London’s Top Funded AI Companies
Sam Peckett, 27 April 2023
Artificial Intelligence, commonly known as ‘AI’, is a field in computer science that uses big data to allow computers to learn patterns and solve problems. The resulting programmes and tools can simulate human intelligence. The commonly used technique ‘deep learning’ allows for computers to learn by example, which is how driverless cars can learn things like what a stop sign is.
AI technology is becoming more prevalent in everyday life—think assistants, chatbots and ChatGPT, the natural language processing tool that became the fastest-growing consumer app in history after launching in November 2022. As AI development is evolving quickly, companies are growing very fast, despite objections from industry leaders.
We’ve already taken a look at 18 AI early-stage companies to watch in the United Kingdom, and now we’re taking a look at the 10 biggest raisers in London in the AI ecosystem. The explosion in the application of AI is reflected in the huge amounts raised by some of these companies.
The 10 biggest raisers in London
There are 967 artificial intelligence companies currently based in London, meaning it rivals AI startup hotspots across the world like New York and San Francisco. We’ve profiled the top ten private AI companies headquartered in England’s capital, ranked by the total amount of money raised to date.
Year founded: 2016
Total equity raised: £699m
At the top of our list of AI companies is OneTrust, which develops business-to-business security software to help users manage their cybersecurity, privacy and third-party risk. It was created in response to businesses needing to comply with stricter internet privacy laws. It can be integrated with all sorts of applications, from e-commerce platforms to data science feeds.
Featured in the Deloitte Fast 50 in 2021 and The RegTech 100 in 2021 and 2022, OneTrust became a unicorn as the company hit a valuation of $5.3b (£4.27b) in April 2021. The valuation came as the company had an established stage fundraising extension of £153m which was led by SoftBank’s Vision Fund 2, bringing its total fundraisings over four rounds to £699m.
Year founded: 2014
Total equity raised: £398m
London-based Thought Machine develops a cloud-based banking platform. Many banks rely on outdated, legacy IT infrastructure, making it difficult for them to offer a cutting-edge customer experience and forward-thinking services. Thought Machine has developed Vault, an API-driven platform that allows banks to manage a range of financial systems and products and can be used by any bank. It’s at the forefront of cybersecurity, with blockchain technology for banks that wish to connect with cryptocurrency exchanges.
A unicorn with a valuation of £1.74b, Though Machine attended the Mayor’s International Business Programme accelerator as part of the 2015 cohort. Since then, the company has been featured in high-growth lists such as The FinTech 50 in 2017 and 2019, 100 FinTech Disruptors in 2019 and 2020 and Lazard T100 European Venture Growth Index in 2021.
To date, Thought Machine has had seven fundraisings totalling £398m, with the latest in May 2022 for £128m. Investors include Lloyds Banking Group, Morgan Stanley and early-stage deeptech company fund IQ Capital Fund.
Year founded: 2015
Total equity raised: £364m
Cera is a healthcare company that uses AI to monitor those receiving care to predict and prevent changes in their condition while removing unnecessary administrative work for carers. The company offers home care, telehealth consultations and prescription services that can be managed through their app, and users can also book appointments with nurses on demand. Cera is now Europe’s largest provider of digital-first homecare.
The company attended the DigitalHealth.London accelerator in 2016, and another two the following year—Govstart and the PwC Scale Programme. In 2017 it was featured in its first high-growth lists, in Start-Up 101 and Startups 100, the latter of which featured the business another two times in 2020 and 2021. It has also been featured in Deloitte’s Fast 50 along with BusinessesCloud HealthTech 50 and 100 HealthTech Pioneers.
Cera has gone through eight fundraisings which have totalled £364m from funders including Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tennessee. Their latest round was for £264m and took place last year. The company is now valued at £602m.
Year founded: 2007
Total equity raised: £251m
Patsnap is a SaaS platform that allows subscribers to access information on intellectual property (IP) and research and development (R&D), including patent expiry dates, renewals, licensing and litigation data. Their aim is to make the innovation process faster, more efficient and easier than ever. Users of Patsnap’s platform include Dyson and the University of Oxford.
In November 2022, Patsnap launched Eureka, an AI platform that translates the legal language of IP into the technical language of R&D. It features an AI-driven search, an alert function for keeping track of developments in different technologies, and a tool that picks out technical insight in patents to help find technical insights more quickly.
Featured in the Fast Track Tech Track 100 in 2018, the majority of the company’s fundraisings came in its latest round in March 2021 when it raised £216m. Investors included SoftBank Vision Fund and Singapore-based Vertex Ventures. This investment brought the company’s total investment up to £251m and made it a unicorn.
Year founded: 2014
Total equity raised: £216m
Speeding up the process involved in getting a loan, Lendable is a financial services company that has developed a peer-to-peer lending platform. The company uses AI and an underwriting automation tool to rapidly approve loans. The loans come directly from investors and require less paperwork than loans from traditional banks.
Lendable has been included in high-growth lists such as the Deloitte Fast 50 in 2019 and 2020, the Fast Track Tech Track 100 in 2019 and 2022, and the FT 1000 in 2022. The company attended the AG Elevate accelerator from March 2018 until January 2019, and has gone on to have seven fundraisings worth £216m. The majority of that funding came in its latest round in 2022, which raised £210m and saw the company’s valuation hit £3.23b. Investors include Teachers’ Venture Growth, which invests in disruptive tech, and individual business angels.
Year founded: 2016
Total equity raised: £182m
Quantexa is a technology company that has developed AI-powered software to support data analytics. It can analyse large datasets, connect siloed systems and visualise complex relationships between data points. This gives its users a single and trusted view of all data available to them, helping them with decision-making at strategic and operational levels.
The company attended the accelerators Microsoft for Startups in 2017, and the Future Fifty Accelerator from March 2019 until March 2021. Since 2019 it has been featured in six different high-growth lists, including in The Regtech 100 in 2018, 2019, 2021 and 2022.
In April 2023, Quantexa raised £103m at a valuation of £1.45b, giving the company unicorn status. The latest capital is to help boost the company’s research and development function, improve innovation, expand internationally and grow its engineering team. The company has now raised £284m across six fundraising rounds, with investments from funds including Accenture, HSBC Enterprise Fund and Dawn Capital.
Year founded: 2012
Total equity raised: £181m
Onfido uses facial recognition technology to confirm customer identities with a government ID and a selfie while meeting compliance regulations that protect customers and businesses from financial crime, fraud and identity theft. This technology is known as ‘computer vision’ and involves computers identifying people in images. Companies that use Onfido include Tesco Bank, PensionBee and Microsoft.
The company attended the Mayor’s International Business Programme in 2016, the same year its co-founders appeared on Forbes’ annual 30 Under 30 list of top young leaders. It also attended the Future Fifty in 2017. Onfido has been featured in more high-growth lists than any other company in this article, with eight different lists. These include the FinTech50 in 2019, BusinessCloud RegTech 50 in 2021 and FinTech Disruptors in 2019 and 2020.
The company is valued at £224m, has received three grants worth £5.26m and has gone through 12 fundraisings. The latest fundraising was in June 2022 for £4.09m. Investors include M12, Microsoft’s venture capital fund.
Year founded: 2011
Total equity raised: £175m
Previously known as Medopad, Huma uses data analysis to allow hospitals to manage health records and clinicians to monitor and share patient data in real time through mobile devices. All of this works to improve patient care. The company’s platform also supports third-party integrations and apps.
Huma has attended more accelerators than any other company on our list and is currently attending the Future Fifty accelerator which they first started attending in September 2021. It has also attended the Healthbox London accelerator in 2012, the DigitalHealth.London Accelerator in 2016 and the Sport Tech Hub in 2018. It has also featured in high-growth lists such as Top 100—Britain’s Fastest Growing Businesses in 2017 and BusinessesCloud MedTech 50 in 2021 and 2022.
Valued at £427m, Huma has received two grants, the first for £5k in 2015 and the second for £54.4k in 2018. The company has also gone through nine fundraisings for a total of £175m— the latest raised £26m in May 2022.
Year founded: 2017
Total equity raised: £174m
Co-founded by CEO Alex Kendall following his award-winning research at the University of Cambridge, Wayve is developing next-generation software for driverless cars. The company uses machine learning technology to create a driverless system by using its algorithm, a sensor and computer suite. Its deep learning system is continually learning from driving data provided by partners such as Ocado, Asda and DPD, helping it to understand and adapt to complex use cases and city driving.
In March 2023, Microsoft founder and entrepreneur Bill Gates took a test ride in a Wayve autonomous vehicle in central London, a place Gates described as “one of the most challenging driving environments imaginable”. The drive included a safety driver who took control of the car as needed.
The company has raised £174m to date across six rounds, with the latest round raising £147m in January 2022. Notable funders include Microsoft’s M12 fund and the Virgin Group. The company is now valued at £474m.
Year founded: 2014
Total equity raised: £166m
Beamery develops software that uses AI to support recruitment processes. Its product allows companies to search for, connect with, and message potential hires under one single end-to-end platform and pricing structure. The aim is to allow for better talent acquisition at a large scale.
In 2022 Beamery acquired Flux, a platform that companies can use to connect internal talent with available development and work opportunities. The acquisition allows Beamery to support businesses in both workforce growth and workforce retention.
Beamery attended the Upscale accelerator in January 2018 and the Future Fifty accelerator from March 2020 to March 2022. It has also been included in high-growth lists such as LinkedIn Top Startups in 2018 and the Deloitte Fast 50 in 2020 and 2021. Across seven fundraisings the company has raised £166m, with the latest in December 2022 for £40.5m. Investors include M12, Workday and LocalGlobe.
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