Research-driven, industry-sourced list derived from investors who have put several billion into the sector.

The methodology for the IA40 is based on Madrona's experience investing in founders and engaging with researchers involved in AI and Machine Learning for over a decade, and inspired by a research and survey methodology developed by This list was compiled by and voted on by experts in the space: investors who are funding the next generation of intelligent application companies, technology companies and a leading investment bank.  

Phase 1
Building the voting list

An initial list of about 100 companies was built from the deep experience that our teams at Madrona and Goldman have built as investors in this space. This list was sent to potential judges and experts in the space, determined by their depth of investment in intelligent applications. Each judge had the opportunity to nominate companies for consideration in each category. The Madrona team vetted the companies to ensure they met the definition of intelligent apps. In total, over 220 companies were included in the final candidate list.  

Phase 2

A secure voting app was developed and sent to judges across 40 firms. Each judge was given five votes per category, with only 2 of those votes permitted to be for their portfolio companies.

Phase 3

Votes were aggregated and the top 10 companies across each category were selected as winners. Congratulations to the next generation of intelligent application companies!  

Defining Intelligent Applications

We define application intelligence as the process of using machine learning models embedded in applications that use both historical and real-time data to build a continuous learning system. These learning systems solve a business problem in a contextually relevant way - better than before, and typically deliver rich information and insights that are either applied automatically or leveraged by end users to make superior decisions.

Intelligent applications are:

The Judges

Goldman Sachs
Scale Venture Partners
Decibel Partners
Revolution Ventures
Battery Ventures
STEADFAST Capital Ventures
Positive Sum
ICONIQ Capital
General Catalyst
Redpoint Ventures
Two Sigma Ventures
GGV Capital
Mayfield Fund
Norwest Venture Partners
Allen Institute of AI
Lux Capital
Emergence Capital
Kleiner Perkins
Bain Capital Ventures
Khosla Ventures
March Capital
Madrona Venture Group
Bessemer Venture Partners
Sequoia Capital
Meritech Capital Partners
Acrew Capital
Insight Partners
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