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Promising AI startups emerge one after another in Germany, but there are also fundamental challenges

Promising AI startups emerge one after another in Germany, but there are also fundamental challenges

Promising AI startups emerge one after another in Germany, but there are also fundamental challenges

Germany is a world leader in manufacturing, but is it also a leader in the exciting field of AI? According to a survey by CB Insights, which is familiar with startup/venture company funding and industry trends, 77 of the world's top 100 startups in the AI ​​field are US-based companies. However, some strong AI startups have recently emerged in Germany. This time, we will introduce such a notable German AI startup and explain the challenges faced by the German startup/venture industry.

AI startups surge in Germany

According to the German edition of Business Insider, the number of AI startups has been growing rapidly in Germany recently, and the strength of industry-academia collaboration at the Technical University of Munich is among the top in the country. There are already 214 AI startups registered in Applied AI, which is the core of the university's innovation department. A total of 1.2 billion euros (approximately 150 billion yen) has been invested in these projects over the 10 years from 2009 to the present, with an additional investment of 3 billion euros (approximately 400 billion yen) by 2025. However, even this is still small.

An investment of 400 billion yen seems to be quite large, but the media compares this to China. One of China's unicorn companies, SenseTime, is famous for its facial recognition technology that applies deep learning. It has received an investment of nearly 2.2 billion euros (about 300 billion yen). Looking at this, it certainly makes sense why German startups/ventures lament the small scale of investment by Japanese venture capitals (VCs).

German AI startups are concentrated in two cities: Munich and Berlin. Both cities not only have large populations, but also top-tier engineering universities. The country's manufacturing industry is centered in the south (Bavaria and Baden-Baden (Baden-Württemberg)), so it can be said that the Technical University of Munich is in a geographical condition that facilitates collaboration with the basic manufacturing industry.

Efforts of 5 notable German AI startups

Here are five AI startups that are attracting attention in Germany.

Twenty Billion Neurons (20bn): AI Chatbot

Twenty Billion Neurons (20bn, ) is a venture that develops AI chatbot apps. Founded in 2015, it has offices in Berlin, Germany and Toronto, Canada. It has already received an investment of 11 million euros (about 1.4 billion yen) from US venture capital.

When you access the company's website, an avatar named Millie appears, and you can see a demonstration that shows appropriate information such as talking to customers, listening to their requests, and introducing sales floors and products.

Speech recognition and speech synthesis technology are at the core, but the avatar interface that interacts with customers is also important. The movements of the Millie avatar can be trained using recordings of actual salesperson movements, allowing it to perform natural, human-like movements. By adding a human element to the avatar, it makes it easier for customers to feel familiarity.

DeepL: automatic translation

DeepL ( ) is a Cologne-based automated translation company described by Germany's leading newspaper Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung as "Germany's strongest venture". is a venture. Founded in 2009 with a translation system for a search engine called Linguee. After that, he gradually made inroads into the translation departments of large companies such as Amazon, Google, and Microsoft.

Currently, DeepL has a total of 72 translation language combinations available, accounting for a 14% share of the automated translation market. "Google Translate" is famous in this market, but if you look at the benchmark results published on the web, DeepL's translation accuracy is higher than Google Translate. However, at this time, Japanese is not yet included in the target languages, so I do not know how good the Japanese translation is.

Merantix: AI R&D Consortium

Merantix ( )  , based in Berlin, is developing technology specializing in AI. In order to commercialize the developed technology, it will initially be operated as a department within the company, but the basic concept is to make it independent when the opportunity arises, and the goal is to establish 10 companies within 10 years. At present, three companies have been established: MXHealthcare, MX Automotive, and MX Labs.

One of the founders, Mr. Rasmus Rothe, is a child prodigy who has already worked at an AI research institute in Germany since middle school and high school. After that, he was involved in AI research at Oxford University and Princeton University, before earning a degree from the prestigious Swiss Institute of Technology Zurich (ETHZ). In addition to his academic achievements, he also has a track record of establishing his first company at the age of 14 on the business side.