




The smart home market is expected to grow from $46.97 Billion in 2015 to $121.73 Billion by 2022, at a CAGR of 14.07% between 2016 and 2022.

Leading vendors:

  1. Honeywell International Inc. (U.S.),
  2. Legrand (France),
  3. Ingersoll-Rand plc. (Ireland),
  4. Johnson Controls Inc. (U.S.),
  5. Schneider Electric SE (France),
  6. Siemens AG (Germany),
  7. ABB Ltd. (Switzerland),
  8. Acuity Brands, Inc. (U.S.),
  9. United Technologies Corporation (U.S.),
  10. Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd. (South Korea),
  11. Nest Labs, Inc. (U.S.),
  12. Crestron Electronics, Inc. (U.S.).

CB Insights:


  • Appliances & Audio Devices: These include household products that function as a conventional appliance or device, yet offer advantages through connectivity, such as Sectorqube‘s MAID Oven and Sonos‘ smart home speakers. Sonos is the most well-funded smart home startup in terms of equity financing.
  • Device Controllers: While most startups produce individual smart home products, these companies produce the devices controlling them. Examples are Peel‘s universal remote and Ivee‘s personal voice assistant, advertised as “Siri for the home.” Both of these companies have received VC funding from Lightspeed Venture Partners and Foundry Group. Most of these products are able to control smart home products from other companies such as Philips and Nest.
  • Energy & Utilities: These are companies that utilize sensors, monitoring tech, and data to conserve water and energy. Ecobee and Rachio, for instance, develop products that monitor and control AC and water sprinkler systems respectively, to help make consumption more efficient. Interestingly, several startups in this category have received funding from corporations and corporate venture capital firms, such as Carrier Corporation, which backed Ecobee, and Amazon’s Alexa Fund, which backed Rachio.
  • Gardening: These companies focus on producing smart products for watering and monitoring household yards, gardens, and plants. This is one of the smaller categories in terms of number of companies. The most well-funded startup in this category is Edyn, which recently raised a $2M Series A round.
  • General Smart Home Solutions: Instead of producing a single smart gadget, these companies build or distribute multi-device systems that automate several parts of your home, such as ecoVent‘s custom vent/sensor system or Vivint‘s third-party device bundles. Vivint, specifically, has secured $145M in equity funding — second in smart homes only to Sonos.
  • Health & Wellness: These are products that assist home occupants in maintaining their health and lifestyle, such as MedMinder Systems‘ smart medicine containers and Beddit‘s under-the-bed health sensor. A notable deal in this category is Hello‘s $40M Series A round last year, which made it the most well-funded smart home startup in health & wellness, with over $50M in equity funding.
  • Home Robots: This category is home to companies that produce robots specifically for maintenance and assistance in a home environment. These include robotic assistant Jibo, whose total equity funding is currently at $52M, and home cleaning robot Neato.
  • Lighting: Taking cues from products such as the Philips Hue, companies like Sequioa Capital-backed LIFX are coming up with their own app-controlled lightbulbs. Others such as Switchmate are going beyond the bulb and building app-controllable light switches.
  • Pet/Baby Monitors: These companies focus on producing video monitors and sensors to monitor pets and babies through the comfort of a smartphone. Most startups in this space, such as Y Combinator alumni Lully and Petcube, are young and still in their early stages of funding.
  • Safety & Security: These companies utilize the internet and home automation technologies to help protect you and your home with monitors, internet-enabled locks, smart smoke detectors, and more. This is one of the larger and more well-funded categories, as companies in this space include Ring, Simplisafe, August Home, andCanary, which have all received over $40M in equity funding.
  • Miscellaneous: Startups in this category have particularly unique offerings, such as Electric Objects‘ dynamic art display, Kamarq‘s sound table, and Notion‘s universal sensor.



48 Startups Disrupting the Warehouse



CB Insights:

  • Warehouse & inventory management software – These companies offer software-as-a-service platforms, generally cloud-based, for warehouse management and inventory tracking functions. Temando leads with $50M in funding, and works with Asos, Trademe, Krispy Kreme, and more. UK-based Peoplevox ($6M in funding) pairs its SaaS platform with warehouse-optimization consultants.
  • Warehouse robots – Automated and remotely controlled robots for order picking and inventory management. Seegrid, with $63M in funding, makes automated vision-guided vehicles for companies like BMW, Volvo, Walgreens, 3M, Honeywell, and the USPS.
  • Worker wearables – GetVU, Atheer, and XOEye produce augmented reality smart glasses to aid warehouse workers, and Kinetic makes wearables that attach to workers’ belts to analyze movements and help prevent injuries.
  • Packing – QubeVu uses 3D-dimensioning technology to optimize packaging, and GrabItoffers patented electroadhesion technology that helps improve grasping technology for item sorting, handling, and packing.
  • Indoor asset tracking – These companies offer software, bar code readers, and RFID tags, focusing on improving the tracking of goods and equipment in warehouses.
  • Outsourced warehousing & fulfillment – Startups like Delhivery ($125M in funding) and Ecom Express ($149M in funding) handle fulfillment processes for e-commerce companies that may not have their own warehouse space. These startups manage the warehousing of goods, as well as order shipments.
  • On-demand warehouse space – Flexe ($20.6M in funding) offers an online marketplace connecting retailers that need warehouse space with warehouses that have extra capacity.


The Rise of Robots: Market Overview



CB Insights:

  • Social: Startups here are building consumer-focused companion and entertainment robots. The most well-funded startup on this list is Anki, with $157M in equity funding from investors including Andreessen Horowitz, Two Sigma Ventures, and JPMorgan Chase & Co. China-based humanoid robotics startup UBTECH raised a $100M Series B round in Q3’16 and joined the Unicorn Club with a $1B valuation. More recently, UK-based Olly, which focused on building a personal, interactive robot, raised $10M in Series A funding from Alliance Capital Ventures and China-based Lightning Capital. Social robots differ from service robots (listed below), which perform household chores.
  • Bionics/Rehab: Startups in this sector include those building exoskeletons, a type of body armor that aids in movement, as well as aiding patients with rehabilitation services. One of the more well-funded companies is California-based AlterG, which has raised over $35M in equity funding so far from investors including Oxford Finance, Silicon Valley Bank, and Versant Ventures, and has developed a wearable bionic leg.
  • Surgical: This category includes startups building robotics surgery-assistance technology. Auris Surgical Robots is one of the most well-funded robotics companies, having raised over $230M in growth equity from investors including Lux Capital, Highland Capital Partners, and Mithril Capital Management. This year, they also made a public-to-private acquisition of Hansen Medical, a medical robotics startup that was previously funded by VCs including Skyline Ventures, Prospect Venture Partners, and De Novo Ventures.
  • Industrial: Our industrial robotics category includes manufacturing, warehouse, packaging, sorting, inspection, and quality testing robotics. Industrial robotics is the most crowded category, as we mentioned in our market map of 80+ robotics startups. Pittsburgh-based Seegrid raised a $14M round this year, followed by $12M corporate minority round from Pittsburgh-based supermarket Giant Eagle. Other startups that raised equity funds this year include Japan-based Life Robotics and China-based Quotient Kinematics Machine.
  • Drones/UAVs: This category includes drones for inspection and delivery. Some of the most well-funded drone startups are 3D Robotics, which built the site scanning drone Solo for site inspections, and China-based DJI Innovations, which caters to industries including agriculture and filmmaking.
  • Education: Robots in this category are focused on teaching children how to code. California-based Wonder Workshop raised $20M in Series B in Q3’16 from VCs including CRV, Learn Capital, and Madrona Venture Group. With $40M in equity funding, it is the most well-funded educational robotics startup, with backing from VCs from China (TCL Capital) and Hong Kong (Bright Success Capital) as well.
  • Service (Consumer): Startups here include those developing consumer-focused service robots that perform household chores like cleaning and cooking. It also includes China-based personal transportation robot Ninebot (which acquired US-based Segway), and robotic infant seat maker 4Moms (which raised over $40M in Series F in Q3’14 from investors including Bain Capital Ventures and Castanea Partners).
  • Service (Medical): This category includes hospital cleaning robot Xenex Disinfection Services, and Pennsylvania-based Aethon, which has developed a transportation robot for hospitals.
  • Service (Other): This category includes Intel Capital-backed Savioke, which has developed a service robot for the hospitality industry; robotic restaurant Spyce Kitchen, which raised $2.6M this year from Rough Draft Ventures; and ground delivery robot Marble, which was seed-funded this year by Eclipse Ventures, Lemnos Labs and Promus Ventures.
  • Security: Rapyuta Robotics is building a “multi-robotic system” with machines that can interact with each other to prevent crime. It is backed by corporate venture capital group Fuji Startup Ventures in Japan, and recently raised $10M in Series A from Japan-based asset management firm SBI Investment. Another startup, California-based Knightscope, raised $5M in Series B funding in Q4’15.
  • VC-backed exits: This category only includes 1st exits since 2012. Amazon acquired Kiva Systems in 2012. The same year, the SoftBank Group acquired a majority stake in France’s Aldebaran Robotics. A detailed timeline of major robotics M&A can be found here.
  • Most active VCs: The most active VC in robotics since 2012 has been High-Tech Gruenderfonds. The Germany-based VC has backed more than 5 unique companies during this period, including rehabilitation robot Reactive Robotics and industrial robots REVOBOTIK and Bionic Robotics. Eclipse Ventures is the 2nd most active VC on our list, having backed companies like Modbot, Rise Robotics, and Clearpath Robotics.

See also

How to build a robot that “sees” with $100 and TensorFlow

Architecture of the object-recognizing robot. Image courtesy of Lukas Biewald.

Architecture of the object-recognizing robot. Image courtesy of Lukas Biewald.

This is the first Adidas shoe made almost entirely by robots



133 Startups Disrupting Brick-and-Mortar Retail



CB Insights:

Augmented/Virtual Reality Tools – Startups that leverage augmented or virtual reality to aid retailers in layout of stores and the design of promotional displays. InContext Solutions, which has worked with clients like Walmart, Nestle, and Kellogg’s, lets brands visualize marketing concepts and test new designs on shoppers in virtual reality to gauge their efficacy before launch. Augment aims to help brands, such as General Mills, L’Oreal, and Coca-Cola, pitch their vending machines, kiosks, or merchandise displays to retailers by showing how they would look in augmented/virtual reality.

Beacon-Based Analytics and Marketing – Companies that provide hardware and software to help stores track visitors. Many focus on data collection for internal analytics, such as merchandise tracking, adjusting staffing levels, monitoring promotions, etc. Euclid Analytics, for example, tracks visitors to monitor the impact of promotions on driving store visits and to better understand when people visit stores and specific aisles. Others focus on proximity marketing to shoppers while in or near stores. For example, Estimote provides small, colorful beacons that send push notifications to users’ phones about products or promotions when it senses someone near. Kimetric’s sensors aim to visually identify shoppers’ age, gender, eye focus, and clothing style to present them with personalized marketing. This category includes the most well-funded company in the graphic: RetailNext, with $189M in funding, offers traffic sensors, customer route mapping, mobile marketing, and more.

Connected Shopping Carts – Startups that outfit shopping carts with digital features. For example, Gatekeeper and Carttronics outfit shopping carts with RFID tags to track the carts and prevent theft.

Customer Loyalty – Reward and loyalty platforms for retailers. Thirdshelf provides white-label loyalty program software, while Dealyze installs tablets by the cash register to encourage loyalty program signup and let customers track their rewards. LevelUp lets customers pay by phone and earn rewards.

Digital In-Store Assistants – Fellow Robots and Simbe Robotics launched robots that can act as store associates, checking store shelves and guiding customers throughout the store. Fellow Robots recently launched its Navii robot in 11 Lowe’s stores in California, while Simbe has tested its Tally robot in Target. Satisfi, on the other hand, provides a mobile app leveraging artificial intelligence to help shoppers in-store; it recently piloted its app in conjunction with IBM Watson in Macy’s.

Digital Signage – Companies that provide stores with connected, digital signs to advertise products inside stores, provide shoppers with product information, or let stores adjust product pricing in real-time. For example, Blue Bite recently raised its $2.5M in funding to create product tags enriched with QR codes and NFC technology.

Employee Tools – A variety of messaging tools and planning platforms for retail store staff. Branch, for example, which graduated from Techstars in June, offers internal messaging networks for retail employees. Salesfloor provides software that helps associates maintain consistent relationships with customers across store and online channels.

Guest Wi-Fi – Startups that enable free in-store Wi-Fi for retailers. The companies generally use the Wi-Fi to track shoppers and provide stores with customer analytics. Zenreach, for example, has raised $50M from investors including First Round Capital, Bain Capital Ventures, and 8VC.

Indoor mapping – These startups take advantage of connected devices to create detailed indoor maps of stores and malls. Retailers leverage the apps to help users find the right items and direct them to promotions.

In-Store Point-of-Sale Financing – Startups that let shoppers instantly apply for and receive loans or installment plans while shopping in-store. Blispay, with $14M in funding from investors including NEA, lets users apply for financing on their phones while in-store.

Interactive Aisle Displays – Startups producing interactive digital displays and kiosks – often in tablet form – to attract shoppers within store aisles. Aila, for example, mounts iPads in aisles to offer price scanning, product information, etc., while Ksubaka provides “playSpot” kiosks with gamification features on tablets advertising products. Ksubaka works with brands such as Coca-Cola, Nescafe, Dove, Colgate, and Kellogg’s in stores throughout Asia.

Inventory Management – Startups that help stores track inventory and optimize merchandising, generally using cloud-based software. Some, such as Celect and Blue Yonder, also use artificial intelligence to provide predictive merchandising analytics.

Music Management – Startups that help stores manage their in-store music playlists.

Omnichannel Analytics – Platforms integrating in-store and e-commerce analytics for a more seamless shopper experience. For example, ShoppinPal helps retailers digitize their store and payment management and integrate inventory across brick-and-mortar and e-commerce channels. OneView Commerce aims to better engage multi-channel shoppers.

Payment Platforms – Software that handles payments for consumers at retailers. Since payment platforms is a massive category, we restricted inclusion to companies that only process payments and focus on retail stores.

Point-of-Sale Reviews and Marketing – Startups that provide digital add-ons to the checkout process for customers in-stores. TruRating and Wyzerr solicit satisfaction ratings from shoppers at the checkout counter. MessageWrap (Handstand Innovations) adds visual advertising to checkout conveyor belts at stores like Target and Safeway. FlexReceipts and Ecrebo can add personalized offers and incentives to shoppers’ receipts, aiming to attract return visits.

Smart dressing rooms – Oak Labs created an interactive, touchscreen mirror that lets shoppers request new items, adjust fitting room lighting, and see outfit recommendations. The mirror can sense which products the shopper brought into the room using RFID technology, and then present related products, save the items to shoppers’ online accounts, or display related items. Oak has worked with Polo Ralph Lauren.

Store Management Software – Broad platforms that help retailers manage merchandise, process payments, manage employees, etc., allowing for the handling of many of the operations of the store from one application. These startups include some of the most well-funded in the category, including Revel with $129M, Lightspeed POS with $126M, and Shopkeep POS with $97M.

Visual Shelf Monitoring – Startups that help consumer packaged goods brands monitor the presentation of their merchandise on store shelves and track the results of in-store promotions and visual displays. Some rely on in-store cameras and artificial intelligence features, while others leverage crowdsourced intelligence from shoppers and store associates.

Who is Buying All the AI Startups? Google, Intel, Apple, Twitter and Salesforce



CB Insights:

Nearly 140 private companies working to advance artificial intelligence technologies have been acquired since 2011, with over 40 acquisitions taking place in 2016 alone (as of 10/7/2016). Corporate giants like Google, IBM, Yahoo, Intel, Apple and Salesforce, are competing in the race to acquire private AI companies, with Samsung emerging as a new entrant this month with its acquisition of startup Viv Labs, which is developing a Siri-like AI assistant.

40 Startups in the IoT in Retail Market Landscape



CB Insights:

Beacon- and sensor-based analytics – These companies provide hardware and software to help stores track visitors. They focus on data collection for internal analytics, such as merchandise tracking, adjusting staffing levels, monitoring promotions, etc. Euclid Analytics, for example, promises visitor tracking to monitor the impact of promotions on driving store visits and better understand stores’ busy times and aisles.

Beacon-based marketing – These companies also track visitors, but focus more on proximity marketing use cases (which may also include some analytic insights). Estimote provides small, colorful beacons that send push notifications to users’ phones about products or promotions when it senses someone near. Kimetric’s sensors aim to visually identify shoppers’ age, gender, eye focus, and clothing style to present them with personalized marketing.

Beacon analytics and marketing – These startups track visitors and provide a mix of internal analytics and proximity marketing services.

Inventory tracking – QueueHop provides connected anti-theft tags for items that automatically unclip after payment. Cosy is building inventory-tracking robots that use indoor mapping software.

Indoor mapping – These startups take advantage of connected devices to create detailed indoor maps of stores and malls. Stores can help users find the right items and direct them to promotions.

Service robots – Simbe Robotics and Fellow Robots are designing robots for use in-store, to help customers find items and ensure the shelves stay stocked. Fellow Robots worked with Lowe’s to launch the LoweBot in eleven stores this fall.

Loss prevention – Gatekeeper uses RFID tags that work with wheel-locking features to automatically stop shopping carts that leave the store area, helping prevent theft. Carttronicstracks baskets and carts with RFID tags, provides cameras that receive signals from the tags and can film anyone leaving the store with unauthorized items.

At-home shopping buttons – Kwik and Hiku offer connected devices that can automatically place online orders for goods from users’ homes, comparable to the Amazon Dash buttons. Kwik will provide branded buttons that let customers re-order items with one touch, while the Hiku device can also scan barcodes, to identify items for re-ordering, and can recognize users’ voices.

Smart dressing rooms – Oak Labs created an interactive, touchscreen mirror that lets shoppers request new items, adjust fitting room lighting, and see outfit recommendations. The mirror can sense which products the shopper brought into the room using RFID technology, and then present related products, save the items to shoppers’ online accounts, or display related items. Oak has worked with Polo Ralph Lauren.


The New Servant Class: 50 Startups Developing Home Robots



CB Insights:

Consumer robotics startups have bagged 25% of the global robotics deal share in the last 5 years. Around 40% of these consumer deals went to social robots like Anki, UBTECH, and Rokid. Educational robots that teach children how to code raised 7 deals each in 2014 and 2015, with deals projected to surpass that number this year at the current run rate. Over 10 deals went to service robots last year, from fewer than 5 in 2014.

  • Social: Social robots, including companion and entertainment robots for homes, have received the greatest share of consumer robotics deals. Humanoid robotics startup UBTECH joined the unicorn club this year after raising a $100M Series B round from CDH Investments, Goldstone Investment, and CITIC Securities International. China-based Turing Robot, which develops robotics operating systems, announced the launch of a companion robot for kids at the price of a smartphone. London-based Olly raised $10M last quarter from Alliance Capital Ventures and Lightning Capital. Another startup, Anki, raised $52.5M in Q2’16 from Index Ventures, Two Sigma Ventures, JPMorgan Chase & Co., and Andreessen Horowitz.
  • Personal drones: Intel Capital invested $60M in China-based Yuneec. You can read more about Intel, Google, Foxconn, and other corporations investing in private robotics startups here. Other personal drone startups, most of them in their early stages of funding, include xCraftUVifyOpenROV, and EHANG. Another company, 3D Robotics, which recently announced that it has exited hardware, has been excluded from the map. DJI Innovations, which also develops industrial robots, is included in this market map as it also manufactures consumer drones Mavec and Phanthom.
  • Educational: Robots that teach children to code have piqued the interest of investors in recent years. The most well-funded startup in this category is Wonder Workshop, which has raised $36M in equity funding from investors including CRV, Madrona Venture Group, and Google Ventures. Another startup, Modular Robotics, is backed by Foundry Group. Sequoia Capital China backed China-based Makeblock in a $6M Series A round in 2014.
  • Service Robots: This includes robotic arms, personal transportation robots, as well as those that perform household chores like cooking, vacuuming, bartending, and even cleaning your fishtank. So far this year, 5 companies have raised equity funds, including personal transportation robot Ninebot and desktop robotic arm Dobot.

82 Startups Disrupting the Healthcare Industry



CB Insights:

Care Planning: Companies creating tools to aid in the development of, and compliance with, treatment plans. An example is Dbaza Health, which built a digital solution to complement chronic disease management.

Supply Management: Companies developing digital tools to aid in handling the delivery and logistics of medical supplies within the hospital. Lab Sensor Solutions tracks the temperature and location of materials such as vaccines, blood, and pharmaceuticals.

Diagnostics: Companies developing diagnostic solutions that have a digital component. Examples include Lumiata, which has built a predictive analytics platform to aid the diagnosis and management of disease states, and Genalyte, developers of a rapid, point-of-care, blood diagnostics platform.

Communication: Companies developing tools to facilitate intra-hospital communication between healthcare workers or healthcare workers and patients. An example is Voalte, which developed a secure messaging service for nurses and physicians.

EMR/ Practice Management: Companies such as Modernizing Medicine focused on either replacing or complementing conventional health record systems.

Surgery: Companies developing digital tools designed to be used by surgeons or in the operating room. Gauss Surgical has developed a surgical blood loss monitoring system that runs on an iPad.

Referrals: Companies focused on platforms intended to aid physicians when choosing a specialist for the transfer of care. AristaMD, for example, has developed a software intelligence platform to help primary care physicians.

Care Coordination: Companies working to ensure all parties in the care process remain informed and engaged. HealthLoop developed a patient engagement platform intended to facilitate patient-physician communication throughout the care continuum.

Patient Experience: Companies such as NarrativeDx working to either measure or improve the patient experience within the hospital.

Infection Control: Companies developing tools to help maintain proper hygiene. One such company is Xenex which develops robots that use UV light to disinfect hospital rooms and consequently reduce hospital-acquired infection rates.

Readmissions/ Emergency Department: Companies such as AnalyticsMD working to optimize patient intake or experience in the emergency department.

Hospital Navigation: Companies such as Gozio Health which develop digital tools designed to help patients and staff better find their way around the hospital.

Medication Management: Companies working in inventory management, medication delivery, and/or prescription verification. An example is Talyst which, among other solutions, develops medication inventory software.

Patient Monitoring: Companies working on continuous bedside or remote monitoring of patient status. One such company is MediBeacon which offers real-time tracking of kidney function.

Radiology: Companies such as Trice Medical or Imagia developing advanced visualization and image analysis tools to aid physicians when making a diagnosis.

Tech Startups in Asia Including 37 Unicorns in China



CB Insights:

Asia is the earth’s largest and most populous continent. Nearly one-third of the world’s private “unicorn” companies that are valued at $1B+, are headquartered there, 52 unicorn companies total. China holds the most, with over two-thirds (71%) of the continent’s billion-dollar startups.

Now, the tech boom is diffusing across Asia and Oceania; startups outside of the established hotbeds for technology and innovation are raising vast sums of money.

Using CB Insights data, we analyzed the most well-funded tech startups in the Asia-Pacific region by country based on disclosed equity funding. We excluded debt funding and only considered VC-backed companies that have raised at least $1M of equity funding to date. Every country included on the map has at least one startup with $1M+ in equity funding, and every company featured has raised equity funding since 2012.

Eight of the 15 Asia-Pacific countries featured in our map have at least one startup that has raised $100M+, and 6 Asian countries on the map have seen at least one unicorn birth.

After China’s 37 unicorns, India has the second most with eight. Other countries with startups valued at $1B+ include: South Korea (Coupang, CJ Games, Yello Mobile), Singapore (Grab, Garena Online), Japan (Mercari), and Indonesia (Go-JEK).

Countries whose top five most well-funded VC-backed tech startups that did not have a combined total of $3M+ in equity funding were excluded. With these criteria for selection, some countries did not make the map—including Mongolia, Timor-Leste, and others. The least well-funded startup on the map is in Bangladesh: the on-demand grocery delivery platform Chaldal, with $120K in equity funding in a seed round from Y Combinator. The most well-funded tech startup in Asia is China’s Didi Chuxing, which has raised $8.6B and is valued at $33.8B.

57 startups in the subscription ecommerce market



CB Insights:

To understand the current market landscape, we used CB Insights data to create a market map of subscription e-commerce startups. The market map includes only startups offering subscriptions for physical goods — either of their own items, or curated boxes of other brands’ items. We excluded food subscription startups, such as Blue Apron, and subscriptions for services or experiences, like Classpass. The 57 companies on our market map have raised over $1.4B in total.

Category breakdown

  • Beauty & cosmetics – These startups provide curated subscription boxes of their own or other brands’ beauty items. Birchbox and Ipsy are the leaders in the space, with $87M and $103M in funding, respectively.
  • Beer & wine – Subscription shipments of beer and wine.
  • Child & baby items – Subscriptions for children’s items, such as Bitsbox, which focuses on teaching kids to code, and Rockets of Awesome, which offers a subscription for children’s clothing.
  • Coffee & tea – Curated subscription boxes of coffee and tea.
  • Leisure –  Loot Crate is a relatively well-funded company in this diverse category, with $19M in funding for subscriptions of geek and gaming pop culture items. Other players include Datebox, which delivers items for a date each month to couples, and Cairn, which serves outdoor enthusiasts with boxes including goods like energy bars, headlamps, and firestarters.
  • Men’s apparel – Companies such as Bombfell ($1M raised) and Five Four Club (bootstrapped) ship male-targeted boxes of apparel and accessories.
  • Pet items – Startups offering scheduled deliveries for dog toys, like BarkBox, or healthy pet food, like The Farmer’s Dog.
  • Personal care – These startups generally produce and provide subscription refills for personal care items. Harry’s offer razors, The Honest Company provides subscription bundles of various personal care items, Quip and Goby both target toothbrushes, Lolaoffers organic cotton tampons, and Monthly Gift sends women monthly feminine care packages.
  • Vitamins & supplements – Subscription refills for vitamins and supplements. For example Nootrobox ($3M in funding) focuses on “body hacking” supplements, while Y Combinator graduate Multiply Labs aims to provide personally customized supplements on a recurring basis.
  • Women’s apparel – This category includes the most well-funded company in our infographic, the beleaguered TechStyle Fashion Group (formerly JustFab), with $300M in funding, which aims to offer members personally curated selections of apparel and accessories each month. Other companies include Stitch FixAdoreMe, which focuses on lingerie, and Gwynnie Bee, which targets the plus-size market.


Startups Defining the Future of Retail

Artificial Intelligence: Funding and Acquisitions

CB Insights: 100 Most Promising AI Startups

Most Well-Funded AI Startups by State

Chatbots Startups and the Future of Marketing and Selling



Venture Radar: Chatbots are programs that mimic conversation with people using artificial intelligence.


CB Insights: Advances in artificial intelligence algorithms have put chatbots and voice assistants in the spotlight, with investor interest in the space increasing in recent months.

From Artificial intelligence (AI) And The Future Of Marketing: 6 Observations From Inbound 2016

At Inbound 2016, HubSpot’s co-founders Brian Halligan and Dharmesh Shah entertained 19,000 attendees with their take on the past and future of marketing. Here’s what I learned from their keynote presentation and a brief interview.

2017 will be the year of the bot. So predicts Halligan, adding “in five years, you will do a lot less navigating through apps and more just asking questions and chatting back and forth with bots… the next thing you know, we like it and it’s easier and more efficient than waiting for the sales rep to call you back.” Shah notes that businesses started building websites in the 1990s so they can answer customer questions 24/7. “Soon,” he says, “they will start building bots. They won’t replace the websites, but they will power them. The shortest time between a customer question and the answer will be a bot. It’s not human vs. bot, it’s human to the bot powered.” (HubSpot’s recent contribution to the bot power movement: Growthbot).

The “marketing conversation” will become a human-machine conversation. That the essence of marketing is a “conversation” between a business (or any “brand”) and its customers and potential customers has been a marketing tenet (and cliché) for a long time. While that conversation has been conducted over the last twenty years increasingly through a computer screen with the help of a keyboard, it is now transforming into human-machine conversation. “The conversational UI,” says Shah, “is going to be an even bigger leap in software than we had with the shift to Web-based software. We are all re-thinking now how to build products.” It’s the most natural way to engage, interact, market and sell: “We will have voice input because it’s much more efficient [than typing] and visual output because it’s more efficient than listening—we can see and read and scan much faster that we can listen. I don’t think screens are going away but the keyboard is likely going to be less and less prevalent.”

AI in Cybersecurity Startups Landscape