London mayor Sadiq Khan kicks off speed dating events to match tech startups and investors

Lynsey Barber
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Sadiq Khan announced plans for the events last year (Source: Getty)

London is hosting its first matchmaking event to bring tech startups together with top investors as part of the mayor's efforts to generate investment in the industry.

Sadiq Khan will tonight host the first of what's set to be 20 events over the next four years, designed to showcase 10 of the top startups in certain areas that stand to be valuable to London's development and its reputation as a global hub.

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The first event will focus on AI startups, and includes on-demand home care startup Cera, which is using AI powered chatbots to assist carers and Digital Fineprint, which uses AI to tap social data for insurance.

The 10 startups

Digital Fineprint
Humanising Autonomy
Informed Actions
Skin Analytics

Experts at the event, which is backed by by City Hall and the UK British Angels Associations (UKBAA), will include Wendy Tan-White of BGF Ventures, Ben Blume of Atomico, Simon Menashy of MMC Ventures, Hitesh Thakrar of Syncona and Tabitha Goldstaub of CognitionX.

DeepMind's ethics and society research team co-lead Verity Harding who will also be at the event, said it would "help keep London and the UK at the forefront of the development and deployment of what is likely to become one of the most important industries of the 21st century".

"Tonight's event is an exciting showcase of the promising potential of AI, and it's great to see so many of the entrepreneurs applying AI to tackle real-world problems," she added.

Khan said he was proud to "lead by example in supporting growth in London tech" through the TechInvest programme first unveiled late last year.

"These events will showcase the fantastic creativity of London’s tech community and will enable entrepreneurs to connect with leading investors. I’m confident that this programme will help even more companies to realise their potential to grow and develop."

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Future events will focus on other areas such as virtual reality and so-called govtech, startups working on ways to make government and the services it provides more digital.

Chief executive of UKBAA Jenny Tooth said: “At this first event, we will be presenting 10 entrepreneurs, selected by our expert judges, who are using the benefits of Artificial Intelligence and machine learning to bring innovative solutions to London’s key challenges, including transport, health and social care, housing, finance and retail. We hope many of these tech entrepreneurs will attract the investment they need to further grow and scale their AI-focused businesses.”

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