Is There Business in Artificial Intelligence?

In the United States, Europe and China more and more companies incorporate this technology, and in Mexico? The sector is still a window of opportunity.

P ara – class Biomedical Engineering Design, Daniel Aragon, Yoku Sashida and Alan Fridman created the prototype of a glove that just by touching a person’s chest, reports the electrical state of his heart. The cornerstone of this innovation born in 2016 : artificial intelligence (AI).

After the presentation of ECGlove in the Tec de Monterrey class, Guadalajara Campus, the students were invited to an entrepreneurship workshop, attended the acceleration and incubation programs Tec Lean Accelerator and Tec Lean Launch, added two more partners –Josué Godínez and Snaider Bautista– and created the startup Solutions Kenko.

The venture is dedicated to developing medical devices. It has areas of commercialization, software and hardware development, industrial design and a small production line for rapid prototyping tests. “We formed the project as part of our motivation to generate technology to solve health-related problems,” says Bautista.

More and more companies are incorporating artificial intelligence into their business models. The study “The Impact of Artificial Intelligence on Entrepreneurship”, published by the organization Endeavor in 2018, details that the boom around this technology is not only visible in one country, but it impacts on all continents.

According to the report, international companies are taking advantage of the new capabilities that techniques such as machine learning can bring them in optimizing their current operation or in generating new business models. The United States, Europe and China lead this movement.

“In Mexico there are not as many companies as there could be,” says Bautista. In its entrepreneurship network, Tec de Monterrey has identified 26 startups that incorporate AI into their business model with a particular product or service.

For Enrique Cortés Rello, director of the Tec’s Artificial Intelligence Hub, this is not discouraging news, on the contrary, it is a window of opportunity. “We can take a very big leap and position ourselves as a leading country in the region. We can do it and we have everything ”, says the specialist.

In Latin America, the situation of entrepreneurship based on the use of artificial intelligence is in its early stages. Endeavor’s study, based on 70 companies, reveals that most companies are young (63% were founded less than six years ago) and small (50% have between one and 10 direct employees). The average artificial intelligence company in Latin America sold $ 1.1 million in 2017.

The sectors in which the activity of companies with a high level of specialization in artificial intelligence in the region is most concentrated are the provision of software and services to companies, health and media, the report indicates. To carry out their activity, 60% of the companies represented in the study have received external financing from one or more sources: 33% from seed capital, 29% from private capital, 21% in series A or B rounds and 17% from investors. angels

Where does the money come from?

Finding financing is one of the main challenges of these startups. “In Mexico it has not been easy,” says Briana Osorio, co-founder and CEO of Signamy, a startup that uses AI   to translate sign language. So far, the project has received funding from its four partners, a Chilean state fund, and a crowdfunding campaign.

It is important to Endeavor that a strong investment ecosystem develops in the region that is willing to finance artificial intelligence ventures. Even, he points out,   aspire to have specialized funds, public-private initiatives and specific recognitions for the sector.

Cortés affirms that in the coming years this will be solved. “The money is going to find these startups, you just have to give them time and support to make that happen,” he predicts.

Golden tips for dabbling in artificial intelligence

It is not only about designing a business model that incorporates technology, there are additional elements that entrepreneurs must consider.

  • Balance your team. If you are an engineer and want to apply technology in agriculture, you must have a specialist in that sector. Computer engineers cannot do a solution alone.
  • Be patient. Take into account that artificial intelligence entrepreneurship is in the early stages in Mexico and selling your project requires more explanations than traditional businesses.
  • Get closer to your peers. Find entrepreneurs from the world of artificial intelligence to tell you what they have learned, where they are, how they got there and where they are going. All these experiences can be useful to you.

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