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Britain's startups are still attracting VC money, Darktrace closes £58 million round
Despite Brexit fears, Venture Capitalists are still investing in British companies, if KPMG’s latest report is anything to go by. The study highlighted how the amount of VC funding poured into the UK hit £1.1 billion in Q2 2017— a sizeable increase from the £890 million raked in in the first quarter. 

Much of that VC dough—£850 million— went to London-based firms, and most of that chunk was in fact funnelled into only one London-based business:
Improbable, a company transforming large datasets into massive virtual worlds, which closed a Softbank-led $502 million round in May. 
One thing to note is that Britain, like Europe at large, is clocking up less deals, but that in the same breath the value of individual deals is on the rise. That, according to KPMG, means that investors are becoming less eager to spend big on early stage startups, and shifting their preference towards companies with a proven track record of success. 

With Brexit looming, it is hard to tell whether the upward trend will continue in the third quarter. But it seems clear that data science and AI companies are still faring well: this week’s largest round (£58 million)
went to Darktrace, a cybersecurity company leveraging AI to spot security threats. 

SHACK15’s resident Sparrho— an AI-powered science discovery platform— was also in the news,
raising a £2.3 million Pre-Series A round led by White Cloud Capital.

In other data-related news: on Thursday,
Alphabet announced the construction of a huge data centre in London, to be rent to third parties for cloud computing services. Its AI-focussed subsidiary DeepMind, in the meanwhile, created a stick figure that taught itself to jump like a parkour pro (video at the bottom.)
4 things we learnt at London.AI
Yours truly hit the conference scene again yesterday, and went to a massively interesting London.AI meetup. It was all about robotics, and featured phenomenal speakers from startups as well as from tech giant Amazon, which was hosting the event. Here four cool things we spotted.

-A UK company is using machine learning to create autonomous drones— as in flying surveillance robots that need no human remote pilot. (The word “Skynet” was predictably muttered.) It’s called
Accelerated Dynamics

-Another company called
Unsupervised AI is creating an autonomous robot (called AIDA) for food delivery. What makes AIDA special is that it doesn’t have wheels, but legs— in what looks like a nod to military robots manufacturer Boston Dynamics. Here’s a pic of AIDA.
-Amazon Robotics’ Vikas Enti explained why Amazon’s 80,000 warehouse robots (check them out here) are orange. It’s partly because orange is a “friendly colour”, but also because it is a high visibility one: that allows the super-silent automatons to slide around without spooking (or being stumbled upon by) human co-workers.

-Oh, also, there is a massive conveyor belt snaking through every Amazon warehouse. And you knew that. What you didn’t know is that to ride that conveyor belt is a fireable offence for Amazon employees, according to Enti.
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DeepMind's AI stick figure taught itself parkour

DeepMind's latest agent learnt autonomously how to jump over stuff.
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