To be sure, the field of artificial intelligence is booming, and the technology is rapidly evolving. As its name implies, AI uses computer learning to handle all manner of basic human tasks, such as decision-making and data analysis. Its potential applications include everything from manufacturing to, yes, even being a CEO, by some estimates.
And if you're a startup in artificial intelligence, the time to get funding is now, according to new research from CB Insights, the venture capital research firm. AI companies received $310 million in 54 funding deals in 2015, a seven-fold increase in the last four years. Over the course of that period, AI businesses took in just shy of $1 billion.
But in spite of those big numbers, don't expect the future to arrive at your doorstep tomorrow. The vast majority of the funding--about 70 percent--has gone to seed and angel rounds, which means the industry is still in its infancy. To date, the biggest rounds of financing have gone to two Silicon Valley companies: Sentient Technologies, which has taken in $144 million in venture capital; and Ayasdi, with investments of $98 million. While those two companies recently took money in series C rounds, the majority of the 177 companies that have gotten funding since 2010 have taken in less than $30 million in early financing, according to CB.
The largest investors in the space are Silicon Valley based Data Collective, Bloomberg Beta, Khosla Ventures, and Samsung Ventures, CB reports.