Octopus Ventures raises £120m for AI-focused startups

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In the latest startup related news, Venture capital (VC) firm Octopus Ventures has raised £120m as it looks to invest in more AI-focused UK start-ups.The Holborn-based VC firm, which normally backs businesses with seed, Series A and Series B funding rounds of between £150,000 and £5m, is already in discussions with two unnamed UK tech start-ups.

A subsidiary of Octopus Investments, which was established in 1999, its portfolio includes Swiftkey, who were later acquired by Microsoft, Startups-100-ranked YPlan, LoveFilm and Secret Escapes. The announcement comes after a report by Accenture estimated that AI could add up to £654bn to the UK economy by 2035.

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Alex Macpherson, chief executive at Octopus Ventures, said: “We have expertise in the machine-learning field, but the challenge today is pretty much every business that comes through to us is machine learning or artificial intelligence.

Octopus Ventures raises £120m

“Our whole concept is how can we help support British entrepreneurs to take their business the whole way, and not sell out to the Americans or others a bit too early.”

Speaking of the type of businesses they normally invest in, Will Gibbs, investment manager at Octopus, told Startups: “Our ideal investment is one where we are aligned with the entrepreneur and we are both ready to accelerate quickly. The business should operate with a strong and ambitious team at the helm, able to deliver successive growth in a global market.

“The product or service that business delivers should also have strong USPs and not be easily copied to prevent saturation of the market.”

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