12 AI Startups to Check Out at NVIDIA’s Inception Awards Pitch Day

by Arjun Dutt

Twelve AI startups. Fat cash prizes. And a chance to take the stage at our GPU Technology Conference, set for March 26-29 in Silicon Valley.

It’s our second annual Inception Awards pitch day, when emerging startups in our Inception AI accelerator program vie to win over skeptical judges and advance to the final round at GTC.

The event is set for March 6, and this time, you can watch it all live on between 1-6 p.m. at https://www.ustream.tv/NVIDIA.

You’ll see semi-finalists like Ghost Robotics, which makes robots that climb stairs and scale fences; Cambridge Bio-Augmentation Systems, which is developing a mind-controlled bionic arm; and AiFi Inc., which wants to make shopping easier with AI. More information about the dozen contestants follows.

Better yet, come to GTC to join us for the exciting championship round, with NVIDIA CEO Jensen Huang handing out the big prizes. Last year, six hot young companies took home a piece of the total prize purse of $1.5 million. Register for GTC here.

The Big Show

Judging the event will be Huang, joined by executives from investment firms, which are the top sponsors for the event. In the semi-finals, they’ll select companies working in three industries — healthcare, autonomous systems and the enterprise.

Two from each category will head to GTC, where on March 27 from 4:30-5:30 p.m., aspirants make one last bid for the prize. Judges and the audience will together name one victor per category.

The March 27 contest isn’t the only way to check out startups at GTC. Inception companies will showcase their cutting-edge technologies at the Startup Pavilion in the GTC exhibit hall and in technical talks throughout the conference. And for startups themselves, the four-day conference is an opportunity to meet with business leaders, technical experts, VCs and other innovators.

Winners of the 2017 Inception AI startup awards take the stage at GTC.
Winners of the 2017 Inception AI startup awards take the stage at GTC.

A Dozen Stars

Here’s a closer look at the 12 startups competing on pitch day:

Autonomous Systems

  • Morpheus Labs (Oxford, UK) is developing machine learning technology for autonomous vehicles and traffic modeling applications that’s designed to enable autonomous systems to learn to solve complex tasks from human demonstrations.
  • Kinema Systems (Menlo Park, CA) is building innovative deep learning- and 3D vision-based robotic solutions for logistics and manufacturing.
  • Cochlear.ai (Seoul, Korea) is developing an AI system that can understand the semantics of audio using signal processing and deep learning technology.
  • Ghost Robotics (Philadelphia, PA) is revolutionizing legged robotics and the market for autonomous unmanned ground vehicles used in unstructured terrain and harsh environments.


  • Subtle Medical (Palo Alto, CA) is developing deep learning technologies to improve medical imaging for better acquisition, reconstruction, processing and analysis.
  • Parabricks (Ann Arbor, MI) is using state-of-the-art deep learning techniques to accelerate analysis of genomic data and transform the course of disease treatment.
  • Phenomic AI (Toronto, Canada) is developing a deep learning-based platform to automate biological image interpretations for diagnostics and drug discovery.
  • Cambridge Bio-Augmentation Systems (CBAS, Cambridge, UK) is using machine learning and AI to understand nerve signals with the goal of making bionic arms an extension of a person’s body that can be controlled with the mind, and allow for sensation to be fed back into the body.


  • CrowdAI (Mountain View, CA) uses cutting-edge artificial intelligence to automatically detect objects from satellite and aerial video and imagery.
  • DarwinAI (Waterloo, Canada) is building optimized deep learning AI solutions based on people’s needs and requirements, from cloud computing to edge computing.
  • AiFi Inc. (Santa Clara, CA) is introducing the first scalable checkout-free solution for stores from small convenience shops to major retailers.
  • DeterminedAI (San Francisco, CA) is developing an end-to-end deep learning workflow engine to make machine learning engineers and data scientists more productive and to deliver recommended actions and what-if scenarios for revenue-generating functions.

Check out the GTC website to get the big picture on AI startup activity at the event, and register for GTC today.