Startups That Are Benefiting From AI Despite the COVID-19 Pandemic


AI might make people think of science-fiction, but the variety now in widespread use isn’t about replicating the human mind: it’s about creating systems that appear to learn through iteration. You let them run, generate results, then feed those results back into them so they can try again in an effort to yield better results.

It’s simple enough in concept, fairly difficult to implement (even now), and extremely powerful when used correctly. In this post, we’re going to look at a few startups that are currently deploying AI technology to great effect, so let’s get to them:


Founded by Nigerian entrepreneur Abasi Ene-Obong, 54gene aims to address a fundamental problem with the biotech world: the relative lack of genomic data from Africans. It currently accounts for less than 3% of the data used for development research, and that presents a significant problem because data diversity is key for discovery.

It’s currently building up a biobank of pan-African DNA that it’s making available to researchers throughout the world, and AI plays a big role in handling all the information: analyzing the information, assembling it into models, and running various tests. Without machine learning, dealing with data of that complexity would be massively harder.


Freshly set up in 2020, Breezeful helps people find cheaper mortgages: provide your details and it will run them past numerous potential lenders, then use machine learning to analyze the results and determine which is going to be the best for you. AI is necessary because two offers can be sufficiently comparable on balance that a regular system couldn’t choose between them.

This is the future of comparison engines: instead of simply providing results that can be manually filtered, they’ll get better at giving full recommendations (with detailed explanations available upon request for those who are curious or doubtful of the methodology).


Recruitment is an interesting industry at the moment, given all the job losses that have stemmed from efforts to combat the COVID-19 pandemic. There are so many people out there looking for new work, and just as many new businesses getting off the ground and eager to expand, but matching candidates to roles isn’t always easy.

The goal of Eightfold is to use AI insights to improve talent management, doing everything from identifying the best candidates for complicated roles to setting out progress paths that companies can use to encourage their employees to stick around. Only machine learning can achieve the necessary level of analysis.

Each of these startups is finding ways to make an essential task easier: whether you’re conducting vital biotech research, buying property, or managing talent acquisition and development, you can expect AI to make your job easier and easier in the coming years.