What do today's top VCs think about AI's impact on the future of tech startups? They shared their thoughts at Inside's Meet Our Fund conference in October 2023.
Carey Ransom, BankTech Ventures
I think we're going to see AI become much more of a, even horizontal application across the startup ecosystem. So whether that is taking an existing idea and layering different AI technologies into it, or Taking existing products and completely re-imagining them because of ai and even jobs in these companies are gonna start getting hired by AI or hired out to AI
I think we're gonna see it getting used in so many different ways that only limit right now is our imagination
Emerson Kirk, Gradient Ventures
I think AI going to be a part of everything in every life.
But I think where the real magic is gonna happen when we don't think of it and talk about it as AI. It's just the products we use everyday and we think of it as a normal product and it all happens behind the scenes. That's what we're driving towards. And in many cases, that's what I think a lot of funds are going to look at at the end of the day, is how do we embed this into lives so that people don't even have to think about it in terms of AI this or machine learning that.
Jessica Kaing TechStars
I think with AI there can actually be a lot of fear-based approaches to it because we just don't know what's happening with AI. But what I am excited for is that AI is going to be something that's integrated into everything. It's not really seen so much as its own industry anymore.
What I'm hoping for in the future is that we utilize AI to make what we're working on better rather than AI operating in its own world.
Eric Zhu & Christian Elam, Bachmanity Capital
I think making it all a lot more efficient when it comes to actually building the startup. So like it's going to cost a lot less money so the runway can be extended. Especially with like no code tools and marketing and like AI marketing and like everything like that.
So it will take a lot less man power. I think with AI companies in the next this longevity is definitely there because it's been able to withstand, it's not a hype cycle, right? The hype cycle's already done with JetAI wrappers and now people are actually building sustainable products. And I feel like with AI, it's either gonna be the foundation models, that's foundation models or people building actual infrastructure that's gonna build great companies or it's going to be using these models and, So, I'm going to be talking Like, for example, building like a legal startup that you know, could help save lawyers time, right?
Also, it's going to be so embedded in the work that instead of being the main product, it would just be a feature in a product. And I feel like that's where AI companies are going to go, like, the next five years.
Bola Adegbulu, AI Fund
I think AI is a massive opportunity. There's going to be many winners, there's going to be many losers. I see all the upsides. It's going to be hyper competitive, for sure. But I think unlike other waves, there's going to be multiple, multiple winners across multiple verticals. So, I think it's net net positive.
Molly Welch, Radical VC
I think it's going to change everything. We're already seeing this with the incredible boom in both application layer startups and infrastructure startups. We think at Radical that AI is eating software fundamentally, and that there will be new behaviors and new workflows born out of this new paradigm. So, I think it's going to change everything
Jason McBride, M12
With AI and generative AI, it’s going to be table stakes, right? I think, right now, there's this sort of proliferation of generative AI, and we're still trying to figure out what it will become.
We're not really sure. Even when you think about LLMs, for a lot of people, LLMs are a large black box. What is really an LLM? So, we're still trying to discover all of the things that are generative AI, and I think over time, what we'll realize is that as we become more aware of what generative AI can do the parameters, the guardrails responsible way and implications of making sure that security is top of mind, how that plays out with you know, the EU, AI act and how it trickles down to regulation stateside.
All of that will determine where we go with generative AI, but I think ultimately what's going to end up happening is that every solution is going to have some form of generative AI, some form of AI baked into it. And then I think it's going to be up to the founders and those products to really figure out like, how do you make your value proposition, your product unique in light of the fact that generative value and I could end up being table stakes.
Noah Yago, Cisco
It's going to completely rewrite the entire landscape of technology. The leaders today may be very different names than the leaders tomorrow. Best sign that you could possibly think of to launch a startup in this space. A lot of white space. It's very dynamic. Everything is going to change three months from now, a year from now. And if you're right in the middle of that, the best thing that you can do is to be involved, build something new, and think big
Ali Tamaseb, DCVC
AI, like everything else, is a tool set. We have seen different tools from data and databases and machine learning, software before that, mobile apps, GPS, all of these are tool sets that have helped create the next generation of companies. Look at AI as a tool set in, helping you solve the next set of problems. Again, find an industry that you understand or have passionate about. Find a problem space that can nail down and sell products for. Use AI as just a tool set in your toolbox.
Kanu Gulati, Khosla Ventures
We are big believers in AI. We think AI is impacting almost everything. I wouldn't be shy about saying it's going to impact the GDP of the country in so many different ways. Every industry is going to get impacted. Every public, private, large company is rethinking you know, what is their AI. And even, even within AI, you know, given how powerful these large language model based applications are, what is their strategy to apply these advances into their company? And we think that trend is going to continue and we hope we can back the right founders as this trend continues.
Sheel Mohnot, Better Tomorrow Ventures
I think of AI as a disruptive technology, but also it’s moving along the same path we were moving on before, which is to say, like, things are getting easier and easier to build with tech. One of the things I love about it is people are building stuff with less than they were before. And and that's, that's really exciting
Andrea Wang, General Catalyst
We are really bullish in AI being a force multiplier to all types of knowledge workers across many different functions in an enterprise. On the consumer side, we see that enabling a lot of really creative consumer experiences that were not possible before.
Clayton Bryan, 500 Global
That can be a very long response. What I'll say is, this is what it comes down to - companies will be able to do more with less. Companies should be able to ship things faster.
I think it's going to really change the whole competitive landscape because now you're going to have a whole lot of small upstarts that are going to look like much larger companies just kind of slugging it out for you know for market share.
So I think it's going to, you know, one aspect of the game is going to change in terms of like, who's able to integrate with these tools the best. Who's able to, able to, to, to leverage the them so that they can move faster make decisions quicker and better. So it's, you know, at the end of the day, these AI platforms are just tools.
Who's going to be the best AI craft people, right? Leveraging those tools to do really transformative things with, I think that's going to be critical.