Artificial Intelligence Funding & Exits Continue Blistering Pace

Issue 24 - Global Finance and Applied DeepTech Make History in 2021

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Artificial Intelligence Funding & Exits Continue Blistering Pace

H1’21 Surpasses All of 2020

Despite sustained global uncertainty caused by the Covid-19 pandemic, the artificial intelligence sector is shattering funding records this year, garnering $38B in H1’21 — already surpassing the $36B raised in 2020. [CBInsights]

In particular and as highlighted by the lead feature of this issue from Azafran’s Jeremy Baksht, Covid-19 has reshaped the healthcare industry, creating new demand for AI as key players look to adapt. Healthcare organizations around the world are turning to the tech to help meet capacity challenges, accelerate the search for a coronavirus vaccine, transition to telehealth, and more. [CBInsights]

The industry is maturing at a blistering pace. A number of new records were achieved in Q2’21, including 50 mega-rounds, 24 new AI unicorns, and 119 exits. Notable events include Waymo’s $2.5B funding round, UiPath’s $29B IPO, and Microsoft’s $19.7B acquisition of Nuance.

AI 2021 highlights thus far include:

  1. Q2’21 was the largest quarter on record for AI funding.
  2. The rate of AI exits picked up momentum to reach a new high.
  3. More AI unicorns were born in Q2’21 than in any other quarter, shattering the previous record.
  4. Early-stage deal share edged down, hinting at a maturing space.

AI funding set a new record in Q2’21. More than 550 AI startups globally raised a combined total that surpassed $20B, despite a drop in deal volume. This surge in funding was driven by an all-time high of 50 mega-rounds ($100M+ deals) to AI startups.

In Q2’21, AI exits also set a new record, increasing by about 125% quarter-over-quarter. This included the exit of 6 AI unicorns, including UiPath’s $29B IPO.

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