Qualcomm pumps $100mn into AI start-up fund

US mobile chip giant Qualcomm has created a $100 million investment fund to support artificial intelligence (AI) startups in an effort to put mass-market devices, rather than the cloud, at the heart of AI activity.

The Qualcomm Ventures AI 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 company announced.

“As a pioneer of on-device AI, we strongly believe intelligence is moving from the cloud to the edge,” said Steve Mollenkopf, the CEO of Qualcomm, in a company statement about the new investment fund, which was unveiled at Qualcomm Ventures’ 5G & AI Summit in San Francisco. “Qualcomm’s AI strategy couples leading 5G connectivity with our R&D, fuelling AI to transform industries, business models and experiences.”

Qualcomm has already picked one lucky recipient of its largesse: Qualcomm Ventures has participated in a Series A funding round for AnyVision, a “face, body, and object recognition start-up”, though there are no details about how many greenbacks the chip giant deposited in AnyVision’s bank account. That $28 million funding round was announced in July this year: It was led by German multinational Bosch, but no other investors were named at the time.

Qualcomm, of course, isn’t the only industry giant backing the AI trend in the communications device world: Chinese behemoth Huawei Technologies has been banging the AI drum for quite some time.

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