People’s Champion finalist 2018: Diffblue

In a world defined by bleeding-edge technologies, Diffblue’s AI solution is rewriting the rulebook (and the code it’s written in). Can it count on your vote?

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Start-up name: Diffblue
Founders: Daniel Kroening, Peter Schrammel
Started in: 2016
Based in: Oxford
Business description: Oxford start-up spin-out using AI to transform the software development process

Shortlisted categories:

Venture-funded Business of the Year and Innovative Business of the Year

The Diffblue Story

Within a year of emerging from Oxford University, Diffblue had raised $22m in Series A funding. That should tell you all you need to know about the strength of the company’s business proposition.

Essentially, that proposition rests in the application of artificial intelligence to software development. That might sound a bit like putting a refrigerator in an igloo – but in fact much of the software creation process is hindered by outdated manual methods.

Tasks such as testing code and spotting errors drain huge amounts of time, and prevent the development team from moving on to more creative tasks.

Diffblue’s core algorithm can build an exact mathematical model of any code base, which enables it to understand a computer program’s core function – and automate the tasks around it. As the developers say, Diffblue’s AI can “walk across a code base”, understanding its semantics as well as its syntax.

Using this understanding, Diffblue generates a series of tests for the codebase, and can provide fixes as well as reporting bugs. It also provides automatic updates to support the latest programming language, and can even rewrite code that’s become obsolete.

In a word where time-to-market is an increasingly vital differentiator, the size of Diffblue’s market is huge – hence the frenzied reaction from investors when they first took their idea to the market.

In addition to the B2B sales of its software licences, Diffblue provides a consultancy service, and next year they will be rolling out a ‘software-as-a-service’ as well as further delving into the new frontier of self-writing, self-testing, self-repairing  code.

Ultimately, the company’s goal is to automate all coding tasks, an ambition which, if realised, could transform the way developers produce their software – and make the current pace of technological progress look positively glacial.

Why Diffblue made our shortlist:

The amount of money the company has raised in seed capital is impressive in itself. It’s rare that a start-up, much less a spin-out, generates such a buzz, so this must be a pretty special idea.

The company has identified a clear market need and met it with real intelligence – both human and artificial. The digital revolution has the potential to change the world as much as the industrial revolution did 200 years ago, and Diffblue’s technology will be right there at the coalface.

Where to find out more about Diffblue:

Twitter: @diffblueHQ

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