Amelia Armour of Amadeus Capital Partners shares her thoughts in the lead-up to CWIC 2018
What is your role at Amadeus Capital Partners?
I’m a Principal in our Early Stage Funds team at Amadeus. We invest in seed and series A investment rounds of UK high-growth technology start-up companies who have the potential to be globally disruptive.
I particularly enjoy working with founders taking their first rounds of capital and, as I’m based in Cambridge, I’m involved with exciting companies that have spun out of the University.
Tell us about your involvement with AI
We invest in companies who have a focus on Artificial Intelligence & Machine Learning, Digital Health & Medical Technology and Autonomous Systems & Augmented Reality.
We’re looking to fund companies which are building AI based solutions that have a strong focus on the end-product they will deliver. Example companies in our portfolio include prower.io, creating an autonomous decision-making platform; FiveAI building driverless car technology; and Healx, using AI to identify treatments for rare diseases. We work closely with founders and CEOs to help them build their teams, raise finance and focus their business development.
You can find out more about some of Amadeus' recent AI adventures in the links below:
What excites you most about developments in AI?
The ability of AI to augment human decision-making will lead to better outcomes for society, a great example being in health care where AI systems are being trained to improve early breast cancer detection and to analyse retinal scans for signs of disease. Potentially algorithms will work more quickly and efficiently than humans, freeing up specialists’ time to focus on other issues. These applications are based on looking at static data - the next movement in AI is the development of models which support planning and adapt to dynamic environments.
Our conference theme is “Beyond the Hype”. Do you think AI is over-hyped at all, and if so in which areas in particular?
I think the expression that “data is the new oil” is over-hyped. We need to focus on desired outcomes, e.g. how do we recruit a more diverse work force and then work with specific data sets to help improve recruitment polices? There may well be trends and connections within databases that can be uncovered but that doesn’t mean they are useful or help us to solve problems.
How would you tend to approach assessing the viability of a new technology?
Assessing the viability of a new technology is challenging and an essential part of the role of the VC. It can be difficult to obtain technical due diligence from the current leading people in a field as they may be resistant to change. Instead we often focus our review on the past performance and academic strength of the team, the problem that they are looking to solve and the potential size of the market.
Which of the other CWIC tracks (satellites, industrial IoT, blockchain, 5G, automotive/mobility, mixed reality) do you believe that AI will have the most influence on, and why?
Automotive is a key area. The ability to move to an autonomous system will lead to greater safety and extended mobility for all. It will hugely impact our current car ownership models and push driving into a past time which takes place off public roads, much the same as horses have moved from transport to recreation. Cars are underused, expensive assets and I very much look forward to replacing mine with a pay as you go service.
What are you looking forward to most about this year’s CW Annual Conference (CWIC)?
I’m looking forward to hearing from Matt Hatton at Gartner to see if his views on the big technology trends align with the investment focus of our Early Stage Funds.