A vast knowledge and investment consortium around artificial intelligence, consisting of Dutch universities and LUMO Labs, has been awarded a subsidy of 8 million euros for pre-seed funding and knowledge transfer to startups. This is a subsidy from the Netherlands Enterprise Agency’s (RVO) Technology Transfer (TTT) scheme. The aim is to advance the availability and relevance of AI innovations within society.

LUMO Labs is the consortium’s pre-seed AI fund manager. This pre-seed AI fund complements the LUMO Fund II, a seed and stage A fund with a broader impact-driven, emerging soft-tech focus and a two-year venture builder program. This allows LUMO Labs to maximize and solidify its commitment to supporting Artificial Intelligence innovation and its impact on society.

“As an investment fund in emerging technologies, we are used to working closely with knowledge institutions. Together with our partners in this new TTT.AI consortium, we are in a much better position to identify promising initiatives and give them a flying start,” said Andy Lürling, LUMO Labs founding partner. “Early-stage funding is indispensable to make the step from idea to impact. Thanks to this TTT.AI consortium, pioneering research and innovative developments in the field of AI will find their way into society better and faster.”

With this TTT.AI pre-seed fund, LUMO Labs joins forces with an unprecedented number of influential Dutch players in the field of artificial intelligence. These include the Universities of Amsterdam, Utrecht, Nijmegen and Eindhoven as well as the university medical centers from these cities and the Center for Mathematics & Computer Science. The consortium is complemented by many affiliated partners such as other technical universities, colleges, incubators, regional development agencies, the Dutch AI Coalition and the Innovation Center for Artificial Intelligence.

The consortium unites hundreds of top researchers, business developers, investors and entrepreneurs in the field of AI. The primary themes are healthcare, security and human-centered AI. But promising initiatives from other themes can also call on the consortium. LUMO Labs will work closely with the business developers of the knowledge institutions, who are the first point of contact for the researchers and the students.

“We are strongly committed to multidisciplinary cooperation in the field of AI. We already have a fine tradition in AI education and research, and now with TTT.AI, we can extend this to setting up and supporting startups,” said Prof. Dr. Isabel Arends, Dean Faculty of Science at Utrecht University. “We think these will play a hugely important role in this field.”

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The need to collaborate in the field of AI is increasingly urgent in the Netherlands. Nationally and regionally, ambitious agendas for joint research have recently been launched, and universities and companies are pulling together to increase impact. What was missing until now was a national approach for stimulating so called "AI knowledge startups.” The TTT scheme makes it possible for technological innovations to be applied and brought to the market at an accelerated pace. This will strengthen the position of the Netherlands as one of the most progressive AI hubs in Europe.

“We participate in the TTT.AI because startups are the engine of the new economy. If we want the Netherlands to think and act bigger, we must join forces and learn from each other,” said Anita Lieverdink, coordinator working group startups and scaleups Dutch AI Coalition. “Just like with the AI coalition, TTT.AI involves collaboration on a national level and that is exactly what is going to make the difference.”

The TTT.AI pre-seed Fund will be operational by early May this year. The universities will start their preparations now and will be fully operational at the start of the new academic year in September.

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