A business commercialisation programme, which helps innovative companies using Artificial Intelligence (AI) to maximise their full potential, has announced its new 2022/23 cohort.
The AI Accelerator, delivered by the University of Edinburgh’s world-leading Innovation Hub for Data Science and Artificial Intelligence, the Bayes Centre, and Edinburgh Innovations, the University of Edinburgh’s commercialisation service, has selected a group of emerging companies from Scotland, the UK and other parts of the globe for this year’s programme.
Among the 12 cohorts are EtiqAI, a female-founded company whose technology is designed to increase transparency and minimise any unintended bias within AI algorithms; Edinburgh-headquartered Vahanomy, which is driving the roll-out of charging infrastructure for electric vehicles; and US startup MindTrace, which was attracted to Scotland by The University of Edinburgh’s credentials in AI research and talent development. The company uses AI and imaging to further enhance positive outcomes in brain surgery.
The AI Accelerator has supported companies and helped them attract more than £10m in grants and investment over the last year. The programme will be delivered both digitally and in-person by the Bayes Centre and Edinburgh Innovations, on behalf of all the University’s Data-Driven Innovation Hubs.
To qualify, participating companies must use AI for wider societal benefit to deliver solutions in core areas such as health and wellbeing, social care, and environmental stewardship. Participants benefit from a package of support focused on building connections, as well as from leadership mentoring and support with product development to help transform their AI businesses into world-leading companies.
Previous programme participants have included Oxford-based iLoF, which raised over £4m for its AI-driven drug discovery and development technology over the summer, and Roslin-based medtech firm Carcinotech, which secured £1.6m investment to accelerate its commercialisation and global expansion plans. Milan-based Indigo.AI, whose technology enables companies to easily build, scale and analyse bespoke conversational experiences, had a 60% stake of its business acquired by another company since joining the programme, demonstrating the AI Accelerator programme’s impact in enhancing the investability of its cohort companies.
The AI Accelerator, partnered by global strategic design consultancy NileHQ, is also supported by Huawei UK and the University of Edinburgh’s Edinburgh Earth Initiative.
This year’s AI Accelerator programme welcomes John Brodie (5th from right in top picture) to the role of Entrepreneur in Residence. John was founder of data analytics consultancy Aquila Insight, which he grew into a 200+ employee company and sold in 2017. He is an active advisor and investor within the Scottish start up community and has been named as one of Data IQ’s 100 Most Influential People in Data. John said:
I am hugely excited to be joining the AI Accelerator and working with the fantastic organisations selected this year. My two passions over the last 20 years have been driving actionable data science projects and enabling early stage businesses to scale.
This role allows me to combine both of these and I am very much looking forward to helping these companies develop their potential. "
Charlotte Waugh, Enterprise and Innovation Programme Lead at Edinburgh Innovations said: “Congratulations to all the companies selected for the new AI Accelerator. As we have seen from the progress of many past participants, the programme has a successful track record in helping companies using AI for good to scale their business and make them investable so they can achieve their maximum potential.”
Professor Iain Gordon, Vice-Principal and Head of the College of Science and Engineering at the University of Edinburgh, said: “As a world leader in AI research, the University’s role is pivotal in supporting innovative companies which are applying AI to help address key societal challenges such as climate change and healthy ageing. This exciting new cohort of AI tech companies will benefit from cross-fertilisation of research and ideas as well as the expertise on offer to scale their tech businesses for the benefit of us all.”