Data Science Investment Counter —Funding raised by UK data science companies in 2018.
£ 5.640 Million

10 British AI Companies to watch in 2018

Artificial Intelligence and data science are sectors where British technology startups truly shine.

Over 2017, UK AI companies managed to raise over £350 million, and played a key role in attracting foreign investment— looming Brexit notwithstanding.

Thanks to  its reservoir of talent, from Cambridge and Oxford to Imperial College, Britain has established itself as Europe’s leader in AI—spawning global success stories including  DeepMind, cybersecurity firm Darktrace, and Twitter-owned machine learning startup Magic Pony.

But what are the most promising AI and data science companies to keep an eye on throughout 2018? Here SHACK15’s suggested top ten.


Babylon Health


Babylon Health raised £46.7 million in 2017— the second highest round among British AI companies, last year. The London-based company created an Artificial Intelligence-powered healthcare app that helps users assess their symptoms and immediately puts them in touch with a doctor, depending on their ailment’s seriousness. The company has already struck a partnership with the UK’s NHS— which recommended it as an alternative to the 111 non-emergency phone helpline.  Currently, Babylon is developing a more sophisticated AI tool that would help physicians diagnose their patients’ condition.


Founded in 2012 by three Oxford students, Onfido is solving the issue of identity verification. Users are asked to take a picture of their photo ID and then a selfie— allowing Onfido’s computer vision software to compare the two images and ascertain whether  they match. Onfido’s tool is used by over 1,500 business worldwide—including UberEATS— and last year the company raised £22 million in a Series C round led by Crane Venture Partners and backed by Microsoft Ventures and Salesforce Ventures.




Graphcore is a chipmaking company whose processors could dramatically speed up the training of machine learning systems— by their own account, up to 50 times faster than now. The Bristol-based firm raised over £60 million in 2017, winning the backing of heavyweights such as Sequoia Capital and DeepMind’s Demis Hassabis. Their chips— called Intelligence Processing Units— are expected to be shipped to clients in early 2018. Will the future of AI come from Bristol?



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Cambridge-based FiveAI is planning to create a fleet of self-driving cabs and challenge Uber’s dominion. The company, which raised two tranches of funding last year to build its autonomous driving system, is part of government-backed StreetWise— a project aiming at bringing driverless cars on Britain’s streets in order to decongest cities. StreetWise’s first tests are expected by the end of 2019, and FiveAI will play a substantial role in the process.



University of Oxford spin-out Diffblue is using Artificial Intelligence to create better computer code. Its system could be used to scour through a programme’s code base and automatically flag up vulnerabilities, bugs or badly written lines; later down the line, the company plans to develop AI able to rewrite code in order to solve those bugs itself. Last year the company, founded in 2016, raised £17 million in a round led by Goldman Sachs Principal Strategic Investments.



Behavox has created a software that allows companies to monitor their staff. By harnessing  natural language processing, the company’s product can convert voice to text and then apply sentiment analysis to assess how an employee talks with customers— for instance flagging up the need for an apology when necessary. The algorithm can also provide a bird’s eye view of the staff’s overall sentiment, or analyse customers’ speech patterns to understand whether they are interested in clinching a deal. Last year, banking giant Citigroup invested £14 million in the London-based company. 



Founded in 2013 by four Cambridge students , Cytora uses machine learning to extract datasets from the Web and spot geopolitical trends as they happen. Cytora mainly caters to insurance companies interested in early risk detection; its customers include commercial insurers QBE, XL Catlin, and Starr. Last year, it raised £.4.4 million in a funding round led by Starr Global Holdings.

prowler-io has been tipped as the Next Big Thing to happen in British AI. Its Cambridge-based team is working on creating an Artificial Intelligence able to make several quick decisions in complex, dynamic environments. Will that open the door to general purpose AI?


CheckRecipient’s idea is simple, but smart: how many of us have accidentally sent an email to the wrong recipient? And how serious can the consequences of such errors be? In 2013, following a series of high-profile data breach cases triggered by email misaddressing, CheckRecipient decided to solve this problem, creating a machine learning system that staves off such mistakes. In April 2017, the company raised about £2 million in a round led by Accel and LocalGlobe.



Founded by Italian engineer Bruno Zamborlin, Mogees rose to prominence for building a coin-sized microphone that used a vibration sensor and a machine learning system to convert vibrations produced by touching any object into music. After receiving  £850,000 in Seed in 2017, the company is now working on adapting its vibration-recognition algorithm to create IoT technology that can be embedded in third-party products.


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