North West fund manager River Capital has announced its first Enterprise Investment Scheme (EIS) fund to focus on the artificial intelligence industry.

fund:AI will focus specifically on early-stage, high growth AI, machine learning and data science investment opportunities within the North of the UK.

River Capital will look to invest in  around 15 AI-driven businesses over the next five years, with investments expected to range from £500,000 to £2,000,000.

fund:AI anticipates investing in two broad categories of AI SMEs. The first comprises businesses seeking capital to accelerate their growth or build out their AI platforms. The second includes companies with untapped data sets who wish to use AI to create data IP and to go on an AI, machine learning or data science journey.

Investment director David Walters said: “Data is fund:AI’s superpower.  We intend to use that superpower both to add value to AI businesses and to deliver great returns to investors.

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“Our investment team provides unique experience combining people with operational leadership experience in the AI space as well as seasoned investors and founders who have been directly involved in some of the most significant AI and data investments in the North of the UK.

“We have run AI practices, delivered go to market strategies for some of the North’s largest AI businesses, have access to advisors from institutions including the University of Manchester and Sci Tech Daresbury and have a track record of investing in AI and data unicorns including companies such as Blue Prism.”

The fund:AI team has deep sector experience in data rich organisations, having invested, advised and founded some of the North’s most successful unicorn and futurecorn AI companies.

River Capital head of venture, Marc d’Abbadie, said: “Following our recent rebranding and subsequent launch of the Business Growth Loan Fund, we are delighted to be able to announce our first EIS fund. We are particularly grateful to our cornerstone investor MSIF for their support and confidence.

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“It is especially pleasing that it is in a sector like AI which has the potential to have such a positive impact on society, by enabling beneficial environmental effects, improved social impact and better governance.

“The AI, machine learning and data science industry presents fantastic investment opportunities. fund:AI is ideally positioned both to support and benefit from the profound impact on how business is done.”