A UK startup that uses artificial intelligence to help businesses manage data and meet GDPR regulations has won $1 million in funding from a group of companies including Microsoft.
Hazy has created a more secure data sharing system that lets people track and manage who has access to information, and generates GDPR compliant legal agreements.
The company has won Microsoft’s Innovate.AI global startup prize, which is open to small firms using AI to solve problems and improve lives. Hazy took home the Europe prize, along with up to $500,000 in Azure credits, Office 365 licences and $1 million in funding from M12, Microsoft’s venture fund, and Notion Capital.
Harry Keen, Chief Executive of Hazy, wrote in a blog post: “It’s an amazing accolade for the Hazy team, which I’m proud to say is made up of some of the world’s best AI and machine learning experts, thanks to our partnership with UCL.
“Innovate.AI told us that they received hundreds of applications from startups across North America, Europe and Israel, all vying for their region’s respective prize. Entries were judged on the potential to solve problems and improve people’s lives, so we were very encouraged to see that the need for data privacy and security has been rightly recognised as one of the key issues facing the world today.
“Despite being little more than a year old, we’ve worked with clients ranging from startups to international banks and the UK government, and we’ve seen amazing interest in our technology from companies large and small. We’ll be putting the new funding to good use, as we continue the development of our product, which will see the rollout of our core anonymisation technology in the coming weeks.”
Hazy has offices in Shrewsbury and London.
M12, formerly Microsoft Ventures, launched the Innovate.AI competition in October along with Notion Capital, Madrona Venture Group and Vertex Ventures. The technology company’s fund is made up of experienced venture capitalists and Microsoft staff. It currently operates in London, New York, San Francisco, Seattle and Tel Aviv, and has made more than 50 investments in just two years in areas ranging from cybersecurity and AI to industrial drones and 3D printing.
While Notion funded the Europe prize, Madrona contributed to the North America award, won by New York-based Envisagenics, and Vertex assisted with the Israel section, won by Tel Aviv-based ZenCity.
According to Microsoft, Envisagenics “integrates AI and RNA therapeutics to unlock previously inaccessible cures for hundreds of diseases caused by splicing errors”; while ZenCity “uses artificial intelligence to analyze data from conversations on social media, city hotlines and other communication channels to surface trends in real time to city officials to improve citizen’s lives”.
Nagraj Kashyap, Corporate Vice-President and Global Head of M12, added: “From revolutionizing health practices to matching job seekers with skill-based careers, entrepreneurs across the globe captivated us with technologies that bring to life AI’s transformative potential. The number of impressive applicants we received painted a clear picture of how AI can be used to change the way we work, play and live, signalling a bright future for continued AI innovation.”