Original article was published on Artificial Intelligence on Medium
Artificial Intelligence is growing fast, and it is set to drastically change our lives by impacting all spheres of life from healthcare (precision diagnosis, preventive medicine), farming, climate change mitigation and predictive maintenance of equipment/machinery to name a few areas. However, the road to AI revolution is laced with quite a few challenges as well, such as concerns about opaque decision making, enforced discrimination by the algorithms, intrusion of privacy among other things.
Against a background of solid global competition, particularly from China and the US, the EU has taken a solid approach and is acting in a definitive manner as per European standards and values. And with a solid track record of rule of law and strong attachment to values, the trust factor with AI, often a doubt in the minds of new adopters elsewhere, is somewhat feeble in the EU.
Though AI in all of Europe is thriving and kicking, the UK has by far the strongest AI ecosystem. Countries like Germany, France and Spain are not too far behind though. London is the biggest AI hub in Europe, followed by cities like Berlin, Paris, Madrid, Stockholm and Amsterdam. An interesting fact which needs to be highlighted is that most companies operating out of Europe are in the Data Analytics vertical followed by Marketing and Healthcare, while only about 60% of firms claiming to work on AI actually do.
With the extraordinary rise of AI, it’s little wonder the investor community has been quick off the block. VC funding in Europe broke the €1 billion barrier back in 2016, per PitchBook Platform.
Here’s a list of VC’s plying actively in the Cognitive market:
- Acccel — With the London office of Accel established back in 2003, they currently have just under $3 billion under their belt in Europe. They’re typically early stage investors, and some notable investments include — Humio, Deliveroo, Synk and UiPath. Notable exits include Atlassian and Spotify.
- AlbionVC — Founded in 1995 and renamed in 2018, the fund manages just a shade over $540 million. They prefer to invest in late seed,Series A/B, and some notable investments include — Avora, Elliptic, Speechmatics and Quantexa.
- Amadeus Capital Partners — Founded in 1995, the fund is based out of Cambridge, UK and has raised 18 funds so far, with commitments touching a billion $. Their preference is Seed or Series A typically in the field of AI/ML, HCI, SaaS and cyber security. Some of their investments include Prowler.io, PolyAI, FiveAI, BlockClaim and Creditas. Notable exits include IndiaMART.
- AV8 Ventures — The fund, though backed by Allianz, invests independently and has a wealth of expertise working in Big Tech. Their focus areas include digital healthcare, Big Data and ML, automation and enterprise SaaS. Some notable investments include — Alpha Medical, Contract Wrangler, Rephrase AI etc.
- EarlyBird VC — With offices in Berlin, Munich, London and Istanbul; the fund typically likes to invest in seed or Series A rounds. Some of their investments include N26, UiPath and Peak Games.
Here’s a list of notable AI based start-ups in Europe:
- Benevolent.AI — Their area of interest is the healthcare domain, and they are based out of London with around $85.5 million in VC funding.
- Blippar — Based out of London and boasting an impressive funding amount of $84.9 million, their focus area is image recognition by use of an app to detect and learn about physical objects.
- Arago — This one’s based out of Frankfurt, Germany and their niche is process automation by means of general problem solving AI.
- Snips — Their area of focus is conversational AI, and they offer an AI powered voice assistant that companies can add to their platform/product. Based out of Paris, they have received over $18.3 million in funds.
- Starcounter — Based out of Stockholm, Sweden; they make use of AI to develop business applications and have raised over $17.6 million in funds so far.
- Your.MD — Another HealthTech start-up based out of London, they aim to provide health information to users based on queries and symptoms.
The EU is all set to be an attractive market for AI, both for innovators and investors. And with an enormous capacity for Data Analytics backed by stringent regulations to address privacy concerns, Europe is all set to become a global hub of data. The European approach always sets an example of ethics and trust-worthiness, and with a sustained focus on policy means to boost investments in research and innovation, enhancement and development of skills, and support the uptake of AI by SMEs, the European market is all set to for yet another industrial and technological revolution brought along by cognitive technologies.
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