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Six Smart UK Companies Accelerating Applied AI

GrantTree R&D technical consultant and artificial intelligence scientist Saed Khawaldeh celebrates six UK companies developing advanced solutions based on cutting-edge Applied AI. 

There’s no question in my mind that applied AI – the discipline of using AI to create smart systems to tackle real-world problems – holds the key to resolving many of humanity’s biggest challenges, from curing life-threatening illnesses to safeguarding personal privacy. 

While I know many people are sceptical about AI’s credentials as a force for good, I am fortunate enough to have seen the life-changing potential of this technology up close. That is why I am so keen for others to appreciate the benefits of artificial intelligence and to rally support for the many excellent scientists, technologists and businesses working in this cutting-edge field.  

To do this, I will be talking a lot more about applied AI and digital health in the coming months. You can follow these discussions by subscribing to GrantTree’s newsletter here or by following me and GrantTree on LinkedIn. But, as a small taster, I wanted to quickly highlight some of the inspiring work companies are doing on Applied AI and Digital Health right here in the UK. 

Having worked with some of these businesses first-hand, I can promise you that if they continue to innovate and bring their solutions to new customers and verticals, many of us will benefit from the opportunities they continue to unlock.


Babylon is a London-based AI company that wants to deliver accessible and affordable health services to every person on Earth. To achieve this, the company has built a suite of medical tools that are modelled on the workings of a doctor’s brain. 

Combining existing knowledge and vast quantities of anonymised data, Babylon’s tools – known as ‘models’ – can triage patients based on need, analyse symptoms to identify diseases, and, perhaps most impressively, sift through vast quantities of data to make detailed predictions about a person’s health.

Man holding white mobile phone
Babylon's app displaying a digital twin, simulating a user's health. Credit: Babylon

While the company’s solutions may seem like substitutions for person-to-person appointments, Babylon is quite clear that its technology is not designed to replace medical professionals but to help them deliver a higher quality of care. 

Babylon’s technology is currently helping the NHS reduce wait times, the Rwandan government provide healthcare to 20% of the population, and consumer health engagement company Higi to provide 24/7 care to its US customers.


Like many cybersecurity companies, OneTrust understands that, in the digital age, information security and customer trust have become key differentiators for all B2C and B2B businesses. 

To help its 10,000-strong client base thrive in this grim-trigger paradigm and master the competing imperatives of privacy and transparency, OneTrust has developed a plethora of cybersecurity, governance and compliance tools backended by its powerful AI and robotic automation engine called Athena. 

Athena is trained on OneTrust DataGuidance, which, according to the company, is the world’s most in-depth source of regulatory and compliance research. Leveraging this intelligence, Athena helps users automate data privacy requests, intelligently flag data breaches, suggest mitigating controls, and offboard vendors automatically.  

OneTrust’s strategy, which it has taglined ‘operationalizing trust’, is evidently a successful one. The London and Atlanta-based company counts some of the world’s largest companies among its clients and boasts a pre-IPO valuation of more than $5 billion. 

Benevolent AI

Benevolent AI is using artificial intelligence to empower scientists to find new ways to fight illness. 

Unlike Babylon, which employs artificial intelligence to help doctors deliver primary care, Benevolent AI is designed to accelerate the identification, trialling and analysis of ‘therapeutic interventions’ for hard-to-treat diseases.

Benevolent AI’s core solution is its Benevolent Platform, which is based on the company’s proprietary Knowledge Graph. The Knowledge Graph is a data engine that combines publicly available biomedical research, internal analysis and insights from scientific literature to increase the accuracy of its predictive modelling. This modelling helps researchers at all stages of drug research, from in silico discovery, where new compounds are analysed virtually, to clinical validation, where they are trialled on live subjects.  

Benevolent technology is currently being used in more than 20 active drug development programmes, including two involving pharmaceutical giant AstraZeneca. These programmes are exploring treatments for a range of conditions, including atopic dermatitis, ulcerative colitis, and inflammatory bowel disease.


Tractable is using AI to revolutionise the way companies deal with damaged vehicles, property, and other physical assets. 

At the heart of Tractable’s offering is an AI that can analyse visual data to value objects, identify damage and estimate the cost of repairs. 

Tractable powerful AI has a number of applications in everything from car rentals to manufacturing. In auto insurance, Tractable’s primary vertical, the company’s solution can accelerate the process of collecting repair estimates and triaging claims by several days. 

Estimating KV Damage
Tractable's app being used to assess vehicle damage. Credit: Tractable

Tractable powerful AI has a number of applications in everything from car rentals to manufacturing. In auto insurance, Tractable’s primary vertical, the company’s solution can accelerate the process of collecting repair estimates and triaging claims by several days. 

If a car is involved in an accident, Tractable’s AI can analyse pictures taken by the driver and determine what repairs are needed and how much an insurance or rental company is likely to pay for them. 

Providers can also use Tractable’s AI to produce condition and value reports far faster than a human inspector. These time and cost-saving efficiencies translate to a much better customer experience.

Peak AI

The amount of data businesses produce is growing exponentially. Locked away in the information generated by customer interactions, productivity software and internal analytics tools is a wealth of valuable insights waiting to be harnessed.

The problem is, most businesses find interrogating their own vast datasets extremely difficult. This is usually because they lack the tools, knowledge and resources to perform analysis accurately and at scale. That’s where Peak AI comes in. 

Peak AI is an artificial intelligence provider helping the likes of Nike, Pepsi and KFC to leverage their internal data to improve company strategy. Its Decision Intelligence platform allows clients to easily apply AI models to their siloed datasets, giving business decision-makers a predictive view over the entire organisation. 

The insights and recommendations unearthed by Decision Intelligence empower companies to do things like optimise their inventory, fine-tune their forecasts, and establish agile and efficient supply chains. These actions help companies save money, realise more revenue, and sharpen their competitive edge.


Darktrace’s AI-powered cybersecurity platform intercepts threats like ransomware attacks and phishing scams seconds after they’re launched. 

What sets Darktrace’s offering apart from other businesses offering AI and ML-infused cybersecurity is its platform’s ability to self learn. By leveraging the analyses of thousands of competing algorithms, the company’s AI can automatically teach itself about new cybersecurity threats and determine the most effective response strategy soon after they’ve emerged.

Most AI and Machine Learning systems are trained solely on historical data, meaning they are slow to react to novel situations. But by continuously and autonomously processing real-time data, Darktrace’s platform can remain vigilant of new issues and respond rapidly to zero-day attacks without the need for outside intervention.

Another intriguing advantage of Darktrace’s self-learning AI is that it thrives in the complex, hybrid environments common to larger enterprises. The more users, systems and data the AI has access to, the richer and more insightful its analysis becomes. 

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