Getting started as a new artificial intelligence startup is very difficult, without proper financing life becomes very difficult. Startups hope to avoid this so-called “Valley of Death” with the help of LUMO Labs. Founder Andy Lürling guides startups for about two years with the market introduction and financing: “For me, artificial intelligence is being able to interpret data and that a system can provide an internal improvement.”
Who is Andy Lürling?
“I’m an entrepreneur who started investing and set up a fund. I’m a generalist and I believe my major or most unique skill is that I am a pragmatic system thinker. I oversee the whole and can thus help to break through silo thinking, whereby don’t look at the short-term gain, but a mid-and long-term added value”
What is LUMO Labs?
“LUMO Labs is an impact-driven company that invests in startups focusing on AI/Data, blockchain, robotics/drones, IoT, and/or VR and AR. These startups often come from universities, such as the Eindhoven University of Technology, and other knowledge institutions. All these startups come are active within one or more of the following United Nations Sustainable Development Goals: Sustainable cities, health and wellbeing and education.
What is artificial intelligence?
“You have a general definition, which is how systems or machines mimic our own intelligence to perform tasks and improve themselves while performing these tasks based on the information gathered. The biggest mistake that is made is that people talk about artificial intelligence when it is not about artificial intelligence at all. This often concerns algorithms, for example, and that does not have to be machine learning. For me, artificial intelligence is being able to interpret data and that a system can provide an internal improvement.”
“I want to consult with other AI leaders to achieve greater clarity around AI. AI knows no boundaries, and when everyone has different rules and definitions for the same concept, things get messy. Mutual consultation is extremely important.”
LUMO Labs is impact-driven, what does that mean?
“Impact-driven means that we invest in startups and technologies that benefit people’s well-being. We want these companies to perform well and bring a return for our investors, but also that every euro that is earned has a positive impact. We invest in the software at an early stage and ask the companies to make an impact statement: How many people will they reach, what is a positive impact, what is the potential negative impact and how are you going to ensure that this does not occur? If these questions have been answered correctly, in the first three months we will look at how we can bring the business model in line with the impact statement.”
Are there any exciting projects LUMO Labs is working on?
“We like every startup we invest in, otherwise we won’t invest. One early-stage company that is doing very well right now is Autoscriber. They are developing AI-powered speech recognition and language processing technologies to transcribe data and conversations between doctors and their patients. Normally transcribing these conversations takes a lot of time, but thanks to this application, this administration time is greatly reduced. The data is also categorized, which in turn creates data sets that can be used for research. The company originated from the Leiden University Medical Center (LUMC) and is already using it, but we see that other hospitals are also eager to get started.”
“Another example is Citylegends, they’re part of the sustainable city project. They have developed an app that connects urban athletes, such as skateboarders. They can share tricks and locations where they can skate within the cities. With the collected data in the background, which of course considers the AVG legalization municipalities can gain insight into this group that is difficult to reach. Which locations do these athletes find interesting, and how can they be approached positively?”
What requirements must a startup meet for the funding?
The startups must have a well-founded plan for the product and/or service that they’re offering. We will also check whether the founders are made out of the right stuff and are coachable. And of course, we need to see the business case, whereby we always ask for an impact statement that we will measure during the investment. We have three funds, a pre-seed, seed and growth fund. The
pre-seed fund is totally focused on AI, coming from spinouts from Dutch Knowledge
institutes. With the seed and growth fund, we have a broader investment scope
“We’ll analyse if the startup is right for us if they meet our requirements. We’ll check with the founders and if they believe their idea will be a success. Furthermore, we’ll look at the product and/or service that they’re offering and if this product or service will make a big impact. Last but not least, LUMO Labs and the startup will check if we are the right party to invest and guide them.”
What is the mission of LUMO Labs?
We always say: “Good things are coming.” We believe that we can make the world a better place piece by piece, and that starts with the entrepreneurs. Entrepreneurs are the leaders of tomorrow. If we can guide them In a good way, on both a business and personal level, we contribute to a better world.
How can the AI ecosystem help you?
“At LUMO Labs we’re always looking for a deal flow, so we are happy to receive interesting decks that are within our investment focus. For the startups, we need lots of data. In The Netherlands, we have to take a good look at how we can share data in the right way. It’s important to generate loads of data to take machine learning to a whole new and higher level. This will improve our position in the international landscape.”
“Other than that, we have to take a look at the common elements and objectives of public-private partnerships and coorperation between corporates and startups. You will be surprised how important the role of startups and scaleups are in this ecosystem. A lot of parties like the government, lager corporates and the media are misjudging this at the moment.”