Award winning, early stage Healthtech company, BlueSkeye AI Ltd, has secured £3.4m in funding to pursue its mission to improve people’s quality of life through the use of its proprietary face and voice analysis technology. The round was led by XTX Ventures, which invested alongside Foresight Group (through The Midlands Engine Investment Fund), Praetura Ventures (through Praetura’s GMC Life Sciences Fund), the University of Nottingham and a consortium of high-net-worth individuals.
As leaders in Artificial Technology (AI), which understands mood and mental wellbeing, the Company’s solutions are uniquely placed to serve the rapidly growing needs of the Digital Health & Wellbeing and Automotive sectors. In the UK alone, one in four people suffer from mental health issues at some stage of their lives, at an estimated cost of £117.9 billion to the economy and from 2024 all new cars sold in the EU must have camera-based driver safety monitoring systems installed.
BlueSkeye AI’s trademark blending of advanced research into expressive human behaviour with specialist expertise in computer vision, machine learning and AI has many important use cases. In Digital Health and Wellbeing, BlueSkeye AI is poised to transform the diagnosis of mental health conditions and improve care in the Digital Health and Wellbeing, whilst in the Automotive industry it will significantly enhance safety and wellbeing for the drivers and passengers of vehicles.
One key technology created by BlueSkeye is the B-Social Software Development Kit (SDK) that can be used to give social robots, virtual assistants, and any other interactive interface the ability to read a person’s facial expressions, head actions, and social gaze.
The funding will further accelerate BlueSkeye AI’s expansion across both clinical and non-clinical health and wellbeing markets to transform patient pathways at scale. This will support service providers to address the global worldwide need for early diagnosis of mental health issues such as depression and anxiety, and the development of new products to support accurate digital diagnosis in the health and wellbeing sector. As part of this investment, BlueSkeye AI will expand its activities with a physical presence in the North-West of England.
Founded in 2019, BlueSkeye AI is a spin-out from The University of Nottingham’s School of Computer Science. It was established by Professor Michel Valstar (CEO) and Dr Anthony Brown (CTO), and Chief Machine Learning and Software Engineer Dr Timur Almaev.
Professor Michel Valstar, Co-Founder and CEO at BlueSkeye AI, said: “The demand for alternative pathways to access mental healthcare is enormous, and continues to grow by the day. We’re committed to disrupting traditional approaches to healthcare to help improve the quality of people’s lives, and we’re particularly focused on the perinatal mental health sector. With the support of XTX Ventures, Foresight Group and Praetura Ventures, we’ll strengthen the rollout of new clinical trials and product development, and champion the benefits of technology for reinforcing healthcare provision on a national, regional and global basis.”
Foresight has invested in BlueSkeye AI through The Midlands Engine Investment Fund – East Midlands Equity Finance, which is supported financially by the European Union using funding from the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) as part of the European Structural and Investment Funds Growth Programme 2014-2020 and the European Investment Bank. The investment by Manchester-based Praetura was made through the GMC Life Sciences Fund, supported by GMCA, Cheshire & Warrington LEP and Bruntwood SciTech.
Dr Sarah Wright
XTX Ventures is the venture capital arm of world-leading algorithmic trading company XTX Markets. XTX Ventures is an early-stage VC fund investing solely in companies with machine learning as a core technology (geography/industry agnostic). This unique focus enables XTX to provide tailored operational support and guidance to their portfolio companies by leveraging XTX Markets’ world-leading expertise in machine learning to help grow and enhance those businesses. XTX Ventures can lead or co-invest and has dedicated follow-on capital. https://www.xtxmarkets.com/ventures/
Foresight has invested in BlueSkeye AI through The Midlands Engine Investment Fund, which is supported financially by the European Union using funding from the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) as part of the European Structural and Investment Funds Growth Programme 2014-2020 and the European Investment Bank.
Foresight Group was founded in 1984 and is a leading listed infrastructure and private equity investment manager. With a long-established focus on ESG and sustainability-led strategies, it aims to provide attractive returns to its institutional and private investors from hard-to-access private markets. Foresight manages over 330 infrastructure assets with a focus on solar and onshore wind assets, bioenergy and waste, as well as renewable energy enabling projects, energy efficiency management solutions, social and core infrastructure projects and sustainable forestry assets. Its private equity team manages ten regionally focused investment funds across the UK and an SME impact fund supporting Irish SMEs. This team reviews over 2,500 business plans each year and currently supports more than 200 investments in SMEs. Foresight Capital Management manages four strategies across six investment vehicles with an AUM of over £1.6 billion.
Foresight operates from 13 offices across seven countries in Europe and Australia with AUM of £12.4 billion*. Foresight Group Holdings Limited listed on the Main Market of the London Stock Exchange in February 2021. https://www.fsg-investors.com/
*Based on Foresight Group unaudited AUM as at 30 June 2022 and Infrastructure Capital’s unaudited AUM as at 30 June 2022 converted from AUD to GBP at an exchange rate of 0.5846 as at 7 September 2022.
Praetura Ventures is a Manchester-based venture capital firm which invests in early-stage, high-growth businesses across the UK, with a particular focus on supporting entrepreneurs across the North of England. The investment in BlueSkeye AI was made through Praetura’s GMC Life Sciences Fund, supported by GMCA, Cheshire & Warrington LEP and Bruntwood SciTech.
Praetura Ventures is committed to adding value post-investment and providing the ‘more than money’ support that businesses need to grow, including additional expertise, resources, networks and guidance, to its investee companies.
Since 2019, Praetura Ventures has backed over 29 companies, including North West headquartered businesses Culture Shift, XR Games and Peak.
The firm also has a Venture Partner programme – an innovative and collaborative initiative that is aimed at experienced, connected and successful individuals who have a desire to add value and potentially provide mentorship, advice, introductions and investment to the next generation of entrepreneurs. In just a few months, the firm has grown its Venture Partner base to 100+ members, typically C-suite level individuals.
Learn more at https://www.praeturaventures.com/ and LinkedIn