Qualcomm earmarks $100 million AI investment fund for start-ups

by Autocar Pro News Desk , 29 Nov 2018

Representational image courtesy: Qualcomm

American chip maker, Qualcomm has launched the Qualcomm Ventures AI Fund, which seeks to invest an aggregate of $100 million (Rs 706 crore) in start-ups transforming artificial intelligence (AI).

The fund will focus on start-up that share the vision of on-device AI becoming more powerful and widespread, with an emphasis on those developing new technology for autonomous cars, robotics and machine learning platforms. This investment builds on more than a decade of Qualcomm’s AI research and its heritage of developing the foundational building blocks of low power processing and connectivity, which are essential for AI.

The chipmaker says it has set out to make on-device AI technology ubiquitous by inventing, developing, commercialising and, importantly, investing in it. The company says as AI shifts towards the wireless edge – combining essential on-device capabilities with the edge cloud – the industry is already starting to see the full potential of 5G.

Steve Mollenkopf, CEO, Qualcomm, said “At Qualcomm, we invent breakthrough technologies that transform how the world connects, computes, and communicates. For over a decade, Qualcomm has been investing in the future of machine learning. As a pioneer of on-device AI, we strongly believe intelligence is moving from the cloud to the edge. Qualcomm’s AI strategy couples leading 5G connectivity with our R&D, fuelling AI to transform industries, business models and experiences.”

As part of the AI Fund, Qualcomm Ventures participated in a Series A funding round for AnyVision, a leading start up working on face, body, and object recognition. The company's use of on-device AI minimises the spread of data, mitigating privacy concerns. Qualcomm says its (AnyVision) unique data acquisition strategy, together with its proprietary algorithms, are expected to provide immense value to customers.

This investment – the first made by the AI fund – will further AnyVision’s efforts to expand into other industries and develop new AI applications that transform how the world connects, computes and communicates.

Quinn Li, senior vice-president, Ventures, Qualcomm Technologies and global head of Qualcomm Ventures, said: “Qualcomm Ventures is proud to invest in the future of AnyVision and many other key players in the AI industry. This investment builds on our long history of successful AI investments, including Cruise Automation, Brain Corp., Clarifai, Prospera, SenseTime and Retail Next. Through the AI Fund, we will continue to seek out start-ups, with a focus on autonomous cars, robotics, computer vision and IoT, who are developing new AI applications, advanced machine learning technologies and AI/ML platforms across different verticals.”