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Praetura Ventures joins £3.4m healthtech funding round

The BlueSkeye AI founders

Manchester’s Praetura Ventures is among the latest investors in Midlands early-stage healthtech company, BlueSkeye AI Ltd. The company will expand with a physical presence in the North West as part of the deal.

BlueSkeye has secured £3.4m in funding to pursue its mission to improve people’s quality of life through its proprietary face and voice analysis technology. The round was led by XTX Ventures, which invested alongside Foresight Group, Praetura Ventures, the University of Nottingham and a consortium of high-net-worth individuals.

As leaders in AI which understands mood and mental wellbeing, the company’s products serve the growing needs of the digital health & wellbeing and automotive sectors. In the UK alone, one in four people suffer from mental health issues at some stage of their lives, at an estimated cost of £117.9 billion to the economy. From 2024, all new cars sold in the EU must have camera-based driver safety monitoring systems installed.

BlueSkeye AI’s trademark blending of advanced research into expressive human behaviour with specialist expertise in computer vision, machine learning and AI has many important uses. In digital health and wellbeing, BlueSkeye AI is poised to transform the diagnosis of mental health conditions, while in the automotive industry it will significantly enhance safety and wellbeing for the drivers and passengers of vehicles.

The funding will further accelerate BlueSkeye AI’s expansion across both clinical and non-clinical markets to transform patient pathways at scale. This will support providers to address the global worldwide need for early diagnosis of mental health issues such as depression and anxiety, and the development of new products to support accurate digital diagnosis in the health and wellbeing sector.

Founded in 2019, BlueSkeye AI is a spin-out from The University of Nottingham’s School of Computer Science. It was established by Professor Michel Valstar (CEO), Dr Anthony Brown (CTO), and chief machine learning and software engineer Dr Timur Almaev.

Valstar said: “The demand for alternative pathways to access mental healthcare is enormous, and continues to grow by the day. We’re committed to disrupting traditional approaches to healthcare to help improve the quality of people’s lives, and we’re particularly focused on the perinatal mental health sector. With the support of XTX Ventures, Foresight Group and Praetura Ventures, we’ll strengthen the rollout of new clinical trials and product development, and champion the benefits of technology for reinforcing healthcare provision on a national, regional and global basis.”

Praetura Ventures is a Manchester-based venture capital firm which invests in early-stage, high-growth businesses across the UK, with a particular focus on supporting entrepreneurs across the North of England. The investment in BlueSkeye AI was made through Praetura’s GMC Life Sciences Fund, supported by GMCA, Cheshire & Warrington LEP and Bruntwood SciTech.

 

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