Rockstart about to kick-start Europe’s largest AI accelerator

8 Jun 2017817 Shares

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Rockstart in Amsterdam. Image: John Kennedy

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Each start-up gets €100,000 worth of support. One of the 10 selected could land €200,000 in follow-on investment.

Rockstart is about to kick off a new AI-focused accelerator in the Dutch city of Den Bosch, with generous supports for European start-ups.

The start-ups selected for by Rockstart will receive €20,000 cash and €80,000 of in-kind funding, 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 some €600,000.

‘The most promising AI start-ups are those who bring these technologies closer to the current business processes in the companies, make them easier to use in real-life situations’
– JANE ZAVALISHINA

The accelerator will take a 6pc stake in the start-ups entering the programme.

As well as this, Rockstart has revealed that one of its lead investors has committed to invest at least €200,000 in an AI start-up of their choosing after the final demo day.

Only a few meaningful AI start-ups need apply

Rockstart about to kick-start Europe’s largest AI accelerator in Amsterdam

Rockstart offices in Amsterdam. Image: John Kennedy

Applications have just opened for the programme. They will stay open for six weeks, after which 10 start-ups will be selected for the six-month programme.

“At Rockstart, we already have experience accelerating AI start-ups, so we know how difficult it is to apply AI in a meaningful way,” said Rune Theill, Rockstart co-founder and CEO.

“We’re therefore looking for start-ups across all industries applying artificial intelligence to solve real problems and add significant business value.”

Rockstart is one of Europe’s first multi-vertical start-up accelerators. It was founded in Amsterdam in 2011 and has built ecosystems in domains including digital health and smart energy.

The acceleration programme has also put together an impressive line-up of mentors, who bring expertise in hardcore AI, data science and building businesses around technologies.

“The biggest opportunity that an accelerator provides is a way to connect with bigger companies that can become the launching customers for start-ups,” said Jane Zavalishina, CEO of Yandex Data Factory and a mentor at Rockstart’s AI programme.

“What I hope I’ll be able to bring to the table is that translation between the technology, its capabilities and the opportunities it brings into the actual day-to-day life of the business, which isn’t always ready to incorporate scientific approaches.

“It’s a two-way road: businesses will need to learn how to do that, but on the other hand, I think, the most promising AI start-ups are those who bring these technologies closer to the current business processes in the companies, make them easier to use in real-life situations.”

Editor John Kennedy is an award-winning technology journalist.

editorial@siliconrepublic.com