February 28, 2020

UK AI industry sees boost with two major investment projects

By Lucy Ingham

The UK artificial intelligence (AI) industry has today received a significant boost with the announcement of two separate projects that will increase both investment and jobs in the sector.

These are from French AI platform Sidetrade and US-based AI and analytics leader SAS, which both announced their own, unrelated projects today.

Sidetrade has announced that it is opening the Sidetrade Tech Hub in Birmingham, which is set to receive £30m investment by 2025 and create 70 new jobs. This investment will focus on creating new training initiatives, developing new software and expert services.

Meanwhile, SAS has announced that it is expanding its already established research and development (R&D) centre in Glasgow, creating around 20 new data science jobs to develop of new technologies, and expanding the overall size by 20%.

This follows an investment by SAS in The Bayes Centre, a scientific research centre opened at Edinburgh University in 2018.

UK AI sees major investment

The investments from both companies are a positive sign for the UK AI industry, which is being seen as a potential source of strong growth in the post-Brexit era.

“The UK is a global leader in artificial intelligence. It is home to start-ups and scale-ups developing innovative AI applications across many sectors from healthcare to finance,” said Julian David, CEO of techUK, during a speech at the Sidetrade Tech Hub opening.

“The UK is also leading the way in working to find solutions to the challenges of bias and transparency in algorithmic decision-making, as well as how we can use emerging technology to provide positive outcomes for our society and economy, and tackle major issues such as climate change.”

It is also notable that both investments are in cities outside London, suggesting that the UK government’s ongoing efforts to grow hubs beyond the capital is bearing some fruit.

This sentiment was echoed by David of Sidetrade’s investment:

“Its investment is a sure sign that the UK, and Birmingham in particular, is an attractive place for AI businesses who are ambitious to scale and make a difference to innovation, business, and jobs,” he said.

SAS, meanwhile, spoke positively about the potential to grow Scotland into an AI giant.

“This further investment by SAS in the R&D Centre underlines SAS’ commitment to supporting public and private sector ambitions in Scotland, and to build the country’s reputation as a truly significant regional player in the enormous and rapidly expanding global AI and advanced analytics market,” the company said.


Read more: The post-Brexit immigration system and what it means for UK tech


Verdict deals analysis methodology

This analysis considers only announced and completed cross border deals from the GlobalData financial deals database and excludes all terminated and rumoured deals. Country and industry are defined according to the headquarters and dominant industry of the target firm. The term ‘acquisition’ refers to both completed deals and those in the bidding stage.

GlobalData tracks real-time data concerning all merger and acquisition, private equity/venture capital and asset transaction activity around the world from thousands of company websites and other reliable sources.

More in-depth reports and analysis on all reported deals are available for subscribers to GlobalData’s deals database.

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