Press Release

Digital Catapult launches first cohort for BridgeAI Acceleration Programme

Wed 4 Oct 2023

UK innovation agency Digital Catapult has announced a cohort of nine innovative startups and SMEs participating in the first of five BridgeAI Acceleration programmes. 

The FutureScope High Growth AI Accelerator for BridgeAI is designed to empower participants in crafting AI and ML solutions that are not just technologically advanced, but also grounded in responsible innovation and ethics.

“The FutureScope Accelerator is a vital part of our Innovate UK BridgeAI programme, and its launch is a significant stride towards our goal of propelling the adoption of AI across key sectors,” said Sara El-Hanfy, Head of Artificial Intelligence & Machine Learning at Innovate UK.

This initiative is set to advance the adoption of AI across four high-growth sectors, addressing a crucial need within the UK economy for responsible and ethical AI and ML solutions. Its ripple effect could encompass the widespread adoption of AI, a surge in innovation, and a substantial boost in efficiency.

The announcement marks the commencement of the 12-week programme, where Digital Catapult will provide each startup and SME with a range of resources, including computing power, technical expertise, and top-notch support for implementing ethical and responsible AI.

“These nine pioneering startups and SMEs will play a crucial role in shaping responsible, ethical, and high-impact AI and ML solutions. We aim to spark transformative change in sectors ripe with growth potential—namely, agriculture, construction, creative industries, and transport,” added El-Hanfy.

Programme participants will gain access to a dynamic ecosystem of AI developers and adopters, as well as opportunities for workshops, masterclasses, and peer-to-peer learning.

Through this accelerator, artificial intelligence and machine learning innovations are set to revolutionise multiple sectors across the UK’s economy. These pioneering ventures are set to transform the construction, transport, agriculture and creative sectors, solving industry challenges and driving long-term economic growth.

Participating companies will enact sustainable sectoral growth and sharpen the UK’s competitive edge on the programme, by leveraging emerging technologies to achieve long-term business success. Responsible innovation will also play a critical role in the programme, ensuring that all new AI solutions are developed safely and sustainably.

“This initiative is part of our commitment to championing innovation that not only drives economic progress but also tackles real-world challenges head-on. I’m confident that these organisations will have a significant impact in these critical domains of the UK economy,” said El-Hanfy.

Who are the 9 startups?

The 9 startups joining the FutureScope High Growth AI Accelerator for BridgeAI are:

  • Optimal Slope: Producer of a geotechnical software programme that can determine pit walls – the slopes within a mine – with optimal shapes, significantly reducing waste rock excavation, lowering excavation costs, and thereby increasing profits while reducing the carbon footprint.
  • Material Index: A UK-based construction technology SME founded by a team of software developers, engineers, and architects that enables construction material reuse at scale.
  • Agave Networks: The platform for matching and sharing excess materials caters specifically to SME manufacturers, facilitating a streamlined process for the efficient exchange of surplus materials and enhancing sustainability.
  • Veunex Global: A startup poised to revolutionise safety, particularly in the realms of health, safety, and environment (HSE), by harnessing the formidable capabilities of AI and big data.
  • TagnTell Technology: A startup promising a landscape of electrical monitoring that is more secure, reliable, and predictive thanks to AI.
  • NeuralEcho Labs: A startup creating immersive virtual experiences through brain wave communication.
  • Kelp Technologies: A SME that collates, processes and analyses product data from the Internet and uses it to provide market-wide solutions in the second hand fashion industry.
  • Visualax: An AR app designer looking to redefine music engagement using generative AI, blending them seamlessly with their physical surroundings.
  • Creative Colab AI: Developer of AI-powered networked haptic devices that push the boundaries of human-computer interaction.

The programme is designed to leverage commercialisation interventions, allowing early innovators to tap into potential market opportunities that are relevant to their products and services.

BridgeAI is an Innovate UK funded programme, delivered by a consortium including Innovate UK, Digital Catapult, The Alan Turing Institute, the Hartree Centre (STFC), British Standards Institution (BSI).

“We are very excited to support these exceptional AI companies working at the forefront of innovation, and developing groundbreaking AI solutions for the transport, agriculture, creative industries and construction sectors. We look forward to seeing them scale faster through the programme and demonstrating the opportunity of adopting AI in these critical areas of the UK economy,” said Jessica Rushworth, Chief Strategy and Policy Officer at Digital Catapult.

The programme is designed to leverage commercialisation interventions, allowing early innovators to tap into potential market opportunities that are relevant to their products and services.

This FutureScope accelerator programme partners with Google Cloud Platform (GCP), Amazon Web Services (AWS), Information Commissioners Office (ICO), NVIDIA, Graphcore and YellowDog.

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