Some think the excitement around Artificial Intelligence is overhyped. They might be right. But if they’re wrong, we’re on the precipice of something really big. We can’t afford to ignore what might be the biggest technological leap since the Internet.
We started YC AI an effort to offer domain-specific help to AI startups. We run the program twice a year, in tandem with our regular program. Companies in the cohort will have a few domain-specific perks:
From analyzing legal documents to spotting tumors, computers are producing better results than humans. Just like software helped streamline businesses, AI will further reduce costs and improve the quality of many tasks across every industry. This could be anything from helping farmers plant better to providing everyone with free machine-powered psychologists. We’re agnostic to the industry and would eventually like to fund an AI company in every vertical. We only ask that the team has sufficient ML experience to build out their vision.
We also have one specific RFS: Robot Factories. Many of the current techniques for robotic assembly and manufacturing are brittle. Robot arms exist, but are difficult to set up. When things break, they don’t understand what went wrong. As a result, humans are still leveraged to assemble products like an iPhone. We think ML (aided by reinforcement learning) will soon allow robots to compete both in learning speed and robustness. We’re looking to fund teams that are using today’s ML to accomplish parts of this vision.
We think the increased efficiency from AI will net out positive for the world, but we’re mindful of fears of job loss. As such we’re also looking to fund companies focused on job re-training, which will be a big part of the shift.
Our long-term goal is to democratize AI. We want to level the playing field for startups to ensure that innovation doesn’t get locked up in large companies like Google or Facebook. If you’re starting an AI company, we want to help you succeed. Apply here and mention this post in your application.
Here are some of the AI companies we’ve funded: