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Qualcomm launches fund to invest in AI startups

Qualcomm said investment will be mainly oriented to startups focusing on autonomous cars, robotics and machine learning

Qualcomm has announced the launch of a new Qualcomm Ventures AI Fund to invest up to $100 million in startups focusing on artificial intelligence.

Qualcomm said that the fund will focus on startups, with an emphasis on those developing new technology for autonomous cars, robotics and machine learning platforms.

“At Qualcomm, we invent breakthrough technologies that transform how the world connects, computes, and communicates,” said CEO Steve Mollenkopf. “For over a decade, Qualcomm has been investing in the future of machine learning. As a pioneer of on-device AI, we strongly believe intelligence is moving from the cloud to the edge. Qualcomm’s AI strategy couples leading 5G connectivity with our R&D, fueling AI to transform industries, business models and experiences.”

As part of the AI Fund, Qualcomm Ventures participated in a Series A funding round for AnyVision, a face, body, and object recognition startup. AnyVision’s use of on-device AI minimizes the spread of data, mitigating privacy concerns, according to Qualcomm. This investment – the first made by the AI fund – will further AnyVision’s efforts to expand into other industries and develop new AI applications that transform how the world connects, computes and communicates, the chipmaker said.

The announcement was made at Qualcomm Ventures’ 5G & AI Summit in San Francisco, where leaders in AI convened to discuss applications of the technology in different industry verticals.

“Qualcomm Ventures is proud to invest in the future of AnyVision and many other key players in the AI industry,” said Quinn Li, SVP, ventures for Qualcomm Technologies and global head of Qualcomm Ventures. “This investment builds on our long history of successful AI investments, including Cruise Automation, Brain Corp., Clarifai, Prospera, SenseTime and Retail Next. Through the AI Fund, we’ll continue to seek out startups, with a focus on autonomous cars, robotics, computer vision and IoT, who are developing new AI applications, advanced machine learning technologies and AI/ML platforms across different verticals.”

In May, Qualcomm Technologies had announced the formation of a dedicated AI research organization aimed at coordinating the company’s R&D efforts in this area.

Qualcomm says its research has already helped deliver commercial solutions for smartphones, automotive, and IoT and is foundational for expanding on-device intelligence to many new industries.

“By working to enable seamless, personalized, and predictive experiences, Qualcomm Technologies has the potential to integrate AI into hundreds of millions of products with its solutions inside it each year. Qualcomm AI Research will continue to engage with the research community through various methods, including through academic publications, participation in technical conferences and academia collaborations,” Qualcomm said.

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