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Wayve CEO: Our headquarters is staying in London after $1bn raise

Wayve founder speaking at London tech Week about the the benefits of a London HQ
Image credit: Seb Higgins Photography / London Tech Week

The CEO of Wayve has hailed London as a “tech superpower” and reiterated that he plans to keep the autonomous vehicle startup’s headquarters in the UK capital after raising $1bn in funding last month.

“Our headquarters is of course remaining and staying in London,” said Wayve co-founder and chief executive Alex Kendall, speaking at London Tech Week.

New Zealand-born Kendall said that Wayve is looking to increase its global footprint as it eyes the commercialisation of its autonomous vehicle technology.

“Having global ambition is important. I think London has been a great ecosystem for us, particularly on the talent front, the fundraising front,” Kendall said.

Last month, Wayve raised $1.05bn (£840m) from SoftBank, Nvidia and Microsoft in the largest-ever venture investment for a European AI firm.

The deal has been hailed as a British tech success story, but Kendall has been keen not to get carried away – and says there’s plenty more to come from the startup.

“We feel like we’ve just qualified for the Olympics,” he said.

He added that compared to 10 years from now, today’s AI is just the “tip of the iceberg”.

Kendall said that the next focus in the field will be on “embodied intelligence” – AI that can access and interact with the physical world, such as a domestic cleaning robot, along with self-driving cars.

The chief executive cited data, compute and simulations as the key factors behind the current advances in AI and robotics.

“I think the big step change we’re seeing in robotics is we are now seeing the availability of data that lets us train these models,” explained Kendall. “But not only that, the flexibility of the algorithms means that we can deal with different sources of data.”

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