I am an investor, technologist and former research scientist. I work with companies that solve challenging and valuable problems using breakthrough technologies including, but not limited to, artificial intelligence.
I was previously a Partner at Playfair Capital, where I sourced, led and managed venture investments in 33 technology companies across the US and Europe including Mapillary, Numerai, Ravelin, Dojo, Lystable, Gluru, Onfleet, Festicket, Trouva, Appear Here, Starship Technologies, Thought Machine and Jukedeck. I was responsible for setting our investment strategy, diligence and operating process, brand positioning, portfolio community relations and the firm's marketing.
I led our thesis of investing in artificial intelligence and other breakthrough technologies that solve valuable problems to create category leading companies. I set up the annual Research and Applied AI Summit in 2015 and have run it twice with 300 attendees and 12 speakers in 2015 and 2016. I also co-run the London.AI meetup. Both forums unite leading academics, entrepreneurs, engineers, investors and thought leaders working in the field to accelerate the future of AI.
Prior to Playfair, I earned an M.Phil and Ph.D. in computational and experimental cancer research as a Gates and Dr. Herchel Smith Scholar at the University of Cambridge, and a BA in biology from Williams College. I've published research that leverages both experimental and computational approaches to understand how we might stem the fatal spread of cancer around the body.
Curious to learn more about my path from academia into technology investing? Read my story here.
Thoughts on technology, VC and company building
I write and speak about about market trends in the technology and venture capital industry, new companies I invest in and learnings as and when they happen. Here are some highlights:
- News in artificial intelligence and machine learning - a curated digest of news and commentary on AI research, technology developments and the financining/exit market.
Subscribe to the newsletter version here.
- Investing in artificial intelligence. TechCrunch Contributor Network piece.
- An overview of machine intelligence deals and exits for H1 2015.
- A comprehensive analysis of the global private company AI market for investments and exits in 2015. This work explores key trends of interest for AI investors, entrepreneurs and acquirers.
- The AI innovators who are blazing a trail into our future. I served on the judging committee for the WIRED Audi Innovation Awards recognising British AI pioneers. We filmed an introductory video here (June 2016).
- The return of the machinery question. Commentary for The Economist (June 2016).
- Fireside chat with Deborah Harrison, Editorial Writer, Microsoft Cortana, Re.Work Virtual Assistant Summit, San Francisco, USA (Jan 2016).
- What the future beholds for AI companies. Invited talk at the AppliedAI Meetup in London, UK (Jan 2016). Video link here.
- The portrait of an investable AI business. Invited talk at inaugural AI meetup in Malmo, Sweden (Feb 2016).
- Why the US is buying up so many UK artificial intelligence companies. Commentary for Vice Motherboard (March 2016).
- Thoughts on ethics in AI. Commentary for Business Insider (March 2016).
- Part 1 and Part 2 of a podcast on artificial intelligence, markets, applications, investing and what to expect in the future recorded with Nick Moran @ The Full Ratchet (April 2016).
- Invited guest on the MEX podcast exploring artificial intelligence as an emerging technology, user behaviour and how to design better digital experiences (April 2016).
- I moderated a panel session on AI in healthcare with Cosima Gretton (Guy's and St Thomas' NHS Foundation Trust), Reza Khorshidi (Head of Science, EMEA and Special Projects Lab at AIG) and Mahiben Maruthappu (Senior Fellow to the CEO of NHS England), Re.Work Deep Learning in Healthcare Summit, London, UK (April 2016).
- An outlook on the wearable technology market, financings and what’s to come. Invited talk at Imperial College London Business School, UK (Feb 2015).
- A health check up on the fitness technology market. Invited talk at inaugural London FitTech meetup in London, UK (Feb 2016).
- Passed on investing in a startup? Give the entrepreneur worthy feedback.
- Build as though there were no rules of engagement.
- Making swift decisions when investing or raising early stage venture capital.
- Hiring for startups: insights from a Playfair panel session.
I also tweet sometimes from @nathanbenaich.