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Investors are backing more AI startups than ever before

Investors backed more AI companies in the first quarter of 2016 (Q1’16) than in any other quarter, according to research from venture capital analysis firm CB Insights, which supports the idea that AI is the next major revolution in computing.

In Q1’16, there were over 140 deals to startups focused on AI, CB Insights data wrote on its blog on Tuesday.

Data startup Trifacta, DNA testing startup Pathway Genomics, and cognitive computing business Digital Reasoning Systems were among the AI-powered companies that raised equity funding rounds in Q1 from investors including Goldman Sachs, Accel Partners, Greylock Partners, and the IBM Watson Group.

So far in 2016, more than 200 AI-focused companies have collectively raised nearly $1.5 billion (£1 billion).

The pick up in AI funding activity comes as businesses look to make their platforms and systems more human-like. Corporates use AI to provide customer support via a chatbot, or to help busy executives manage their personal diaries.

Equity deals to AI startups — including those applying AI technology to healthcare, advertising, and finance, as well as those developing general-purpose AI tech — increased from roughly 70 in 2011 to nearly 400 in 2015 and 2016 is set to be a new record.

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