Recent advances in technologies like ChatGPT mean we are currently at the beginning of an AI “renaissance period”, according to the recently appointed CTO of venture capital firm Sure Valley Ventures.
“We’re kind of at the start of the next wave of a renaissance period equivalent to what we saw with the early days of the internet, equivalent to what we saw with smartphones and cloud computing,” said John Frizelle, who joined Sure Valley Ventures in January as CTO and venture partner.
Sure Valley Ventures invests between €750,000 and €1,500,000 into seed-stage AI businesses spanning enterprise, VR and cybersecurity. Last March the investment firm closed an £85m fund to back early-stage British software startups in sectors including the metaverse, AI, web3 and cybersecurity.
“I think we’re going to see a number of very interesting intersections between web3 and AI technologies in the next number of years,” Frizelle told UKTN.
The firm is looking to capitalise on the latest wave of AI developments and in December it participated in AI workflow startup Jaid’s £3m seed round. The venture capital firm hinted it was about to issue a term sheet with a University of Oxford satellite AI startup.
Frizelle believes that investors operating in the deep tech space have their domain expertise to help them understand portfolio companies. Before joining Sure Valley Ventures, Frizelle was an engineer and platform architect for the enterprise software company Red Hat and more recently CTO for the blockchain games studio Emergent Games.
“When you’re investing in tech and deep tech companies, you need to have that deep technical background yourself to be able to talk to them at the level necessary to really get down to the nuts and bolts of what’s happening,” Frizelle explained.
Interest in crypto, NFTs and web3 has waned since the sector’s market peak. The Royal Mint, for example, has scrapped plans to create its own NFT. But Frizelle thinks NFTs will make a return in the next crypto bull cycle, and that there is potential for non-fungible tokens to benefit from the artistic capabilities of generative AI.
However, the crypto market needs to undergo “necessary” regulation, Frizelle said, explaining that technology isn’t inherently “evil” but can be misused.
Although the Treasury has put its NFT plans on hold, the Bank of England has not ruled out a digital pound. Frizelle urged caution over how a central bank digital currency should be implemented and controlled.
“There is absolutely a dystopian future possible along the lines of what we have seen to some extent in China and some of the potential reports that I’ve seen on how the US may implement their central bank digital currency,” he said. “In terms of being able to control what you can spend, how much, how often and where.”
Sure Valley Ventures is headquartered in London but has a presence across the whole UK. In July, it expanded its operations into Leeds and Manchester. It also has offices in Waterford, Dublin, London and Cambridge.
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