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The AI Accelerator programme

In the year that the University of Edinburgh celebrates 60 years of AI and Computer Science research, Edinburgh Innovations is showcasing the many ways in which the University is innovating in the digital space.

The AI Accelerator is a flagship initiative targeting AI-focused entrepreneurs and businesses worldwide, with the aim of scaling up their operations.

It is part of a suite of programmes offered by the University of Edinburgh that are tailored towards staff and students, businesses, and organisations at various stages of their entrepreneurial journeys. The AI Accelerator addresses the growing need for data-driven solutions to tackle the challenges faced by industries and society as a whole.

Bespoke support

The AI Accelerator is a comprehensive, six-month programme dedicated to enhancing data-driven scaleups with business skills development, connections to partnerships, the key to world-class facilities, and access to an incredible network of trainers, mentors and investors. The programme is delivered by The University's world-leading innovation hub for Data Science and Artificial Intelligence, the Bayes Centre, on behalf of the University’s DDI Hubs, and supported by EI.

Partnered by global strategic design consultancy NileHQ, the AI Accelerator helps innovative companies using AI to maximise their potential through a series of in-person and online workshops and one-to-ones with mentors. These cover a range of commercialisation issues, from team building and product pricing to UX and leadership, and are tailored to the needs of each individual scaleup. There is also a focus on investment strategy development and direct engagement with potential investors. Participants are able to book workspaces and meeting rooms at the Bayes Centre and are invited to attend regular networking events with other Bayes residents.

Accelerating to impact

Now in its fifth year, the AI Accelerator has already helped six cohorts to flourish. 74 companies have been supported to date, and previous participants have secured in excess of £30 million in combined external investment. Among the game-changing AI Accelerator alumni is Edinburgh-based naturetech company Space Intelligence, whose satellite data and AI-informed land mapping technology helps inform decisions and investments that address climate change and support a more sustainable future. Inicio.AI, which was part of the 6th Accelerator cohort, has created an affordability tool using next-generation conversational AI to reduce anxiety around debt and empower people to take control of their finances. And Gigged.AI, a cutting-edge talent platform that connects high-growth startups and enterprises with on-demand tech talent, has received a flurry of industry recognition, including being named Innovate UK Sustainable Innovation winner, Scottish Edge winner and Tech Nation Rising Star 4.0 Regional Winner.

We weren’t aware how much working with the University or the AI Accelerator would be able to offer us, but it has transformed our business. We have worked with trainers and mentors who usually deliver courses to the likes of Amazon and Twitter. It has enabled us to punch above our weight and now our team is trained at a level that we couldn’t have previously imagined."
Rachel Curtis, CEO of Inicio.AI

Benefits for all

While the value for programme cohorts is clear, the AI Accelerator also offers unique opportunities for investors, businesses, and the public sector to get involved in the delivery of new solutions. Corporates get early sight of market-ready innovation and access to emerging digital founder talent, and investors benefit from a steady pipeline of curated opportunities for investment. Scotland’s economy and society, in turn, are positively impacted by the development of a vibrant and supportive tech ecosystem that attracts businesses to Scotland and cultivates competitive homegrown tech.

The AI Accelerator brings innovative scaleup founders together with passionate corporates, investors and mentors to bring about transformative change. From AgriTech to FinTech, AI technology can bring efficiencies, create new propositions and disrupt markets. It can help save lives and the planet, so if you have an AI-driven scaleup that you’re ready to take to the next level, let the University of Edinburgh help you to refine your proposition, develop your company and connect your ideas to the world.