7 promising startups that have saved lives and sped up drug development
OpenAI is stealing the spotlight as the definitive artificial-intelligence startup — for now. Backed by Microsoft Corp. MSFT, +0.47%, 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 are seven 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, +0.07% GOOG, +0.16% 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.
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, -1.18%, 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 MERK, +0.21%. 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, +0.14%, Tesla Inc. TSLA, +4.06%, Bayer BAYER, -1.92% 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.