Richard Allmendinger, Professor of Applied Artificial Intelligence (AI) at AMBS, and Fellow of the Alan Turing Institute, has joined the advisory board of the North’s first dedicated AI fund.
The Enterprise Investment Scheme fund, run by north-west based fund manager River Capital, will focus specifically on early-stage, high growth AI, machine learning and data science investment opportunities across the north of the UK.
The firm says data science SMEs across the region are underserved by venture capital, despite the region containing multiple centres of AI excellence. With the UK AI market forecast to grow significantly the fund will present a major opportunity for investors looking to capitalise on the untapped potential.
Professor Allmendinger’s role will involve carrying out due diligence into the algorithms being used or explored by the companies being targeted for investment, specifically looking at how they are used and expressing ideas on how they can be improved.
He will also work closely with business engagement colleagues across The University of Manchester on the potential for matching the targeted business with wider university knowledge exchange and funding programmes.
He said: “I am thrilled to be joining the advisory board of this exciting new fund which will tap into the incredible opportunities for growth that we see today in AI companies across this region.
“The potential of AI to transform businesses is now beginning to be truly recognised by the wider world, and both AMBS and The University of Manchester have a major role to play in helping to advance the industry here in the North West. This fund will play a huge role in helping to scale up these early stage businesses.”
River Capital has deep sector experience in data rich organisations, having invested, advised and founded some of the North’s most successful ‘unicorn’ and ‘futurecorn’ AI companies. It will specifically look to invest in around 15 AI driven businesses over the next five years, with investments ranging from £500,000 to £2 million.
It expects to invest in two broad categories of AI SMEs. The first comprises businesses seeking capital to accelerate their growth or build out their AI platforms. The second includes companies with untapped data sets who wish to use AI to create data IP and to go on an AI, machine learning or data science journey.
River Capital Investment Director David Walters said: “Our new fund is driven by the superpower of data and we intend to use that power both to add value to AI businesses and to deliver great returns to investors.
“The AI, machine learning and data science industry presents fantastic investment opportunities and this fund is ideally positioned both to support and benefit from the profound impact on how business is done, and the widespread adoption of these technologies. Given his huge technical knowledge of the industry we are delighted that Richard has joined our advisory board and look forward to working with him.”
Rachel Kenyon, Business Engagement Manager at The University of Manchester, said: “This partnership is an excellent opportunity for The University of Manchester to build early-stage relationships with AI SMEs in the region and support their development. By enabling awareness and understanding of the development potential within these businesses, this provides a route for innovative research and knowledge exchange collaborations, whereby academic expertise could contribute directly to innovation and growth in the sector.”