Nearly £6.3m has been raised by the 15 innovative businesses selected for the first AI for Post Covid Recovery Accelerator programme, building on previous activities, launched by the University of Edinburgh and Scale Space, the workspace community dedicated to scale-ups.
The cohort were given access to a wide range of expertise, mentoring and knowledge in addition to links into London investment to help them grow faster and stronger.
The five-month programme, based at the Bayes Centre, ran from February until July of this year, and sought to help these pioneering AI start-ups with high-growth potential to scale globally and go on and become world-leading companies. The programme has been funded by the Scottish Funding Council and the DDI Programme.
Many of the companies are addressing a global challenge or responding to urgent needs in the health and climate change domains. Entrepreneurs have focused their attention on, say, creating AI-powered robotic gloves, personalised medicine, through to "x-ray vision” software.
Investments included MyWay Digital Health securing a £1.2m AI Award from NHSx. The diabetes-focused firm’s chief executive Debbie Wake said: “The AI Accelerator programme have supported us in understanding our commercial growth strategy better and helped refine our pitch skills.”
Charlotte Waugh, enterprise and innovation programme lead at Edinburgh Innovations, said: “The AI For Post Covid Accelerator demonstrates that AI is a key investor focus, successfully scaling 15 companies during a difficult year when new AI technologies were needed to lead the post-Covid revolution.
"The companies have made good use of the expertise and support on offer and scaled in a very short time. ”
Scale Space boss Mark Sanders said: “I’ve been delighted with the progress that the participants have made, and I’ve seen them refining their propositions, being clearer about their growth plans and how they solve customer problems. This has helped them sharpen up their offer to investors and as many have secured investment. I look forward to seeing them continue to scale up and realise their potential.”