Air Street Capital has raised a fund totalling £97 million to back early-stage AI companies.

The London-headquartered VC’s second fund has been joined by angels from OpenAI, Google, DeepMind, Isomorphic Labs, Spotify, Recursion, Exscientia, InstaDeep/BioNTech, Hugging Face, Flexport and Wayve.

Its first fund backed 19 AI-first technology and life science startups across North America and Europe, with the view that these companies deserved an ‘AI-native investor’. 

“As a firm, we now have significant resources and the long-term capital partners to match the ambitions of our founders,” said Nathan Benaich, founder and general partner.

“AI is a force multiplier for technology, helping us to unlock a new era of economic progress and scientific discovery. Excitement has exploded around AI since last summer, with companies of all sizes, media, politicians, and investors coming into the fold en masse. 

“There is still so much more to discover and build with the field being in its early real-world deployment phase.”

Benaich earned a PhD in computational and experimental cancer research as a Gates and Dr Herchel Smith Scholar at the University of Cambridge. He has published research that leverages both experimental and computational approaches to understand how the fatal spread of cancer around the body may be stemmed.

He founded The Research and Applied AI Summit, a community for entrepreneurs and researchers in AI, and serves as managing trustee of The RAAIS Foundation, a UK-registered charity with a mission to advance education and research in artificial intelligence for the common good.

He also leads startup

Tech founders must ‘think big’ if they want investment


“As an investor and researcher, I’ve been a long-time proponent of openness and knowledge-sharing, and I’ve been inspired by how different members of the community build on each other’s work,” he explained. 

“Whether it’s through our international meet-ups, co-producing the State of AI Report, and supporting the RAAIS conference and the RAAIS Foundation, we’ve tried to capture this open-source ethos and make our own contributions.

“Similarly, we will remain committed to speaking out when powerful institutions or outdated policies hold the ecosystem back. Whether this is campaigning for a better deal for university spinouts with, urging European governments to pursue a more ambitious R&D agenda, or pushing back against doomerism and regulatory capture – you can expect to hear even more from us in the coming years.”

£180m+ funding medicine for Apollo Therapeutics