European AI Matchday sparks innovation connections

This year’s European AI Matchday saw old and new partners coming together to connect AI startups with corporates looking to solve their innovation challenges.

In May, participants from France, Germany, Sweden and for the first time the Netherlands joined the hybrid event at AI Sweden’s new offices in Stockholm. The matchmaking saw 21 corporates and 67 startups from all four countries meet both in person and online in 122 meetings!

In addition to a fantastic matchmaking, attending participants were also able to mingle at a range of networking events, including at the Dutch embassy in Stockholm as well explore best practices and hear tips from both corporates and startups on working together to innovate with AI. 

Working together across borders

The event was organized as part of the European AI Landscape project that aims to provide a usable database for AI startups across Europe. All three international partners highlighted the need to work collectively to highlight the fantastic AI startups within Europe. 

Joining for the first time, Dutch partner, NL AI Coalition saw the importance of bringing together actors from the four countries, not just for the matchmaking, but also to learn from each other. 

“It’s important because we have common challenges that we are trying to solve and we can learn a lot from each other through our different approaches and methods. Instead of investing a lot of time into doing it by ourselves, it’s great that we can learn from each other,” says Annekaat van Welsem, NL AI Coalition. 

Chloé Plédel from Hub France IA adds that for her the project has three main benefits. 

“What’s really important to us is to showcase the solutions and to give them more visibility, which is why it’s so important to work together to shine some light on our fabulous European startups. The government can also use this Landscape to design financing for specific AI technologies and thirdly for startups to better understand their competition and their market position.”

German partner, appliedAI’s Miriam Biller adds that they saw the potential of their startups and wanted to increase their market exposure. 

“We have a lot of corporates that want to jump on the AI train, but they do not know how. The startups have also limited visibility for the corporates, who also don’t know where to turn to to take their first steps within the AI context. So we built the landscape to really facilitate this matchmaking.”

Back in a room together

It was the first full in-person matchmaking event since the pandemic and many were happy to be back meeting physically at AI Sweden’s new offices in Stockholm.  

“It’s in our core foundation to work collaboratively and working across borders gives us new insights and the ability to see both the challenges and opportunities out there. You really notice the difference when you are in a physical place together. You feel the energy and see the excitement and it just sparks up new conversations even in the mingling area,” says Alexander Brunner, AI Sweden. 

Rasa Raoufi from the Dutch startup, Mithra-Ai Solutions, focused on SaaS analytics for strategic procurement, agrees that being able to be together was beneficial.

“I think the environment created here is super helpful, very informal and not too big. It allows the people to easily connect and have deep conversations, which usually is not that easy. It’s almost equally beneficial for us to talk to other startups because you can always understand from their lessons learned and experiences.”

A successful matchmaking 

The matchmaking portion of the event saw startups meeting with corporates who were specifically interested in exploring how they can apply AI within their business. 

“Startups are essential to our innovation process and the meetings we had were quite interesting. It’s always good to have these kinds of global events that bring together startups from different countries who are working with A.I. For us AI is becoming an important topic to improve our manufacturing processes and extend the lifetime of our products,” says LG’s Michael Holtkamp. 

For Masih Davari’s startup Innobrain, which works with AI wearables for human cognitive analysis, being able to connect with international corporations was useful for their development as a company. 

“Having these meetings helped us connect to the corporate mind and infrastructure, which will help us to boost the process for developing our product and service. As  the corporations come from different countries, this also gives us more insight about different types of capabilities corporations have. Normally we only have access to companies in Sweden so it is beneficial to get that extra international connection.”

This event was organized in collaboration with appliedAI, Hub France IA, NL AI Coalition, AI Sweden, SISP, the Embassies of Sweden in France and Germany, and is funded by Vinnova – Sweden’s Innovation Agency as part of the Swedish, French and German Innovation Initiative.

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