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River Capital launches ‘North’s first AI fund’


River Capital has announced the launch of its first Enterprise Investment Scheme fund, which it claims is the North’s first dedicated AI investment fund. 

The fund, ‘fund:AI,’ will focus specifically on early-stage, high growth artificial intelligence, machine learning and data science investment opportunities within the North of the UK.

Northern data science SMEs are underserved by venture capital, despite the North containing multiple centres of AI excellence and producing data-led Unicorns. With the UK artificial intelligence market estimated to increase significantly at a compound annual growth of 35.9 per cent, the fund will present a significant opportunity for investors looking to capitalise on the untapped potential of the region.

The fund:AI team 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.

River Capital will look to invest in around 15 AI-driven businesses over the next five years and investments are expected to range from £500,000 to £2,000,000.

The fund anticipates investing 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.

Investment director David Walters said: “Our investment team provides unique experience combining people with operational leadership experience in the AI space as well as seasoned investors and founders who have been directly involved in some of the most significant AI and Data investments in the North of the UK. We have run AI practices, delivered go to market strategies for some of the North’s largest AI businesses, have access to advisors from institutions including the University of Manchester and Sci Tech Daresbury and have a track record of investing in AI and Data Unicorns including companies such as Blue Prism.”

River Capital head of venture, Marc d’Abbadie said: “Following our recent rebranding and subsequent launch of the Business Growth Loan Fund, we are delighted to be able to announce our first EIS fund. We are particularly grateful to our cornerstone investor MSIF for their support and confidence. It is especially pleasing that it is in a sector like AI which has the potential to have such a positive impact on society, by enabling beneficial environmental effects, improved social impact and better governance.”

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