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ACE News: AI Startup Lab Summer School

6 participants of AI Startup Lab Summer School outside in a courtyard standing in front of the camera

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This week, Monday July 6, the Summer School edition of ACE initiative AI Startup Lab kicked off with a festive opening!

In the Summer School edition, AI Startup Lab offers students a meaningful way to spend the summer by working on a real-life AI business challenge provided by a corporate partner. This corporate will be the launching customer for your proof-of-concept. The kick-off took place on Monday July 6th 2020 and for the upcoming 10 weeks 3 teams will work on 3 challenges  with the support of AI experts, coaches and infrastructure. For this edition our corporate partners ABN AMRO, Deloitte and Kraft-Heinz have provided the challenges. The end goal of this edition is to both solve the provided challenges and to start a high impact version of an AI company.

The kickoff of our AI Startup Lab Summer 2020 Edition was a day of new experiences, introductions and inspiration. The day initially centered around the theme Founder Stories which manifested in a list of talks by many accomplished founders, including:

  • Startup founders Alivise, Gabriele & Irina, UvA students and earlier participants of an AI Startup Lab, founders of early stage AI startup “Intrical AI” with a focus on business intelligence;
  • Marco van der Werf, co-founder of startup Bit, a prototype & innovation studio at Startup Village;
  • Jörgen Sandig, ex-CEO and co-founder Scyfer, co lead AI Startup Lab and mentor;
  • Jakub Zavrel, founder and CEO of Zeta Alpha Vector, former CEO of Textkernel& mentor;
  • Koen Aarns, founder of legal AI startup Bluetick, Sprouts best entrepreneurs under 25 of 2020.

All of the talks were very insightful and inspiring and aided in the bridging of the gap between ideas and startups in their own ways, turning the participants’ hopes into aspirations along the way. One key insight was the art of questioning; to innovate and obtain a deeper understanding of a problem, asking the right questions turns out to be essential. Koen Aarns of Bluetick used this insight to get legal professionals deeply involved with their search engine designed towards the legal industry. Marco van der Werf from Bit works more thoroughly and more methodically to ask questions targeting the underlying ambitions and problems of the companies he works with, instead of focusing on trying to sell your solution. As the program proceeded, each of the three teams (virtually) met with their challengers for the first time. We are proud to announce that this summer Kraft Heinz is partnering with ACE Incubator & AI Startup Lab with a challenge aiming to come closer to the dutch consumer market through AI.

A team of students from the Eindhoven University of Technology and the Technical University of Delft were challenged by Kraft Heinz to provide solutions to problems of their global revenue management team, providing them with great insights in the worlds of global marketing, customer behavior and the roles of data science within those sectors. The head of global revenue management Marcus Alves turned out to be an amazing educator and Mithra is a wonderful partner for exploring data-driven innovations.

Another team from the Vrije Universiteit was challenged by ABN AMRO to aid them in guiding the transitioning to sustainable energy in the Netherlands by creating an algorithm to predict the supply and demand of the energy market, thus solving over- and underload of the energy network locally. This presents them an opportunity to solve a dynamic and real issue whilst simultaneously being able to contribute to a very important and prominent global issue.

Last but not least, a team of students from the Jheronimus Academy of Data Science and the Technical University of Delft were challenged by Deloitte to use the text in annual reports of companies to detect possibilities of fraud using Natural Language Processing, to aid their accountants in estimating the risks of fraud within companies. This presents them with a chance to work in a field with serious real-world impacts, gain valuable experience working with a major client and potentially even help them with their hunt for white-collar criminals! As the first meetings, and with that the day came to an end both the teams and the Challengers were buzzing with excitement and overflowing with ideas, the teams eager to devote the coming months to finding solutions to the provided challenges.

As the first schedules took shape and the last findings were interchanged, the teams took to restaurant Polder for celebratory drinks. For the next three months, our startups will be working on the validation of their business concepts/ideas. For more information about the ACE incubation program, AI Startup Lab’s courses or if you’re curious about our founders, please get in touch with the co-leads Jörgen or Suzanne or drop us an e-mail at

About AI Startup Lab

The AI Startup lab challenges students, recent graduates and early-stage startups to lay the foundation for an AI startup in as little as 10 weeks. Participants are supported and guided by academic experts in the field of AI, as well as top-notch entrepreneurs. The AI Startup Lab is the ultimate opportunity to kickstart your entrepreneurial career in AI.

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