The UCL Technology Fund has invested in Anon AI, the data anonymisation software developer, as part of a £340,000 pre-seed round in partnership with the London Co-Investment Fund (LCIF), AI Seed and Ascension Ventures.
Anon AI is developing software to automate data anonymisation and help developers and data scientists share data securely. The protection of personal data is a big concern for companies and the pressure to maintain data security will intensify when the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) comes into force in May 2018.
The investment will enable it to enhance its prototype model and build a ‘best in class’ developer tool, in partnership with the UCL community. The team, led by Harry Keen (CEO) and James Arthur (CTO), will work with the university to advance its machine learning techniques and engage with public policy as GDPR goes live.
Dr Fintan Nagle, a machine learning scientist in UCL’s Department of Cognitive, Perceptual and Brain Sciences, will work with Anon AI to enhance the neuro-linguistic programming capabilities of its software. His AI expertise will steer the development of bespoke data classification and normalisation systems.
Anon AI is the fourth AI business the UCL Technology Fund has invested in to date, and the first in partnership with LCIF. The fund was launched in January 2016 to support academics whose research has commercial potential, with funding for early stage proof of concept, licensing projects and new spinout companies. The fund is managed by Albion Capital in collaboration with UCL Business and is dedicated to bringing UCL’s world-class research in life and physical sciences to commercial reality.
David Grimm, investment manager, UCL Technology Fund, says: “Organisations are drowning in data and will face extensive compliance requirements once GDPR comes into effect next year. Anon AI addresses the dual challenge of maintaining the security of mass personal data and preserving innovation. Its experienced team and cutting edge AI software give it an excellent opportunity to take an industry leading position in a market which stands at £30m+ in the financial services industry alone.”
Harry Keen, CEO, Anon AI, says: “We are excited to be working with UCL’s machine learning experts to create intelligent, commercially viable software, which we can begin rolling out to our waiting list of potential clients. This investment will enable us to create a tool that addresses one of the biggest challenges facing businesses today: avoiding the potentially catastrophic consequences of a data breach, while tapping into a vast source of opportunity.”
For more information, please contact:
Jonathan Atkins/ Anthony Cornwell/ Matt Jones
Tel: 020 3697 4200
UCL Technology Fund
The UCL Technology Fund is dedicated to investing in intellectual property commercialisation opportunities arising from UCL’s world-class research base, focusing in particular on the physical and life sciences. The Fund supports UCL in achieving the full potential of innovations that have prospects for outstanding societal and market impact, right through the development journey from initial proof of concept to practical commercial application.
The Fund is managed by Albion Capital, one of the largest independent venture capital investors in the UK, in collaboration with UCL Business. For further information please visit: www.ucltf.co.uk
Albion Capital is a leading independent investment manager with a long-term record of partnering ambitious business. The Albion Group has funds of just over £1 billion under investment management or administration.
Albion Capital Group LLP is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority.
UCL Business PLC
UCL Business PLC (UCLB) is a leading technology commercialisation company that supports research and innovations arising from UCL, one of the UK’s top research-led universities. UCLB has a successful track record and a strong reputation for identifying and protecting promising new technologies and innovations from UCL academics. UCLB has a strong track record in commercialising medical technologies and provides technology transfer services to UCL’s associated hospitals; University College London Hospitals, Moorfields Eye Hospital, Great Ormond Street Hospital for Children and the Royal Free London Hospital. It invests directly in development projects to maximise the potential of the research and manages the commercialisation process of technologies from laboratory to market.
For further information, please visit: www.uclb.com
London Co-Investment Fund
The London Co-Investment Fund, led and manged by Funding London and supported by the Mayor of London, makes investments in seed stage digital, science and technology businesses in London. Funding London channel funding from Europe and the UK, through appointed fund managers to sustainable and ambitious London businesses. Returns generated from the funds go back into the London ecosystem, making investment available to the next generation.
This LCIF initiative is a partnership with Capital Enterprise (the membership body for universities, accelerators and incubators that support entrepreneurs in London). For more information, visit http://lcif.co/; http://fundinglondon.co.uk/
AI Seed provides funding and support to the UK’s best artificial intelligence and machine learning startups. Every year it invests £100,000 each in up to 20 early stage startups using the latest in artificial intelligence and machine learning to build great products and businesses that solve real world problems. Sofiane Mahiou, graduate of the 2016/17 UCL Machine Learning masters course has joined the team to work with Dr Fintan Nagle to design and implement classification and anonymization algorithms. For more information, visit aiseed.co
Ascension Ventures backs exceptional entrepreneurs with big visions – providing capital, our network, and expert mentors to grow scalable businesses. Our focus is on supporting UK businesses from Seed to Series A. Venture capital in tech & digital media investments is constantly evolving and requires a specialist approach and extensive sector insight to identify and progress innovative enterprises. Since 2013, Ascension has invested, across 7 distinct funds, in over 60 UK based early stage companies. We have a rigorous investment evaluation process and are highly selective in putting forward opportunities for investment from our funds.