AI 50 Methodology: How We Selected Our Honorees
More than 400 companies were considered for this year’s list. Finalists were selected based on their use of AI-enabled technology, business models and financials.
By Alan Ohnsman
he Forbes AI 50 list celebrates the most promising private companies in North America using artificial intelligence in impactful ways and demonstrating real business potential from doing so. They span industries including health care, agriculture, construction, manufacturing, transportation, logistics, cybersecurity, finance and business and customer services.
Our finalists were determined through a submission process that asked approximately 800 companies to share details of how they use AI-enabled technology, business models, customers and financials including fundraising, valuation and revenue history (companies had the option to submit information confidentially, to encourage greater transparency). Forbes received more than 400 submissions by the deadline.
From there, Konstantine Buhler and our data partner Sequoia Capital crunched the numbers and ranked companies based on metrics such as revenue gains, customer statistics, historical funding and valuation. A panel of expert AI judges evaluated more than 100 finalists to find the 50 most compelling companies. (They were precluded from judging applicants in which they might have a vested interest or competitive issues.) In addition to identifying companies that show traction and financial promise, the list is on the lookout for companies finding novel uses for AI and that prioritize diverse teams. That’s crucial as problems arise in the absence of diversity.
Scores were tabulated to produce the final selection, which is ordered alphabetically and not ranked. In instances where companies submitted valuation information on the condition of confidentiality, we have used estimates from data provider Pitchbook.
AI is making considerable strides not only in commercial applications, but in visual art as well. With that in mind Forbes’s Nick Sheeran used artificial intelligence to create visuals for this year’s list. Read more about how he did it here.
AI 50 JUDGES
We were honored to have a dozen prestigious AI experts serving as judges for the fourth edition of the list:
Tonya, director of AI research for Autodesk, has spent more than a decade performing AI research and leading AI research teams and projects. Her research interests include Natural Language Processing & Understanding, Information Retrieval and Machine Learning. Before joining Autodesk Tonya held AI Research roles at Thomson Reuters, Honeywell and eBay.
Claire is Nvidia’s vice president of engineering, where she leads the Isaac robotics initiative. She was previously director of engineering at Uber after it acquired robotic trucking company Otto, a startup she co-founded. She was also the robotics program lead at Google and founded Botiful and Robotics Valley.
Daniel is CEO of UiPath, a leading provider of enterprise automation software he cofounded in 2005 to reduce the time and stress related to menial, administrative business tasks. He also cofounded Crew Capital, a New York-based tech venture firm.
Severin cofounded and is CTO of Duolingo, a leading AI-powered language instruction platform that made the Forbes AI 50 list in 2021. He has a Ph.D. in computer science from Carnegie Mellon University, and also invests in early-stage tech startups.
Ayanna is a roboticist, entrepreneur and educator who was chair of the Georgia Institute of Technology’s School of Interactive Computing in the College of Computing, before becoming the first woman to lead OSU’s College of Engineering. She’s also worked at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory and is the founder of Zyrobotics, a company that develops mobile therapy and educational products for children with special needs.
Sham is a professor of computer science and statistics at Harvard and co-director of the Kempner Institute for the study of natural and artificial intelligence. He’s also an affiliate professor of computer science at the University of Washington and a senior principal researcher at Microsoft Research Lab, New York City.
Rana is deputy CEO of Smart Eye, which acquired Affectiva, the MIT Media Lab startup she cofounded and led, in 2021. Affectiva also made the Forbes AI 50 list in 2019. She’s an Egyptian-American scientist, entrepreneur, angel investor, author and AI thought leader who wants to bring emotional intelligence to our digital world.
Jeff is the founder, CEO and chair of Twilio, a cloud-based communication platform-as-a-service company. Before Twilio, he was the founder and CTO of NineStar, the founding CTO of Stubhub.com and founder, CEO & CTO of Versity. Jeff was also one of the original product managers for Amazon Web Services.
Erica, the founder of WomenOfAi.org, is an AI leader and entrepreneur. She also leads the ML engineering for freelance marketplace UpWork. She’s also been an AI manager at Apple, AI director at Grabango and CTO/founder of a machine vision startup.
In her role with the Oakland, California-based Kapor Center, Fay is developing strategies to create a more equitable tech ecosystem for underrepresented groups. She is also Professor Emerita and was formerly a professor of Information Technology/Analytics at North Carolina State University. Payton has also served as a Program Director at the National Science Foundation.
Alex is cofounder and CEO of autonomous trucking startup Embark. He also become the youngest CEO of a publicly-traded company when shares of San Francisco-based Embark started trading in November 2021. Embark also made the Forbes AI 50 list in 2020. Alex has been building robots since he was 11 and is a Forbes 30 Under 30 alum.
Adriel is an AI researcher with the Stanford Machine Learning Group and AI/ML resident for Health AI at Apple. She studies ways in which AI is transforming healthcare, biotech and medicine and showcases this in the Health AI Podcast that she cohosts.
Konstantine co-founded the Forbes AI 50 List and is a partner at Sequoia Capital, where he focuses on seed and early-stage investments. He works with a number of data-driven portfolio companies, including Citadel Securities, CaptivateIQ, Ethos and Kumo.ai. Prior to Sequoia, Konstantine was an investor at Meritech Capital, where he focused on enterprise software and data-first businesses including DataRobot and Newfront Insurance.