Big Companies Are Procuring AI Startups in Droves


AI startups are a hot commodity for companies looking to leverage AI and machine learning technology, especially in the aftermath of the pandemic.

Any startup that creates a niche or develops an innovative product that captures market share becomes a target for acquisition. Upon purchase, the buyer gains access to the startup’s customers, latest products, and portfolio. The vast majority of promising AI startups are being devoured. Apple, Facebook, Amazon, Microsoft, and Google will have developed a total of 13 AI startups by the year 2020.


Microsoft paid $19.7 billion for Nuance in April of this year. Nuance is a speech recognition and conversational AI company best known for its deep learning voice transcription service, which is popular in the medical field. There are list of the biggest ai companies you can find online.

Microsoft purchased RiskIQ, a global threat intelligence and attack surface management startup, in July of this year to bolster its cybersecurity capabilities. Microsoft will be able to better protect businesses that run applications and infrastructure in hybrid cloud environments as a result of the acquisition.

ReFirm was also purchased by Microsoft in order to improve its firmware analysis and security capabilities.


Google purchased Provino in order to use NoC technologies for various artificial intelligence and machine learning research projects. Provino happens to be a company that use to create interconnect protocols for use in next-generation consumer security requests. Actifo and its data services portfolio were purchased by Google. Google’s cloud strategy is enhanced by the startup’s automated cloning and backup technology.


Wickr was acquired by AWS in June 2021. Wickr offers the most secure and end-to-end encrypted communication technology in the industry. Amazon also bought Zoox, a self-driving startup that is working on developing autonomous driving technology.


Scape Technologies, a cloud-constructed ‘Visual Positioning Service’ which converts images into 3D maps that use to deliver exact outdoor locations, happened to be acquired by Facebook in 2020. It goes beyond GPS to use computer vision to determine a user’s location. Making use of machine vision and artificial intelligence, the server-side substructure permits normal devices to distinguish spaces around them and overlap digital items onto the physical world.


Voysis, an Irish AI firm, was acquired by Apple. The company creates technology that allows digital voice assistants to better understand a user’s natural language. Apple also bought, a Seattle-based startup that specialises in low-power, edge-based AI tools, in 2020. The AI-powered image recognition tools developed by the startup could become standard features in future iPhones and webcams. Apple also purchased Vilynx, a company that has developed AI technology for analysing videos and understanding content.

AI talent grab

Acquihires are also on the rise. A lot of companies are buying startups these days for their AI/ML talent. Many companies in other domains are competing for these specialists to innovate and deploy AI in their organisations, not just in the tech sector. The entry of tech behemoths has only made it more difficult for other companies to attract top tech talent. Companies from all industries are vying for top AI talent in a pool that isn’t growing fast enough.

As a result, there is fierce competition for AI talent, with larger companies willing to go above and beyond to secure the best candidates.

Machine learning, natural language processing, image recognition, and other disciplines fall under the umbrella of AI. For an individual to lead projects in these areas, they must have significant mathematical skills and experience (10 years or more). Finding the right person to lead your company’s AI efforts is no easy task, especially given the scarcity of AI talent. For large corporations, buying out startups with the right workflow and talent makes a lot of sense.

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