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

2017 in Retrospect: UK Investment in AI and Data Science

Let’s take stock of 2017. According to SHACK15 News’ investment counter, over the last twelve months Britain’s data science and Artificial Intelligence companies raised £360.486 million in funding.

Money poured into AI and data science businesses made up about nine percent of total investment in British technology companies in 2017 — which, according to UKTN’s calculations, was slightly over £4.1 billion.

Despite Brexit’s ominous influence, the UK’s tech sector did fine well money-wise—attracting more investment than it did in 2016— with the vitality of AI companies seemingly playing a role in it.

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These figures must be taken with a grain of salt, mainly because slapping an AI label on any kind of technology product has become increasingly fashionable among startups in the UK — and pretty much everywhere.

We were as restrictive as possible when deciding whether a company qualified as part of our list— only selecting companies whose core product’s depends on AI or data science tools — but it is possible that one or two startups that do not strictly belong to the category made the cut.

Investment in AI and data science  witnessed ups and downs throughout 2017, starting by raking in £18.96 million in January, before plunging to no investment in February, and increasing over the following months, until a high point of £114.373 million in July.

From there, the investment flow descended to lower but still respectable levels, touching the second-highest monthly figure of £58.6 million in November before petering out to £10.078 million in December.

In terms of quantity, AI and data science companies accounted for about four or five funding rounds every month —this includes any form of raising funds, including VC, angel investors, Seed, and crowdfunding among others. Again, July stood out with six deals, whereas there was no funding round at all in February.

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The highest single investment went to AI-aided cybersecurity company Darktrace, which raised £58 million in a Series D round led by Insight Venture Partners in July.

Next on the podium were AI-aided healthcare company Babylon Health (£46.7 million) and machine learning chip manufacturer Graphcore, which secured a £38.2 million round from Sequoia in November.

Graphcore was also the company that raised  most funding overall: it compounded the November investment with a £23 million round in July, thus reaching £61.2 million.

On the investor side, Amadeus Capital Partners, Crane Venture Partners, and Winton were among the most active firms in the sector.


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