Applications for our Applied AI growth programme are now open

Harry Rhys Davies, June 11, 2019 5 min read

We are excited to announce the launch of Applied AI, our newest scaleup growth programme for ambitious UK companies that place artificial intelligence at their core. The programme, part of the UK Government AI and Data Sector Deal, is designed to give a cohort of some of the UK’s most exciting tech companies exposure to later-stage founders with first-hand experience of key scaling challenges, and a peer network of like-minded founders structured under values of honesty, intimacy and trust.

The boom in investment, research and interest in Artificial Intelligence is well documented, but the real-world impacts are often difficult to decipher, and there are unique challenges inherent in scaling an AI startup. Our very first growth programme for AI aims to boost exciting and innovative UK AI companies, support them as they tackle specific challenges in the AI space, and look to scale into growth rounds while making a positive and tangible impact on today’s society.

Find out more and apply now >

Dame Wendy Hall on Tech Nation's AI growth prgramme

What’s in store?

Kicking off in September 2019, the programme is non-residential and takes place over a period of 6 months. Participation is free, and Tech Nation will take no equity stake in your business. We expect to select 20 AI companies to take part in the programme.

The programme will include the following:

  • Peer-to-peer learning sessions: Under  values of honesty and trust, these structured sessions will bring together the full cohort of 20 founders, across the founding team (CEO, COO, CTO), and will be supported by later-stage or exited entrepreneurs.
  • Insight Sessions : Core scaling challenges are addressed across a number of focused sessions, delivered by those who have been through the journey before. Discuss what they did, what they’d do differently, how it’s relevant to you, and tips and advice for your journey.
  • Curated dinners: Opportunities to network and connect to relevant investors who focus on AI/ML and corporates using AI/ML to solve their challenges, tailored to the specific needs of the cohort.
  • An international trip: An opportunity to meet entrepreneurs who have “cracked it” internationally and get a first hand impression of what it takes to succeed outside of the UK.
  • Join the Tech Nation Family: You will become part of the prestigious Tech Nation alumni, which includes companies such as Monzo, Starling, Skyscanner, Just Eat and Deliveroo.

Dr. Angie Ma, COO & Co-Founder, Faculty, who will act as a programme speaker said: AI is the transformational technology of our time, but for society to see the benefits we need to apply it in the real world – enhancing products, improving services and saving lives.

“Tech Nation has been incredible in supporting and nurturing the startup community in the UK. As part of this community, we’ve benefited from a similar programme, Upscale. We’re excited to have the opportunity to give something back to the community.

“Having delivered over 300 commercial AI projects, we’ve developed a deep understanding of how to apply and operationalise AI successfully across many different sectors of the economy. We’d love to share these learnings as part of the Applied AI Programme to help the next generation of startups to make AI real.”

Confirmed speakers include:

Dave Palmer, Co-Founder & Director of Technology, Darktrace

Mark Logan, Non-Executive Director & Former COO, Skyscanner

Dr. Angie Ma, COO & Co-Founder, Faculty

Akriti Dokania, Investor, Octopus Ventures

John Spindler, Co-Founder, AI Seed Fund, and CEO, Capital Enterprise

David Clayton, CEO, True & North

Ofri Ben Porat, CEO, Edgify (formerly known as Pixoneye)

Simone Maini, COO, Elliptic

Christopher McCann, CEO, Current Health

Miguel Martinez (Ph.D.), Co-Founder / Chief Data Scientist, Signal AI

Angie Ma on Tech Nation's AI growth prgramme

Am I eligible?

To qualify for the programme, your business must follow this criteria:

  • Machine Learning must be used to solve an identified and real problem for businesses or industry.
  • ML must be at the core of your value proposition – it is key to the product, it’s not a superfluous feature.
  • Applicants must at least show early signals of product-market fit, through early proofs-of-concept or otherwise.
  • Evidence of ethical considerations or measures within your application of AI.
  • Companies are accepted from seed until a maximum of 6 months after raising series A* or no more than £1.5m annual recurring revenue
  • Headquartered in the UK.

Pratima Aiyagari, AI Lead EMEA at Cisco, serving on our judging panel said: It is clear that AI will have profound impact across technology and society more broadly, so I am delighted to be a judge for Tech Nation’s inaugural Applied AI programme. Cisco is invested in understanding how AI can be used to enable positive change. I look forward to seeing applications of AI that solve important problems and create real value today.”

Applications close on Monday 8th July and the cohort will be officially announced in early September.

Solving real problems

Using artificial intelligence to solve everyday problems has so much potential to make many people’s lives easier. We are at the beginning of the AI journey, and we want to help it to progress in the most positive and impactful way possible. This is why we placed ethical considerations within our criteria.

Digital Secretary Jeremy Wright said: “The Industrial Strategy sets out an ambitious challenge to put the UK at the forefront of Artificial Intelligence and data revolution. Tech Nation’s new Applied AI programme will support this mission through nurturing the UK’s most talented entrepreneurs who aim to use Artificial Intelligence in practical ways to improve people’s lives. Through helping our most promising scaleup businesses to thrive on the world-stage, we can continue to defend the UK’s position as a global leader in Artificial Intelligence.”

Dame Wendy Hall, Regius Professor in Computer Science at Southampton University said: “The UK has continued to make strides as an international leader in Artificial Intelligence, since the recommendations of the AI Review that I co-authored in 2017. From the launch of the bespoke AI & Data Sector Deal, to the recently announced AI Council, we are seeing impactful initiatives announced to continue this important work. I am therefore thrilled to see that Tech Nation has created a tailored, nationally-focused growth programme for entrepreneurs in the Applied AI space.”

Or judging panel is made up of some of the most inspiring and influential people in the AI space, including:

Tabitha Goldstaub, Co-founder, Cognition X

Dr Mike Short, CBE, Chief Scientific Officer at DIT

Dame Wendy Hall, Regius Professor of Computer Science at the University of Southampton

Nathan Benaich, Partner, Point Nine Capital

David Kelnar, Partner & Head of Research, MMC Ventures

Gillian Docherty, CEO, The Data Lab

Marta Krupinska, Head of Google for Entrepreneurs

Richard Potter, CEO of Peak

Louise Marston, Managing Director, Doteveryone

Volker Hirsch, Partner, Amadeus Capital

Jem Davies, GM Machine Learning Group, Arm

Lopa Patel MBE, Chair, Diversity UK

Pratima Aiyagari, AI Lead EMEA, Cisco

Michael Dimelow, CCO & Co-founder, ADV

Dr. Angie Ma, COO, Faculty

Sylvain Hanssen, Head of Healthcare Innovation Strategy, Walgreens Boots

Apply now

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