Two of DeepMind’s three cofounders are quietly forming a network of angel investors to back European startups, The Sunday Times reports.
CEO Demis Hassabis and head of applied artificial intelligence Mustafa Suleyman, who sold their artificial intelligence (AI) company to Google in 2014 for £400 million, are reportedly rounding up a cohort of “celebrity entrepreneurs” or “super angels” to back the next generation of startups across the continent.
The investment network will pool financial resources to back a wide range of startups, but there will be a particular focus on backing those focusing on “deep technology,” according to The Sunday Times. The group will reportedly start investing later this year.
Following the Google acquisition, Hassabis and Suleyman have made personal angel investments in around half a dozen early-stage tech companies, according to CrunchBase.
They have, for example, backed men’s clothing company Thread, music ticketing app Dice, and a healthcare startup called Babylon, which has developed a computer-powered GP.
Shane Legg, DeepMind’s third cofounder appears to be less active on the investment circuit, with no investments listed on his Crunchbase page.
Suleyman and Hassabis get investment advice from Ian Osborne, who is a partner at strategic advisory firm Osborne & Partners, according to two Business Insider sources with knowledge of the situation. They also partner with him on a number of deals through a company called “MID” (Mustafa-Ian-Demis), according to a source.
Osborne is an elusive figure who was reluctant to appear on a Wired list in 2012, where he was described as “a gatekeeper who advises political and business leaders on international affairs.”
DeepMind has also made a number of investments on a company level since it was bought out.
The London-based firm has bought at least three tech startups. Two of DeepMind’s acquisitions — Dark Blue Labs and Vision Factory — were Oxford University spinout companies focusing on machine learning and computer vision. The other, Hark, was an Imperial College London startup with an app that helps clinicians to manage their tasks.
DeepMind did not immediately respond to Business Insider’s request for comment.
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