US semiconductor and telecommunications equipment firm Qualcomm Inc. said it has set up a new $100 million venture fund to invest in startups that are “transforming” the field of artificial intelligence.
“The fund will focus on startups that share the vision of on-device AI becoming more powerful and widespread, with an emphasis on those developing new technology for autonomous cars, robotics and machine learning platforms,” the firm said in a statement, after announcing its plans at its 5G & AI Summit in San Francisco on November 28.
The move will help Qualcomm in its bid to make “on-device AI technology ubiquitous,” the firm said.
The fund has already made its first investment, injecting money in a series A funding round for Holon, Israel-based AnyVision, a startup that uses AI to recognize faces, bodies and objects for security, medical, and agricultural purposes, among others.
The investment “will further AnyVision’s efforts to expand into other industries and develop new AI applications that transform how the world connects, computes and communicates,” the statement said.
AnyVision was founded in 2015 by Eylon Etshtein and Prof. Neil Roberston and has Tamir Pardo, a former head of Israel’s Mossad intelligence service on its advisory board, according to its website.
Qualcomm has invested previously in other Israeli startups, including DesignArt Networks, for $150 million in 2012, and chipmaker Wilocity, for some $300 million in 2014. The US firm has also invested in AI-automated crop monitoring startup Prospera, which raised $15 million from investors in 2017, according to data compiled by Start-Up Nation Central, which tracks the industry.