Amsterdam will host Europe’s first AI accelerator, and global AI events

The local startup community has begun to embrace AI. Amsterdam-based accelerator Rockstart recently launched the region’s first AI-focused accelerator. Ten startups will receive seed money and in-kind funding, plus a host of perks and deals worth several hundred thousand euros. One of the ten will also receive guaranteed funding from a lead investor, a testament perhaps to how aggressively AI startups will be encouraged in the future. Amsterdam will also host the World Summit AI this October, an event that brings together over 100 of the top minds in AI, and more than 2000 entrepreneur and explorers. The organisers believe that AI is the single most disruptive technology the world has seen since the first industrial revolution, and they may well be right.

AI could double economic growth by 2035, according to studies

Global management consultancy Accenture has recently released a report on the impact of AI on select economies. The Accenture Institute for High Performance modelled the impact of AI on the 12 developed economies – including the Dutch economy – that together generate more than 50 percent of the world’s economic output. The report provided two projected economic growth rates for 2035, one a baseline and the other based on a likely AI scenario. The report projected a 3.2% growth for the Netherlands once the impact of AI is absorbed into the economy, that’s double the 1.6% baseline economy for the non-AI scenario. Similar results were seen across the board, and some economies such as Japan’s were projected to triple.

Amsterdam is already home several AI startups, and more are on the way

While the Rockstart accelerator may be the first of its kind in the region, AI startups have been making their way into Amsterdam’s economy for a while. Image-recognition startup Bundle (a 2014 Startupbootcamp launch) was recently acquired by Resnap, a company that makes beautiful albums. And the machine-learning experts of Scyfer (2013) have built a strong list of clients that includes ABN Amro, Akzo Nobel and Tata Steel. More recent AI startups have also met with significant investor enthusiasm, like AI-powered HR technology platform Harver, who recently announced a €7.1 million Series A funding. And others still have met with great online buzz, like Zazu’s personal assistant AI Emma. Thanks to the work of these innovators, and the encouragement they receive from the city and its institutions, the future of AI in Amsterdam seems bright indeed.