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As a German early-stage fund specialising purely in artificial intelligence (AI), the new AI.FUND successfully completed its first closing at the end of 2023 and has now commenced operations. The venture capital fund from Hamburg invests in young startups from Germany, Europe and Israel that develop business models based on applied AI. The target volume of the fund, which was formally established in 2021 and has a term of ten years, is 35 to 50 million euros.

© AI.FUND: Ingo Hoffmann, Fabian Westerheide, Dr. Hauke Hansen, Petra Vorsteher, Dr. John Lange and Ragnar Kruse
© AI.FUND: Ingo Hoffmann, Fabian Westerheide, Dr. Hauke Hansen, Petra Vorsteher, Dr. John Lange and Ragnar Kruse

The AI.FUND aims to strengthen Europe's AI scene

The number of AI startups in Europe is estimated at over 6,000. However, investors and companies lack the network, technical expertise and time to filter out the most promising startups and provide them with adequate support. The AI.FUND aims to close this gap. It has a broad network, has already recorded over 4,500 AI startups in its database and, as a fund specialising in AI, has the necessary technical and entrepreneurial expertise to identify potential future champions and support them in their development.

The fund is initiated and managed by a team of renowned investors, entrepreneurs and experts with experience in the field of artificial intelligence:

  • Ragnar Kruse and Petra Vorsteher, who first successfully built up the software company Intershop and then their own startup Smaato and invested in the first AI startup back in 2002.

  • Dr. John Lange, who took Intershop public, helped build Axel Springer's startup portfolio and is one of the leading experts in the field of corporate venture capital.

  • Dr. Hauke Hansen, who has been investing in startups for years with his investment company Lakeside Invest after holding management positions at Amazon, McKinsey and in the private equity sector.

  • Ingo Hoffmann, who, after holding positions at Applied AI, Cyber Valley, IBM Watson and SAP, is now building up the Baden-Württemberg AI Alliance and represents Germany at GPAI (Global Partnership of AI).

  • Fabian Westerheide, who helped set up the Berlin VC fund Point Nine Capital and has been organising the leading AI conference "Rise of AI" since 2016.  

One of the first startups in which the team has already invested is Sinpex from Munich, which uses AI to drive forward the automation of the complex KYC (Know Your Customer) process in the financial sector and is one of the market leaders in this field. The company closed a financing round of 4 million euros at the end of last year.


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