Qualcomm launches $100M investment fund to push AI development

In Silico
Qualcomm is fueling the growth of artificial intelligence through a new $100 million investment fund. (Pixabay)

Qualcomm is plunking down $100 million to invest in startups that are transforming artificial intelligence.

Qualcomm is funneling the money into AI startups via the newly created Qualcomm Ventures AI Fund, which launched Wednesday. The fund has a specific emphasis on developing AI technology in devices such as autonomous cars, robotics and machine learning programs.

While AI and machine learning are industry buzzwords today, Qualcomm said its AI history goes back more than a decade. Over the years, Qualcomm has developed foundational building blocks for low power processing and connectivity, which are both key to making AI ubiquitous.

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AI is shifting toward the wireless edge by combining on-device capabilities with the edge cloud. Qualcomm said its 5G vision and strategic commitment to on-device AI goes hand in hand with mobile networks becoming the pervasive AI platform.

“At Qualcomm, we invent breakthrough technologies that transform how the world connects, computes, and communicates,” said Steve Mollenkopf, CEO of Qualcomm. “For over a decade, Qualcomm has been investing in the future of machine learning. As a pioneer of on-device AI, we strongly believe intelligence is moving from the cloud to the edge. Qualcomm’s AI strategy couples leading 5G connectivity with our R&D, fueling AI to transform industries, business models and experiences.”

The AI Fund kicked off with a series A round of funding for AnyVision, which is a face, body and object recognition startup. Qualcomm said AnyVision's use of on-device AI minimizes the spread of data, which helps ease privacy concerns.

The investment—the amount wasn't disclosed—will allow AnyVision to branch off into other industries and develop new AI applications. The AI Fund was announced at Qualcomm Venture's 5G & AI Summit in San Francisco.

RELATED: Qualcomm shepherds AI efforts into new research organization

Qualcomm has jumped into AI with both feet. In May, Qualcomm Technologies announced the formation of a AI new research organization, Qualcomm AI Research, which is designed to put all of the company's AI projects under one roof.

The division is a cross-functional, cooperative effort that encompasses all of the AI research that is taking place across the company.

Qualcomm has already tapped into AI for commercial products and applications across smartphones, the automotive industry and internet of things services. With the AI Fund and research division, Qualcomm is looking to expand AI into new industries, services and applications.

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