One in 12 new European startups is an AI company

Keiligh Baker's picture
by Keiligh Baker

A report released today from venture capital firm MMC Ventures, in association with Barclays, shows that one in 12 new startups in Europe is an AI company – compared with just one in 50 in 2013.

The report – State of AI 2019: Divergence – provides unique insight into the proliferation of AI, Europe’s 1,600 AI entrepreneurs, and AI’s implications for society.

Corporate adoption of AI has tripled in the last 12 months – one in seven large companies has adopted AI. Within 24 months, two thirds of large companies will have live AI initiatives.

Over three years, the proportion of enterprises with AI initiatives will have grown from one in 25 to one in three – making AI one of the fastest paradigm shifts in the history of enterprise technology. However, increasing adoption overall masks a growing divergence between leaders and laggards in understanding of AI and investment in its benefits.

The UK is the powerhouse of European AI, with nearly 500 startups – a third of Europe’s total and twice as many as any other country.

Healthcare is a focal point for AI innovation. More AI startups – one in five (21%) – serve the health and wellbeing sector than any other. In the coming decade, it is anticipated that developers will have a greater impact on the future of healthcare than doctors.

Activity is thriving in the health and wellbeing sector given profound new opportunities for process automation and cost reduction through AI. The UK is the heartland of European healthcare AI, with a third of the Continent’s startups founded in hubs including London, Oxford and Cambridge.

David Kelnar, Partner & Head of Research, MMC Ventures said: “As new AI technology makes the impossible possible, we also face divergent futures. AI offers profound benefits, from improved healthcare to more accessible transportation, but presents risks that must be managed responsibly.

"Automation may displace jobs. Biased AI systems could increase inequality. New, ‘generative AI’ will cause societies to grapple with challenges of truth and trust.

"Just this month, research institute OpenAI declined to release the code and data behind their new AI text generator given concerns it could be misused to create lifelike ‘fake news’.