AI patent intelligence platform PatSnap secures $300M


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PatSnap, which offers a patent and R&D platform and services, today announced that it raised $300 million in series E funding from SoftBank Vision Fund 2 and Tencent Investment. The Toronto-, Singapore-, and London-based company plans to use the funds to further develop its intelligence platform, support software product development, and expand the size of its global workforce. PatSnap also says the tranche will enable it to grow its sales division and invest in its employees’ professional growth and professional development.

Companies are constantly under pressure to increase the pace of their innovation. And while more money is spent on R&D every year — $2.4 trillion in 2021, according to R&D World — the returns are dwindling. An article published in Harvard Business Review noted a 65% drop in R&D productivity. That’s despite the fact that the federal governments of the U.S. and Canada provide more than $15 billion in innovation incentives to private companies and nearly a third of U.S. patents rely directly on U.S. government-funded research.

PatSnap, which was founded in 2007 by Jeffrey Tiong, began as a directory for intellectual property (IP), helping enterprises pull in data for R&D and ideation purposes. Since then, it’s developed technologies in the AI subfields of machine learning, natural language processing, and computer vision that analyze and identify the relationships between millions of unstructured data points across disparate IP sources. PatSnap claims this can help deliver insights that guide R&D decisions and help to shorten the time it takes to bring new creations to market.

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“PatSnap’s machine learning engine analyzes millions of data points coming from patents data around the world, social, litigation, mergers and acquisitions, and other datasets,” cofounder Ray Chohan told VentureBeat via email. “Our AI has deep tech capabilities within life sciences. We enable biotech and pharma companies to connect complex unstructured data to enable insights not possible before. For example, we enable R&D and patent professionals at life sciences companies to discover brand new applications for a molecule or to repurpose existing drugs for net new disease indications. This is possible via our computer vision, natural language processing, deep learning, and machine learning technology stack.”

PatSnap says that its natural language processing algorithms analyze more than 500 million documents and 200 data sources, providing a link between different documents, entities, and taxonomy systems. Based on patent and document  information, the company also uses AI and machine learning to create a series of models that generate a unique index analysis for every patent and paper. There are 80 different indicators to support this index, which along with valuation ranking and indexing is designed to spotlight high-value patents.

Indeed, most enterprises have to wrangle countless data buckets — some of which inevitably become underused or forgotten. A Forrester survey found that between 60% and 73% of all data within corporations is never analyzed for insights or larger trends. The opportunity cost of this unused data is substantial, with a Veritas report pegging it at $3.3 trillion by 2020.

PatSnap says it connects 140 million patents, licensing, litigation, and company information with nonpatent literature to bring together over 250 million data points across 116 jurisdictions into a single platform. Using this data, PatSnap’s IP teams prepare research including patent landscape reports that feature diagrams and analysis informing strategic planning for product development and commercialization. PatSnap also compiles competitive intelligence reports that provide clients with business intelligence about competitors’ strengths and strategies.

PatSnap claims to have more than 10,000 customers and over 100,000 users around the world including global brands, universities, and research institutions. Over the past year, the company says it’s enabled those clients — among them Disney, PayPal, Tesla, and Spotify — to accelerate time to insight when dealing with unstructured data by an estimated 12 times, leading to a roughly 3 times increase in successful product launches.

“We initially experienced minor slowdowns from the market but since Q2 2020, we have seen an uplift in growth across all key markets. This is a great validation that innovation intelligence is a movement necessary for companies to grow and survive regardless of the economic environment. With the investment, we plan to continue leading the way and help our customers innovate,” Chohan continued. “Some features that we plan to add include innovation knowledge graphs, deep post search AI driven analytics, and vertical- and job-specific deep collaboration features. In addition, the funding will enable us to explore potential deep tech acquisitions.”

Existing investors CITIC Industrial Fund, Sequoia China, Shun Wei Capital, and Vertex Ventures also participated in PatSnap’s latest funding round. It brings the company’s total raised to date to over $450 million as its workforce exceeds 800 people across locations in China, the U.S., and other offices.

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