London ‘Ai capital of Europe’

London is home to twice as many artificial intelligence companies as Paris and Berlin combined, with investment into the capital’s Ai companies exceeding £200m in 2017, a key report produced for London Tech Week says this week.

AIGrowthCapitalOfEuropecoverIn a bullish message for London Tech Week, a new research report says the UK capital is the artificial intelligence capital of Europe, home to double the number of Ai companies than Paris and Berlin combined.

The report from Ai advice platform CognitionX comes as London mayor Sadiq Khan publishes research that for the first time maps the London Ai ecosystem, highlighting the strength and complexity of London Ai and its growing importance to the economy.

The mayor hopes the mapping exercise will uncover opportunities to unlock innovation and investment in London to maximise the economic impact of Ai on the city.

It comes as the mayor’s office releases a new ‘Smarter London Together’ roadmap to support his ambition to make London “a world-leading smart city”.

London AI report – key findings

  • London is home to 758 Ai companies – double the total of Paris and Berlin combined. They specialise in more than 30 industries with strengths in insurance, finance and law. 645 have a base in the capital
  • Investment raised by London’s Ai companies grew by more than 50% in 2017, reaching over £200m. This represented approximately 10% of the record £2.45bn raised by London’s tech firms in 2017. This includes Babylon Health (£47.56m), Callsign (£26.92m) and Starship Technologies (£13.95m)
  • 43% of London’s Ai suppliers have at least one non-UK founder. 32% have at least one founder who are from black, Asian, and minority ethnic backgrounds
  • 25% of London’s AI suppliers have at least one female founder, compared to 17% of global startups.

The mayor’s report defines an Ai company as one using artificial intelligence in part of its business model.

Khan said: “There are few areas of innovation that have the power to define our future economy and society more than artificial intelligence. As mayor, it is my goal to ensure both that London is at the forefront of developing and capitalising on these new technologies, and that all Londoners can benefit from the opportunities that they create.

“The research describes a city with a rich technology ecosystem, a strong pipeline of Ai innovation and an academic and investment base set up for the long term.

“These strengths will also support my ambitions to make London a world leading smart city, in which public data and Ai will open doors for the public and private sectors to work together to improve the way that Londoners experience our city on a daily basis.”

CognitionX connects organisations with a global on-demand network of Ai experts. Its CogX festival at Tobacco Dock is one of the standout highlights of London Tech Week.

Co-founder Tabitha Goldstaub said: “We are at a crossroads. Action is needed now. Developing our open community, attracting and growing diverse talent, investing in research and ensuring rapid responsible adoption is key.

“We welcome the mayor’s leadership in shining a spotlight on Ai in London, and working to build a strong AI cluster to maximise economic and societal impact.

“If industry, government and academia can gain consumer trust, get the challenging ethical considerations understood and ensure the benefits of AI are fairly distributed, this could lead to a brighter future for London and the UK.”

The mayor’s report also finds that:

80% of the top 50 AI companies in the UK are London-based.

  • London is rated highest for tolerance and diversity relative to rival AI hubs
  • 62% of census respondents rate London as the best or generally better for access to skills and talent
  • 13 universities in the capital offer AI, machine learning and related undergraduate and postgraduate degrees

In a separate Ai report released for tech week, global intelligence platform Streetbees reports that two in three British consumers are worried about machines taking jobs away from people – with a similar number saying there should be rules to prevent companies replacing staff with machines.

Read London: the Ai growth capital of Europe