Amsterdam: a leading force in AI

For the past couple of months, Amsterdam has been doubling down on projects and initiatives that further develop the conversation about AI and machine learning (ML). From Rockstart launching the first AI-themed startup accelerator and Growth Tribe announcing the world’s first AI for Marketing & Growth course to the huge success that was World Summit AI – Amsterdam's AI scene is simply thriving. In the words of Wired (in response to Amsterdam becoming a vibrant startup hub), “they are really going gangbusters.” And now, we are really going gangbusters to make Amsterdam the centre point for AI.

We wanted Dutch and international corporates to join us on this mission, so we at StartupAmsterdam hosted an AI-themed event and invited our Corporate Network – as well as five startups and five initiatives working with AI technology. The main objective was to discuss the latest developments in Amsterdam’s AI scene, create a bridge between the parties involved and establish yet another knowledge-sharing environment.

The event was divided into three parts (expert keynotes, peer-to-peer roundtable sessions and networking) and took place at Startup Village’s newly opened Venture Studios. Or as moderator and tech-entrepreneur Jim Stolze said in his opening remarks: “where else does one host an AI-themed event if not in the heart of Amsterdam Science Park?”

Expert speakers in AI and machine learning

The first expert keynote was held by Marcel Worring – the director of the Informatics Institute and a key figure from the Amsterdam Data Science initiative. He gave insights into the latest academic developments and trends in AI – as well as how companies can leverage this knowledge. During his Q&A session, Marcel was asked why he considered Amsterdam the place to be for AI enthusiasts and practitioners. His answer: the city is undeniably paving the way in AI research. Globally, there are few universities that offer AI degrees; yet, Amsterdam boasts 250 of them (bachelor and master programmes alike), offered under one roof at the Amsterdam School of Data Science, including other computer science and data science courses. He also highlighted that the number of students who want to study AI has been steadily increasing.

Out of the five peer-to-peer sessions that followed, the most popular topics were moderated by Colin Meulema from NVIDIA (“What can deep learning do for your business?”) and Marije Ferwerda from IBM (“The importance of augmented intelligence for innovating your business”). These roundtables – which help establish a knowledge-sharing environment – play a vital role in the Corporate Network events.

The second speaker of the day was a thought leader in AI, New York-based Oliver Christie. As an ambassador for digital transformation, Oliver stressed that companies should reinvent their businesses so that AI is not just an integrated part, but a main driver of business. He continued that it is essential for companies to embrace this technological advancement to avoid fading into the abyss like Kodak and Blockbuster. In short, companies need to remain relevant.

An impressive line-up of startups and iniatives

The five startups that took part in the event were Applyr, Aiir Innovations, SightCorp, My Reputation Lab and Artifam. The five initiatives were ACE’s Innovators Tribe, Rockstart, Amsterdam Data Science, Info Support and a newly announced collaboration between Startupbootcamp and ACE. Each of these startups and initiatives were given the opportunity to ‘pitchֹ’ themselves to the corporates in an informal way, make meaningful connections and – of course – explore potential collaborations. Fingers crossed for good news when we follow up with them!

On behalf of the entire StartupAmsterdam team, thank you to all the corporates, startups and AI initiatives that joined us for this event. Stay tuned for upcoming gatherings!

If you represent a corporate that wants to join Amsterdam’s Corporate Network, please email Eline Vliegen at [email protected] or request a Corporate Profile directly.

And if you’re an Amsterdam-based startup that would like to collaborate with a particular corporate, check out the corporate profiles and get in touch!