Healthcare is primary focus for European AI companies

  • Healthcare making huge progress in AI but still lags behind financial services
  • Core uses of AI include diagnostics, drug discovery, and monitoring 
  • UK is 'heartland' of European healthcare AI

MMC Ventures, which invests in AI companies, has published its State of AI 2019 report, revealing rapid recent progress in AI adoption in healthcare.

What makes healthcare attractive for AI startups is the abundance of opportunities for process automation and cost reduction: diagnostics, drug discovery, and monitoring are the current core uses. In addition, wellness applications respond to latent needs across fitness, meditation, and preventative testing. MMC Ventures expects developers to have a greater impact on the future of healthcare than physicians. 

While China leads the world in AI adoption, Europe is home to 1,600 early stage AI software companies: one in twelve startups put AI at the heart of their value proposition. Health and wellbeing is a focal point for AI entrepreneurship in Europe, with 21% of startups focused on this sector - more than any other. DeepMind, now an Alphabet company, Ada Health, Babylon Health, and Benevolent AI are amongst the more mature companies. There is an urgency at every level, from policymakers to physician-innovators with bold visions, to change the entire healthcare system.

The UK is home to a third of Europe's healthcare AI startups. Increasing openness to innovation in the NHS, supported by government policy and financing, is helping startups overcome the challenges of working with a vast, fragmented organisation with complex procurement procedures. 25% of the world's top 25 universities providing extensive academic talent, particularly in medicine, and a well-established investor community with significant venture funds give the UK an advantage.