2020 might have been a tricky year with enterprises and governments sidetracked by the Covid19 epidemic, yet tech investment continues apace especially in AI. Artificial intelligence startups raised $9.9bn in the second half of 2020, 15% more compared to the same period a year ago according to data from Buy Shares. For comparison, the figure for 2015, as measured by Crunchbase was $5.5bn, while in 2019 it was $19.3bn. The overall spend for 2020 was $17bn so slightly down on the previous year, though given the circumstances a pretty strong figure.
It appears that for AI investment 2020 was a year of two halves. At the height of the initial Covid19 crisis, between January and June, AI startups raised $7.7bn which is a 30% drop year-over-year. The key growth was between September and December, where startups raised over $5bn, 40% more than the same period a year ago.
Tortoise Intelligence which produces a Global AI index that ranks countries in terms of their AI status which includes investment levels alongside other factors such as training, talent,, infrastructure etc, highlights that the US and China are far and away the superpowers in AI. Though a cluster of countries follow in their wake including the UK which has held third place for some tears but now is being caught by Canada, Israel and Germany.