Data Science Investment Counter —Funding raised by UK data science companies in 2017.
£ 360.486 Million

Berlin VC Fly Ventures Raises £30M for AI-driven Fund

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Fly Ventures’ cofounders Stephan Seyboth and Gabriel Matuschka

Berlin-based venture capital firm Fly Ventures has raised £30 million ($41 million) for its first fund, which it plans to invest in early-stage Artificial Intelligence and automation startups in Europe.  The European Investment Fund (EIF), Korelya Capital, and a cluster of family offices chipped in the fund.

Founded by Stephan Seyboth, Gabriel Matuschka, and Fredrik Bergenlid— all of whom boast experience working in VC or for tech giants such as Google — Fly Ventures aims  to partake in seed rounds across the continent, with a particular focus on the tech hubs of London, Paris and Berlin.

They plan to dole out tranches in the range of £300,000-£670,000 ($400,000 to $900,000) for each deal.

The VC firm’s main interest is automation, a term encompassing both garden variety companies that leverage AI or machine learning to power specific apps, and firms working on  “horizontal” AI software applicable to various purposes.

A remarkable aspect of Fly Ventures’s business plan is that it is itself turning to AI to find companies in which to invest. The firm claims to leverage AI algorithms to sift the web and spot companies with a convincing digital footprint—  churning out about 1,000 new companies every week.

The technology— designed by Fly Ventures’ engineering team of ex-Googlers— analyses information from hundreds of sources including blogs, job boards, startup accelerators’ websites and internet databases. This gives the firm a legs up, allowing it to cold-call budding tech startups before they have even started looking for investment.

At least on paper Fly Ventures’ AI-driven talent-spotting technique reminds the one used by London-based VCs such as  Roberto Bonanzinga’s InReach Ventures, and Brent Hoberman’s Founders of the Future.

“Venture capital investors preach innovation and disruption and tell us that software is eating the world yet when it comes to their own industry they believe that it is exempt. We believe there are significant opportunities for automation here as well,” Fly Ventures cofounder Stephan Seyboth said in a statement.

“We think that artificial intelligence will remove the mundane parts of many jobs and that includes sifting through vast numbers of leads, to find appropriate startups to invest in at Seed stage.”

Among the companies Fly Ventures has already managed to add to its portfolio are French job-matching service Side, and London-based EF alum Bloomsbury AI.

Picture via Fly Ventures 

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