Published by Forbes on April 11, 2023
AI 50 showcases startups developing the most promising business applications of artificial intelligence — companies with compelling visions and the resources and technical wherewithal to achieve them.
Creation of the annual list begins with an open call for nominations and, with the help of data partner Meritech Capital, outreach to hundreds of possible contenders. Companies do not pay a fee for consideration. Rather, applicants share both qualitative information — such as business models, technical talent and how they’re building and using AI-enabled technology — and quantitative figures such as fundraising, valuation and revenue history. Applicants have the option to submit certain data confidentially. Forbes encourages companies to submit diversity data, though this component is optional. For companies which did not apply to the list but obviously merit inclusion, we evaluate publicly available information — data from sources including PitchBook, Crunchbase, and LinkedIn.
In its past iterations, AI 50 has been limited to companies in North America. This year, with AI shaping boardroom conversations around the world, we expanded eligibility to all privately-held companies globally. As a result, Forbes received a record 796 submissions for 2023, nearly double last year’s tally. Startups such as London-based Synthesia, Tokyo-based RevComm and Tel Aviv-based ImagenAI are all making their AI 50 debuts this year.
All candidates are reviewed by our data partner Sequoia Capital using an algorithm designed by partner Konstantine Buhler. It scores companies based on three rough criteria: financial performance, company culture and diversity. The algorithm factors information from the submissions, including revenue gains, customer statistics, historical funding and valuation, as well as publicly available data, such as Glassdoor reviews and LinkedIn insights to generate a holistic ranking of all the companies.
The top 100 finalists are vetted by a group of expert AI judges with pedigrees at leading public companies or research institutions (listed below) who review more qualitative considerations like technical potential and strength of talent. Then the top 60 among them are passed on to a group of AI investors with expertise in the startup ecosystem. They review the candidates, providing insider feedback based on business performance and competitive landscape (Judges who directly invested in a finalist are recused from evaluating that company).
Forbes editors then compiled the top 50 most compelling companies into the final AI 50, which is ordered alphabetically, and not ranked.
Tanya Berger-Wolf is a professor of computer science engineering; electrical and computer engineering; and evolution, ecology and organismal biology at the Ohio State University. She is also the director of the school’s Translational Data Analytics Institute. Prior to that, she was a computer science professor at the University of Illinois at Chicago. Berger-Wolf is also director and cofounder of Wild Me, a nonprofit using AI for wildlife conservation, and the Imageomics Institute.
Thomas Dohmke is CEO of GitHub, a Microsoft subsidiary. He has overseen the launch of the world’s first at-scale AI developer tool, GitHub Copilot and its successor Copilot X. Dohmke cofounded HockeyApp and led the company as CEO through its acquisition by Microsoft in 2014. He was a vice president, then chief product officer, prior to taking the helm at the company.
R. David Edelman
R. David Edelman is a technologist, investor and former policymaker. He has been a global growth and public strategy lead for various startups; a venture capital investor in deep tech companies; and a special assistant to President Barack Obama on issues of the digital economy and national security. In that role, he coauthored the federal government’s foundational AI strategy.
Usama Fayyad is the inaugural executive director of the Institute for Experiential AI at Northeastern University and the chairman of Open Insights, a consulting company focusing on AI and big data. He previously led big data analysis at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory. Fayyad has published over 100 technical articles, holds over 20 patents and is a fellow of the Association for Advancement of Artificial Intelligence and the Association of Computing Machinery.
Sanja Fidler is vice president of AI research at NVIDIA, leading the company’s lab in Toronto. She is also an associate professor at the University of Toronto and an affiliate faculty member at the Vector Institute For Artificial Intelligence, which she cofounded. She has coauthored more than 130 scientific papers in computer vision, machine learning and natural language processing.
Anantha Kancherla is an engineering director at Meta, where he recently led the AI platform team that has built machine learning framework PyTorch and launched the AI Research SuperCluster, among the fastest AI clusters in the world. Prior to Meta, he oversaw self-driving software (both in-car and cloud infrastructure) for Lyft’s self-driving car efforts. Kancherla started his career at Microsoft specializing in 3D graphics, working on DirectX and Windows.
Jason Mars is a professor of computer science at the University of Michigan. He is the author of Breaking Bots: Inventing A New Voice In The AI Revolution. Mars has cofounded several companies, including conversational AI startup Clinc, last valued at $202 million in 2019, per PitchBook.
Srinivas Narayanan was vice president of engineering at Meta, where he spent 13 years before departing in 2021. Most recently, he led the AI applied research team on research and development efforts. He also led major consumer product initiatives including the Photos team, where he helped start Facebook’s efforts in computer vision and deep learning. He currently advises venture capital firm General Catalyst on its AI investments.
Adriel Saporta recently departed Apple’s Health AI team, where she worked on machine learning and AI projects. She is now a Ph.D. candidate at the Courant Institute at New York University, where she’s a DeepMind Scholar working on machine learning for health. Saporta also cohosts “The AI Health Podcast.”
Nashlie Sephus is the principal AI/ML evangelist for Amazon AI, where she focuses on fairness and identifying biases. After joining Amazon as an applied science manager, she led multiple product launches including visual search for replacement parts on the Amazon Shopping app in June 2018. She is the owner and developer of the Jackson Tech District, which brings tech training and economic development to the Mississippi city.
Aishwarya Srinivasan is a data scientist on the Google Cloud AI team. She previously led various AI and machine learning initiatives initiatives at IBM. Srinivasan is also an advocate for responsible AI practices, and has cultivated a follower as a thought leader on LinkedIn.
Nathan Benaich is the founder and general partner of Air Street Capital, a venture capital firm investing in AI-first companies. He is coauthor of the annual “State of AI Report,” which tracks key trends in the sector, and the newsletter “Guide to AI.” Benaich also leads Spinout.fyi, which seeks to improve university spinout creation starting with open data on deal terms.
Disclosure: Benaich is an investor in Adept, PolyAI and Synthesia.
Konstantine Buhler is a partner at Sequoia Capital, where he invests in companies at the seed and early stages. Prior to joining Sequoia in 2019, Konstantine was at Meritech Capital, where he partnered with businesses including DataRobot and Newfront Insurance. Buhler serves as the data partner on Forbes’ AI 50 list.
Disclosure: Sequoia is an investor in Clari, Glean, Gong, Hugging Face, Ironclad and Neeva. Buhler is a personal investor in Viz.ai.
Sarah Guo is the founder and managing partner at Conviction, a venture capital firm launched in 2022 to invest in intelligent software. Prior to starting her own firm, she spent a decade as a general partner at Greylock Partners. Guo has been an early investor or advisor to more than 40 companies, and co-hosts the AI podcast “No Priors” with investor Elad Gil.
Disclosure: Conviction is an investor in Harvey and Inflection.
Saam Motamedi is a general partner at Greylock where he backs the next generation of enterprise software entrepreneurs. He partners with entrepreneurs at the seed and early stages who are focused on new opportunities in machine learning, AI and cybersecurity. Motamedi was previously founder of Guru Labs, an machine learning fintech startup.
Disclosure: Greylock is an investor in Abnormal Security, Adept, Inflection, Neeva, Snorkel AI and Tome.
Rob Toews is a partner at Radical Ventures and leads its San Francisco Bay Area office. Toews previously led AI investment as an investor at Highland Capital. He spent several years in the world of autonomous vehicles, including helping lead the strategy team at Zoox (acquired by Amazon for $1.3 billion) and working on autonomous vehicle policy in the White House under President Barack Obama.