AI made in Germany is better than its reputation

Okay, it has to be said: it could be more invested in AI in Germany, policies could be more supportive, and China and the US are ahead. Nevertheless, the German AI discourse tends to be dramatic, comparing European apples with Chinese pears

Start-up Village at DMEXCO 2018
Start-up Village at DMEXCO 2018

Germany and the rest of Europe are not simply left behind by the fact that individual cities in China that are largely unknown in the western world provide more money for AI than an average G7 member. Most Europeans would not even want to have the associated applications for free. After all, these include comprehensive monitoring systems with ever more sophisticated facial recognition features. There is little point in comparing investments, for which there is no social acceptance and therefore no market.

The German AI scene may be quite manageable compared to Silicon Valley or China’s start-up factories, but that is simply reason to exert more effort, not panic. Germany already has more good start-ups than many skeptics believe. Here are some examples:

Artisense: the intelligent visual aid for machines

The Munich startup wants to make autonomous driving easier, cheaper and safer. The Artisense software provides real-time computer readable maps for machines, not humans. “Dynamic 3D Mapping” is the name of the new technology, which uses simple hardware to produce navigation data while driving and is not dependent on GPRS. It is used, for example, in delivery robots. Artisense is a good example of AI made in Germany with international potential. It was founded as a spin-off from the Technical University of Munich and still operates in the Munich suburb of Garching, but has since opened its headquarters in Palo Alto. Its COO is Till Kaestner, former head of LinkedIn Germany.

Ferret: the social media analyzer

The company from Bernau near Berlin is almost an oldie among AI companies. It was founded in 2012 by two computer scientists and two advertising managers, among them Benjamin Minack, the current president of the agency association GWA. Ferret consists of applied computer linguistics. The system analyzes and monitors community contributions, identifies trolls, sorts out hate speech and bad language, and can moderate communities on its own. It is used by Tagesschau, Spiegel Online and Focus, among others.

i2x: selling is everything

The Berlin AI startup was founded by former StudiVZ boss Michael Brehm. It is intended to support sales and service employees in customer conversations. The software analyses dialogs and makes suggestions for improvement. It is even possible to enter a list of phrases and words to avoid before the conversation. i2X listens and acts as a personal trainer when the dialog takes a wrong turn. Of course, this requires that the telephone calls can be recorded and that the customer agrees to this. Vodafone and Siemens are already using the technology. i2X collected more than 10 million euro in venture capital at the beginning of 2019.

Parlamind: the service manager

Parlamind is an AI startup from Berlin that offers solutions for service communication. The software analyses text and voice messages, organizes dialog with customers and even interacts itself. It is used as a kind of digital employee, who answers customer inquiries independently and assists its human colleagues. Parlamind calls it “the intelligent customer care team member”. The two founders Tanja Klüwer and Tobias Lehmann have sold their company to the 4Technologx Group in Hanover, but are still on board as managing directors.

Webdata Solutions: the e-commerce radar

The AI startup made in Saxony is the result of a research project conducted at the University of Leipzig. It is built around the analysis software Blackbee, which collects and evaluates prices, product ranges and product characteristics on the internet, and provides competitors with a basis for making decisions. This enables them to respond more quickly to new market developments and adapt their price models. Webdata has been a certified Microsoft partner since 2019.

Adspert: bid management for Amazon Marketing Services

The Berlin-based company is one of the long-runners in terms of AI and marketing. The two founders Stephanie Richter and Marcel Pirlich have been offering bid management since 2010 based on AI technology proven in the stock market sector. Initially designed for Google Ads, Microsoft Advertising and the Russian search engine counterpart Yandex, Adspert is a true pioneer in Amazon Marketing Services, the gamechanger in e-commerce marketing par excellence. After implementing the new features and especially product targeting in the Amazon Advertising API, Adspert is currently the only fully automated system that supports this new control for all important types of Amazon advertising campaigns.

The bottom line:

Germans sometimes tend to talk down their country when it comes to AI. In fact, there are a lot of interesting startups here that are attracting international attention. DMEXCO offers a good overview for decision-makers looking for know-how or cooperation partners. The Future Park, a platform for innovative companies of all types and sizes, will be opening for the first time at this year’s trade fair. Here (or in another Expo area), German startups have the opportunity to present themselves to an international audience, including numerous investors. Venture capitalists can gain an excellent overview of the outstanding ideas the German startup scene has to offer.