Salesforce opened its first ever AI centre on Tuesday (18 June) in London, as the US company looks to double down on its $4bn investment in the UK.

The UK AI centre’s opening was launched with a free AI training event for over one hundred developers and administrators. Salesforce said it used the centre’s opening to highlight and take action on the critical digital skills gap in the UK.

Salesforce said the AI centre will help create 500,000 AI-related jobs in the UK. 

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak called the investment a “ringing endorsement” of the country’s economy – just weeks after he called the UK a global leader in AI.

“It will strengthen the company’s UK presence, increasing capacity, as well as creating vital jobs, reinforcing our position as one of their largest markets outside of the US,” Sunak said in a statement.

Salesforce Ventures, the company’s venture capital arm, has invested over $200m in UK companies including ElevenLabs, the text-to-speech and AI voice generator, and AutoGenAI, the world’s leading AI bid writing engine.

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“AI has the potential to drive major growth for UK businesses – with the UK AI market predicted to reach over $1trn by 2035,” said Zahra Bahrololoumi, CEO of Salesforce UKI.

“By locating Salesforce’s first AI Centre in London, we are sending a clear message to customers and partners on AI: we are deeply committed to working closely together so that you can reap the rewards of this transformative technology, while ensuring it is a force for good,” she added.

As of June 2024, venture financing deals have soared in the UK compared to previous years, according to research and analysis company GlobalData’s deal database.

The value of UK venture financing deals totalled $1.4bn in 2024YTD, a significant increase over 2023, which saw deals total $654m.

In 2022, the value of deals in the country totalled $825m, a significant increase over four years prior, which saw deals total just $161m.

GlobalData forecasts that the overall AI market will be worth $909bn by 2030, registering a compound annual growth rate (AGR) of 35% between 2022 and 2030.

In the GenAI space, revenues are expected to grow from $1.8bn in 2022 to $33bn in 2027 at a CAGR of 80%.