Nearly half of the companies in Europe that call themselves AI start-ups don’t in fact use artificial intelligence, a new report found.

The research, published Tuesday by London-based venture capital firm MMC Ventures, found no evidence that artificial intelligence was an important part of the products offered by 40 percent of Europe’s 2,830 AI start-ups. The report’s authors individually reviewed the activities, functions and funding of start-ups across 13 EU countries. It did not name any of the start-ups involved in the study.

The findings raise questions about how the term AI has become a blanket phrase for start-ups looking to attract investments and position themselves at the forefront of tech innovation.

“There’s a huge amount of hype around, but one of the ways that we hope to add value as an investor … is to help cut through that and highlight the technology,” said David Kelnar, head of research at MMC, in a phone interview with CNBC on Tuesday.

Kelnar said Europe is entering an “era of AI entrepreneurship” with one out of every 12 new start-ups putting AI at the core of their operations. In 2013, the survey found just one in 50 new start-ups embraced AI.

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