It is expected that over the next few decades, Artificial Intelligence (AI) will transform economies and impact human life in ways that we are only beginning to understand.
European enterprises across industries – from education, to logistics, to finance, to healthcare – are innovating with technologies like AI, machine learning (ML), and robotics to attract venture capitalists’ interest and help accelerate the rapid evolution of the tech industry.
AI-startup funding in Europe increased from $4.8 billion in 2020 to $10.8 billion in 2021, and this year funding opportunities are projected to reach $22 billion. The ultimate goals of AI in the industry are to improve companies’ existing products, services, and processes, as well as unlock new business models.
Here are the 20 most promising AI innovators forging new possibilities for AI in the European tech ecosystem.
Marc Meyer, Chief Commercial Officer, Transmetrics
Marc Meyer is the CCO of Transmetrics, an AI solutions provider that optimizes transport planning through predictive analytics and machine learning.
Transmetrics works exclusively with logistics companies and has developed and trained its AI and ML algorithms to respond to the needs of these specific clients. From planning optimal shipment routing in hub-heavy networks to planning their maintenance activities with predictive analytics, the company is providing breakthrough solutions for the distressed global supply chain.
Marc has an MBA from the University of Amsterdam and has extensive experience translating business strategies into objectives and activities. His area of expertise includes scaling up startups, building while implementing an integrated marketing and sales strategy, opening new markets, and strategic marketing. He’s currently responsible for the general commercial strategy of Transmetrics during its Series A investment round and for helping the company to reach its ambitious growth goals. He has supported Transmetrics with its expansion into both Amsterdam and the MENA region.
Rodrigo Rodriguez, CEO, Odilo
Rodrigo Rodriguez is the CEO of Odilo, a fast-growing edtech and SaaS company that through AI-powered solutions, enables any organization to create an unlimited ecosystem for learning.
Odilo’s mission is to democratize access to high-quality education and provide educational technology solutions to help the company’s users reach their full potential.
Rodrigo has a Master of Science degree in Telecommunication Engineering from Universidad Alfonso X in Madrid. He previously worked as a Project Manager at BT Global Service, but always had the desire to build his own company. His father, who used to work with libraries, inspired him in his career aspirations. Before leaving the corporate world, Rodrigo started with market research on the future of the education industry before storming his way through the edtech industry and launching the initial Odilo product in 2012.
Rebeca Minguela, Clarity AI
Rebeca Minguela is the Founder and CEO of Clarity AI, a digital-native firm and sustainable tech build-in platform.
Through customizable and scalable sustainability tech kits, Clarity AI integrates into companies’ workflow via an Application Programming Interface (API). Through the API the company offers scalable and flexible end-to-end SaaS tools which can address any sustainability use case.
Rebeca has an MBA from Harvard Business School and an MSc in Telecommunication Engineering from Polytechnic University in Madrid and Stuttgart University. She is an advisor to several startups – mostly early-stage startups and also works in the banking industry. In 2012, Rebeca founded Blink Booking, which was acquired by Groupon in 2013.
George Grama, CEO, Atlas Navi
George Grama is the CEO of Atlas Navi, a navigation app that analyzes roads every 25 seconds to generate 100 times better data for users to detect road conditions, accidents, traffic, police vehicles, and more through AI and smartphone cameras. The company uses cutting-edge technologies like ML, blockchain, and computer vision.
George has BSc (Honors) in Business Management from the University of Surrey (UK). He is an experienced serial software entrepreneur, and founder of multiple companies with a focus on AI video analysis, transportation/rideshare, and blockchain. He has a history of raising multiple VC rounds, launching AI startups, managing technical teams, and leading ride-share & transportation industries with multiple successful exits.
Ali Niknam, Founder & CEO, Bunq
Ali Niknam is the Founder and CEO of Bunq, a neobank that allows people to be financially independent.
With a €193 million investment – the largest Series A funding round for a European fintech company – Bunq became a unicorn in July 2021. Bunq was created as the ultimate bank account to save people’s time by avoiding menial tasks such as branch visits and paperwork.
Ali Niknam was born in Canada and is of Iranian descent. He has a wealth of experience as an entrepreneur and tech aficionado, having set up his first company when he was 16. When he was in his early twenties he founded TransIP, and in 2012 he founded Bunq.
Timo Kunz, CEO & Co-Founder, Aflorithmic Labs
Dr. Timo Kunz is the Co-Founder and CEO of Aflorithmic Labs, an AI-based voice and audio production platform. Its API.audio product partners with multiple voice providers, offering more than 400 voices in over 50 languages.
The startup has more than 40 team members from 18 different countries – with only five that are native English speakers. Thanks to this accent diversity within their internal team, they are one of the only voice AI startups representing a variety of native and non-native accents. They have previously given a digital version of Albert Einstein’s voice, drawing on actual audio recordings of the famous scientist.
Timo is an AI researcher and tech entrepreneur who specializes in personalization, voice synthesis, and user behavior modeling. After getting his Ph.D. at Lancaster University, he worked as a data scientist at some of Europe’s most cutting-edge startups. Afterwards, he then followed his passion for audio to use the latest developments in AI to revolutionize the way we produce audio.
Álvaro Gutiérrez, Co-Founder & Co-CEO, Barkibu
Álvaro Gutiérrez is the Co-Founder and Co-CEO of Barkibu, a pioneer pet platform that combines AI, insurance, and telehealth allowing pet owners to have real-time vet support while they are at home.
Barkibu’s AI intelligent bot gathers data and delivers better, easier, cheaper, and personalized veterinary care all over the world for man’s best friend by matching our pet’s symptoms to the most logical root cause. Barkibu was the only pet startup invited to participate in the World Health Organization.
Alvaro has an MBA from Stanford University and has created the most advanced deeptech pet startups in the EU. His career as an entrepreneur started in 2019 when he founded Kiwoko, the leading chain of pet stores in Spain, followed by Noma a health insurance company for pets that merged with Barkibu in 2020.
Richard Ahlfeld, CEO & Co-Founder, Monolith AI
Dr. Richard Ahlfeld is the CEO and Co-Founder of Monolith AI, an AI-powered company that supports R&D teams and engineers. The company’s goal is to help these teams understand and optimize their products to make more informed decisions, reducing testing and design iterations by 70% and simulations by 90%.
Monolith AI was born as an idea when Richard was studying at Imperial College London and researching surrogate models for NASA. 3D data, no-coding, and ML models are also some of the technologies used by the company which supports the creation of data visualization.
Richard has an outstanding background: He possesses a Ph.D. in philosophy, aerospace engineering, and data science from Imperial and a master’s in aerospace engineering and mathematics from Technishie Universitet Delf where he graduated in the top 2% (Summa Cum Laude and with Honors).
Radoslav Stompf, Co-Founder, FUERGY
Radoslav Stompf is the Co-Founder of FUERGY, an EaaS (Energy-as-a-Service) company providing solutions for energy optimization founded in 2017.
FUERGY has developed its own high-scalable energy storage solutions platform powered by AI – called brAIn, with the purpose to offer complex, cost-effective, tailor-made solutions to end-customers, energy suppliers, and/or power plants.
Radoslav is an experienced entrepreneur. He co-founded SmartEn in 2014 and has more than twenty years of experience in developing control and optimization systems for the energy industry.
Sachin Dev Duggal, Founder (Chief Wizard), Builder.ai
Sachin Dev Duggal is the Founder and “Chief Wizard” of Builder.ai, an AI-powered low- to no-code platform that supports businesses to build tailor-made software 6x faster and 70% cheaper. Builder.ai raised a $100 million Series C funding round this past March to scale up its software automation and has now increased its revenue by over 300%.
Sachin is an innovator and serial entrepreneur, who aims to simplify users’ lives and increase technology usage. His entrepreneurial career started when he was 15, at age 17 he helped the ONU write the declaration of youth rights and founded sd2labs with his best friend. In 2004, he founded company Nivio and co-founded company Shoto, and today, he sits on the board of Planet M. He has a BSc in information systems engineering from Imperial College London and a master’s in executive entrepreneurship from MIT.
Aisling Kirwan and Mark Kirwan, Co-Founders, COO & CEO, Positive Carbon
Mark Kirwan is the CEO and Co-Founder of Positive Carbon, an agri-tech company set up at the beginning of 2020 to reduce food waste in the hospitality sector. Mark and Aisling Kirwan, the COO and Co-Founder, came up with the idea of Positive Carbon when both were working at company FoodCloud.
Together, they have developed a patented AI-powered food detector that allows businesses to detect how much food they are wasting, strategize the usage of food appropriately, and reduce costs and environmental impacts produced in kitchens.
Philip Ashton, Founder & CEO, 7bridges
Philip Ashton is the Founder and CEO of 7bridges, an AI-powered software company founded in 2016 which enables businesses to transform and future-proof their logistics processes. Its mission is to support companies to overcome their data challenges and supply their demand.
7bridges allows enterprises to save money and time, with up to 30% savings and facilitates sustainable shipping by reducing companies’ carbon footprint. This allows businesses to gain a competitive edge without technical investment and creates financial transparency and operational efficiency by consolidating logistics data and processes.
Philip has a master’s degree in science from the University of Cambridge and has strong experience in providing consultancy services, business intelligence, and leading special projects.
Ralph Hünermann, Founder & CEO, Odoscope
Ralph Hünermann is the Founder and CEO of Odoscope, the first SaaS platform enabling companies to analyze and make real-time decisions through data.
Odoscope is a customer engagement platform (CEP) that optimizes business strategies and supports enterprises to understand, ease, and engage with their users. Through AI, they help companies small and large to benefit from successful operations KPI enhancement.
Ralph has a Ph.D. in neuroinformatic and electrical engineering from RWTH Aachen University. He possesses strong knowledge in big data, real-time personalization, web analytics, e-commerce, ML, and data mining – to name a few. He is a passionate entrepreneur and he also founded another company called e-mediad in 2000.
Tobias Lang, Founder & CTO, Mindpeak
Tobias Lang is the Founder and CTO of Mindpeak, a health-tech company with the mission to automate visual processes and make microscopical analysis more accessible to the world with state-of-the-art AI and deep learning.
They have partnered with leading pathology labs in universities and medical specialists to eliminate the challenges that cancer experts face every day. Through automated tools, they assist these experts to provide reliable and reproducible diagnoses. Their technology grants specialists the ability to avoid repetitive tasks and exceed their human expertise.
Tobias has Ph.D. in machine learning from FU Berlin, he’s an expert in building real-world deep learning products and has published several scientific articles. He has developed skills leading tech groups like SCR Princeton, Zalando, Riedmiller lab (now DeepMind), and Toussaint lab.
Ana Maiques, Co-Founder & CEO, Neuroelectrics
Ana Maiques is the Co-Founder and CEO of Neuroelectrics, a healthtech scale-up startup that has developed a pioneering therapeutic platform to stimulate and monitor the brain and treat psychiatric disorders through personalized neuromodulation.
Their platform combines AI, physics, machine learning, and hardware technologies and their stimulation devices are developed to reach up to 32 channels through wireless EEG and tDCS/tACS/tRNS. In 2015, Neuromedics was named the best startup in health by Wired and today remains a privately held company.
Ana is one of the most influential Spanish entrepreneurs under 40. In 2014, she received the EU Prize for Women Innovators from the European Commission. Ana is an inspiring entrepreneur who breaks the barriers for women in STEM and has an outstanding educational background. She studied economics at Universitat de Barcelona, has an MBA from London Metropolitan University, and has completed an advanced management program at IESE.
Bruno Maisonnier, CEO and Founder, AnotherBrain
Bruno Maisonnier is the CEO and Founder of AnotherBrain, a pioneering company that has developed a new kind of self-learning AI that relates to the human brain functionality—proprietarily named Organic AI.
AnotherBrain was founded in 2017 to transform the sectors of industrial automation, IoT, and automotive with smart sensors and deep learning. The company has been nominated by the Global Industry Awards 2022 in the peripheral technology category.
Bruno studied at Polytechnique and Telecom Paris. He’s a world leader and entrepreneur with a focus on IT, bank management, and AI. He founded Aldebaran robotics in 2005 and today serves as the chairman of the company.
Miguel de Prado, Senior Researcher, BonsAPPs
Miguel de Prado is a Senior Researcher for BonsAPPs, an EU H2020 consortium that aims to create a marketplace for the democratization of AI on edge devices by building a collaborative platform to deliver ready-to-use AI solutions.
Miguel graduated in 2009 in Electronics at UC3 Madrid (Spain), having spent an Erasmus year in the U.Pavia (Italy). With a deep fascination for European programs, he went on to get his Master’s in Embedded Computing Systems at the U. Southampton (UK) & TU Kaiserslautern (Germany).
Looking to stay on the cutting edge of smart devices, he has worked as a research assistant at the German Center for Artificial Intelligence helping to develop wearable solutions in acoustic processing, reproduction, and manipulation.
Miguel is currently a part of the EU H2020 BonsAPPs & StairwAI consortiums while working on his Ph.D. at ETH Zürich and is committed to working on optimizing the deployment of Deep Learning solutions on edge devices.
BonsAPPs is working in partnership with ISDI Accelerator, the largest entrepreneurial and innovation ecosystem in Europe, on its BonsAPPs’s open call for AI Talents program.
Antoine Rostand, President & Founder, Kayrros
Antoine Rostand is the President and Founder of Kayrros, a geo-analytics company supporting businesses, governments, and NGOs to make more informed decisions in the energy and environmental space. Kayrros has recently raised a €40 million funding round to grow its operations and to continue helping businesses and policymakers achieve their sustainable goals.
Antoine has an engineering degree from École Polytechnique and holds an MBA from INSEAD. His professional career started more than 20 years ago, and he wields strong expertise in entrepreneurship, dealing with oil and gas issues, consulting roles, planning, coordinating, and executing growth strategies. In 2007, he founded Schlumberger Energy Institute, and he is currently a Board Member of the A.T. Kearney Energy Transition Institute.
Vasco Pedro, Co-Founder & CEO, Unbabel
Vasco Pedro is the Co-Founder and CEO of Unbabel a company seeking to remove the language barriers businesses in different geographies face every day.
Unbabel has developed a platform that integrates high-end AI and human editors to deliver consistent multilingual support in more than 30 languages. The company serves customer support teams for big brands like Microsoft, booking.com, and Udemy – just to name a few. In December 2021, they acquired Lingo24, a solution-driven AI company that serves enterprises by translating high volumes of content.
Vasco has a Ph.D. in Computer Science from Carnegie Mellon University (CMU). He also has an impressive academic background in developing and coordinating the Technical Institute of Lisbon’s (IST) research project on Big Data and Social Network Semantic Analysis.
Vasco’s presence in the Lisbon startup scene has been significant, he’s already raised $91M USD in venture capital for Unbabel and has secured the company to be accepted into the Y Combinator accelerator program for Portuguese startups. He has supported several startups, participated in the Founder Institute and Lisbon Challenge as a mentor, and won the Startup Founder of Year award in 2016.
Sjoerd Leemhuis, CEO & Co-Founder, Owlin
Sjoerd Leemhuis is the CEO and Co-Founder of Owlin a third-party risk management company for financial institutions combining AI and Natural Language Processing (NLP).
Owlin, which was founded in 2012, uses algorithms to enable businesses to optimize their work, and stay on top of the game whilst reducing risks and identifying market opportunities through monitoring more than three million sources in 16 different languages in real-time.
Sjoerd studied at Utretch University and TIAS School. His professional career started in the financial sector where he developed a mix of corporate skills that allowed him to gain an entrepreneurial mindset.
Bonus: Anna Shaposhnikova, Vice President, SS Supply Chain Solution (3SC)
Anna Shaposhnikova is the Vice President of SS Supply Chain Solution (3SC) an AI-powered company.
The company uses advanced analytics to enhance customer experiences by supporting supply chain companies in forecasting demand, reducing costs, and improving asset productivity.
Anna graduated from KTH Royal Institute of Technology and Vlerick Business School.
Her professional career started in 2001 as a land registration consultant and she has strong experience in PR, business development, and international relations.
In 2013, she helped to co-found Transmetrics, the first company on this list.
Disclosure: This article mentions clients of an Espacio portfolio company.