June 21, 2023
This year’s AI Accelerator Hub at the AI Summit London has concluded, with a judging panel selecting a winner from five finalists out of an initial 41 startups using AI in their respective industries.
Participating companies were judged for their use of AI technologies in their respective industries, with participants from a range of sectors including health care, educational tech and finance.
The winning company, EcoTone, was set up in New York to use AI language learning models to identify cures for rare, hereditary diseases.
“What our company does is design medicines by putting complex, biometric data into a genomic model,” said founder eMalick Nije. “Similar to ChatGPT, the system takes in information and analyzes it to identify potential cures to these diseases.”
One example is biotinidase deficiency, a rare disease that causes seizures in infants at four weeks of age, and often death at 8 weeks.
“Medicine for this disease typically needs to be taken every day,” said Nije. “But life happens, the pandemic happened - it’s not always possible for people to take medicine every day. But this then endangers people who have been taking medicine for years and suddenly find themselves without access to it. We need more options and other solutions.”
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Nije, a neuroscientist, founded his first company in 2016 when he was studying neurogenetics at Colombia University.
“In that work, I saw there was a ton of data from genetics that was impossible to handle and sort through using traditional methods,” said Nije. “I saw AI and its related tools as instrumental in helping study genetics and I set up Genetic Intelligence to leverage AI for this purpose.
“We sold that company in 2018, and now I’m building the groundwork for EcoTone which has a far greater ambition. The tech expertise is already there, the research is already there, now we just need access to a larger network to get the word out and find investment opportunities. Hopefully, this AI Accelerator Hub win will be a way to achieve this.”
The Dragon’s Den-style competition included mentoring and speeches from industry leaders including the Morgan Stanley Inclusive Ventures Group, Google for Startups, Pegasus and Flight Story.
“I was looking for a company with an innovative approach, a potential for disruption and the ability to address an unmet market,” said judge Joy Jack, venture partner at Republic and partner at Nexterra Capital. “EcoTone is designing and discovering medicines that have a genuine impact on the real world. The market opportunity is huge and by investing in a product like this I know I’m contributing to the development of products that impact lives, and have the potential for disruption.”
The other four finalists for the competition were AI-powered fitness app producer MiniPT, generative AI content producer Contents.com, data management consultancy Natural Intelligent Solutions, warehouse robotics company Noitech and warehouse autonomy group BlueTensor.
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