Nvidia and Atlassian to power Europe’s largest AI accelerator

19 Jul 2017

The Dutch city of Den Bosch. Image: Matyas Rehak/Shutterstock

Rockstart’s AI-focused accelerator is due to kick off in Den Bosch this October.

Europe-focused accelerator Rockstart has confirmed that graphics processing giant Nvidia, Atlassian and Volksbank, as well as Jheronimus Academy of Data Science, are among partners at its new accelerator.

Last month, we reported that Rockstart was about to kick off an AI-focused accelerator in the Dutch city of Den Bosch, with generous supports for European start-ups.

‘AI is the greatest technology force in human history – it’s already impacting every industry and application’

Applications for the programme will stay open until 30 July, after which the selection process will begin.

Each start-up selected will get €100,000 worth of support, including €20,000 in cash and €80,000 of in-kind funding. They will also receive office space in Den Bosch for the duration of the programme, support from mentors from relevant industries, and more than 50 perks and deals worth about €600,000.

One of the 10 start-ups could land €200,000 in follow-on investment.

The impact of AI

Rockstart sees the programme as purposely broad and cross-industrial, emphasising the impact that AI is making across all aspects of human lives.

In order to support start-ups working in different fields, the accelerator is carefully assembling a line-up of mentors and partners from all walks of AI life.

“We are extremely pleased and humbled to work in close partnership with large international corporations, academic institutes, investors, seasoned entrepreneurs and world-class technical experts,” said Marjel Quekel, artificial intelligence programme director at Rockstart.

“Our mission is to make the Netherlands the most attractive place in Europe to build AI start-ups,” she added.

Nvidia, a leader in GPU-powered deep learning, has offered Rockstart start-ups professional guidance at every step of their journey. This assistance ranges from designing and deploying neural network-powered applications, to marketing and communications support.

In addition, Rockstart AI start-ups will get discounted, purpose-built machine learning hardware and put themselves on the radar of GPU Ventures, NVIDIA’s venture arm, with cheques from €400,000 to €4m.

Serge Lemonde, deep learning start-ups business director EMEAI at Nvidia, said: “This collaboration with Rockstart will bring the benefits of Nvidia’s inception programme to AI start-ups chosen for the accelerator.

“AI is the greatest technology force in human history– it’s already impacting every industry and application.”

HipChat creator Atlassian – which recently bought Trello for $425m – has committed to sharing its knowledge around engineering best practices and providing start-ups with any guidance that they require.

Sri Viswanath, CTO at Atlassian, said: “The implications of artificial intelligence are profound, not just for established businesses like Atlassian, but for emerging players across all industries.

“Atlassian is pleased to team up with Rockstart as they look to generate fresh ideas and foster new talent in the emerging AI space.”

The Dutch city of Den Bosch. Image: Matyas Rehak/Shutterstock

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years