Opinion

The Competitive Landscape of AI Startups

By Robert Seamans and James Kossuth

Barriers to entry may exist in some industries, but the survey overall points to a robust and competitive market for AI developers.

Big tech companies are pouring tens of billions of dollars into research on artificial intelligence (AI). Can small startups hope to enter AI markets and compete effectively?

A recent survey we did of commercial AI startups provides some intriguing insights into how they work, and how and where they compete with larger and more established firms. The picture that emerges is one of a robust, competitive market for startups, but also a market that is restricted in some important ways.

Large incumbent tech firms have several advantages over startups: they can invest huge sums into R&D, they have access to large amounts of data, and they have complementary assets and established markets. Some commentators point to the vast amounts of data available to big technology companies such as Google and Amazon and argue that startups may not be able to compete.

Read the full Harvard Business Review article.

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Robert Seamans is Associate Professor of Management and Organizations