Three Scottish tech companies have been selected to join the Tech Nation Applied AI 2.0 Growth Programme, which aims to support some of the UK’s most exceptional tech scaleups.
The programme forms part of the Government’s AI Sector Deal, announced in 2019 to unlock the social and economic benefits of AI, and provides participants with peer-to-peer learning and mentoring sessions.
Glasgow-based Talking Medicines, which uses AI to provide pharmaceutical companies with real-time patient insights, is among the Scottish firms chosen to take part.
Commenting on the announcement, Talking Medicines COO, Dr Elizabeth Fairley said: “Being selected for the Tech Nation Applied AI 2.0 Growth Programme has happened at just the right time for us to take our scalable data intelligence product to the next level.
“Through this programme, we are keen to push our boundaries, connect with the very best in AI and learn as much as we can.”
Continuum Industries enables engineering professionals to design large, complex infrastructure projects more efficiently. The firm’s flagship platform lets multi-disciplinary design teams automate existing design processes and uses AI to explore millions of potential design options.
Machine Labs provides automated email marketing solutions for eCommerce businesses. The company harnesses data science and AI to improve communications and help business owners improve customer relationships.
Dr Thomas Gambino, Data Scientist at Machine Labs, commented: “We’re extremely pleased to be selected for the Tech Nation Applied AI 2.0 programme; the upcoming months will provide invaluable support for us as we scale our business.”
Matt Blythe, Co-Founder and CCO of Continuum Industries, added: “We’re really excited to learn from other founders, take advantage of their networks and raise awareness within the UK government of our technology.”
The 32 companies joining the Applied AI Growth Programme were selected following a competitive judging process. Tech Nation said this year’s programme received 179 applications from across the UK, a stat which highlights the growing importance of AI to the UK economy.
The country already boasts at least 1,300 AI firms along with a host of well established AI unicorns such as Benevolent AI, Graphcore and Darktrace.
So far in 2020, Britain leads Europe in AI investment having raised $1.48 billion compared to France ($538.83m) and Germany ($400.25m). Globally, the UK is ranked third for VC investment in AI after the United States and China, which raised $17.94bn and $9.55bn respectively.
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Harry Rhys Davies, AI Programme Lead, Tech Nation commented: “The UK must take every opportunity to nurture scalable, globally-competitive, homegrown AI companies that solve real problems and have far-reaching impacts on the productivity potential of the economy.
“The Applied AI growth programme aims to do exactly this, taking 32 of the UK’s most exciting AI scaleups, and through peer-to-peer learning and mentoring removing many of the unique barriers to growth that companies in this sector face.”
More than half (59%) of companies joining this year’s Applied AI Growth Programme are based outside of London, with the highest representation from the South East, East of England and Scotland.
Similarly, 44% of companies on the programme have a female founder, which equates to almost double the representation of female tech directors (23%) in UK tech. More than one-third (34%) of participants are applying AI to the construction industry, while 28% are using AI to solve healthcare challenges.