AI Artificial Intelligence
New research from MMC Ventures reveals that AI has become the latest business ‘snake oil’. Like blockchain and data analytics before it, supplier-side organisations are jumping on the bandwagon in order to make a quick buck.

The study reveals that only 56 per cent of startups in Europe purporting to be (or classified as by third party analytics websites) AI companies actually have AI credentials. This is largely unsurprising since AI firms attract 15-50 per cent more funding than traditional tech companies.

It was back in 2012 that Harvard Business Review dubbed data science ‘the sexiest job of the 21st Century’ and reported that even mediocre data scientists could command significant premiums on their salaries. Fast forward seven years and that’s still the case. Demand for data science is outstripping supply, particularly given the reported UK skills gap in STEM subjects. Despite this AI is becoming more mainstream due to the success of businesses that are creating predictive models to enable better decision making which ultimately results in increased incremental revenue. The study found that eight per cent of statups use AI as part of their products up from two per cent in 2013, whilst 12 per cent of large companies are using AI, up from four per cent six years ago. As a result more supplier-side companies, both new and established, are adding AI, deep and machine learning to their lists of expertise. Consequently, the market is a veritable minefield – just looking at Martech 500 is enough to give anyone a headache!

So when contemplating an investment in AI the key is in due diligence. Diagnose how you want AI to benefit the business and look for suppliers that have expertise in that field. Don’t be afraid to ask for references, seek evidence of credibility, ask to meet the data scientists. AI can be an enormously powerful tool when integrated responsibly into a business; of that there is no question, but finding the right partner can cause all manner of problems.

If you want to know and understand more about the way data is changing the world you live in, or would like to know how data can add value to your business, please email me at


Dave Gurney

CEO, Alchemetrics - Expert in Data & Digital Marketing
enabling senior marketers to value from engaging customers online.