Abzu is one of 75 of Europe’s high-potential startups selected in the extremely competitive June cutoff of the 2022 European Innovation Council (EIC) Accelerator program.
The Danish and Spanish deep-tech startup is disrupting the pharmaceutical industry with its proprietary trustworthy artificial intelligence.
Abzu will use this funding to further develop its discovery SaaS product, a user-friendly and easy-to-operate platform built on Abzu’s QLattice® AI engine. The QLattice is a novel transparent and trustworthy AI algorithm that is as human-centric as it is high-performing. The Abzu AI platform will make the QLattice’s interpretable and explainable predictions widely accessible.
The dangers of “black box” AI (and why Abzu is introducing a new class of explainable AI).
Abzu was born in 2018 when seven brilliant, friendly, and quirky co-founders from Denmark, Italy, and Spain decided to challenge contemporary black-box AI. “It’s not common for startups to have this many founders, but we felt like we needed very strong intellectual resources to actually build a rather crazy idea,” says co-founder and CEO Casper Wilstrup.
Traditional artificial intelligence technologies are often called “black-box” because their operations aren’t visible, which means predictions are difficult or even impossible to understand. This lack of transparency contributes to very real problems, like undetected technical errors or unintentional bias.
In 2018, creating an AI that enables users to build and train explainable and transparent models seemed crazy. “We didn’t want to just pry open black-box AI,” says Casper. “We set out to develop something new: A truly trustworthy and accessible AI that would reveal clear justifications as to “the why” behind an outcome.”
Three years later in April 2021, the EU launched the AI Act proposal, draft legislation to promote “trustworthy AI” – the kind of AI that Abzu had launched a year prior in April 2020.
Abzu’s explainable AI is strategic for drug discovery – and Europe.
Today, Abzu is revolutionizing drug development with its proprietary discovery engine that accelerates exploration, enabling scientists to bring drugs to market faster.
“We’re exposing — and explaining — previously hidden insights for drug development, whether that’s in the biological mechanisms that cause disease or the discovery and optimization of treatments. These are high-risk uses that require explainability to comply with current and developing regulations,” says Casper.
But the QLattice research engine was developed with even greater applications in mind.
What’s next for Abzu? The Abzu AI platform.
Abzu will be applying the €2.5 million grant to the development of the Abzu AI platform, a user-friendly and easy-to-operate platform built on the QLattice engine that makes interpretable and explainable predictions widely accessible. The Abzoids look forward to an early release of the Abzu AI platform in the first half of 2023.
Abzu also intends to expand to other industries where AI application would be considered high-risk use by the EU, like fintech, energy, and critical infrastructure.
“We want to be a big part of establishing Europe as a global hub for trustworthy AI. Our QLattice is already human-centric and trustworthy, and next year the Abzu AI platform will make explainable discoveries widely accessible,” says Casper.
The funding is provided under the “grant first” modality which leaves the door open for further equity investment of up to €15 million from the EIC Fund in the future.
Abzu is in amazing company: See all 75 deep-tech startups in the June cutoff of the 2022 EIC Accelerator program.
Founded in 2018, Abzu® builds trustworthy AI to tackle complex challenges for the world’s leading companies. Abzu established itself as a global leader in explainable, rational, and safe AI in the pharmaceutical industry, contributing to new discoveries in disease understanding and RNA therapeutics. Today, Abzu’s technology accelerates new insights and understanding in pharma R&D and transforms critical and complex business processes for enterprise operations.
Abzu has offices in Copenhagen and Barcelona, and has raised €13.3M in total funding to date. Abzu has been mentioned in Gartner® research, from Market Guides for AI Trust, Risk, and Security Management to CoolVendor™, and is the winner of several awards, including the 2023 “Best HealthTech” Nordics Award at the Nordic Startup Awards. For more information, visit www.abzu.ai.
About the EIC Accelerator.
The EIC Accelerator offers start-ups and SMEs grants of up to €2.5 million combined with equity investments through the EIC Fund ranging from €0.5 to €15 million or more. In addition to financial support, all projects benefit from a range of Business Acceleration Services that provide access to leading expertise, corporates, investors, and ecosystem actors.
The EIC Accelerator cut-off June 2022 received over 1.000 applications.
Learn more about the EIC Accelerator.
About the EIC Fund.
The EIC Fund implements the equity part of the EIC Accelerator, with its unique offer of grants, blended finance, and equity investments, which has proven to be of high interest for start-ups and SMEs since its launch in March 2021.
The EIC Fund is the most active public European deep-tech investor in 2022 and aims to catalyze investments into high-risk, deep-tech companies trying to reach the market. It bridges the funding gap for start-ups with seed capital to series B financing, where market entry is at most in a pilot phase, to prepare the scaling up of breakthrough European innovations.
Learn more about the EIC Fund.
European Innovation Council: New wave of deep tech start-ups set to receive Accelerator grants and equity investments.
European Commission: Fostering a European approach to Artificial Intelligence.