Rockstart launched Europe’s first AI accelerator

Rockstart has announced the launch of Europe’s first AI acceleration program. Applications open in May 2017, with the program itself kicking off on September 1. The ten AI startups chosen for the program will spend six months in s’Hertogenbosch, working along with mentors and partners, including the locally-based Jheronimus Academy of Data Science (JADS).

The startups selected for the AI accelerator by Rockstart will receive €20,000 cash and €80,000 of in-kind funding, office space in Den Bosch for the duration of the program, and support from mentors from relevant industries, as well as more than 50 perks and deals worth some €600,000 from the partners, including Google, Amazon, IBM, and many more. The accelerator expects to take a 6 percent stake of the startups entering the program after they’ve raised their next round of funding.

Access and guidance

Similarly to the other Rockstart’s vertical programs, the AI Accelerator aims at providing startups with access to the market, capital, community, and expertise. The scope of the program has been defined in a purposefully broad way in order to allow startups from a range of industries to work with and learn from each other. The list of mentors who will guide the founders in the intricate field of applied artificial intelligence includes Dr. Eric Postma, professor at JADS, Jasper Wognum, the founder of BrainCreators, Dr. Mykola Pechenizkiy, professor at Eindhoven University of Technology, and Christoph Auer-Welsbach, partner at IBM Ventures and initiator at City.AI.

“Building a company requires a strong team of the right people with complementary skillsets. It’s especially important within AI as founders need to bridge knowledge of deep tech with business. We therefore strongly believe that working with an educational institution like JADS will give the founders access to the right talent and expertise in order to succeed with a startup utilising AI. Along with JADS, we’re putting together a stellar team of experts, mentors, and renowned business partners.”

Rune Theill, CEO and co-founder, Rockstart 

Academic know-how

In addition to the technical and business expertise of the program’s mentors, the startups chosen for the AI Accelerator will benefit from collaboration with JADS, which brings an academic perspective on the industry, as well as the latest know-how and research in the field. Being this close to a relevant scientific hub will allow the startups to develop robust and scalable artificial intelligence solutions across industries and domains.

“Increasing computational power and the ability to accumulate, store, and link large amounts of data, in combination with the rise of cloud, IoT, machine learning, and deep learning have created a perfect storm for AI developments. We now have the opportunity to take our knowledge and research outcomes and apply them through new ventures. We are actively building entrepreneurial communities and our partnership with Rockstart will enable students, data scientists, and partners alike to explore, work together, learn, and build viable businesses.”

Arjan van den Born, Scientific Director, JADS

About Rockstart

Rockstart, one of Europe’s first multi-vertical startup accelerators, was founded in Amsterdam in 2011 with a goal to support startups the first 1,000 days of existence. Since then Rockstart has become the specialist in building entire innovation ecosystems around specific domains—such as Digital Health and Smart Energy. Rockstart is actively building up entrepreneurial infrastructures around the world with its acceleration verticals, as well as early-stage startup programs, Rockstart Impact and Rockstart Launchtrack. Since the inception, Rockstart has invested in 108 startups across 11 programs and supported them in their journey to raise more than €45 million and hire more than 600 people. Rockstart is an international team of 40+ professionals dedicated to support and empower startups to become scalable and change their world for the better.

About Jheronimus Academy of Data Science 

Data Science is becoming more and more essential to find answers to the challenges of our era. Jheronimus Academy of Data Science (JADS) is a unique multidisciplinary cooperation between Tilburg University, Eindhoven University of Technology, the Province of North Brabant and the Municipality of ‘s-Hertogenbosch. In three different locations Data Science can be studied, researched and applied through bachelor and graduate programs, PDEng education, Data Science Centers and incorporation into existing ecosystems. The Academy is located in the former Marienburg convent in the center of ‘s Hertogenbosch and builds a new knowledge, value creation, and entrepreneurship infrastructure with which Brabant puts itself at the heart of the future.