BPI invests in Aleph Alpha, Europe’s leading provider of sovereign AI foundation models


BPI invests in Aleph Alpha, Europe’s leading provider of sovereign foundation models and AI applications

Burda Principal Investments (BPI), the international growth capital provider of media and technology company Hubert Burda Media, is participating in Aleph Alpha’s Series B financing round. BPI has been monitoring opportunities in Artificial Intelligence (AI) since 2018 and with this investment, BPI adds another AI company to its portfolio.

BPI is part of a consortium of new and existing investors

Aleph Alpha raised more than 500 million US Dollars from a consortium of a total of seven new investors as well as existing investors from previous rounds. The consortium is led by the Innovation Park Artificial Intelligence (Ipai), Bosch Ventures and the companies of Schwarz Group. Next to BPI, other new investors include the global edge-to-cloud company Hewlett Packard Enterprise, the German multinational enterprise application software company SAP and the Berlin-based Christ&Company Consulting.

Aleph Alpha is a German AI application and research company that has developed a Large Language Model (LLM) called “Luminous”. Both its explainability and its multimodality characterise this model. One of Aleph Alpha’s goals is to make the origin of the information transparent to users and to ensure that partners retain sovereignty over their data. The current investment round is intended to further strengthen the German and European position for the development of value-oriented, sovereign AI. The significant enhancement of the capabilities of LLMs by a European company gives both government agencies and companies the opportunity to build and apply AI in a sovereign environment, as Aleph Alpha combines data protection and security with customisation options.

“As an international growth capital provider, we have been following the global development of AI, and we are convinced that Europe can play a much stronger role in this area. Aleph Alpha has developed one of the few Large Language Models in Europe that can compete with US models, that has reached a relevant scale and has a differentiation that really matters. We are very excited to partner with Aleph Alpha and drive the business forward together with Jonas Andrulis and his team.” Christian Teichmann, CEO at BPI

Aleph Alpha’s goal: to revolutionise AI in Europe

The Heidelberg-based AI company Aleph Alpha was founded in 2019 by Jonas Andrulis and Samuel Weinbach. Aleph Alpha supplies B2B and B2G (Business-to-Government) solutions with explainable and trustworthy AI in fully sovereign applications. The company’s goal is to revolutionise the access and use of artificial general intelligence in Europe. Aleph Alpha researches and develops AI technologies together with strong partners from industry, academia, and government.

On September 7, Aleph Alpha founder and CEO Jonas Andrulis took the stage at Burda’s first DLD AI Summit, together with BPI CEO Christian Teichmann, Adam Bittlingmayer (Modelfront) and Alexander Kudlich (468 Capital). Watch the video of the panel now.

Christian Teichmann, CEO of BPI, and Jonas Andrulis, CEO and founder of Aleph Alpha, together on stage at the DLD Munich 23 in January
© Daniel Grund for DLD / Hubert Burda Media

Fifth Dimension AI raises £2.3 million pre-seed round for its AI partner for real estate professionals


With a multi-trillion dollar valuation, the global Real Estate industry has been slow in embracing digital transformation. It remains one of the most document-heavy and data-filled industries, with enormous potential for automation and talent upskilling.

This is why we are excited to back Fifth Dimension AI, a London-based startup on a mission to amplify the exceptional in real estate professionals. Coming out of a pilot phase, the company launched its flagship product Ellie, a first of its kind AI co-partner developed to improve productivity and amplify exceptional teams in industries that deal with a lot of documents and data. It automates time-consuming tasks such as data analysis and industry research, thus freeing people up to focus on bringing value to their business and fully using their expertise and insights.

Founded in January 2023 by Johnny Morris and Dr. Kate Jarvis, Fifth Dimension AI leverages their wealth of expertise across real estate, finance, and technology. Dr. Kate Jarvis, a large language model wizard with a PhD in Linguistics from Stanford University, has spent over a decade designing Machine Learning-powered products and bringing them to market. Johnny Morris brings more than a decade of real estate experience, in roles such as Chief Operating Officer at Wayhome and Analytics Director at Countrywide. The founders believe that Large Language Models (LLMs) can unlock the exceptional in people, taking away the time-consuming and often boring task of reviewing large quantities of information locked away in disparate documents, and instead producing outputs in a fraction of the time.

Dr. Kate Jarvis, Co-Founder & CEO of Fifth Dimension AI, comments, “This investment is a testament to the recognition of Ellie’s ability to redefine the world of work beginning with the real estate industry. We solve the issue of lifting employees out of time-consuming, repetitive and boring work, working with natural language that is designed to ensure people from all backgrounds can use it in the way that is most productive for them. Ellie empowers knowledge workers to do their best work and lead happier, purposeful, and more fulfilled lives.”

Johnny Morris, Co-Founder & CPO, Fifth Dimension AI, adds, “We designed Ellie to provide real estate professionals with a competitive advantage by providing a partner to help them get done in minutes what usually takes hours. Across our clients, we’ve been amazed by the impact that Ellie has on the newest generation of real estate professionals. These young and ambitious individuals are able to increase their output and amplify their expertise in the industry – in a fraction of the time. With Ellie as their partner, we believe the next generation will have the power to truly move the industry forward.”

Following the completion of an initial pilot scheme running since April, Fifth Dimension AI already boasts nearly 10 major real estate firms as clients, including big names such as Hamptons.

On why we invested in Fifth Dimension AI, our Managing Partner Carlos Espinal comments:

With their wealth of expertise across AI, Real Estate, and Finance, Johnny Morris and Dr. Kate Jarvis are a world-class founding team taking on a massive opportunity to innovate the real estate industry. We love their emphasis on the human element, i.e. enabling real estate professionals to fully leverage their talent and knowledge, and thus focus on high-impact activities that create more business value.

We are excited to co-lead Fifth Dimension AI’s £2.3 Million pre-seed alongside Anthemis’ Female Innovators Lab Fund, with support from Ascension Ventures Ltd, Concrete VC, Love Ventures, Twin Path Ventures, and Sie Ventures. With the new funds the company aims to scale the business’ sales and marketing functions and focus on product development to enhance the tool’s capabilities for an expanding audience across the real estate industry

For more information visit fifthdimensionai.com.

Koios raises Pre-Seed funding to enable leaders and organisations to manage and develop their talent with voice-driven psychometric insights


To thrive in the current uncertain macroeconomic environment paired with unprecedented technological advancement, organisations of all sizes and across industries, are required to work more efficiently with leaner teams. Now, probably more than ever, it is essential to invest in workforce development and optimisation, to strengthen the employer and employee relationship, boost employee engagement, and ensure a successful long-term collaboration.

This is why we are excited to back Koios, a UK-based voice-driven AI platform set to drastically reduce cost and friction in the personality and management insights market, empowering human understanding between employers and employees. What makes this partnership even more remarkable is that the company was co-founded by our alumnus Alex Lewis, who in his role as Head of Talent, led our talent initiatives and supported our portfolio companies from 2021 until earlier this year.

On a mission to fundamentally improve the way that organisations work with their talent, Koios leverages proprietary voice-driven AI algorithms, to provide low friction and cost-efficient personality insights, thus enabling managers and teams to work together more effectively. Aiming to provide talent leaders and organisations with bespoke ways to communicate, motivate and develop each employee, the company is developing and applying state-of-the-art audio deep learning models using original data collection with an emphasis on a conscientious and ethical approach. To ensure the inclusivity of all people, regardless of race, gender, or geographical origin, Koios acquires original training data.

Started in 2020 by Alex, alongside his friend Tom Sherwood, Koios is rooted in the first-hand pain of lacking tech solutions to support managers and teams the founders have experienced as talent leaders themselves.

Alex Lewis, COO comments:

“In our roles at Spotify, and Seedcamp respectively, Tom and I had been helping companies across the Big Tech, start-up, and the scale-up world for years and one of the biggest buzzwords and blockers to hiring at the time was “culture fit”, which we despised as it had connotations of an individual having to “fit in” rather than a company enabling the success of each employee. As managers and leaders, we’d been through personality assessments over the years and we recognised that there were some useful insights in the more “robust” assessments, and questioned why there wasn’t greater adoption across the industry below leadership level (93% of the market wasn’t being served). After speaking with industry leaders, they made it clear that if friction from self-assessment could be removed and a more cost-effective model be put in place, then there was a great opportunity for mass adoption. 

With the addition of Martin Lukac, as Co-Founder and Chief Data Scientist, Koios developed its proprietary technology to understand personality using voice. Designed as an enablement tool, Talent/Recruiting/HR teams can easily run the Koios app inviting existing employees to partake or sit over existing candidate interview processes. A minimum of 90 seconds is required to provide a bespoke set of personality and management insights from a candidate or employee’s voice to ensure their success in their role.

Lewis adds: “Not only can we provide existing workforce analysis, we will be able to run Koios over the top of an interview process at the click of a button and provide insights from 90 seconds, without the need to change the process or for the candidate or employee to do anything other than consent, of course. We are very conscious to eliminate as much of the bias as possible in the algorithms/models, so we spend a lot of time manually gathering and curating our training data to ensure that our tool serves everyone, regardless of their demographic — be it gender, ethnic background, or accent — so we can provide fair and inclusive insights to be used to lead, manage and develop employees, categorically not to assess their suitability for a role.”

On why we backed Koios, our Managing Partner Carlos Espinal MBE, emphasises: “Koios brings much-needed innovation in the talent development industry, particularly in the tech sector. Having worked closely together with Alex in his previous role as Seedcamp’s Head of Talent, I’ve admired his dedication and passion for nurturing talent across our portfolio and empowering them to thrive. Leveraging voice-driven AI, the platform helps find a better fit between employers and employees, thus facilitating a successful and productive, long-term collaboration. We couldn’t be more excited to back such an exceptional team on their mission to enable employees to reach their full potential and leaders and organisations to develop their workforce effectively.”

We are thrilled to lead Koios’s $550k Pre-Seed funding round, alongside Evolvient Capital and industry angels. With the new funding, Koios aims to prepare its go-live and continue investing in inclusive training data and developing the platform. Talent leaders and organisations can get early access to the platform on the company’s website getkoios.ai.

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Enzai secures $4 million for its global AI Governance platform


The proliferation of new AI technologies is pushing organisations of all sizes and across industries and verticals to adopt and develop AI solutions at an exponential rate. However, in an expanding regulatory environment and a market climate where consumers believe that organisations should bear responsibility for any misapplication of AI technology, leaders need to prioritise AI governance to fully benefit from the power of AI innovation. Even more so businesses in domains that are inherently risky, such as financial services, healthcare, and insurance, need to understand, manage, and comply with AI-related risks and regulations.

This is why we are excited to back Enzai, a Belfast-based AI governance startup providing organisations with a comprehensive toolkit to navigate these complexities, ensuring the responsible development, deployment, and usage of AI. Coming at a pivotal moment, the company’s mission is to ensure that powerful AI technologies can gain the level of trust necessary to fulfill their true potential.

Founded in 2021 by Ryan Donnelly, a leading lawyer in the AI regulation space, and Jack Carlisle, a software engineer with extensive startup experience, Enzai brings a unique combination of legal, engineering, and data science expertise to build a solution in this area. The team of expert lawyers is tracking AI-focused regulatory developments around the world and responding quickly with new frameworks and features to ensure their customers can stay one step ahead.

Ryan Donnelly, co-founder of Enzai, comments:

“We founded Enzai with a clear vision: to empower organisations to harness the incredible potential of AI, while minimising the risks involved. As AI continues to evolve and permeate every industry, ensuring that it is built and adopted in a responsible, compliant manner has never been more critical. This financing fuels our commitment to enable businesses to innovate in AI with confidence, whilst safeguarding against potential pitfalls, and it paves the way for a future where AI drives both progress and responsibility.”

Enzai enables organisations to build up an inventory of their AI solutions, apply policies and procedures to that AI, and then measure compliance in real-time. “Controls”, the platform’s new feature introduces a new paradigm for building and using AI, allowing cross-functional teams to collaborate and conduct assessments of AI systems.

Jack Carlisle, co-founder of Enza adds:

“(…) we ensure consistency and scalability, enabling organisations of all sizes to manage their AI governance efforts efficiently. It facilitates seamless collaboration between business, legal and technical teams, bridging the gap between domain-specific, regulatory and data science expertise.”

Enzai’s software solution applies across industry verticals, in particular to financial services, healthcare, insurance, HR, and government. Ryan Donnelly emphasises: “anyone that takes their civic and regulatory responsibilities seriously can benefit from AI governance, and our software makes it extremely easy to get going.” 

On why we invested in Enzai, our Partner Tom Wilson, comments:

“We are all dealing with this incredibly powerful new wave of AI technologies. At the current rate of development, it is critical that we find ways to harness this development so that it has a positive impact on the world. We’re thrilled to support Enzai as one of the first investments from our new Fund VI. The team behind Enzai have identified a really strong way of managing AI risk, and their tech is set to be a foundational part of the AI ecosystem.”

We are excited to participate in Enzai’s $4 million seed funding round led by Cavalry Ventures, alongside existing pre-seed investor, Techstart Ventures and leading angel investors including Paul Forster (founder of Indeed.com), Sam Gill (co-founder of Seedcamp-backed Sylvera), and Alexandre Berriche (founder of Fleet). Enzai will use the funding to build out its engineering capabilities and support its go-to-market efforts.

Enzai is “in hiring mode”, with open roles across engineering, operations, policy, sales, and marketing. Check them out and apply here.

For more information, visit enz.ai.

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AI-powered automation software AskUI raises €4.3 million in seed funding


While automation has become ubiquitous all across business sectors, the innovation and customisation potential is massive. The new wave of AI technologies unlocks new opportunities for more user-friendly, powerful, and flexible solutions to cater to specific customer needs.

This is why we are excited to partner up with Jonas Menesklou (CEO) and Dominik Klotz (CTO), founders of AskUI, as they set out to build the next era of process automation by leveraging the power of AI. The Germany-based company merges the power and flexibility of advanced AI models with the beauty of Large Language Models and user-friendly experiences of a combined no-code and code approach.

On a mission to democratise and redefine process automation, AskUI aims to introduce a new era of automated digital solutions that are not just intuitive and visually appealing but also robust, adaptable, and user-friendly.

AskUI’s founders emphasise:

“By leveraging the power of words to automate any process, we intend to create a digital world where automation is for everyone, everywhere.

Creating an automation engine that serves all industries is an enormous undertaking. We have been working intensively on developing the cornerstone features that form the basis of process automation. But we’re not just checking boxes; we’re dissecting every aspect of automation and reimagining it into an exceptional experience. From system controls and UI comprehension to data scraping, we’re creating world-class, frictionless experiences.”

On why we backed AskUI, our Partner Sia Houchangnia comments:

“The opportunity around enterprise workflow automation is massive, and it’s a theme we’ve been actively investing in at Seedcamp. The technology that AskUI has developed over the past 2 years has the potential to change the game in this space. By combining the latest advancements in computer vision and LLM, they’ve developed features that truly reimagine the entire automation experience. We are delighted to back Jonas, Dominik, and the whole AskUI team alongside a great group of co-investors.”

We are excited to participate in AskUI’s €4.3 million seed funding round, led by Eurazeo, alongside 468 Capital, LEA Partners, APX, and existing angels Carsten Thoma and Christian Stiebner. With the new funding, the company plans to advance product development, release their first prompt-to-automation model, and amplify their go-to-market activities.

AskUI is also planning to grow the team and is currently looking for talented engineers and AI researchers.

For more information, visit askui.com.

Artificial intelligence and robotics in the textile industry: Bayern Kapital to participate in Series A funding round for sewts

Bayern Kapital

Landshut/Munich, Germany, 09 August 2023 Robotics start-up sewts has successfully completed a Series A funding round with a total volume of EUR 7 million. The Munich-based firm´s business model won over several top-tier robotics investors. A number of renowned international capital providers, namely Emerald Technology Ventures, CNB Capital, EquityPitcher Ventures and Nabtesco Technology Ventures, have joined existing investors Bayern Kapital, APEX Ventures and HTGF, which are increasing their investment from the seed funding round in 2021.

Driven by technological progress, solutions based on robotics and AI are becoming increasingly prevalent in the world of work across a range of different industries. In the manufacturing and processing industry, there are already countless solutions for processing solid, form-stable raw materials such as metals. However, automation continues to pose a challenge when dealing with deformable and soft materials such as textiles or semi-finished products made from carbon fibre. This affects the clothing and textile industry and large-scale laundries in particular, which are struggling to find staff.

sewts GmbH, founded in 2019 by engineering students Alexander Bley, Tim Doerks and Till Rickert using an EXIST Business Start-up Grant, endeavours to meet this need. With its unique combination of AI, robotics and material simulation, the Munich-based company has a vision to become the world´s  leading partner for automation processes for easily deformable materials. sewts has designed innovative control and image processing software that allows robots to use smart algorithms developed in house to predict in real time how materials with an unstable form will behave when gripped and to respond with precision.

Market introduction and further use cases in textile production

In 2022, sewts launched VELUM, its first product ready for series production. VELUM is a robotic unit designed for industrial laundries that feeds wrinkled towels and other towelling products into the folding machine, thus helping to automate a predominantly manual activity. Up to 700 items can be processed per hour, at a speed similar to that achieved by humans. The product helps to overcome core challenges in the textiles sector, such as labour shortages, and considerably enhance process efficiency.

Alongside the market launch of VELUM, sewts is already developing further automation solutions along the textile production life cycle. Last year, with support from the Otto Group, the Munich-based startup created a prototype for the automated handling of returns in online shopping. The founders´  long-term vision is to manufacture clothing using automated robotics solutions.

“We are delighted to announce that our Series A funding round has concluded and would like to thank all of the investors for the trust they have placed in us”, says  sewts co-founder and co-CEO Alexander Bley. “We will use this fresh capital to progress with our growth targets internationally. These include launching further VELUM systems in international large-scale laundries and, as a next step, refining our prototype for the automated handling of returns in online shopping.”

“With VELUM, sewts has brought an innovative product solution to markt maturity and is already planning further promising automation solutions for the textile industry”, says Monika Steger, Managing Director of Bayern Kapital.  “textiles recycling are returning closer to the consumer market. In this way, sewts is making a key contribution to overcoming staff shortages in textile firms and reaching global climate targets.”


About sewts:
Founded in 2019 and based in Munich, sewts GmbH provides cutting-edge perception software, pushing the boundaries of robotics in processing of easily deformable materials. sewts has developed and demonstrated a unique technology that uses high-precision simulations to efficiently train machine learning algorithms. The intelligent software solution is being combined with suitable hardware and enables countless applications in industrial automation like the handling of textiles in industrial laundries or the manufacturing of garment. sewts is backed by APEX Ventures, Bayern Kapital, CNB Capital, Emerald Technology Ventures, EquityPitcher Venture, High-Tech Gründerfonds, UnternehmerTUM Initiative for Industrial Innovators, Nabtesco Technology Ventures and a couple of highly experienced business angels.


About Bayern Kapital:
Bayern Kapital GmbH, based in Landshut (Germany), is the venture/growth capital company of the Free State of Bavaria. It supports innovative high-tech companies in Bavaria through their various growth phases, from seed to later stage, with equity capital from EUR 0.25 to 25 million. Bayern Kapital often closes gaps in the VC area in proven consortium arrangements with private investors (business angels, family offices and corporate ventures).

Bayern Kapital manages specialist investment funds with a volume of around EUR 700 million. Since its formation in 1995 at the initiative of the state government, the wholly-owned subsidiary of LfA Foerderbank Bayern has invested around EUR 450 million of its own equity capital so far in around 300 start-ups and scale-ups from industries such as life sciences, software & IT, materials & new materials, nanotechnology and environmental technology. More than 8,000 long-term jobs in sustainable companies have been created in Bavaria. The active portfolio currently comprises around 80 companies.

Examples of the many ground-breaking success stories that Bayern Kapital has already supported at an early stage include EOS (now the world´s leading technology provider in industrial 3 Dprinting of metals and plastics), Proglove, Fazua, SimScale, Scompler, egym, Parcellab, Cobrainer, Quantum Systems, Casavi, Riskmethods, Tubulis, Catalym, Immunic, Sirion, tado and many more.

Press contact Bayern Kapital:
IWK Communication Partner
Florian Bergmann
Ohmstraße 1, 80802 München
+49 89 200030-39

Altor and Silo AI Partner to build a leading European AI flagship


Altor Fund V (“Altor”) has signed an agreement to partner and invest in the artificial intelligence (AI) company Silo AI Oy (“Silo AI”), one of Europe’s largest private AI labs, to support the continued growth of the company. All founders, incl. chairman Tero Ojanperä and CEO Peter Sarlin, will continue in their roles and remain major shareholders. The funding will be used to accelerate Silo AI’s expansion in the Nordics and in Europe, supporting the company’s vision of building safe, human-centric AI.

Silo AI was founded in 2017 to connect leading AI scientists with real-world problems and help companies succeed in building cutting-edge AI. Headquartered in Helsinki, Finland, it has grown to become the largest private AI lab in the Nordics with a mission to build a European AI flagship. The company provides state-of-the-art AI expertise and tooling, having delivered over 200+ production-level AI projects to date through a team of 240+ employees out of which 50% have PhDs. Silo AI has sustained exceptional growth over the last few years, with an impressive and continuously expanding client list of global industry leaders, such as Allianz, Danske Bank, Körber, Philips, Rolls-Royce, Sandvik and the United Nations. Silo AI had a revenue in 2021 just north of EUR 12m.

Peter Sarlin, CEO and co-founder of Silo AI, said:

“To take the next steps on our journey, now is a good time to enter a partnership with Altor. When executing our ambitious growth plan, with this we ensure that Silo AI will be able to better serve our international client base and continue putting employees first when growing. On our long-term commitment to build a European AI flagship, we’re still in the very beginning. I am more than honored to continue this exciting journey with all Silonauts, and to welcome Altor onboard.”

Tero Ojanperä, Executive Chairman and co-founder of Silo, said:

“Altor will bring Silo AI tangible support when it comes to international expansion, M&A and investments into Silo OS. Going forward, this puts Silo AI in an even stronger position on the market. Altor has committed to, and more importantly, we believe they have the unique capability to, elevate Silo AI’s growth and help us reach the next levels on our growth journey.”

Silo AI is now at an inception point ready to expand the customer offering and grow in the Nordics and on the European continent.

Mattias Holmström, Partner and Head of Tech at Altor, said:

“We are proud to partner up with the management and founders of Silo AI, who have spearheaded the industry. We are impressed with the company, its unrivalled market reputation, exceptional talent, and strong culture and thought leadership. The demand for AI services has tremendous tailwind and we believe Silo AI is uniquely positioned as a trusted partner for companies to develop and maintain safe, reliable, and efficient AI products and solutions. Altor with our long-term perspective shares a common view with the company on how to scale the business and deliver on the growth ambition.”

For more information, please contact:
Tor Krusell, Head of Communications at Altor, tor.krusell@altor.com, +46 705 43 87 47

About Altor
Since inception, the family of Altor funds has raised some EUR 8.3 billion in total commitments. The funds have invested in excess of EUR 5 billion in more than 85 companies. The investments have been made in medium sized predominantly Nordic companies with the aim to create value through growth initiatives and operational improvements. Among current and past investments are ARC, QNTM Group, Rillion, and Raw Fury. For more information visit www.altor.com

About Silo AI
Silo AI is one of Europe’s largest private AI labs – a trusted AI partner that brings competitive advantage to product R&D. We build AI-driven solutions and products to enable smart devices, autonomous vehicles, industry 4.0, and smart cities. Silo AI provides its customers unique access to world-class AI expertise, as well as the Silo OS infrastructure to speed up AI development and deployment. Established in 2017, Silo AI is on a mission to build a European flagship AI company, with offices currently in Helsinki, Tampere, Jyväskylä, Turku, Oulu, Stockholm, London and Palo Alto. For more information visit www.silo.ai


Author: Katarina Karlsson
Date: 2022.06.14
Categories: News