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AI startups raised $10bn in 6 months

The surge of the technology market has been followed by a growing number of artificial intelligence (AI) startups looking to expand their business by attracting investments or series funding.

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According to data presented by BuyShares.co.nz, AI startups raised almost $10-billion in the second half of 2020, 15% more than in the same period a year ago.

AI technologies have transformed business processes across industries, changing how companies manufacture, gather and analyse data or manage their finances.

As the algorithms and data-driven methods continue to develop, venture capitalists are increasingly willing to invest in AI startups they believe could be the winners in the emerging era of computing.

By the end of 2015, artificial intelligence startups raised $5.5bn in cumulative funding, according to Crunchbase data. This figure soared by almost 600% to $37.8bn in the following three years.

Statistics show that 2019 witnessed $19.3bn worth of funding rounds, the highest annual value so far.

However, the Covid-19 crisis triggered a sharp fall in funding activities, with AI startups raising $7.7bn between January and June, a 30% drop year-over-year.

By the end of the third quarter of 2020, the cumulative value of funding hit $69.6bn, a $4.7bn increase in three months. AI startups raised another $5.2bn between September and December, 40% more than the same period a year ago, with the cumulative value of funding reaching $74.8bn.

Relativity Space’s $500m

Analysed by the value of raised funds, Relativity Space’s Series D funding round led by Tiger Global Management is the most valuable investment in 2020. Coincidentally, Tiger was the biggest investor in South Africa’s Takealot before its share was bought out by Naspers.

Last month, Relativity Space, a US rocket builder and 3D-printing specialist, raised $500-million of fresh capital from Tiger, increasing its valuation to $2.3bn.

The company is building the first iteration of its Terran 1 rocket by using multiple 3D-printers, all developed in-house. The rocket is designed to have about 95% of its parts be 3D-printed, making it less complex and faster to build or modify than traditional rockets.

Earlier this month, a self-driving trucks startup, TuSimple, closed a $350-million worth Series E funding round, the second-largest investment in 2020. The round led by VectoIQ LLC included investors like Goodyear, Union Pacific, CN Rail, U.S. Xpress and retailer Kroger.

Statistics show that Zymergen’s $300-million worth Series D funding round represents the third-largest investment in 2020. The US biotechnology company, which specialises in machine learning, big data, and artificial intelligence, said it would use the funds to speed up manufacturing its first commercially available product, Hyaline, a bio-generated specialty film in the polyimide family.

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