•The news comes as the government announces its new National AI Strategy to cement the UK’s position as a global tech and science superpower
• In the UK, AI is particularly transforming the health industry, with the UK’s top three most valuable AI tech companies all specialising in health
• Companies accepted into the newest cohort are also applying AI to create real-world impact in the fields of data analytics, agritech, foodtech, lawtech, retail tech, energy, proptech, fintech, and femtech
• The cohort includes innovative companies who are accelerating the development of dementia and mental health treatments (AINOSTICS), derisking driverless vehicles (dRisk.ai) and making reviewing and amending legal documents faster and more efficient (Robin AI)
• AI is currently one of the UK’s fastest growing tech sectors; with VC Investment in AI currently at $3.3bn, surpassing the $3bn invested in 2020Tech Nation, the UK’s leading growth platform for tech scaleups, has announced the 32 AI tech companies who have been accepted into Applied AI 3.0 - the third iteration of the Applied AI programme.
The six-month government-backed Applied AI programme was created to support and accelerate the UK’s highest-potential AI scaleups who are applying AI in practical areas to create real-world impact. This year’s successful companies were assessed by over 35 judges across key industries, including government, investors and senior representatives from companies such as Microsoft, Google and PwC, including Sana Khareghani, Head of UK Government Office for Artificial Intelligence, Azeem Azhar, Creator of Exponential View, and Jem Davies, VP Fellow and GM of Machine Learning Group at Arm.
The programme forms part of the Government's AI Sector Deal, announced in 2019 to realise the social and economic benefits of AI and harness its potential to transform people’s lives for the better.
The latest cohort is announced as the government announces its new National AI Strategy, which will help strengthen the UK’s position as a global science superpower, and maximise the potential of AI technology to improve people’s lives and solve global challenges, such as climate change and public health.
VC investment in UK AI companies reaches record heights
AI is already a strategic strength to the UK economy, with 1,344 AI companies and a number of well-known and established AI unicorns, including Darktrace, Benevolent AI and Graphcore. The 100th tech company to have achieved ‘unicorn’ status (valued at $1bn+) in the UK is an AI company, Tractable AI.
New data from Tech Nation and Dealroom reveals AI is one of the UK’s fastest growing tech sectors, with VC Investment in AI for the year 2021 (Jan-Aug) at $3.3bn, already surpassing the $3bn invested in all of 2020. This year, 54% of the UK’s VC investment has gone into AI as a fundamental technology across the UK, as a result of AI’s power to transform a wide range of industries. PwC predicts a growth of at least 5% in GDP across the UK, as a result of AI, by 2030.
AI in the UK is working to advance the healthcare sector
As we begin our recovery from the Covid-19 pandemic, the healthcare industry is increasingly looking to AI to improve the efficiency and efficacy of healthcare systems and processes in the UK. The top 3 UK-based AI companies bringing in the most VC investment in 2021 are all health-based companies: CMR Surgical (which raised $600m), Exscientia (with $525m) and Oxford Nanopore Technologies (with $195m).
This focus on transforming the healthcare industry is reflected in Applied AI’s newest cohort, as nearly a third (10 out of 32) of the companies in Tech Nation’s newest Applied AI cohort are using AI to transform the healthcare sector. Akrivia Health and AINOSTICS are using AI to accelerate the development of effective dementia and mental health treatments, while AIVIVO has created an entirely new drug discovery paradigm. Dyad develops applications that help healthcare providers optimise their workflows and maximise income under pay-for-performance schemes, while Gendius has developed algorithms that enable earlier identification of an individual's risk of developing a chronic disease (and therefore enable earlier intervention).
iamYiam delivers a personalised performance-focused health plan facilitated by a personalised AI companion, and KYMIRA combines AI with cutting-edge electronic-textiles to provide game-changing healthcare garments and solutions. Micrographia Bio applies machine learning to microscopy to lower barriers to drug discovery, and PharmEnable develops life-changing medical drugs, while e-Pharmacy has built a platform to offer more people access to prescription medication and on-demand pharmacist support.
Using AI to tackle the greatest issues of today
Other companies joining the programme are applying AI to tackle real social and environmental problems including climate change, and the lack of female representation in medical research. For example, Didcot-based Deep Planet has built a SaaS-based AI platform (using satellite imagery and IoT sensor data) that helps winemakers and growers know where and when to harvest, helping them build resiliency against the effects of climate change, and London-based WILD.AI have built an app specifically for women, to offer personalised nutrition and exercise plans based on their specific physiology (from menstruation to menopause).
This year’s growth programme is joined by 15 companies based outside of London (47% of the cohort), with the highest representation from the South East and East of England, closely followed by the North West. 44% of companies on the programme have a female founder, which is almost double the average representation of female tech directors (23%) in UK tech, according to Tech Nation’s ‘Diversity and inclusion in UK tech companies’ report.
Focus of this year’s programme
This year’s successful applicants will gain access to 11 compact insight sessions over 6 months delivered by later-stage founders, all focused on key scaling challenges, as well as 6 coaching sessions (intimate Founder Circles with a startup coach to develop leadership skills and peer connections), and regular networking opportunities (with investors, VCs, corporates and peers).
Empowering all of the scaling companies in the new Applied AI cohort is at the core of Tech Nation’s mission to fuel the growth of tech scaleups who are helping us create a stronger economy, society and future - across the board.
Tech Nation is pleased to announce that Wilson Sonsini will be the headline partner for Applied AI.
Sam Beni, Applied AI Programme Lead, said: “We at Tech Nation are delighted to welcome such a wide range of innovative companies to our third Applied AI cohort, and to support them on their scaling journeys. Following the turbulence of 2020 with the global pandemic, the number of Applied AI scaleups focussing on transforming the world of healthcare is a beacon of hope for the coming years, and the breadth of industries that these AI scaleups are disrupting is testament to AI’s power to shape the world we live in.”
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