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2024-07-08
 

The winners of the first ELSA Industry Call have been announced

Issuing its first Industry Call last year, the network of excellence “ELSA – European Lighthouse on Secure and Safe AI” called on startups as well as small and medium-sized enterprises to collaborate with ELSA on the development of secure and trustworthy AI applications. After reviewing more than 200 ambitious applications, a jury composed of internal and external experts has now selected five companies. Over the next six months, they will be working together with ELSA researchers from across Europe and receive EU funding for their projects.

The ELSA Industry Call was initiated by the ELSA Innovation Lab. With the Innovation Lab, the ELSA network of excellence has established a constant dialogue between academic research and industry, ensuring that its research activities align with real needs and applications. Each of the five Industry Call winners will receive 60,000 euros of EU funding and work together with ELSA researchers on innovative AI methods, software solutions and benchmarks in the application areas that ELSA focuses on: health, autonomous driving, robotics, multimedia, IT security and document intelligence.

These companies will be collaborating with ELSA

Prevailing against their competitors, the following small and medium-sized companies came out on top with their projects: Algomo (UK), Oasys Now (NL), OttCT (MK), QuantPi (DE) and Sarus (FR). All of these companies are working on various aspects of trustworthy and secure AI that might enable social progress. ELSA coordinator and CISPA-Faculty Professor Dr. Mario Fritz says: "The exchange with young entrepreneurs working on innovative AI applications is of great value to ELSA. It enables the top researchers in the ELSA network to contribute their expertise to the development of applications and thus to advance the projects significantly. In turn, they gain important insights into the needs of end users and of the industry."

„Der Austausch mit jungen Unternehmer:innen, die an innovativen KI-Anwendungen arbeiten, ist für ELSA von großem Wert. Die Spitzenforschenden im ELSA-Netzwerk können ihre Fachexpertise bei der Entwicklung der Anwendungen einbringen und die Projekte so entscheidend voranbringen. Umgekehrt erhalten sie wichtige Einblicke in die Bedürfnisse von Endnutzer:innen und der Industrie.“

Mario Fritz
CISPA-Faculty und ELSA-Koordinator

Algomo

Algomo offers businesses AI-supported solutions for their customer service. Algomo uses generative artificial intelligence to train chatbots that can be integrated into company websites and that process customer inquiries efficiently. If necessary, customer inquiries are forwarded to the respective members of staff. "Working with Europe's leading AI researchers and institutions provides a unique opportunity to improve our AI solutions and make them more adaptable and effective for different customer service scenarios", says Charis Sfyrakis, Algomo founder and CEO.

OttCT

OttCT is an advanced AI tool that scans the social media content of crypto companies and analyzes their online activity to detect false information or fraudulent behavior. Since people with lower levels of financial literacy are more vulnerable to fraud, OttCT is committed to providing all investors with the tools and information they need to make informed investment decisions, regardless of their financial background. "We responded to the ELSA Industry Call because of the value of the fresh views and support by our scientific advisor in solving the possible issue of poisoning attacks, but also for improving our model through the integration of three other social media platforms," says OttCT Cofounder and CEO Mirko Kikovic, explaining his team's motivation to apply.

OASYS NOW

OASYS NOW is a Dutch company working on privacy-friendly technologies that are intended to revolutionize the use of health data in clinical research and healthcare, enabling personalized healthcare for all. Working with ELSA, the team hopes to engage with key industry partners such as consortium members NVDIA and EMBL as well as gene researchers. "We believe that Privacy Enhancing Technologies and federated approaches are among the key technologies for conducting cross-border clinical research. It was exciting to see a European initiative for secure AI inviting innovative startups in this field to collaborate with academic and industrial partners to put into practice the future we have been working towards at OASYS NOW", says Nima Salami, CEO and co-founder of OASYS NOW.

QuantPi

QuantPi is a Saarbrücken-based AI Trust company that helps organizations safely accelerate their AI transformation. Through automated risk and performance assessments, the black boxes of AI are made transparent, explainable and compliant with regulations or internal guidelines. "We see collaboration with all partners along the AI value chain, but especially with top researchers, as a crucial part of progress. The six-month timeframe will give us the opportunity to focus on innovating AI-based malware detection systems" says Lukas Bieringer, Head of Policy and Grants at QuantPi.

Sarus

With its product of the same name, Sarus, a French company, makes it possible to share and protect sensitive data for analysis purposes and for training machine learning models. Nicolas Grislain, Sarus co-founder and CSO, explains the technology behind it: "Differential Privacy makes traditional anonymization methods irrelevant, saving months in compliance and data engineering while preserving all the value of the data." Collaborating with the ELSA network, the Sarus team hopes that they will be able to exchange ideas with AI practitioners and to familiarize them with the latest technologies for better data protection.

About ELSA – European Lighthouse on Secure and Safe AI

ELSA is a virtual center of excellence that drives research in the field of safe and trustworthy artificial intelligence. A large and growing network of top European experts in AI and machine learning, ELSA aims to promote the development and deployment of cutting-edge AI solutions in the future and to make Europe a global beacon of artificial intelligence. ELSA builds on and expands the internationally recognized and excellently positioned network of excellence ELLIS (European Laboratory for Learning and Intelligent Systems).

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