InvestMidwest Companies on the Forefront of the AI Revolution

Looking back on 2023 one thing is clear, it was certainly the year of artificial intelligence. With the launch of ChatGPT companies and individuals all over the world began to experience the potential, and potential pitfalls, of generative AI.

Brian Matthews, co-founder of Cultivation Capital, remarked that the ease of use of these early tools led to rapid adoption by companies across industries. And with all that movement in the market, is a huge opportunity for startups to solve the problems that will inevitably occur.

Monitaur, a Cultivation Capital portfolio company monitors its client’s AI for bias and drift. Minotaur is working first in the insurance industry, helping customers evaluate data and make decisions. Other industries with heavy regulation like banking and pharmaceuticals will also be navigating how to leverage AI to keep themselves free of liability in these highly regulated industries.

Matthews says, it’s important to get on board with AI before you are left behind, “If you are not already using generative AI to solve business problems internally and for your customers, your competition will out pace you.”  Investors are seeing an opportunity to get ahead of the game and companies with first mover advantage are seeing a lot of buzz across various sectors.

Despite investors being quick to find companies working with AI, Matthews says there has not been a lot of adoption of the technology in most firm’s day-to-day operations.

“Investors are very relationship oriented. Currently VC analysts and junior associates do the data collection and serve as initial gatekeepers. Soon, generative AI could be used first to find deal candidates, go find companies with certain characteristics of stage, size of capital being raised, geography, and increase speed to arrive at ‘no’ or next steps.”

Matthews argues that this could make VCs more efficient because the AI sources a wide number that meet a basic criteria. AI could also be used to identify unique value propositions from companies that need more help to refine their business model and overall presentation quality. “Generative AI has not been widely adopted by VC firms but investment firms are seriously considering and evaluating how and when to adopt generative AI.”

Sam Cummings, CEO of Dataplant, an InvestMidwest Alumus Company that seeks to utilize data to assist customer success teams, agrees with Matthews on the transformative nature of these new platforms and argues that we should all be leaning in and seeing how we can use the AI to make our day to day lives, and jobs, easier. “At this stage I think people are a bit afraid of AI, there’s this ‘will it take my job?’ hesitation.” Cummings says.

But Cummings argues that not only is AI “too stupid” to ever truly replace the knowledge that comes with actual lived experience, but that these technological revolutions have taken place before. “We’ve seen this many times before. Take the horse and buggy, you don’t want to be the ones fighting against progress.”

Cummings sees an opportunity to help people enjoy their work more, leading to more productive employees not engaged in the drudgery that often comes with the 9:00-5:00. “AI has the power to allow people to really enjoy their jobs. Right now 65% of people work just to pay their bills, but they have that thirst for something more meaningful. If we can take out the hours of running reports or sending redundant emails, those are hours they can spend pursuing things they are passionate about.”

The success of these future applications, however, hinges on the quality of the platform and the data it mines. This is where emerging and growing companies like Monitaur and Dataplant play a pivotal role, shaping the trajectory of the AI revolution.

The upcoming InvestMidwest Conference hosted in Kansas City April 17-18 will continue this conversation, hosting sessions that promise to invigorate discussions and collaborations at the forefront of the AI revolution. Register before Jan 31, 2024 for early bird pricing!  

If your company is developing AI applications and you would like to get in on the conversation before the conference, let us know so we can schedule time to interview you.  Please contact Lyndsey Gruber.