Artificial Intelligence start-up InstaDeep raises £74m for expansion

A London-based artificial intelligence start-up has raised 100 million dollars (£74 million) to expand its operations including creating an early warning system for spotting new diseases.

InstaDeep announced the funding in a second, Series B, round led by AI investment specialists Alpha Intelligence Capital, CDIB and Pfizer’s Covid-19 vaccine partner BioNTech.

The firm will hire new researchers and technicians and expand its presence in the US.

Bosses revealed earlier this month they had teamed up with BioNTech to successfully develop an AI-powered system to detect new, high-risk Covid variants, including spotting the Omicron strain of the virus.

InstaDeep aim to use the funds to launch disruptive AI products across several industries – including biotech, logistics, transportation and electronics manufacturing.

Co-founder and chief executive, Karim Beguir, said: “This funding round is a tremendous vote of confidence from our partners BioNTech, Google and Deutsche Bahn after working closely with us on innovative, high-impact AI initiatives… we see wide-ranging opportunities to deploy our AI products to tackle complex real-world problems.”

Founded in Tunisia in 2014, the company also works on locust detection to help track swarms, which can devastate crops.

The deal with BioNTech is a multi-year strategic collaboration Early Warning System (EWS) which has identified more than 90% of World Health Organisation designated Covid variants on average two months ahead of time, InstaDeep said.

Bosses have also collaborated with Google on AI initiatives and published joint research with DeepMind and Google AI.

A project with Deutsche Bahn on railway scheduling is also underway.

Arnaud Barthelemy, partner and chief operating office at Alpha Intelligence Capital, said: “InstaDeep is a deep technology company that disrupts traditional approaches in crucial areas as they do with BioNTech for drug discovery or with Deutsche Bahn for railway scheduling.

“We are thrilled to join this exciting adventure and eager to help support InstaDeep’s growth through our unique AI expertise.”