The Global Artificial Intelligence Landscape – by Asgard and Roland Berger | 2018


  • The US is the global market leader for Artificial Intelligence with 40% market share
  • China (2nd) and Israel (3rd) have the next strongest AI ecosystems
  • Most other countries lack the needed combination of research, entrepreneurship, funding and M&A to build a sustainable and competitive AI ecosystem
  • Globally there are too many chatbots and too few real-problem-solving applied AI solutions


In early 2017, we published the German AI Landscape, and later in 2017, we created the European AI Landscape. We determined that London, Paris, and Berlin were strong individual hubs for Artificial Intelligence. However, we wanted to know how cumulative Europe compares to the global AI landscape.

We started by collecting a list of over 7,500 companies claiming to build Artificial Intelligence solutions. We cleaned the data, sorted, and analyzed it. In partnership with Roland Berger, we published a report about our findings. The result is the first Global Artificial Intelligence Landscape. Enjoy!

Download the report “A Strategy for European AI Startups” in cooperation with Roland Berger.

Download the database of 3,465 AI companies for free.

Global Artificial Intelligence Landscape

Top Countries in the Race for Artificial Intelligence

USA is the clear world market leader for Artificial Intelligence

It’s not surprising to say that the United States of America is the clear market leader for Artificial Intelligence. By far, the US has the strongest AI ecosystem in terms of funding, number of companies and global reach. A total of 40% of all AI companies are based in America. The number would be even higher if we consider all AI companies with a sales office or headquarters in the United States while their core technology team is located somewhere else, such as Poland, Israel, or France.

America’s leadership is the result of a mature, well-financed, and thriving digital ecosystem in Silicon Valley and the New York/Boston metropolitan area. Over 16 governmental agencies support AI companies financially and politically (including DARPA, CIA and NSA). The US also has leading universities (like Stanford and MIT), as well very strong corporate research facilities (like Google DeepMind).

The US is a role model in terms of how a technological industry can grow strongly when governmental stimulation, applied research by universities and corporations, entrepreneurship, private funding, and a thriving M&A market play well together.

China is number two in the world for AI

The most astonishing result for us is that China is number two for Artificial Intelligence in the world. Approximately 11% of all AI companies are based in China.

For some, it might be no surprise because China has publicly announced its intention to be world leader for AI by 2030. Artificial Intelligence is part of the country’s ambitious 5-year development plan. The government pumps billions into research centers in Beijing and Tianjin. The market for startups is very well-financed, and valuations are even higher than in Silicon Valley. China has the strongest growth by published academic papers and a surprisingly high number of AI startups.

China shows that with political willpower, adequate funding, and a clear strategy, a country can become an influential Artificial Intelligence player within years.

Israel is technologically strong and underestimated

We Europeans expected Israel to be fairly strong on AI. However, we were surprised that Israel is now number three in the world for AI solutions. With only 8.5 million citizens, Israel has a market share of 11% and is equal to China. Israel has 40x more AI companies per capita than the market leader USA, and that makes Israel the clear hidden champion of Artificial Intelligence.

One reason for the country’s AI leadership is the close connection between the Israeli military and the digital sector. However, Israel has a long history of deep technology companies, not only for AI. There are quality universities (including Technion, Bar-Illan, Ben-Gurion, Jerusalem) and a strong entrepreneurial ecosystem in Tel-Aviv.

United Kingdom is raising the bar for Europe

In our European AI landscape, we already identified the United Kingdom as the leading country for Artificial Intelligence in Europe. With a market share of 7%, the UK stands well in international competition for AI funding, research, and talents.

From our view, London is a global financial hub, and therefore funding for AI companies in the UK is significantly greater compared to other European countries. Additionally, the UK government has for years created an entrepreneurship and investor friendly environment. London’s M&A market works well, English is the region’s main language, and the UK has many excellent universities (including Oxford and Cambridge).

Not good enough: Canada, Japan, France, Germany and the rest of the world

For veterans of the AI industry, Canada is not an unknown player and is currently number five on the Global AI country ranking. While Canada promotes entrepreneurship-friendly politics, the main reason is the Deep Learning Mafia from Toronto. Yoshua Bengio, Geoffrey E. Hinton, and Yann LeCun are three main drivers of the Deep Learning renaissance of the past six years, and they chose Canada as their original research hub.

Canada is even in market share (3.8%) with Japan (3.1%), France (3.1%), and Germany (3%). All are strong economies with a large domestic market.

However, compared by size of economy, we’re especially disappointed that France and Germany’s efforts to develop AI industry leadership capacity are small in contrast to the USA, China, and Israel.

The same goes for many more countries like India (nine), Spain (13), Brazil (17) and Rusia (20). Most of these countries have a huge shortfall of Artificial Intelligence companies, and we see much struggle in their future. Unless those lagging countries invest significantly more effort and capital to reduce their AI deficit, they’ll be highly dependent on AI solutions from China, USA, and Israel.

Top Cities Worldwide for Artificial Intelligence

As expected, the greater Silicon Valley area is the world’s largest AI hub, followed by London, Tel Aviv, New York, and then Beijing. Boston, Tokyo, Shanghai, Los Angeles, and Paris are still in the Top Ten 10 for global AI cities. Berlin, Toronto, Shenzhen, and Seoul follow closely.

City hubs are essential for growth of a strong AI industry. In those hubs, capital, talent, and ideas are nurtured under high pressure, fast iteration, and fierce competition. Those who win the battle for employees, investors, and clients in their hub have the potential to grow into a world leader.

Applied AI Solutions Aren’t Deep-Tech Enough

We see this daily in our Asgard deal flow. Currently, most AI startups are solving “low-hanging fruit” problems in communication (an army of chatbots and dialog systems), sales, and marketing. Those are the three main verticals globally, and no country is out of the norm.

We’re happy to see that healthcare, computer vision, and core AI are also strong verticals for applied AI.

However, we’re mildly disappointed to discover a lack of AI companies for manufacturing, education, and disruption of legal/insurance/enterprise industries. We hope to see our generation of entrepreneurs moving past easier projects to tackle complex (and more important) challenges.

About Us

Asgard — Human Venture Capital for Artificial Intelligence is a Berlin-based investment firm with focus on early stage artificial intelligence companies. Asgard was founded in 2014 by serial entrepreneur and investor Fabian J. G. Westerheide.

Roland Berger, founded in 1967, is the only leading global consultancy of German heritage and European origin. With 2,400 employees working from 34 countries, Roland Berger has successful operations in all major international markets. Roland Berger’s 50 offices are located in the key global business hubs. The consultancy is an independent partnership owned exclusively by 220 Partners.

Thank You!

We would like to thank the Roland Berger team for their help. It was the idea of Roland Berger’s CEO Charles-Edouard Bouée to work together. Tobias Rappers and Axelle Lemaire were the driving forces behind the project.

Asgard also thanks our team members Milette Riis and Carly Howard, who spent months digging through the data.

Download the database of 3,465 AI companies for free.

Download the report “A Strategy for European AI Startups” in cooperation with Roland Berger.

As usual, please leave your feedback and thoughts. We’re happy to discuss our findings. And please share the results! Our world has to become smarter, and we need more AI for a better human future.

AI’s Vision Problem

Visions of an AI Apocalypse, or Just a Lack of Vision?
By Mass Swayne

Matt Swayne is a science writer  at Penn State and a communication professional interested in innovation and future technologies.

Some of the brightest people on the planet have a rather bleak assessment of the impact artificial intelligence will have on humanity’s future, assessments that run from living under the thumb of machine dictators to complete annihilation.

Here’s Elon Musk’s vision for AI:

“The least scary future I can think of is one where we have at least democratized AI because if one company or small group of people manages to develop godlike digital superintelligence, they could take over the world,” Elon Musk said. “At least when there’s an evil dictator, that human is going to die. But for an AI, there would be no death. It would live forever. And then you’d have an immortal dictator from which we can never escape.”

Here’s the late Stephen Hawking’s vision for AI:

“The development of full artificial intelligence could spell the end of the human race….It would take off on its own, and re-design itself at an ever increasing rate. Humans, who are limited by slow biological evolution, couldn’t compete, and would be superseded.”

Both quotes sound more like Woody Allen:

“More than any other time in history, mankind faces a crossroads. One path leads to despair and utter hopelessness. The other, to total extinction. Let us pray we have the wisdom to choose correctly.”

But, are futures — even futures envisioned by really smart people —  governed by evil robot dictators and threatened human extinction events, jobless economies, and meaningless existences really visions at all, or are they caricatures at best?

The future should not rest on these types of soundbyte exaggerations, says Fabian Westerheide, founder and CEO of Asgard and an international expert on Artificial Intelligence strategy and the rapid rise of the blockchain/token economy. What society needs is a vision for the future that doesn’t discount the possible dangers, but puts them in proper perspective with optimism and commitment.

Westerheide added that the blinders that limit the vision of AI to robot-led dictatorships should be taken off to help guide a future that’s both pro-human and pro-machine.

“For me, this is the future: humans and AI will work together,”

says Westerheide, who spoke at GrowthCon 2018 in Frankfurt, Germany.

There are signs that this isn’t just an optimistic vision, but a realistic one, as well. AI may take jobs, but could create jobs, too. And, let’s face it, AI might take away some crappy jobs, giving people who typically labored in those fields a chance for other more rewarding activities, if they retrain and seize the opportunity.

AI is starting to make progress in not just improving the quality of life, but improving life, itself. The health and medical industries are just beginning to feel the effects of artificial intelligence.

For example, Dr. Stephen Wiviott, executive director of the Clinical Trials Office at Partners HealthCare, recently suggested that AI could revolutionize clinical trials, adding it could cut costs by 90 percent because too much time is spent on checking and rechecking for human errors.

These developments show that, despite the media’s attention to AI’s doom and gloom scenarios, an entirely different future is possible. Although it often doesn’t get the headlines, it’s a vision shared by experts, such as Google’s Larry Page, Sebastian Thurn and Chris Anderson.

“We need to promote a vision for society and create goals that are ambitious enough to make us live for them and strive for them,”

said Westerheide, adding that there are signs that other people and institutions share this vision. The European Commission has finally published a strategy for supporting the European Artificial Intelligence ecosystem, for example.

“This is needed and a great step to a better future for Europe,” he said. “And I think it’s a step toward the future where AI plays a role in helping us live longer and happier lives, actually with less fear.”

Westerheide and dozens of other experts on AI will be on hand May 17, 2018 at the Rise of AI conference in Berlin, hosted by Asgard venture capital. Rise of AI is one of Europe’s first and largest conferences for Artificial Intelligence in Berlin.

The European Artificial Intelligence Landscape | More than 400 AI companies built in Europe

Software is eating the world and Artificial Intelligence (AI) is at the heart of this takeover. Since we at Asgard are deeply involved in the European AI market, we thought we would share our insights.

Main findings:

  • Europe has a growing and thriving Artificial Intelligence industry
  • The UK has by far the strongest AI ecosystem, followed by Germany, France and Spain
  • London is Europe’s number one hub for AI companies, followed by Berlin, Paris, Madrid, Stockholm and Amsterdam
  • Switzerland has the most AI companies per citizen
  • Most AI companies are in the data analytics market
  • There are some mature and well-funded AI companies in Europe
  • Only 60% of companies claiming to be AI firms actually are

Get the full list of all 409 European AI companies for free

The European Artificial Intelligence Landscape and largest AI hubs in Europe

 European Artificial Intelligence Hubs and Landscape

The European Artificial Intelligence Landscape – click here for a higher resolution

The United Kingdom takes the lead as the strongest AI ecosystem in Europe. We have counted 121 AI firms in the UK, with London clearly the largest hub.

In second place is Germany (51), with Berlin as the main AI hub supporting 30 AI companies.

France (39) and Spain (31) follow in third and fourth place.

European Artificial Intelligence Nations

There are also growing AI industries in Switzerland (21), Sweden (19) and the Netherlands (17).

Italy (14), Russia (13) and Finland (11) follow.

AI companies from the UK, Germany and France account for over 50 % of the European total. These numbers are not surprising given their more mature digital ecosystems, a requirement for growing complex AI companies.

European Artificial Intelligence companies by country size

Switzerland has the Most AI Companies Per Capita

An interesting side note is that some countries perform better when taking population into account. In this case, Switzerland leads the field, followed by Finland, the UK, Sweden, Ireland and Denmark. The UK is an outlier here as Spain, Germany and France all have significantly fewer AI companies per citizen.

European Artificial Intelligence Industries

Data Analytics Companies Dominate European AI Industries

Data Analytics companies make up the bulk of AI firms in Europe, perhaps due to AI needing data and its emergence from the Cloud and Big Data trends of recent years.

Sales & Marketing AI firms tend to solve well-known problems with this new abundance of data, and take advantage of improvements in NLP (natural language processing) and NLG (natural language generation) within the mobile / IoT world. We therefore see many new companies in the fields of Text Analytics and Conversational AI.

Customer Service and Personal Assistants have been very popular fields in which to start companies, supported by the advances in frameworks and free APIs.

Robotics is one of the oldest fields to use AI. However, we are not yet seeing an increase in the number of robotics companies.

On the other hand, we still have too few companies in the fields of Logistics, Education, and Travel using Artificial Intelligence.

Best funded European Artificial Intelligence companies

Best Funded European AI Companies

Once a firm’s technology becomes a commodity, it becomes difficult to remain an AI company. Many grow out of their AI definition and develop into something else. However, we have identified ten companies which still run as AI companies, even after larger funding rounds. 


Data & Process

We compiled a list of 715 companies based in Europe claiming to be in the AI industry. We took the data from Crunchbase, AngelList, and our own research.

We then excluded companies which are inactive, agencies, consultancies, have been acquired, have a closed beta, or do not use machine learning. Additionally we attempted to exclude those which appeared only to use AI as a marketing tool, adopting buzz words such as “customer intelligence”, “marketing automation”, and “big data optimization”.

We may have missed some companies out, for example if they are too young, in stealth, or if we simply never heard of them. We apologise for this and will include them next time – just send us an email to

What is Artificial Intelligence? The definition is constantly changing. What we see as AI today could be standard software next year.

To get the list of all 409 AI companies, click here.


If you are interested in meeting European AI entrepreneurs, researchers and thought leaders, then join us for our Rise of AI 2018 conference.


Many thanks to Milette for investing weeks of her time to generate the data. Unfortunately, there is as yet no AI for identifying AI companies.

The European Artificial Intelligence companies list | from 2017

We have compiled a list of 409 European Artificial Intelligence companies. Each company has a crunchbase link, industry, webpage, city and country.

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Evolving from Narrow Artificial Intelligence to Cognitive Artificial Intelligence

Much has been written about the Rise of AI and it is more to read than you have human time to do it. I have personally written about AI First and the next stage of machine intelligence back in 2015. Today I commit some words about where Artificial Intelligence is today and where it is heading to in the next years. At the end I have a wish list for entrepreneurs, companies and researchers.

Today we are already living in an AI world

Big Data, machine learning, hardware and the Internet have enabled us to create hundred thousands of different Artificial Intelligence applications.

We use AI for automation of processes. We let it trade stocks, drive cars, trucks, control trains, drones and submarines. We let it analyse traffic videos. AI sorts for us our Facebook, Spotify and Netflix content.

We use AI for human machine communication. Either with Google Speech or we communicate directly with Alexa, Cortana and Siri. We even let AI read and write our emails.

Artificial Intelligence is the digitalization of human knowledge work. We trust AI for navigation and research. We even let AI win Go, poker, compose music and create art.

And that all is just the beginning. It is like DOS for the PC era and a Nokia 3210 for the mobile era.

Today we have Narrow Artificial Intelligence

I call these current systems Narrow Artificial Intelligence. They are highly specialized and are often better than humans at the same task. However they need large sets of data and weeks/months/years of training by humans. Additional most models are still highly mathematical (e.g. try to improve gradient descent) and brute forcing trial & error (see error back propagation).

On top the biggest drawback is, that these Narrow Artificial Intelligences can not transfer knowledge.

The field of AI is as old as the field of computers. We started with heuristic systems, then we had expert systems and today we have learning systems. However that is not enough and we need to reach the next stage of machine intelligence.

We need AIs, which can adapt to new situations. We need AIs which can build a memory, gain knowledge and uses its own experiences. We need AIs, which learn faster with less data.

What we need is Cognititve Artificial Intelligence

I call the next generation Cognitive Systems, or Cognitive Artificial Intelligence. These are a combination of machine learning + knowledge technologies. Prof. Hans Uszkoreit briefly touches that topic at the end of his Rise of AI talk.

A Cognitive Artificial Intelligence has perception (sensory input like hearing, listening, reading, seeing, feeling). It can execute action (interpretation, reasoning, planning and communication) and it can react to unplanned situations.

For Cognitive Artificial Intelligence Systems we need learning algorithms, which are faster and need less data (better abstraction). We also need to better understand how our own brain works. Humans are still the only Superintelligence in the room.

My AI wish list

I kindly ask researchers to work more on transfer knowledge. Google’s PathNet leads the direction. Please work more on AI’s memory and experiences. Find ways that AIs can react to unplanned situations without brute forcing their way to optimization.

For entrepreneurs and startups out there: Work on models and the data. You need to have access to plenty of data or own it. Close the feedback look in your AI system. Means, your system should gather, learn and optimize without human help.

Algorithms and frameworks are free. Concentrate on the models, which are compressing your data. Dr. Damian Borth speaks about it at his Rise of AI talk.

For the more mature companies: think AI first. Build internal AI teams, buy AI companies or partner with AI startups.

If you have a service, then sell the solution. Fix your problems and your customer’s problems with AI.

If you sell hardware, then use your hardware as a Trojan Horse for your (software) intelligence.

This is my AI wish list for 2017.

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