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The UK’s answer to ChatGPT? 4 British generative AI startups to watch

generative ai startups like ChatGPT
Image credit: Zhuravlev Andrey via Shutterstock

The viral popularity of ChatGPT, a language model chatbot that uses generative AI to respond to requests in a human-like way, has created a splash in the tech world and beyond.

The ability of ChatGPT to almost instantly generate anything from scripts to job applications to functioning code has caused much speculation over how it will affect jobs. Some believe that language model chatbots like ChatGPT will become the next version of internet search.

It’s therefore unsurprising that generative AI has attracted the interest of investors looking to grab a slice of the latest shiny tech sub-sector.

ChatGPT was created by OpenAI, which is headquartered in San Francisco, US. However, there are plenty of generative AI projects coming out of the UK worth keeping an eye on. Here are four British generative AI startups to watch.

Synthesia

Founded: 2017

HQ: London

Funding: $63.2m (£51.2m)

Aimed at enterprises, Synthesia’s AI platform is used to generate video presentations based on user input. Once the key details have been added, Synthesia creates a presentation delivered by a digital avatar. The company claims its synthetic presenters are almost indistinguishable from real speakers, having put a major emphasis on making the delivery humanlike.

The platform is usable in more than 60 languages and is primarily used for company training videos, with the goal of saving businesses money on camera equipment and professional speakers. Synthesia has added more than 70 AI avatars based on real-life actors. Users can also make custom avatars.

Genei

Founded: 2019

HQ: London

Funding: $125,000 (£101,505)

Genei has created a platform for document summarisation. Users can input large bodies of text from academic articles and books for Genei to create a detailed summary for quick automated note-taking.

A key market the startup is targeting is university students, who regularly need to incorporate volumes of background reading into essays. Other categories of users targeted by the company include blog writers, online content creators, and freelance writers. Genei is a graduate of the Y Combinator accelerator programme.

Syntonym

Founded: 2019

HQ: London

Funding: $390,000 (£318,708)

Syntonym is a generative AI project looking to support privacy through realistic synthetic human faces. Syntonym uses face-swapping technology to mask a user’s face with a realistic digitally generated one. The company was founded to allow people to produce video content anonymously whilst maintaining a realistic human appearance.

Syntonym’s anonymous facial masking technology can also be used in online video therapy to support those who would feel more comfortable sharing personal information without their identity being shown.

Stability AI

Founded: 2020

HQ: London

Funding: $101m (£82.8m)

A developer of open source AI tools, Stability AI in many ways competes directly with ChatGPT creator Open AI. One of the company’s most notable projects is Stable Diffusion, an image-creating AI similar to Open AI’s viral programme DALL-E.

Stability AI secured a major funding deal in October 2022, when it raised £89m in a round led by Coatue Management and Lightspeed Venture Partners. The investment landed the company a unicorn value of $1bn.

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