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Acquired by Waymo (a Google subsidiary)

What drove us to invest?

Latent Logic originated within Oxford University’s award-winning machine learning department and was founded in 2017 by leading academic, Professor Shimon Whiteson and robotics expert Dr. Joao Messias. The company is at the cutting edge of imitation learning and artificial intelligence (AI), building autonomous systems which understand humans, deep learned from real data, over millions of test cases which can then be applied to autonomous vehicles.

We initially invested in February 2018 at the point when the company had just spun out of the university. Prior to our investment, Latent Logic had only a very high-level proof of concept, and no commercial team or pipeline. With our funding, the company proceeded to build a viable version of their simulation including realistic driver behaviour.

How did we deliver an exit for our investors?

There were a number of factors that led towards Latent’s eventual exit – the driverless car market is expected to be worth nearly $7 trillion by 2025. The monumental size of the opportunity is why some of the leading global tech brands (e.g. Apple, Uber, Google) and automotive brands (e.g. Mercedes, Tesla, GM), are all involved in the race to be first. It is this demand that led Latent Logic to be acquired very quickly.

We worked with the management team and Oxford Sciences Enterprises (co-investor) to identify companies to approach for a potential acquisition. Waymo (Google’s driverless vehicle business) was seeking a partner to enter the European market and develop its first European engineering hub. Through this acquisition, Waymo made its first permanent footprint into Europe, in Oxford.

From our initial investment the company exited in less than two years, significantly less than the average investment (we aim to exit a company within 5-7 years) and from an investor perspective it delivered high IRR returns extremely quickly.

The UK is at the forefront of the machine learning and AI market and Latent Logic is now one of several leading companies, in addition to Deepmind (acquired by Google) and VocalIQ (acquired by Apple), that have been acquired by US tech giants in recent years.