[24/03/23] Bayes Centre News: AI Accelerator showcase profiles data-driven scaleups
The University of Edinburgh AI Accelerator programme delivered its Showcase Event, highlighting some of the most exciting young companies in AI.
The University of Edinburgh AI Accelerator gives data-driven scale up companies the opportunity to harness the power of AI and bring about transformative change, through an intensive programme that includes workshops, mentorship and connections to the University's research. It helps develop a wide range of business skills, from sales and marketing to financial planning and culminates in its Showcase Event, in front of an audience of investors, business support groups, and fellow entrepreneurs.
The event, held on the 22nd March 2023, was opened with an address from Professor Miguel Bernabeu, Deputy Director of the Bayes Centre, who discussed the links between the University, industry and the Scottish Government, looking ahead to a continued successful relationship.
This was followed by pitches from the companies from the accelerators cohort, who came under three themes: the use of AI to improve global health, address the climate emergency and “AI for good” – in which they include both applications of AI to deliver societal benefit and innovations to improve the way in which AI works for improved trust and transparency.
The inspirational pitches were an opportunity for the audience to learn more about the scaleups and how they are applying AI to bring about transformative change and it attracted a significant audience, with a full house of nearly 170 attending in person and many more online.
Following the pitches, the audience was able to vote for their favourite pitches, with a finalist declared in each category:
These three finalists then gave a final one minute pitch in front of an investment panel made up of Susie Fisher, Investment Director from Kelvin Capital, Evelyn McDonald, the CEO of Scottish Edge and Michael Hill-King, collaboration Director at Huawei UK.
The winner on the day was Inicio AI who received a 5k cash prize. Inicio AI has built a next gen conversational AI driven affordability tool that helps customers in debt complete an Income & Expenditure assessment.
The runner-ups, Danu Robotics and Mind Trace, received a 2k cash prize. Founders from Vahanomy also received a special award for excellence in collaboration during the programme.
Katy Guthrie, AI Accelerator programme manager said:
The AI Accelerator showcase was a milestone celebration event for the companies taking part in the programme. Watching them pitching their businesses and seeing the progress they have made was fantastic. It’s been a huge privilege to have been able to support these talented founders; it’s bittersweet as I will miss them all but I look forward to watching their continued progress!
The event also features speakers from the tech world who gave keynote speeches:
- Ross Tuffee & Ian Martin: The tech ecosystem and the entrepreneurial campus
- John Brodie: Reflections of an Entrepreneur in Residence
- Stewart Whiting: From Bedroom to Fortune 100: Timing Your Opportunity
The event ended with a drinks reception where attendees had the opportunity to network and build relationships with founders, investors and academics whilst enjoying canapés and drinks.
The AI Accelerator is delivered by The University of Edinburgh's world-leading innovation hub for Data Science and Artificial Intelligence, the Bayes Centre, and supported by Edinburgh Innovations, the University of Edinburgh’s commercialisation service. It is delivered on behalf of the University’s Data-Driven Innovation Hubs, in contribution to the Data-Driven Entrepreneurship programme.
Applications are now open to join the next AI Accelerator programme. We are looking for exciting AI-driven companies ready to scale to apply to take part in the next AI Accelerator! (Applications close midnight 15th May). Find out more here.