Obsessed with AI but not sure where to go next? You’re not alone. Artificial intelligence startups will change the world, disrupting everything from marketing to real estate to space exploration along the way. Founders looking for capital can’t afford to leave their choice to chance. Investors want quick market penetration and a high probability of success, which means entrepreneurs in AI must consider their options carefully before committing to a niche.
Artificial intelligence has been capturing attention left and right, which makes now a good time to build AI investments. Accenture research in 12 different developed economies found that by 2035, AI will likely double annual economic growth rates. For context, those 12 countries are currently responsible for 50 percent of the world’s economic output. The research also revealed that AI will boost productivity by 40 percent and shorten the timeline for economic growth.
Fortunately for AI founders, plenty of areas have room for new entrants. Investors are paying close attention to industries with potential for disruption, so keep an eye on these niches as you consider options for your AI startup.
Americans alone spent $3.65 trillion on healthcare in 2018, and as the Baby Boomer generation enters retirement and Millennials enter adulthood, that figure will continue to swell. Healthcare may appear monolithic from the outside, but take a closer look and you’ll see thousands of sub-industries within the main event. From pharmaceuticals to operating room tools, healthcare may feel the impact of AI in a bigger way than any other area.
Several startups have already begun to stake their claims in healthcare. Cocoon Health, for example, has found a highly successful niche in computer vision-powered baby monitors backed by AI. Cocoon Health’s solution can detect the breathing rate of a baby without the need for a wearable; the same AI technology could be used for a variety of other health applications, including heart rate detection and clinical trials. With so many other niches left to explore, anyone considering an AI venture should look at healthcare as a great place to add value.
People learn differently, which means tools that facilitate individualized learning have great potential for growth. Synap, one such platform, uses predictive algorithms to help students share quizzes with one another and develops neuroscience-backed plans for each student’s needs. By identifying the learning preferences of each student, Synap can present the right information at the right time to maximize information retention.
When you think of potential AI applications in education, don’t limit your perspective to traditional schools. Professionals need education, too. The North American workplace training industry has a market size of nearly $170 billion, so investors will be quick to fund any startup that can provide an AI-powered learning solution for adult workers.
Blockchain used to scare some investors — it seemed like the domain of the dark web. But Deloitte’s 2019 Global Blockchain Survey underscores how much has changed: Of the nearly 1,400 executives surveyed, 86 percent said blockchain was broadly scalable and veering toward mainstream adoption. Blockchain and AI are buzzwords on their own — put them together, and you get a hybrid niche teeming with opportunity. Whether you want to focus on finance, real estate, healthcare, tech, or anything else, a blockchain-AI marriage will undoubtedly catch the attention of potential investors.
BuiltIn recently put together a list of startups working at this technological intersection. Bext360, for instance, uses AI and blockchain to help businesses in coffee, timber, seafood, and mineral industries improve their supply chains. Alphanetworks uses the same tools to help entertainers and networks better understand the needs and preferences of their viewers — and the company raised $10 million last year to do it. Think of an industry and a problem, and the odds are good that you can solve that problem using a combination of blockchain and AI.
Customer experiences matter more now than ever before. Companies need smarter solutions to live up to consumer expectations without breaking the bank on unsustainable staffing levels. New contenders like InteliWISE have answered the call by using AI to streamline the call center and chatting experience. Now that customers expect company representatives to know everything about everything, AI solutions help businesses provide context and clarity in every interaction.
Customer service covers more than call centers and chatbots, though. Artificial intelligence tools that help recommend better products, automatically submit complaints and handle returns, and proactively reach out to customers before issues escalate all have bright futures. The founders who do the most to improve the customer experience and eliminate friction will see the most success. Customer experience, after all, is going to become more important as time goes on — PwC found that about a third of customers around the world now leave a brand after a single bad experience.
Machinery and artificial intelligence don’t make the most obvious pair, but manufacturing holds plenty of opportunity for savvy AI creators. One early entrant, Fero Labs, has already landed major clients, including Ford and Intel. Clients of Fero Labs trust the company to smooth out the wrinkles in their manufacturing processes, covering everything from energy use to proactive machine maintenance.
People will always need manufacturers to make things, so this industry offers a stable opportunity with major growth potential for AI startups. New tools could analyze processes to recommend improvements or even power machines that take some of the heavy lifting out of human hands. AI-focused founders with hands-on experience would do well to explore manufacturing opportunities.
Are you looking to start an AI company in an industry not listed here? Are you worried someone else may have gotten a head start? Don’t let fear hold you back. Investors are ready and willing to put their money into promising AI startups. If you can solve a problem better than anyone else on the market, you won’t have to wait long before investors come knocking. Identify your opportunity, pursue your goal, and become the disruptor you were meant to be.