Maria Dramalioti-Taylor

Founding Managing Partner
Beacon Capital

Artificial intelligence, Machine learning, Deep Learning: fanciful words or real opportunities for investors and entrepreneurs in the UK?

“Artificial Intelligence”, a term widely associated with sci-fi Hollywood productions in the 80s, has re-entered our lexicon with renewed vigour. Before we join the AI exuberance ride however, I shall try to disambiguate terms such as AI, Machine Learning and Deep Learning, then give a perspective on why they have re-entered our lives, what I consider to be their medium term applications, what are we, as Beacon Capital, investing in and what, in our experience, are the opportunities and challenges for investors and entrepreneurs in this field in the UK. I shall do the above from the perspective of someone who despite her engineering degree is only now just about grasping the basics of AI and yet is prepared to put her money where her mouth is.

Maria is a Managing Partner of www.BeaconCapital.co.uk (formerly AngelLab), Entrepreneur In Residence at INSEAD and Professor of Entrepreneurial Finance at Hult International Business School. Maria founded Beacon Capital in 2012 with a team of tech investors and to date have invested in 29 businesses with an aggregate value of $314m, a 4x increase since the time of first investment. Beacon emerged as one of the most active London “Pre-Series A” VCs, receiving the early backing of the $133m tech fund of the Mayor of London, and was recently nominated for the Seed Fund of the Year at the 2015 Investor AllStars Awards.

A strong advocate for engaging more women in Tech and VC, Maria studied engineering at Imperial College London and the National Technical University of Athens, received an MBA from Cranfield School of Management and attended the VC/PE executive course at Harvard Business School. She was previously a partner at a Geneva-based family office VC and a Senior Manager at Andersen and Ernst &Young. She served on the Boards of www.Astia.org, The Young Enterprise and now on www.ReloadGreece.com and volunteered for The Prince's Trust Business Programme. In her spare time she is fencing the foil.

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