New European AI startup landscape presented by appliedAI, Ignite Sweden, AI Sweden, RISE Research Institutes of Sweden and Hub France IA

Garching near Munich, November 18 2020. During the virtual Sweden Innovation Days, the first version of a new European Artificial Intelligence (AI) startup landscape was presented, which includes over 500 startups from Germany, Sweden and France. Supported by the German Entrepreneurship and the German Accelerator program as well as Vinnova - Sweden's innovation agency - appliedAI, Ignite Sweden, AI Sweden, RISE Research Institutes of Sweden as well as Hub France IA developed a list of the top AI startups in their respective countries which have been combined to provide an overview of the best AI startups in Europe. The goal of this landscape is to give companies guidance and promising startups a visible platform, benefiting both parties and driving the adoption of AI. Following the initial launch of the landscape, which includes Germany, Sweden and France, other European AI initiatives will be asked to participate in order to grow the landscape to include startups from even more countries.

With the objective to foster and accelerate AI in Europe, appliedAI by UnternehmerTUM, Ignite Sweden, AI Sweden and RISE Research Institutes of Sweden came together to start the initial steps in mapping the AI startup ecosystem in Europe. By creating a centralized database of quality AI startups, corporations and SMEs will have easier access to AI partners they can trust. All startups displayed have AI at their core or exhibit a significant usage of AI. They were founded less than ten years ago or pivoted their core business model less than ten years ago and their headquarters or founder are based in Europe. Each startup was put forth and verified by the organization(s) of its respective country.

Key findings

A total of over 500 startups from over 25 industries met the analysts' high standards. A complete overview can be found here. Top represented industries are: Cross-industry (12.07%), Information Technology and Services (11.25%), Health and Pharma (9.41%), Transport and Mobility (7.57%), Retail and Commerce (7.36%), Manufacturing (6.34%), Enterprise Software (5.73%), Consulting (5.11%), Finance and Insurance (4.91%).


There are several reasons why collaboration between startups and fully developed companies is a great option, not only for both parties – but for the economy as a whole: While almost all companies require a broad selection of AI solutions, startups focus on one specific niche. They provide the necessary solutions with the latest technology. Also, AI systems increase in performance with more data and applications. Therefore, in non-competitive use cases, a technology from a startup that supplies many companies tends to perform better than a stand-alone solution for one specific application in one company. Additionally, AI is a fundamentally challenging task to implement in the eye of a rapidly increasing need to develop new roles, adapt processes, collect data, hire new skills, or work in agile settings. Partnering with startups helps companies to get rid of some of these challenges and allows them to focus on value creation.

AI in Germany

Currently, the US and China are leading in the adoption of AI, so it’s no surprise that according to the yearly CB Insights AI 100 list – 65% of the best AI startups in the world are American. Although Germany is one of the world’s powerhouses of industry, with a particularly strong network of SMEs, it is underrepresented in the number of top AI startups. In 2018, not a single German AI startup made the CB Insights list. This alarmed the team at appliedAI, Germany's largest initiative for the application of AI technology. appliedAI works to bring together the best in artificial intelligence technology, companies, entrepreneurship, and academia to accelerate the adoption of AI. That is why appliedAI – with the help of 40+ partners from academia, government and industry – set out to create an ecosystem in which AI startups can flourish and help shape the future of AI for the benefit of society. With this in mind the first German AI Startup Landscape was created in 2018 with 132 startups mapped. In 2020, this German list has grown to include 247 startups from over 20 industries.


The startups of the new European landscape are gathered from the different public and private (i.e. VC network) sources to create an extensive longlist. They are evaluated based on data, talent, AI methods, scalability, overall quality and subsequently clustered.The startups are initially rated (‘valid’, ‘upcoming’, ‘longlist’, and ‘discarded’) by AI Engineers and Strategists to create a shortlist. The shortlist is independently evaluated and rated by renowned contributors: Digital+ Partners, Earlybird Capital, eCAPITAL, Google, High-Tech Gründerfonds, HV Holtzbrinck Ventures, Lakestar, NVIDIA, Speedinvest, and Unternehmertum Venture Capital Partners. The feedback is synthesized and the final result is visualized.

About appliedAI:

appliedAI is Germanys largest initiative for the application of AI technology with the vision to lift the whole country into the AI age. appliedAI was formed as a neutral and trustworthy initiative that acts both as a platform and service provider. We take our responsibility in the ecosystem seriously and aim to advance each and every partner to the next level of AI maturity. We work on the technological challenges, both in the application and applied research, from a strategic and innovation standpoint as well as with a perspective on education and people development. Our activities and services are primarily determined by the partners that join the initiative. Our founding partners were among others BMW, Google, Infineon, Linde, NVIDIA, and Siemens. appliedAI is part of UnternehmerTUM. UnternehmerTUM is one of the largest innovation centers in Europe and a non-profit. As a neutral platform for entrepreneurship and innovation, more than 200 employees serve more than 2500 individuals, >100 startups, and >100 companies per year.

UnternehmerTUM – Europe’s leading Center for Innovation and Business Creation

UnternehmerTUM is a unique platform for the development of innovations. UnternehmerTUM actively identifies innovative technologies and initiates new business through the systematic networking of talents, technologies, capital and customers. UnternehmerTUM offers founders and startups a complete service from the initial idea to IPO. A team of 240 experienced entrepreneurs, including scientists and investors, supports startups with business creation, market entry and financing – also with venture capital. For established companies, a team of experienced consultants offers access to the UnternehmerTUM ecosystem. UnternehmerTUM has many years of expertise in the development of innovation strategies and the implementation of technology-driven business ideas. Founded in 2002 by the entrepreneur Susanne Klatten, UnternehmerTUM is the leading center for innovation and business creation in Europe with more than 50 high-growth technology startups every year - including Celonis, Konux and Lilium.

About Ignite Sweden

Innovation is crucial. Establishing tighter bonds between Sweden’s vibrant startup scene and the country's thriving, established companies is necessary to increase the pace of innovation and economic growth. Ignite Sweden is a program led by Kista Science City, LEAD, Minc, Sahlgrenska Science City, Sting, THINGS and Uminova Innovation, in collaboration with SISP – Swedish Incubators and Science Parks. Ignite is co-funded by Vinnova – Sweden’s innovation agency, the Swedish Energy Agency and Tillväxtverket - the Swedish Agency for Economic and Regional Growth.

Since its start in 2017, Ignite has organized matchmaking events in Sweden and abroad connecting 545 startups with 178 corporates, resulting in 3152‬‬ meetings and most importantly 100+ commercial collaborations.

AI Sweden

AI Sweden is the Swedish National Center for applied Artificial Intelligence, supported by the Swedish government and the public and private sectors across the country. The mission is to increase the use of AI for the benefit of our society, Swedish competitiveness, and for everyone living in Sweden.

To achieve this, AI Sweden runs projects of national interest in areas such as information-driven healthcare, AI solutions for the Swedish language, data-driven journalism, and AI to help tackle climate change. The center provides targeted training for partners and the general public. The Data Factory enables partners to AI Sweden to make available and access data and make use of computing power and storage capacity in AI projects.


RISE is Sweden’s research institute and innovation partner. Through our international collaboration programmes with industry, academia and the public sector, we ensure the competitiveness of the Swedish business community on an international level and contribute to a sustainable society. Our 2,800 employees engage in and support all types of innovation processes. RISE is an independent, State-owned research institute, which offers unique expertise and over 100 testbeds and demonstration environments for future-proof technologies, products and services.

About Hub France IA

Hub France IA is a non-profit association, driving and federating European AI initiatives in France. Hub France IA’s mission is to promote the rapid growth of the French and European AI ecosystem to foster the emergence of new players, strengthen the competitiveness and sustainability of French companies in order to stimulate the adoption of AI in all sectors.

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