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This year hasn’t been kind to Big Tech. The FANG+ stock market index, which tracks the 10 largest tech companies, is down more than 40% this year. Meta, once the darling of Silicon Valley, has seen its valuation plummet by more than 70%.
Part of the reason for the decline is that these companies are being hit by a perfect storm of antitrust regulations, data privacy concerns, and regulatory scrutiny, all amidst a volatile macroeconomic environment.
But this doesn’t mean that the future of the technology sector is bleak. When looking ahead, there’s no better place to start than with startups. While big tech investors are repricing risk and forecasting slower growth ahead, startups can achieve faster growth by filling the gaps left by incumbents.
One area where startups can thrive is by using artificial intelligence (AI). As one VentureBeat article points out, some of the recipients of top equity deals in 2022 are AI research labs, such as Anthropic, which raised a $580 million Series B.
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Applications of AI in business are far-reaching and varied. Let’s look more closely at how firms can use AI for growth.
AI enables product-centric growth
At a time when consumers are cutting back on discretionary spending, product-centric growth is more important than ever. And AI can help.
Take the fashion industry. Startups like Stitch Fix and Mode.ai use machine learning (ML) to recommend clothes to their customers based on their past purchase history and preferences. This personalized approach has helped them stand out from traditional retailers who typically rely on mass marketing campaigns to sell their products.
This approach requires a data-first mindset. Startups need to be able to collect, clean, and analyze data to train their AI models. But once they have a good dataset, the possibilities are endless. Consider, for instance, a historical dataset of clothing sales. With this data, a startup could use AI to find trends in clothing that’s typically sold together and make recommendations to customers accordingly.
Amazon pioneered this approach with its product recommendations, but startups can now go beyond simple product recommendations and use AI to provide a truly personalized experience for their customers, from personalized messages and search results, to content recommendations and even targeted advertisements.
AI can also be used to improve the design of products. Startups like Monos.com are using AI via product lifecycle management software to bring innovative products to market. They’ve recently raised $30 million in funding to continue scaling their business.
AI-powered product design is just one example of how startups can use AI to create new products and services that address unmet customer needs. As Big Tech comes under pressure to innovate, startups have a real opportunity to steal a march on them with AI.
AI can help your startup go global
Another advantage that startups have over incumbents is their nimbleness. They can move quickly to seize opportunities in new markets.
This was the case for startups like Zoom and Discord, which saw their user bases skyrocket when the pandemic hit and people were forced to work from home. These companies were able to quickly adapt their products to meet the needs of a new customer base and ride the wave of demand to become some of the most valuable tech companies in the world.
Of course, relying on serendipity is not a recipe for long-term success. But startups can increase their chances of success by using AI to identify new market opportunities.
For example, a startup could use natural language processing (NLP) to analyze customer reviews to identify patterns in customer feedback. They could then use this data to develop products or services that address unmet customer needs.
To implement the same strategy, a startup could use tools like Expert.ai to analyze customer reviews. The API makes it easy to extract meaning from text, so startups can focus on using the data to develop new products and services. This is an example of an automated ML pipeline that can be used to drive product development.
AI can help you automate and scale
Finally, startups can use AI to automate and scale their businesses. This is particularly important for high-growth startups that need to quickly scale their operations.
One example of this is Anyword, a startup that uses AI to automatically create product descriptions, email subject lines, and other copy. The company has been growing rapidly and recently raised $21 million.
Anyword’s approach is based on large language models, which are pre-trained on huge amounts of data, then fine-tuned on specific tasks. The company’s technology is built on top of the GPT-3 model, which was made available by the OpenAI research lab.
This approach can be used to quickly scale content creation and other types of operations that require human labor. And it’s not just limited to startups. Large enterprises are also using AI to automate their operations. For example, American Express is using AI to automatically generate customer service responses.
Whether your business is a startup or a large enterprise, AI can be used to automate and scale your operations. This is an area where startups have a real advantage over incumbents, who often struggle to scale their businesses effectively.
Valerias Bangert is a strategy and innovation consultant, founder of three media outlets and published author