Artificial intelligence is no longer technology in search of a problem. We are seeing a wave of enterprise software companies combining unique and robust data sets with machine learning, or deep learning, to create vertical solutions. When executed well, these do something better, faster or at lower cost than human or traditional software automation approaches. As implementation starts to move to later adopters, and given the continuing shortage of capable AI engineers and data scientists, enterprises are increasingly turning to external application providers.
From an M&A perspective, these AI companies get acquired early — much earlier than normal and at significant valuations — because of their potential to change the rules of the game. From an outcomes perspective, well executed AI presents much more of a zero-sum game where winner takes most, if not all.