Cardiff-Based Firm Joins Tech Nation’s Applied AI Programme


Tech Nation, the growth platform for tech companies and leaders, announces the 32 companies that have been selected to join the Applied AI Growth programme and reveals new data that shows the UK leads Europe for AI investment.

The programme has been designed to champion and support the UK’s most exceptional deep tech scaleups through peer-to-peer learning and mentoring sessions, addressing the particular scaling challenges for companies in the AI sector. The programme forms part of the Government's AI Sector Deal, announced in 2019 to realise the social and economic benefits of AI and harness its potential to transform people’s lives for the better.

We Build Bots developed an AI powered citizen service automation platform. It leverages chatbots, voice and data analytics to help Public Sector organisations deliver better, faster, cheaper citizen services. They’ve processed 3 million interactions to date and use that data to help the Public Sector better understand their citizens.

Paul Shepherd, Founder of We Build Bots, comments:

“The Applied AI programme is super exciting for us, not only because we have complete faith in anything Tech Nation facilitates, but also because we've long shouted about AI's real world applications and the benefits thereof. We can't wait to share experiences and learn from this amazing cohort, incredible alumni and kick ass business leaders.”

59% of companies joining the programme are based outside of London. 44% of companies on the programme have a female founder, almost double the representation of female tech directors (23%) in UK tech. 34% of companies are applying AI to the construction industry, while 28% are using AI to solve healthcare challenges.

The UK leads Europe in AI investment, having raised $1.48bn in 2020 so far, in front of France ($538.83m) and Germany ($400.25m). The UK is currently third in the world for VC investment in AI after the US ($17.94bn) and China ($9.55bn)1.

Looking into sub-sectors, the majority of AI investment so far this year flows into Big Data ($872.42m), TMT ($712.96m), SaaS ($588.39m), and Fintech ($474.65m). AI investment in Mobility Tech has already surpassed 2019 levels by 240%, whilst Fintech is already up by 120%, SAAS by 36% and Cyber Security by 10%.

Demand for AI skills is continuing to rise in the UK, with an increase of 111% between 2017 and 2019. A quarter (25%) of all Data Scientist roles advertised in 2019 required AI as a skill, this was the highest proportion seen amongst digital tech roles in 20192.

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. Backed by leading VCs and led by an exceptionally talented group of founders, this cohort of companies is primed to make an impact.”

The 32 AI companies joining the Applied AI Growth Programme represent some of the best AI scaleups in the UK, having gone through a competitive and rigorous judging process. The programme will support companies to scale up and become the AI unicorns of the future. AI is already a strategic strength to the UK economy, with 1,344 AI companies and a number of well-known and established AI unicorns, including Darktrace, Benevolent AI and Graphcore.

The programme received 179 applications from across the UK and judges included Sana Khareghani, Head of the UK Government Office for AI; Tabitha Goldstaub, Chair of UK Government AI Council; Nathan Benaich, General Partner, Air Street Capital and Dr Mike Short CBE, Chief Scientific Advisor, DIT. Wilson Sonsini and CBRE are partners for the Applied AI 2.0 programme. Their experience and knowledge working alongside scaling companies will provide insight on international expansion and property management throughout the programme.