California - AI, FinTech, AR & VR Industry (2017 Snapshot)


Over 140 AI companies have been acquired since 2011 with the momentum on Mergers & Acquisitions peaking in 2016 resulting in 40 acquisitions, among which Google, Yahoo, Intel, Apple, and Salesforce, lead the pack. Google with 11 acquisitions is leveraging technology to improve the search experience, new media technology, targeted advertising, and digital assistants for the Android OS. The next wave of innovation is only restricted to tech giants as mid-sized companies and Businesses have yet to find value from AI to solve real-world problems.
California AI 2017 Snapshot


The authenticity of the founding story, the security risks, and the mass adoption of Bitcoin may be up for debate, but the technology behind the FinTech revolution – BlockChain as an alternative to the current cumbersome payment settlements is closer to reality. 15% of the 200 global banks is planning to include the technology in some capacity by the end of 2017. By 2020, 65% of banks would incorporate the payment settlement technology at production capacity.

Although most of the FinTech funding is centered in New York, Ripple - the San Francisco Global Financial Settlement provider has already raised over $93 million from star VCs - Google Ventures, Andreessen Horowitz, IDG Capital Partners and AME Cloud Ventures. Investment Banks/Financial Services Providers - Standard Chartered, Accenture Ventures, Siam Commercial Bank and SBI Holdings also have a sizable stake in the company. Ripple has already spearheaded a new category of services - Internet of Value (IoV), to convert payment settlements as real-time information.


2016 was the breakout year for Virtual Reality with $2.5B flowing in as investments. The momentum started in 2014 when Facebook acquired Oculus VR, the Irvine-based start-up for $2 billion. In 2016, the market fit of Augmented Reality(AR) received world’s attention with Pokémon Go becoming the #1 mobile app in just 20 days earning a revenue of $100 million. California startup NextVR found partners in CNN, Fox Sports, NBC Sports, HBS, and Live Nation, bringing in immersive user experience for concerts, sporting events, and movies.

In August 2016, NextVR received $80 million in Series B funding, taking the total investment to $115 million. Palo Alto, based Jaunt, raised $100 million in total investments to support hardware and software for Cinematic virtual reality experience.

Although the investments are more into gaming, and movies, smaller but promising VR & AR companies are emerging in California with a wide range of offerings in photography, live streaming, health care, and animation. Management professionals will be working on evangelizing, lobbying, or managing products in the new Infrastructure.

Top 20 Artificial Intelligence Companies

CompanyFocus Area
1AIBrain AI Assistants, and AI Agents for Games and Entertainment
2AmazonPrediction and Pattern Marching. AI for Home.
3AnkiConsumer Robots
4Apple AI Assistants
5BanjoSocial Media & Real-Time Analysis
6CloudMindsIntelligent Cloud Services
7EntefyPersonalized Digital Experience
8FacebookSocial Media Analysis. Bots (Text & Voice)
9GoogleSearch(Google Search), Speech(Google Translate), Visual Processing(Google Image), Prediction (Google Prediction API)
10IntelCustom Deep Learning Software
11PrismaPhoto Editing using AI
12SalesforceCRM and Customer Experience
13TwitterVisual Processing

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