Third Annual Intelligent Applications Top 40 Companies Revealed

2023 IA40 List Points to The Rapid and Strong Emergence of Open Source AI Models, the Application Frameworks to Support Them, and the Adoption by Established Application Companies to Integrate AI into Products that Touch End Users Now

2023 Intelligent Applications Top 40 Winners & Rising Stars (Graphic: Business Wire)

SEATTLE--()--Madrona today announced the Intelligent Applications Top 40, a list of the top 40 private companies building applications and infrastructure leveraging artificial intelligence and machine learning. The winning companies were selected by venture investors across 50 top-tier venture firms and leading corporate venture teams actively investing in this space. This year, the team also voted on 5 Rising Star companies.

The list is being released two weeks before the Intelligent Applications Summit, where leaders in the space will discuss issues, challenges and innovations in AI. Hosted in partnership with Microsoft, AWS for Startups, NYSE Group, McKinsey, and PitchBook, the IA Summit will be held in Seattle on October 10th and 11th. IA40 Summit

The key trends in the 2023 IA Top 40 and the 5 Rising Stars are:

AI and Generative AI have created an entirely new category of companies – These companies are net new companies, generally referred to as native GenAI companies, that are building on AI models to generate content. With nearly two-thirds of the 2023 list being new companies, it is clear that the release of models such as those from OpenAI, Anthropic and others, is driving both building and investment.

Gen-enhanced companies have jumped into the competition for customers quickly. The use of these models is not limited to net new companies. Established application companies, referred to as Gen-enhanced companies, including IA40 winners such as Canva, Notion, and Airtable, have moved swiftly to leverage AI models to launch new features or enhance existing products. While Gen-native and Gen-enhanced applications are in some cases going head to head for consumer and information worker attention and dollars, Gen-enhanced companies have distribution, brand recognition, and a network effect over Gen-native companies.

Companies are using both open-source and closed-source models to innovate. This year, IA40 winners from the early stage through the late stage are harnessing foundation models like GPT-4, Stable Diffusion, Anthropic, and Llama-2. In contrast, last year, only a few early-stage and mid-stage companies had started adopting foundation models, mainly relying on closed-source models such as OpenAI's. This year there is a notable uptick in companies starting to tinker with open-source models. Open-source models offer transparency, customizability, and cost savings compared to closed-source counterparts. Often, companies do not require the extensive features provided by closed-source models, making open-source models equally favorable — especially given increased model performance. We expect to see more companies leveraging open-source models and tooling to build commercial products in the year ahead.

Application frameworks that didn’t exist last year dominate the landscape. Application frameworks to support both open and closed source models have emerged to streamline tasks such as model integration, fine-tuning, retrieval augmentation, prompting, and monitoring. Notably, companies like LangChain, winner, and LlamaInex, Rising Star, were nonexistent last year and have become essential developer tools.

Funding for IA40 companies has been very healthy, and the ramp continues. Companies on the IA40 list have collectively raised $24.5B from inception to July 31st, 2023 – the cut off date for stage categorizations. Since July they have continued to announce funds, with nearly an additional billion added in just two months. This does not include the Amazon pledge of $4 billion to Anthropic announced just this week. The outliers of OpenAI’s nearly $12B in capital raised and the absence of any outside funds raised by Midjourney stand out in this group, and exemplify that dynamism of how AI companies are approaching growth and capital. Numbers are according to Pitchbook.

For more in-depth insights, visit our blog at and view the 2023 list at

About Madrona

Madrona ( is a venture capital firm based in Seattle. With more than 25 years of investing in early-stage technology companies, the firm has worked with founders from day one to help build their company for the long run. Madrona invests predominantly in seed and Series A rounds of companies in the Pacific NW building across the information technology spectrum and in Acceleration (B and beyond) stage companies building with AI, regardless of geography. The firm has more than $3 billion under management. Madrona was an early investor in companies such as Amazon, Snowflake, UIPath, Smartsheet, Rover, Redfin, and Smartsheet.


Erika Shaffer,


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Erika Shaffer,