European startup aims to break the US and Chinese dominance
Copenhagen- and Barcelona-led startup Abzu is creating a software-as- a-service B2B platform that automatically builds advanced AI solutions, bringing AI to a much broader space of customers.
The ambitious team behind Abzu has just closed a seed round of investments of 1,75 million euro, led by Finnish venture fund Inventure and Danish venture capital fund PreSeed Ventures.
Traditionally, AI models rely on a large amount of data and fairly manual data science processes to test and deploy algorithms. The traditional GPU and data scientist costs, as well as the need to access a large pool of data, have limited most AI use cases to tech incumbents and other large companies. However, Abzu has built a product able to work with limited datasets and self-learn from past experiences. Abzu’s product democratizes the use of AI and allows even SMEs to use data analysis and predictive features previously only available to larger companies.
“If AI is to be used right and find a foothold, it’s important that the users of our platform find it simple and cheap. The truth is that most neural networks and deep learning solutions today are consequently very complicated to establish and expensive. We want to challenge that,” says CEO of Abzu Casper Wilstrup.
The team has completed the first building blocks for a product that services different use cases in the market:
“We believe that machines that can reuse existing knowledge to solve new problems are the next leap forward for artificial intelligence.
The technology in Abzu can remember and learn across completely different projects - exactly like the human brain.
“Based on our technology, many more companies – also those with very little data - will be able to build advanced AI models to help their business. That’s a gamechanger that will cut into the technological lead held by such giants as Google, Apple, and Amazon,” Says Casper Wilstrup.
Investors believe in European AI vision
Timo Tirkkonen, Inventure partner, and Abzu chairman added: “We have eagerly explored the space for next generation AI-based platforms with a broad horizontal application and we are thrilled to join Abzu’s story. We are impressed by Abzu’s ability to eliminate the human constraint of choosing the algorithm and the data. We are looking forward to working with the team and make Abzu one of the most recognized companies in the world.”
“Europe has not had the first mover advantage in the AI space, but it is home to a world-class talent pool and a harmonized internal market. Those factors combined allow us to achieve a unique position as horizontal providers of artificial intelligence. We want to create a customer-centric product, built around individuals’ needs for information and privacy, that will become a global industry standard,“ stated Timo Tirkkonen.
Anders Bach Waagstein, Investment Manager at PreSeed Ventures, which was the first Abzu investor, has been supporting and following Abzu since its inception in 2018.
”With the competence and talent of Abzu’s team, they, if anyone, can drive AI to commercial adoption. They have found a unique model for developing the product dialectically between cutting-edge research and real problem solving for companies. It is exciting being part of growing the business. We look forward to taking the next steps with the team and Inventure,” says Anders Waagstein.
The investment fund of the Danish state Vækstfonden has also supported Abzu through its early engagement program:
”We see a strong case supported by international investors, and we are excited about supporting Abzu’s journey to bring the advantages of AI decision making tools to companies that don’t have the right resources to create their own tools,” says Jesper Hart-Hansen, investment manager at Vækstfonden.