Google CEO Sundar Pichai recently said: “AI is more important than fire and electricity”. At European Super Angels Club we share the same vision since 2017. In recent years the club has been heavily investing in productivity AI solutions, as the application of machine learning was growing, interactive chatbots took over customer support and advanced analytics paved their way. Through our recent corporate partnership and co-investment with 42.cx (founded by Daniel Mattes), an AI company specialized in identifying the potential of AI startups and listing the strongest in their proprietary index, we believe to have gained a little “superpower” to source our next investments. The increasingly fast adoption of AI within all kinds of industries and services around the globe indicates that this will be a real game-changing technology.

 

TRENDS 2019: Edge AI, Mobility and Health

As club managers we always we are committed to the best interest of our members. Therefore, we are carefully evaluate startups if they really offer a smart AI-powered solution or if “AI” is just used as buzzword. While customer management, marketing and sales can expect the greatest impact and benefit from AI solutions in the short term, we also believe that startups in this field have grown more mature (growth stage). This leads us to believe that some of them will attract high rounds of follow-on funding, while others might merge or start to actively consolidate the market. In this regard, we recommend you to follow one of our portfolio companies, “KPMG AI Award Winner 2018”: Yodel.io. Operating in the area of customer management, Yodel uses advanced speech recognition in combination with machine learning to provide a service of an intelligent receptionist of voice calls.

 

AI Edge

We expect to see great developments in the area of “AI Edge” in 2019. This refers to AI algorithms processed locally on hardware devices. While today’s intelligence, i.e. AI algorithms, reside mainly in cloud services, more and more device manufacturers want to provide these services directly, without having to rely so much on third party network or infrastructure. They are aware that this would allow real time operations – action and decision making – where the right timing really matters. In line with the previous trend, device manufacturers are incorporating new specialized microprocessors to run AI algorithms. This is what we call “AI Specialized Hardware”.

Not only is the adoption of AI technologies expected to grow in the above-mentioned areas in which its special relevance is expected, such as in the automotive industry, but also in various other fields, where we wouldn’t immediately think of the AI application – let’s talk industrial design or investment advisory. A great example is the newcomer start-up RFISee which invented “the world’s first 4D imaging-radar-on-1-chip, providing the next generation ears and eyes for autonomous vehicles”.

 

Smart Mobility

If we take a short view on mobility services, we can see in this industry what might be the global gold rush of the next millennium. As vehicles and transportation tend to get smaller, simpler and better sharable, efficient and practical transportation solutions for clogged urban spaces will develop rapidly. The trend began already several years ago with the first upcoming car-sharing services and the uprising acceptance of a “shareconomy”; developing from the fact that private vehicles stay unused in more than 90% of the time. Smart Mobility and downsizing in private transportation as well as expansion of public transportation systems (AI Edge!) will become a key technology service in 2019. The Austrian start-up goUrban, where motec ventures co-invested, already established an easy, economic and perfectly shareable service for individual transportation in Vienna. The latest trend of sharable scooters began several months ago with companies like bird, lime or Tier. Nevertheless, the acceptance and public perception, as well as possible regulations by the authorities have to be awaited.

 

Digital Health

Why not combine modern digital technology, academic research and intelligent software to always supervise your current health status? The trend also started several years ago with smart wearables, like Apples smart watch or with health tracking applications, and becomes more and more mainstream in 2018. The trend goes even deeper nowadays – do you remember our start-up myBioma, finalist of the 2018 ESAC  roadshow in Munich? Analysing our microbiome through next-generation-sequencing and blending it with a super intelligent software helps doctors to diagnose like a Sniper.

What began with counting steps and calories on your smart phone several years ago will expand in a way we cannot imagine at this point. Big Data and in particular A.I. algorithms gain a lot of attention in 2019 – by the public health sector, pharma and off-course investors.

 

What will be the next big thing?

Almost all relevant market reports and researches agree on the expectations that we are about to witness a steep rise in investment activity and overall market growth in the segment of AI, in the years to come.

The Constellation Research 2018 Artificial Intelligence Study states that, “when asked about their organization’s budget for AI in 2018, 92 percent of respondents report modest budgets of $5 million or less. However, these organizations plan to quickly ramp up investment in AI and AI-related technologies. Sixty percent of organizations expect to increase investment in AI by more than 50 percent in 2018”. Only 2% of the companies state to decrease their investments in AI compared to 78% of companies who will rise their budgets significantly.

While we agree with these general predictions, our goal is to dive deep into the industry sectors and its dynamics and identify those segments that will feel the strongest impact of the AI development in the short run. In short, we are trying to recognize the next big thing.