Info-tech

Apple acquires American AI start-up Xnor.ai for $200 million

Hemani Sheth Mumbai | Updated on January 17, 2020 Published on January 17, 2020

File photo   -  REUTERS

Here’s how Apple’s acquisition of the edge-based AI start-up will affect the future of the company and its products

Apple recently acquired American AI start-up Xnor.ai for approximately $200 million according to reports.

Tech news website GeekWire first reported the news on Wednesday, speculating that the deal is in the ballpark of $200 million. If true, the acquisition will be in line with one of Apple’s previous acquisitions — tech start-up Turi, one of the biggest deals in the company’s history.

Apple’s response to an email sent by GeekWire for confirmation garnered a standard email response: “Apple buys smaller technology companies from time to time and we generally do not discuss our purpose or plans.”

Xnor.ai is a spin-off of the non-profit Allen Institute for AI (AI2). The company has been popular for its advanced machine learning and imaging tools, which can be executed on relatively smaller devices with minimum power with no requirement of cloud support.

From a solar-powered AI chip to AI-enabled gizmos to monitor grocer shelves, the start-up has produced a lot of notable innovations in 2019 before being acquired by Apple.

Xnor.ai’s acquisition will help in improving Apple’s data privacy and data security tech, something that has always been a priority for Apple CEO Tim Cook, GeekWire reported. The start-up can help improve security measures by helping Apple build tools that can store data securely on its devices without requiring cloud support.

“Xnor’s AI-enabled image recognition tools could very well become standard features in future iPhones and webcams,” the GeekWire report speculated.

Xnor.ai got off the ground back in 2017 with help from Madrona and AI2, raising $2.6 million in seed funding. It received $12 million in a Series A funding round with additional backing from Autotech Ventures, NGP Capital and Catapult Ventures a year after seed funding.

The start-up was also ranked 44th on the Forbes list of most promising AI companies in America.

Published on January 17, 2020
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