Announced earlier this year, the growth programme is part of the UK Government AI and Data Sector Deal, and aims to support the AI founders that are making a positive and tangible impact on today’s society at a crucial stage of their growth journey
The cohort were chosen on their ability to provide AI-driven solutions to real world problems, applying artificial intelligence to create a tangible impact on society.
ClinSpec DX uses AI to provide cost-effective blood tests for the early detection of brain tumours. Other companies include London-based Cervest, which utilises machine learning to answer questions linked to climate uncertainty, land, and natural resources and Bristol-based Gapsquare applies Artificial Intelligence to tackle gender and minority pay inequality.
Minister for Digital Matt Warman said: “Britain has a long history as a global leader in computing technologies and it is home to the early pioneers of AI – Ada Lovelace and Alan Turing.
“It is great to see our legacy in this field continue by the next generation of British AI startups who are using the power of technology to solve real-world problems such as tackling fake news, detecting cancer earlier and efficiently managing waste.
“Tech Nation’s Applied AI programme will help us make the UK the best place to start and grow an AI business and generate a significant contribution to the future economy. I look forward to seeing these companies compete on the global stage.”
With over 140 applicants to the programme, it’s clear there is no shortage of innovative AI companies in the UK. And the calibre was so outstanding, the prestigious panel of judges chose 29 companies to join the programme – the largest cohort to date for Tech Nation’s sector-specific growth programmes.
Gerard Grech, Tech Nation, CEO said: ‘‘We’re extremely pleased to announce such a strong cohort for our first ever Applied AI programme. The cohort accurately reflects the strength and diversity of the UK’s AI scaleup scene, and we’re really excited to be working with such a talented group of founders.
“We’re all fully aware of AI’s potential to benefit certain industries, but this programme is about more than concepts or ideas. The successful companies convinced us that they’re already on the path to a commercially scalable product, and we’re looking forward to helping them navigate such a crucial stage of their businesses’ journeys.”
Angie Ma, Faculty COO and co-founder, said: “I had a fantastic time being part of the judging panel for the new cohort. I found it fascinating to see the many different ways in which artificial intelligence is being applied to solve business and societal challenges – it shows the real value AI can have to the UK economy as a general purpose technology.
“The judges were all in agreement on the companies we think stand to gain the most out of the programme. At Faculty, we’re excited to be involved, to see the cohort at workshops and events and help these AI startups to succeed.”
The growth of AI is well documented, but a comparison of China and the UK’s AI ecosystem offers an interesting perspective. In the UK, 89 per cent of the AI ecosystem is predominantly made up of startup companies with 50 or fewer employees. In comparison, China’s AI companies tend to have a larger group of employees; with 53 per cent having more than 50 employees.
The data speaks to a bigger issue: scaling an AI company still presents a number of unique challenges. From fundraising a ‘deep tech’ company, to hiring high-in-demand technical talent, to longer sales cycles – the pool of companies post-Series A funding still remains relatively small.
This programme will speak specifically to these challenges.
Harry Davies, Tech Nation Applied AI lead, said: “For the UK to maintain its authority in AI, we need to nurture scalable, globally-competitive, homegrown AI companies that solve real problems.
“Yet, the pool of AI-focused companies that achieve this beyond Series A remains slim, despite the hype, and the path to scale is uniquely challenging.
“That is why it is so important that we champion our most promising UK AI companies with the greatest potential for growth as they look to scale and that’s what this group represents: 29 of the UK’s most exciting AI-focused startups on the path to building impactful and scalable companies, all chosen by a panel of expert judges.”