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Bain & Company Identifies Top AI Leaders of 2024 Amid Growing Provider Numbers

Consumer Tech

Bain & Company Identifies Top AI Leaders of 2024 Amid Growing Provider Numbers


With the market for generative AI exploding amid ballooning numbers of technology providers in every category, and burgeoning funding in the tens of billions, Bain & Company today unveils its new, proprietary mapping of the rapidly expanding sector to identify and track the AI companies emerging as its hottest players, with highest potential and impact.

The new Bain analysis, AI Leaders to Watch, maps which application providers among the many start-ups in the AI industry are seeing the greatest momentum in 2024. By “following the money” and examining which businesses are attracting the most attention and funding, Bain’s report aims to answer the questions of which are the hottest AI use cases and which business activities AI is most likely to disrupt.

The companies identified in Bain’s mapping are those leading AI providers offering solutions for specific, often very specific, corporate or consumer needs, rather than the players providing the big AI foundation models such as OpenAI, Google DeepMind, or Anthropic.

Bain’s analysis highlights 24 companies to watch this year, including 15 “must-know” leaders in the AI sector that have already gained traction with customers and market support, and nine “emerging disrupters” that are attracting investor attention and market recognition.

The application providers on the list (shown in full below) include Glean, which offers an AI-powered search engine for a company’s internal documentation; Writer, which helps create consistent marketing and other documentation based on a company’s brand standards and guidelines; and Synthesia, which creates humanlike avatars for training, customer service, marketing, and other uses.

Others on the list are focusing on industry-specific solutions, such as Harvey, an AI tool developed for law firms and corporate law departments, and Hippocratic, an AI model trained specifically for the heavily regulated healthcare industry. 

Andre Fernandes, partner in Bain & Company’s Innovation & Design practice, where he also heads the firm’s Venture Ecosystem team, said: “We expect the accelerated pace of innovation and development across AI categories to continue apace from the inflection point of last year. For investors and executives, that means watching closely as the marketplace of providers continues to change, with winning players in the game for the long run, and inevitably other start-ups being overtaken or falling by the wayside.  We think our listing of the companies to watch shows some of the providers moving out ahead of the growing pack.”

Bain’s AI Leaders to Watch listing follows the firm’s recent analysis of the exploding scale of the market in generative AI, showing the exponential rise in providers across categories and in funding.  Overall, global AI funding multiplied almost 12-fold from 2020 to 2023, rising from $2.01 billion in 2020 to $23.7 billion last year, Bain found. For foundation models alone, funding rose from $44 million to $16.3 billion.

Sanjin Bicanic, partner in Bain & Company’s Advanced Analytics Group, said: “With the AI landscape evolving at a very rapid pace and large numbers of new providers and applications emerging, it’s increasingly challenging for companies and their leaders to track the “go to” AI businesses to work with and the right technology to deploy.  As the industry develops and matures, we’ll see clear leaders develop across use cases and categories. What we’ve sought to do with our AI Leaders to Watch mapping is to pinpoint some of the emerging early providers and platforms that have high potential to be important players in coming years.”

2024 AI Leaders to Watch list

Company Application type Funding round Total funding Category
Adept AI Enterprise operations Series B $415,000,000 Must-know
AssemblyAI Audio and language Series C $158,120,000 Must-know
Captions Multimedia Series B $40,000,000 Emerging
Character.ai Character building Series A $150,000,000 Must-know
Cresta Customer experience Series C $151,000,000 Must-know
Descript Multimedia Series C $100,000,000 Must-know
ElevenLabs Audio and language Series B $101,000,000 Emerging
Glean Enterprise operations Series D $358,200,000 Must-know
Harvey Industry: Legal Series B $106,000,000 Must-know
Hippocratic AI Industry: Healthcare Series A $118,000,000 Emerging
Inworld AI Industry: Gaming Series A $125,700,000 Emerging
Jasper Marketing and sales Series A $131,000,000 Must-know
Luma AI Multimedia Series B $68,500,000 Emerging
Magic Code development Series B $145,125,000 Emerging
Midjourney Multimedia N/A Self-funded Must-know
Observe.AI Customer experience Series C $214,020,000 Must-know
Perplexity AI Consumer search Series B $165,300,000 Emerging
Replit Code development Series B $222,020,000 Must-know
Runway Multimedia Series C $236,500,000 Must-know
Synthesia Multimedia Series C $156,600,000 Must-know
Tabnine Code development Series B $57,050,000 Emerging
Tome Marketing and sales Series B $75,300,000 Must-know
Typeface Marketing and sales Series B $165,000,000 Emerging
Writer Workflow automation Series B $126,000,000 Must-know

Methodology 1

To select the 24 to watch in 2024, Bain’s analysis used a data-driven evaluation, looking at founding year, funding, investor reputation, market recognition, and headcount as of the end of 2023. Total funding numbers shown above are current through May 1, 2024.

For the must-know leaders, the analysis considered companies that:

  • Have raised at least $75 million to date or are self-funded
  • Have at least one leading investor involved
  • Have been included in at least two leading market maps, “best of” lists, or other publications
  • Have at least 25 employees and more than 20% year-over-year headcount growth

For the emerging disrupters, the analysis considered companies that:

  • Were founded in 2021 or later
  • Have raised at least $20 million to date
  • Have at least one leading investor involved
  • Have been included in at least one leading market map, “best of” list, or other publication

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