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Two NI Tech Startups selected for prestigious UK AI program

Tech Nation recently announced the 32 companies who have been selected to join Applied AI 2.0, The growth programme is for tech companies with artificial intelligence at their core. Now in its second year, Applied AI 2.0 forms part of the UK Government’s AI Sector Deal, supported by the Office for AI.

The programme is designed to champion and support the UK’s leading AI scaleups through peer-to-peer learning and mentoring sessions. Companies who deal with artificial intelligence encounter many of the same, niche scaling challenges, and coming together to overcome them and learn from each other is key to the success and advancement of AI tech in the UK. 

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 UK AI landscape

The 32 companies joining the Applied AI 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. And two of the companies selected were from Northern Ireland.

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. 

Sonrai Analytics

Artificial Intelligence specialist and Queen’s University spin-out Sonrai Analytics have been selected as a participant.

Sonrai applies AI and deep learning to develop bespoke applications and interfaces that enable healthcare organisations, biotech and pharma to filter and transform data sets in real time. The platform delivers cutting-edge data visualisation and predictive analytics to workflows that accelerate organisational processes and improves performance.

Dr McArt said: “It is an honour to be considered as a game-changing company in AI by the renowned panel of Tech Nation Judges. It’s not the easiest time to be a start-up, but knowing that we will have the opportunity to meet investors and share our journey with other AI founders going through similar challenges is exciting.”

Cattle Eye

CattleEye’s plan is to bring to market the first autonomous livestock monitoring system for ruminant livestock based on video analytics powered by deep learning Artificial Intelligence.

CEO of CattleEye, Terry Canning said “This programme is particularly prestigious and I am so pleased that CattleEye has been selected, reflecting the fantastic results our team have achieved in the 12 months since our pre-seed investment.”

Harry Rhys Davies, AI Programme Lead for Tech Nation said: “We are delighted to welcome CattleEye into this year’s Applied AI programme. CattleEye really stood out for us given the strength of the team, application of the latest AI techniques in the worthwhile cause of improving animal welfare and rapid industry traction in a very short space of time. We are delighted to be supporting their exponential growth.”

Demand for AI Skills

Demand for AI skills is continuing to rise in the UK, reflecting the growing AI sector, as well as an increase in demand for AI skills across all industries. Over the past three years we’ve seen a 111% increase from 22,417 to 47,214 (2017-2019).

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