Almost exactly a year ago today, we announced that we were launching our very first artificial intelligence growth programme. After months of searching, and a tough round of judging, we announced our very first Applied AI cohort in September last year, and it’s been an absolute privilege to watch them grow, develop and flourish over the past 10 months.
As we continue our search for the Applied AI 2.0 cohort, we thought it the right time to take a look back on the first cohort, to see how far they have come and all that they’ve achieved.
Exit centre stage
During the course of the programme two of the companies in our cohort were acquired, which is an incredible achievement.
Latent Logic, which uses AI to build realistic simulations of motorists, cyclists and pedestrians – critical for the development, testing and certification of autonomous vehicles, was acquired by Waymo, the American autonomous driving technology development company, which is a subsidiary of Alphabet Inc, the parent company of Google. To be acquired by such a prestigious company is an incredible endorsement for the quality of the work Latent Logic are doing.
Chosen AI, a people analytics platform that uses advanced Natural Language Processing and Deep Learning to help employers identify and optimise the potential of their existing employees, was acquired by The Big Search, the leading provider of hiring solutions for high-growth technology businesses. It’s another amazing endorsement for what Chosen AI are doing, and a testament to the quality of the companies in our first ever cohort.
Raising a funding round is an enormous achievement for a company; one that takes a lot of time and work, and can feel like a big stamp of approval of the work a company is doing. Sensat, which builds digital simulations of the real world to help computers solve complex problems, raised an incredible $10m led by internet giant Tencent, with participation from Sistema Venture Capital, while Cervest, which helps businesses, governments and growers adapt to climate volatility, raised $4.5m with Future Positive Capital.
Another one of our climate focussed AI companies – Greyparrot, which makes AI for waste management, raised $2.2m with SpeedInvest and Force Over Mass. They closed their funding round during the upheaval of Covid-19, which proves the appetite for a green recovery from the pandemic.
Synthesized, which uses AI to produce high-quality synthetic datasets, raised $2.8m from IQ Capital and Mundi Ventures in order to double the number of its employees in London, and build out its sales and product teams, DigitalBridge raised a Series A funding round of £3m from Maven Capital partners, and legaltech Genie AI closed $2m with Connect Ventures to continue the development of the company’s “intelligent” contract editor for law firms and a product targeting GDPR compliance.
ClinspecDX which uses AI for the early detection of cancer, was shortlisted for KPMG Best British Tech Pioneer, and Sensat co-founders James Dean and Harry Atkinson were featured in this year’s Forbes 30 under 30 in Technology. Codec’s Lianre Robinson was selected by Pitch as one of their 100 Superwomen & Supermen of 2020.
People Matter and Dream Agility were both named as The Creative Industries Createch Ones to Watch 2020 and CausaLens, Monolith AI and Bibblio were all featured in the Startups 100. Humanising Autonomy were named one of the 10 best European startups for sustainable mobility and Greyparrot won Hottest ClimateTech / GreenTech at The Europas 2020.
Flexciton were named as one of the UK’s Most Disruptive Companies and ThinkSono were one of five winners at the Berlin Brandenburg Innovation Award 2019.
Welsh company Antiverse were named third on the Wales Tech 50 list, and Gateshead based WordNerds were nominated for Telecom Council’s Innovation Showcase Class of 2020 as a direct result of the Applied AI trip to Silicon Valley, and ranked third in BusinessCloud Media’s prestigious 100 SmartTech Innovators.
Making an impact
Our first Applied AI cohort is extremely wide ranging in their applications of Artificial Intelligence – it’s part of what makes the technology so exciting. The range and scope of what the cohort achieved has been equally as diverse.
Neural engineering startup BIOS launched a new CA$800,000 research partnership in Canada to develop an AI controlled neuromodulation system for chronic cardiac conditions, and global economy mappers Causalens are doubling their team which is already at 25 people – an incredible development for a company, especially amid the uncertainty of recent times.
Plural AI have continued their work in helping companies make sense of their data, Predina are making strides with their tech that predicts and prevents vehicle crashes, and Wluper are continuing to push forward their real, conversational AI. Calipsa announced the appointment of Brian Baker as Vice President of the Americas, as they prepare to embark on a period of significant growth in the Americas, and Bristol-based Gapsquare teamed up with Glasgow-based data analytics consultancy GenAnalytics, to make it easier for businesses to report on their gender pay gaps.
Astroscreen’s fight against fake news got picked up for this great feature in the Evening Standard, and Iggy Bassi from Cervest was featured in this interesting piece in The Independent. Factmata is developing a publicly available dashboard to regularly process, track, and analyze COVID-19 related disinformation and misinformation.
C the Signs is another company in the first AI cohort which focuses on the early detection of cancer. Its technology is now in over 28 NHS trusts, and Co-Founder Dr Bhavagaya Bakshi recently wrote this piece for the Financial Times about the potential of a surge in cancer diagnoses in the post-Covid world. The impact that tech like this can make is truly life changing.
We’re immensely proud of the first Applied AI cohort, and, as I said at the beginning, it was nothing but a privilege to work with them on the programme; to hear their unique challenges, share in their successes and get to know their teams was a pleasure, and we learnt a lot from them as well. I cannot wait to meet the companies who are selected for Applied AI 2.0. If you feel like you fit the bill, apply today.
And one last thing – Cervest wrote a brilliant blog about their experience on the Applied AI programme, so if you don’t want to take our word on it, take it from them.