Microsoft confirmed that it bought an AI company in Britain just days after saying the country was an unattractive location to do business.
The $2 trillion US firm has invested in Builder.ai. This London-based company develops tools for automating app design and coding.
Microsoft executives warned that Britain is becoming hostile to business last week.
Microsoft’s Brad Smith claimed that the EU is a “more appealing place to start a company” after Britain’s competition watchdog decided to block its acquisition of gaming giant Activision.
Builder.ai was founded in 2016 and offers tools that break down the development of apps into building blocks. This allows non-technical companies to create apps with automation tools and professional advice.
Microsoft invested billions of dollars in a new wave artificial intelligence technology. This included a $10bn agreement with Silicon Valley-based OpenAI which developed the ChatGPT Chatbot.
The tech giant also invested in several UK artificial-intelligence start-ups.
It invested in the UK company Wayve, which makes driverless cars. It also backed Graphcore, a company that produces AI chips.
The amount invested in Builder.ai has not been disclosed.
The company has raised $195m in total from investors, including the New York-based fund Insight Partners as well as European venture capital firm Lakestar.
BBC is one of the organisations that has worked with Builder.ai on creating apps.
Officials are worried that Britain’s technology companies have struggled to reach a scale that is comparable to global players.
Lack of scale makes start-ups susceptible to being acquired by tech giants overseas or to pressure from US investors who want them to relocate abroad.
Jeremy Hunt, Chancellor of the United Kingdom, has pledged to make Britain a “superpower in science and technology” and promised £1bn as investments for new AI technologies and computers.
Microsoft’s Azure cloud computing platform will offer Builder.ai tools, which will integrate with OpenAI’s tools.
Microsoft is integrating OpenAI chatbot technology into its technology products, which can give human-like responses to questions and prompts.
It plans to integrate the chatbot into Word and Excel to serve as a digital editor and assistant.
Builder.ai combines AI software and professional developers to allow companies to build mobile apps and web applications quickly.
Natasha is an AI product manager who helps customers bring their ideas into reality without the need of technical or coding knowledge.
The company has offices in London, New Delhi and Singapore as well as the US, Dubai, and the US.
Sachin Duggal is the founder of Builder.ai. He said: “We’re thrilled that the largest software company in the world chose Builder.ai to be a partner.”