The AI Accelerator, delivered by the Bayes Centre, the University of Edinburgh’s Innovation Hub for data science and AI, has selected a dozen emerging companies from Scotland, the UK and other parts of the globe for the 2022/23 programme.
Among the group are EtiqAI, a female-founded company whose technology is designed to increase transparency and minimise unintended bias in AI algorithms; Edinburgh-headquartered Vahanomy, which specialises in the roll-out of charging infrastructure for electric vehicles; and US start-up MindTrace, which uses AI and imaging to boost positive outcomes in brain surgery.
The AI Accelerator says it has helped participating start-ups attract more than £10 million in grants and investment over the last year, and in 2022/23 will be delivered both digitally and in person by the Bayes Centre, as well as Edinburgh Innovations, the University of Edinburgh’s commercialisation service.
To qualify, companies must use AI for wider societal benefit to deliver offerings in core areas such as health and wellbeing, social care, and environmental stewardship. Participants enjoy a package of support focused on building connections, as well as leadership mentoring and help with product-development to help transform their firms into “world-leading” companies.
Previous participants include Roslin-based medical technology firm Carcinotech, which secured £1.6m to accelerate its commercialisation and global expansion plans. Additionally, Milan-based Indigo.AI, which says its technology enables companies to build, scale and analyse bespoke conversational experiences, had a 60 per cent stake acquired by another company since joining the programme.
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, an active advisor and investor in the Scottish start-up community, to the role of entrepreneur in residence. Mr Brodie founded analytics consultancy Aquila Insight, which he sold in 2017 after growing it to have a team of more than 200, while he has also been named one of Data IQ’s 100 Most Influential People in Data.
He 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”
Also commenting was Charlotte Waugh, enterprise and innovation programme lead at Edinburgh Innovations, congratulated the companies selected for the latest 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,” she added.
Professor Iain Gordon, vice-principal and head of the College of Science and Engineering at the University of Edinburgh, said: “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.”