Exist Insight ISSUE 13

Rapid rise for Exeter-based artificial intelligence company

  • Rapid rise for Exeter-based artificial intelligence company image 1

Added: 13 February 2020

South West startup secures major investment and national recognition for its advanced AI


An innovative new data sciences company on Exeter Science Park has been singled out by London Mayor Sadiq Khan by being named a UK finalist in the Lord Mayor of London’s flagship technology innovation programme.

Agile Datum specialises in developing advanced artificial intelligence, data analytics and intelligent chatbots for public and private sector organisations.

The firm, which launched in 2019 and is continuing to recruit staff through 2020, has quickly gained a reputation as a leader in its field, securing Government funding from Innovate UK to develop its Artificial Intelligence Validation Platform for councils across Britain, and now being announced as one of three Civic Challenge finalists from an initial entry of 125.

Working with several local authorities, this month Agile Datum’s new generation of self-learning chatbots go live at London council Redbridge, where they will help deal with public enquiries on planning matters from amongst the borough’s 300,000 population.

Tech entrepreneur, CEO and founder Anthony Peake, said: “Using the latest artificial intelligence techniques we have developed a range of solutions for councils and now for businesses. From managing customer enquiries and automating administrative tasks, to transforming 2D drawings into 3D visualisations in planning applications, the scope of the work is both exciting and truly impactful.

”We’re building a brilliant team here in the South West and have already partnered with experts at the University of Exeter through a Knowledge Transfer Partnership as part of the national work we are doing with Innovate UK.”

Other partners teaming up with Agile Datum include The Alan Turing Institute, which is the national institute for data science and artificial intelligence in London, and Digital Catapult, the UK’s leading advanced digital technology innovation centre.

Sadiq Khan, Mayor of London, said: “Many of London’s advances in the application of data and smart technologies are recognised around the world and I want London to become a global testbed for civic innovation. I’m delighted to be able to match the winners of the Civic Innovation Challenge with established public bodies and private companies, and I am confident they will go on to deliver exciting solutions to some of the most pressing problems facing Londoners every day.”

Agile Datum’s latest success is to have been named a finalist in the Democratising Planning category of The Mayor of London’s Civic Innovation Challenge, with just two other firms. The next phase sees Agile Datum working with Challenge partners including the Greater London Authority, Microsoft, London Growth Hub and the Social Tech Trust, ahead of key demo days in front of the media and investors in March.

The initiative not only delivers benefits to Londoners, but also offers a route to market for tech start-ups and a unique chance to access insight, expertise, cutting-edge data and pilot sites of the partners.

Sally Basker, CEO of Exeter Science Park, said “I’m delighted to see how Agile Datum has taken advantage of the facilities, support and vibrant community at Exeter Science Park to deliver extraordinary growth. I look forward to seeing how Agile Datum’s innovative AI services enhance productivity across the UK and help to strengthen Exeter’s reputation as a centre of AI excellence”.


One initial area where Agile Datum is focusing is the UK’s planning system. Agile Datum has developed an AI-enabled chatbot, trained to answer more than 200 planning related questions and the team are widening their focus to automating the checking and validation of planning applications themselves.

Sean Fielding, Director of Innovation, Impact and Business at the University of Exeter, said:

“Agile Datum’s expertise in artificial intelligence is very interesting and we’re delighted to be working together to develop technologies that benefit both the public and private sector through a Knowledge Transfer Partnership, co-funded by Innovate UK."

As part of its work with local authorities, Agile Datum recently organised the UK’s largest artificial intelligence hackathon into the planning process. Computer science academics and students from eight universities, members of the planning team from the London Borough of Redbridge and experts from The Alan Turing Institute, worked on developing solutions using AI algorithms, statistical models and advanced data science techniques, with the findings set to be published later this year. The five-day event took place at the British Library in London.

The company has doubled in size in the last six months with AI and data sciences teams based in Exeter and in Malaga, Spain. The company plans to expand further in 2020, with a need for developers, as well as offering opportunities for final year undergraduates and placement year students.

Anthony Peake added: “In just six months we have secured clients across the UK, developed a set of major national partnerships with great potential, secured significant funding and grown the team of data scientists, developers and AI experts here in the South West. Artificial intelligence, used in the right way, can be truly transformative for organisations and citizens. We will continue to focus on our agile and innovative approach, delivering exceptional products and ensuring we have the very best people to support and achieve our ambitious growth plans from here in the South West.”

Visit www.agiledatum.com for more information.

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