Top AI Startups to Watch in 2021

Top AI Startups to Watch in 2021 Top AI Startups to Watch in 2021 Photo: Unsplash

An abundance of startup companies that introduce new applications of artificial intelligence have emerged over the years. In 2020, Crunchbase’s records show that the number of AI startups is already about the breach the 10,000 mark. The number has increased by 8.2 percent year on year. Investors have been enthusiastic in supporting these startups as evidenced by the $27.6 billion in funding directed to AI startups in the past year.

In 2021, which startups are likely to gain more ground or dominate in the specific AI niche they are targeting? Will they be attractive enough to investors to attract new investments that would surpass the past year’s numbers?

Here’s a look at eight of the top AI startups that show immense potential to deliver excellent new solutions and possibly become the next leaders in the AI sector.


The COVID-19 pandemic is teaching the world valuable lessons on preparing for the worst when it comes to the spread of contagious diseases. In this regard, LabGenius is in an excellent AI niche that will likely see impressive growth. This startup develops next-generation drugs and therapeutics with the help of machine learning, laboratory automation, and synthetic biology. 

LabGenius specializes in creating protein therapeutics and improving multiple drug properties. The company employs a “smart robotic platform” built for the rapid designing of new drugs and conducting experiments to test for safety and effectiveness.


Specializing in computer vision and automation, Photoneo harnesses machine learning to pick and identify a wide variety of objects with different weights, sizes, shapes, or forms without requiring CAD models or other inputs. The system can rapidly pick objects at a rate of 500 items per hour, which significantly increases the efficiency in recording and monitoring objects in warehouses, e-commerce operations, logistics, metallurgy, food production, and many other industries. 

As the manufacturing and retail industries start picking up again in 2021, Photoneo is set to become an important component for automated systems in various settings.

KMS Lighthouse

A knowledge management system company, KMS Lighthouse offers solutions that enable greater efficiency for call centers, self-service customer service sites, tech support, knowledge portals, virtual assistants, and distributed workforce. The company recently acquired Reps AI to enhance its capabilities. 

Through artificial intelligence and machine learning, KMS Lighthouse aims to help businesses raise customer satisfaction, reduce wait times, and improve the overall customer experience while dramatically increasing the productivity of customer service teams.


Business data and analysis can easily become among the most boring things to present. Sisense, a business intelligence (BI) software and analytics platform, is trying to change this by offering a way to deliver information and actionable insights with interactivity in mind. Sisense makes it easy to simplify information by turning them into powerful analytic apps in what the company refers to as embedded analytics. 

This solution allows just about anyone to use artificial intelligence and machine learning in building BI analytics apps by leveraging APIs, developer tools, and libraries of codes that make it possible to incorporate natural language queries, predictive analysis, and other technologies in business data presentations.


Numerous self-driving car companies have appeared since the idea of autonomous driving proved to be realistic. Argo distinguishes itself from other self-driving technologies by going beyond the basic idea of enabling safe driverless driving. 

The startup focuses on creating autonomous ride sharing and delivery services. The company has partnered with leading car makers including Volkswagen and Ford to explore the implementation of their technology.


The COVID-19 pandemic continues to be a nearly insurmountable burden for those in the healthcare field. Kahun, a medtech startup, harnesses artificial intelligence to enable next-generation medical diagnosis. The company offers an AI-enhanced application that connects the world’s vast trove of published authoritative medical knowledge with medical professionals to facilitate better diagnosis. 

Already being used by hundreds of doctors and medical students in Israel, this system features a knowledge graph that makes it easy to conduct diagnosis, workup planning, clinical reasoning, and anamnesis.


Convincing fake videos, or deepfakes, are already a reality. Anyone can suddenly be humiliated by fabricated videos that use advanced CGI technology to put someone’s face in scenes they were not in. 

To address this problem, Boston-based startup Netra has developed a powerful video scanning and metadata interpretation system backed by a patented AI technology to detect deepfakes, unsafe or harmful content, and possible cybersecurity attacks disguised as images or videos.


The Internet of Things (IoT) has been in existence for several years now, but its widespread use remains elusive until now. This is where end-to-end IoT platform Particle comes in the picture. 

This startup aims to provide a framework to make it easy for organizations to build IoT systems and networks. Backed by a 200,000-strong developer community, Particle seeks to advance IoT use for companies, institutions, and organizations of
all kinds and sizes. The platform is already being used by a number of organizations including Opti, Anderson EV, Jacuzzi, and Continental Tires.

The more the better

With hundreds of AI companies founded each year, it is easy to have the misconception that the establishment of a multitude of new AI startups is excessive. AI, however, is one of those industries that only get better as more players establish their platforms, and as more applications learn from the environment and from data. These AI startups will shape the future for their own verticals and niche markets.