Skymind Global Ventures is opening a London office, and launching a new $800 million fund to back AI startups and research, according to TechCrunch.
As an extension to its current Hong Kong office, the London office will help support research, development, and business ventures across Europe and Asia.
According to a statement from founder and CEO Shawn Tan:
“Having our operations in the UK capital is a strategic move for us. London has all the key factors to help us grow our business, such as access to diverse talent and investment, favorable regulation, and a strong and well-established technology hub. The city is also the AI growth capital of Europe with the added competitive advantage of boasting a global friendly time zone that overlaps with business hours in Asia, Europe and the rest of the world.”
Skymind Global Ventures calls itself the “world’s first dedicated AI ecosystem builder.”
The company offers an open-source AI tool called “Eclipse Deeplearning4j” to help companies launch AI-based apps, amid growing demand for AI support worldwide.
Konduit, the company’s software division, delivers the tool and provides support and training development.
“We provide clients with supported access to Eclipse Deeplearning4j and other open source tools, global capital funding and talent development,” the company says on its website.
They plan to train up to 200 new staff for their operations in London and throughout Europe.
In recent years, the UK has become a hub for AI startups and research. In 2018, investment in UK AI companies reached a record level of $1.3 billion, according to data from Dealroom. There were 82 venture capital fundraisings above $2 million that year, and British AI startups raised nearly as much as the rest of Europe combined.
“These statistics are further confirmation that the UK is Europe’s undisputed number one tech hub. Our success in artificial intelligence is thanks to a unique combination of talent, location, our business-friendly environment, unrivaled access to capital and world-leading universities,” former Digital Secretary Jeremy Wright said at the time.
More recently, the UK was named third in the world in AI development and implementation, behind the US and China, by the Global AI Index report.
In 2014, Google purchased the UK AI startup Deepmind in one of its largest European acquisitions at the time.
Photo: Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons