By Joanna Glasner

Seed-stage companies are a lot like grapes. They tend to form in bunches.

The clustering effect is clear in this year’s vintage of seed-funded startups. A handful of categories accounted for an outsized number of investments.

What were some of the standout areas? Using Crunchbase data, we scoured through hundreds of the largest seed and pre-seed rounds in 2023 to identify trends. The following is an assortment of a few that stood out, from AI assistants to clean power to esports.

No. 1: Generative AI

Of course, we couldn’t make a list of trendy seed-stage categories without including Generative AI.

So here it is. Below, we put together a sample set of 16 companies in the space that raised seed funding this year, in categories from coding to insurance underwriting to identifying AI-generated text.

The biggest funding recipient, Seattle-based XetHub, pitches itself as a platform for developing Generative AI apps and pulled in $7.5 million from VC firm Madrona in January.

Several other list members, meanwhile, are developing AI assistants. NinjaTech AI is working on a “personal assistant” focused on automating admin tasks like meeting scheduling and inbox management. Portrait Analytics is targeting investment research. And Altius is working on AI tech support.

Another interesting startup that made the list is GPTZero, a ChatGPT detection tool that a Princeton University student built out of his dorm room. A few months later, after amassing 1.2 million users, GPTZero also picked up $3.5 million in seed funding.