In early December, Techcrunch Disrupt London came to town. The event hosts Startup Battlefield which gathers early stage startups together on one stage to compete for the Disrupt Cup and a cash prize. As expected, the agenda was jam-packed with a wide-range topics from Brexit and walking robot dogs to flying cars and the continued disruption and innovation of Fintech.
On the VC front
On the venture capital front, Niklas Zennström, Atomico said that early stage Seed and Series A investments in Europe are now on par with the US, both in terms of amount of capital invested and number of companies. At the same time, the later stages are seeing a significant funding gap.
Zennström cited a staggering fact: 14 times more capital is invested in later stage US companies than in Europe which lead to high valuations in the US and low multiples in Europe. It remains to be seen if a wider pool of capital providers, such as pension funds, enter the European venture capital market which to address this balance.
Here comes the AI
But, it was Artificial Intelligence (AI) that took centre stage at Techcrunch Disrupt. The content of the contributions from on-stage speakers and the entrants in the Battlefield competition showcased the potential applications for AI developments as varied as personalised smart marketing to drug discovery.
Seenit, a UK-based company that helps companies access video footage shot on smartphones by customers and participants, won the hotly-contested Battlefield competition at the event. The startup walked away with a £40,000 cheque and a ton of kudos.
This post was written by Imran Bhatia, Associate, Corporate team, JAG Shaw Baker