Intel Capital, the investment arm of the processor giant, is today announcing its latest tranche of investments, a total of nearly $60 million going in to 15 startups that are working on solving different problems in the bigger area of big data (with a full rundown below). The investments come on the back of a big year for the group: in 2017 so far, Intel says that it’s invested $566 million in startups in its portfolio.
The focus on big data in this latest group of startups comes out of a new turn for Intel and how it’s been making strategic investments in recent times.
Intel Capital is one of the bigger names when it comes corporate tech investing. In total, it has invested $12.2 billion in 1,500 companies since 1991. But the operation went through a rocky patch in 2016 — where its parent considered selling its portfolio for $1 billion in 2016, yet instead opted instead to restructure.
Part of the outcome of that has been a lot more strategic focus for Intel Capital, where the investments are made to fit more closely with how Intel would like to position its wider business. And as Intel looks for new areas of business like connected cars and healthcare where it can carve out a position for its chipmaking operations, data is one of the pervasive themes.
“The world is undergoing a data explosion,” said Wendell Brooks, Intel SVP and president of Intel Capital, in a statement. “By 2020, every autonomous vehicle on the road will create 4 TB of data per day. A million self-driving cars will create the same amount of data every day as 3 billion people. As Intel transitions to a data company, Intel Capital is actively investing in startups across the technology spectrum that can help expand the data ecosystem and pathfind important new technologies,” Brooks said. (If you’re wondering about “pathfind” — this might help).
Another outcome has been a push for more diversity: Intel says that now 10 percent of its portfolio is led by women and other underrepresented groups in the tech industry. The cohort today meanwhile hails from the United States, Canada, China, Israel and Japan.
There have been other recent announcements that point to Intel’s more focused investing approach. For example, in September the company announced that it had invested over $1 billion in AI companies.
Intel’s making a bigger presentation about the investments in its CEO Showcase today. You can watch that event here. Here’s a rundown of the companies, and we have reached out to Intel to get an idea of the full size of the round for each, although generally Intel doesn’t break out its own individual investments. We’ll update as and when we learn more:
Amenity Analytics (New York, U.S.): text analytics platform to identify actionable signals from unstructured data using machine learning, sentiment analysis and predictive analytics.
Bigstream (Mountain View, California, U.S.): “hyper-acceleration technology” for performance gains on Apache Spark using hardware and software accelerators. Uses advanced compiler technology and transparent support for FPGAs. “Unlike other approaches, Bigstream requires no application code changes or special APIs.”
LeapMind (Tokyo, Japan): focused on improving the accuracy of neural network models and is researching and developing innovative algorithms to reduce the computational complexity of deep learning and original chip architectures for use in small computing environments.
Synthego (Redwood City, California, U.S.): genome engineering solutions. Products include software and synthetic RNA kits designed for CRISPR genome editing and research.
AdHawk Microsystems (Kitchener, Ontario, Canada): focuses on human-computer interaction using a camera-free eye tracking system, aimed to be used in AR/VR experiences.
Trace (Los Angeles, U.S.): sports AI startup currently focused on soccer, mountain sports and water sports using sensors, video and AI to make performance insights and video highlights.
Bossa Nova Robotics (San Francisco, U.S.): autonomous service robots for the global retail industry.
EchoPixel (Mountain View, California, U.S.): 3D medical visualization software that allows medical professionals to interact with organs and tissues in a 3D space. Its product True 3D is in use at UC San Francisco, Stanford, Cleveland Clinic, Lahey Clinic and Hershey Medical Center.
Horizon Robotics (Beijing, China): integrated and open embedded AI solutions, designing “robot brains” for 1,000 categories of devices.
Reniac (Mountain View, California, U.S.): IO bottleneck solutions. Its Distributed Data Engine “is architected to benefit databases, file systems, networking and storage solutions while freeing more CPU resources to creating business value.”
TileDB Inc. (Cambridge, Massachusetts, U.S.): manages the TileDB project created at the Intel Science and Technology Center for Big Data, a collaboration between Intel Labs and MIT, focused on “managing massive, multidimensional array data that frequently arise from scientific applications.”
Alcide (Tel Aviv, Israel): network security platform for any combination of container, VM and bare metal data centers operated by multiple orchestration systems, aimed at cyberattacks. Startup is in stealth mode.
Eclypsium (Portland, Oregon, U.S.): technology for organizations to defend their systems against firmware, hardware and supply chain attacks, offering visibility for monitoring systems in their infrastructure for firmware threats and supply chain compromise.
Intezer (Tel Aviv, Israel): cybersecurity solutions for biological immune system concepts, applying a “DNA approach to code.” The world’s first “Code Genome Database” that maps “billions of small fragments of malicious and trusted software.”
Synack (Redwood City, California, U.S.): scalable, continuous, “hacker-powered” testing platform for uncovering security vulnerabilities. It’s hitting a lot of other buzzwords…. Its “on-demand crowdsourced” security platform offers practical insights, analytics and actionable data.