Artificial Intelligence in Stockholm
One of the most talked about technologies in the world, artificial intelligence or AI, is no longer just part of science fiction fantasies but has in the words of US president Barack Obama “been seeping into our lives in all sorts of ways”. Gartner identified AI as the Top Technology Trend of 2017.
It is here, but in contrast to Sci-Fi favorites like The Matrix or Terminator it is not looking like a big threatening danger. While questions are still being raised concerning how it will change our society, the development of new intelligent products and services are booming like never before.
For example, an AI bot became an official board member of Nordic tech giant Tieto, and it has voting rights!
In Stockholm, some of the Unicorn companies like Klarna or Spotify apply artificial and extended intelligence as an integral and sometimes unnoticed part of their product and business. For others, AI is at the centre of the product they are selling. Recently the Stockholm.ai community started a series of meetups based on the subject of AI. It’s open to entrepreneurs, developers, techies and investors who wants to know why Stockholm is a great place for running AI companies.
Here is an overview of some of the most interesting players within the AI community in Stockholm as well as some very new members of the AI scene.
With more than three years in business, Watty is already a seasoned AI-startup:
- Founded 2013, Watty is a market leading machine learning platform which provides customers with an instant and online measurement of their energy consumption broken down to individual household appliances.
- Watty has received funding on a number of occasions, most notably a 3 Million € round closed in July 2016. Major investors include Cleantech Invest and EQT Ventures.
- CEO Hjalmar Nilsonne has a history within green tech from the award winning Black Silicon Solar company,
Not quite as hyped but definitely worth listening to is Doremir
- Doremir takes apps like Shazam to a new level by transforming recorded sounds and melodies into notations.
- Founded in 2008 by two Svens, Ahlbäck and Emtell, both researchers within the field of music and cognition, they released their app ScoreCloud in 2013.
- CEO, Bengt Lidgard joined 2013 in a year that saw outlets like The Guardian, Wired and Forbes write about the product.
- Swedish VC fund Almi Invest is backing the project along side Swedish and foreign investors.
Also active within the music industry and entertainment in general is the young startup Mima
- Officially launched in March 2016, Mima creates advanced platforms for a real time understanding of entertainment.
- Uses AI and deep learning to track trends as they unfold to provide valuable insights into the newest developments of music, television, movies and games.
- Named after the all knowing computer in the Sci-Fi poem Aniara by Swedish Nobel laureate Harry Martinson.
Like Mima, from the same class of 2016, comes the new kid Henry:
- Henry is a virtual assistance tool designed to collect thoughts and insights from employees.
- Helps track the work-life balance and employee happiness within teams and departments.
- Founded by Fred Abrahamson, Tommy Engström and Vedran Ismaili.
- Founded in january 2016 and located in SUP46.
Startups focussing on AI are shooting up in a rapid pace and some are still in stealth mode. Last year offered an interesting bunch of noticeable companies like the following four startups:
Have a talk with Shim.
- Shim is the clever and understanding friend, who is 100% artificial.
- Through talking with Shim, users get a better understanding of themselves and can create stronger relations with loved ones, according to the company website.
- Hoa Ly has a phd degree in psychology and works as a DJ besides being a Shim Co-founder in a group of psychologists, researchers, writers, engineers and designers.
- Founded in May 2015, Shim is still in Beta but can be tested on their website.
- Healthi Habits uses a combination of artificial intelligence, machine learning and behavioral economics to discover healthy habits and help people make sustainable behavioral changes.
- Situated in Stockholms new hub for E-Health, H2 Health Hub together with multiple startups like VR firm Mimerse and prize winning Qinematic.
- Founded in December 2015 they have an initial focus on diabetes patients but are looking to expand to other user groups
2015 also saw the light of two new companies, Dooer and Qvitoo, both planing to take on and disrupt the well established and time-consuming accounting sector.
- Dooer develops modern bookkeeping with an AI software solution that automatically handles all invoice information without the need of an accountant.
- Founded by serial entrepreneur Sam Nurmi who according to breakit.se earned close to half a billion SEK on the sale of his previous company Pingdom. According to the same outlet the company took in 40 million SEK over the summer 2016, the majority coming from Sam Nurmi himself.
- Approaching it’s first birthday the company already counts more than 30 employees.
- Qvitoo helps founders and entrepreneurs keep track of invoices an receipts by a simply taking a photo — the rest is taken care of by the software and AI.
- Besides offering a service for professionals, Qvitoo also focus on consumers who can easily track and keep count of their own expenses.
- Their services integrates with the most common accounting software on the market.
- Founded by Henrik Feldt, who has 10 years of experience as a software consultant and Mikko Lappalainen in 2015.
With the help of extended intelligence from advanced computers it’s no wonder that many companies have a dual focus on big data and AI. These three companies have very different products but all works across the two fields.
- Gavagai was founded by data scientists Magnus Sahlgren and Jussi Karlgren in 2008, Gavagai specializes in real time data analysis of large text samples.
- Valued at 62 Million SEK in the fall of 2015 when the company raised 10 Million SEK in their second seed round.
- Their Explorer tool is optimized for analyzing text data from open answers in questionnaires, a process which is usually done manually and is very time consuming.
- Founded in 2010 by Arash Pendari, Vionlabs has been on a journey to develop an analytics tool that helps movie producers, streaming sites and network operators learn the entertainment habits of their customers.
- Having previously focused on a B2C solution, Vionlabs is now focusing on B2B.
- Among the investors are the VC Northzone, the board leader from another Swedish startup, Truecaller, Stefan Lenhammer and famous Swedish actor Michael Nyqvist.
- Same investors opted in for 25 Million SEK in the companies first round 2015. A smaller round was closed in January 2016.
- Haaartland SaaS startup that offers a deeper understanding and insights about companies target audience.
- Uses big data and machine learning as primary tools and was joined by investor and advisor Mattias Östmar early 2016 to get a sharper focus on AI developments.
- Founded 2014 by Niklas Lohmann, Sriram Elango and Stefan Krafft.
- Propel Capital invested $0,3 million in an early stage seed round 2015
Whith the number of AI focused startups growing and the interest from both industry, policy and investors, it is very likely that AI in Stockholm will play an even bigger role in the future. And chances are that you are already using an AI integrated product from Stockholm. With more than 1,7 million users world wide Fishbrain is the worlds most popular social network for anglers. They use artificial intelligence to let it’s community know the best time to catch big fish and most importantly where.
In a previous article on Medium about VR in Stockholm I wrote about the startup Gleechi, who specialices in making hand simulations to be used by developers within games, healthcare, robotics and more. Their award winning Virtual Grasp is partly based on deep machine learning and AI.
Groundbreaking research is also being made in a world seemingly far removed from the Startup scene. In the southern outskirts of central Stockholm lies Peltarion, a more than ten year old consultancy group focusing on all things AI-related. A project worth noticing is their corporation with The Lulu Art Group which among other things has resulted in a system for computer generated choreography. Companies like Dooer, Thingmap, Norwegian Meltwater and Augify all have in common that they have been working with the local Graph-Technologies, a consultancy that build machine learning products and advices, mentors and trains entrepreneurs and companies about the ins and outs of AI.
Recently the data security company EyeonID went public and the startup Imago received a new investment from local business angels. The AI revolution has definitively hit Stockholm and the coming years will most likely show an increase in new deep learning startups.
Thanks to Roelof Pieters for contributing to this post.