Merantix announces EUR 25M venture studio fund in Davos

Davos, January 23rd 2020 by Adrian Locher

Berlin-based Merantix, a venture studio building AI companies, has raised a EUR 25M fund. The funds will serve to finance the next batch of AI companies after having already successfully built three companies over the last three years.

The now announced fund includes notable anchor investors such as Trusted Insight, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, as well as further family offices from Europe. During the World Economic Forum in Davos, co-founder Adrian Locher said the successful fundraising “underpins Europe’s competitive ability with regards to new transformative technologies and validates the innovative potential of Berlin. We are very excited to spearhead AI’s incredible value potential and are eager to build more disruptive companies with our amazing team.”

His co-founder, Rasmus Rothe, added that “the limits of AI’s potential are yet to be discovered. But while research has progressed significantly over the last years, transfering know-how into real-world applications turned out to be more challenging. This is where Merantix comes in.”

AI on the rise

As the 21st century progresses, humanity is facing an expert-shortage in a variety of fields and subjects, spurred by an unseen population growth. As the world approaches 10B people with life standards assimilating world-wide, automation will become more crucial to provide an ubiquitous advanced quality of life. Additionally, human decision-making has always been error-prone but the technological advances of the past century have led to more fatal consequences than previously experienced. Heavy machinery, modern transportation and healthcare—while boosting capabilities we have simultaneously increased risks.

AI has the unique opportunity to make services and products available to more people than ever by automating production, maintenance and spread while reducing error rates and, thus, preventing accidents with fatal consequences.

Merantix believes that the emergence of AI will be the next big turning point. The software paradigm has had an enormous impact on the last 50 years. The paradigm of AI will be the decisive factor of the next 50.

Leading European AI development

With this ambitious vision in mind, Merantix was founded in 2016 by Adrian Locher and Rasmus Rothe. Adrian Locher is a Swiss serial entrepreneur and investor. He holds a degree in business and economics from the University of St. Gallen and has founded more than 10 companies both in Europe and the US. His co-founder, Rasmus Rothe, is a renowned deep learning researcher. He has published over 15 academic papers with more than 1000 citations while attending Oxford, Princeton, and ETH Zurich.

Merantix is built around the idea of being a platform for bringing AI from cutting edge research into real-world applications. This is achieved by both helping incumbent industries to successfully roll out AI projects and building the next generation of companies that run on AI as their core technology. Contrary to traditional investment funds, the studio model enables a steep in-house learning curve with close guidance for entrepreneurs and a shared operational infrastructure. Companies incubated within Meratix have full access to the code, data and insights of other Merantix companies yielding a significant advantage over competitors.

With the new fund, Merantix thrives to continue its path towards the leading ecosystem for AI innovation—based in Berlin, tackling global challenges. And with every company built, the nexus of industry partners, entrepreneurial talent and transformative ideas gains additional momentum.

A successful track record

Already today, Merantix has assembled teams of leading AI researchers and experienced entrepreneurs, and built three companies in different industries. Vara by Merantix Healthcare is Germany’s first approved AI software for cancer screening, having obtained regulatory approval for the European-wide roll-out in 2019. The company has formed alliances with multiple radiology groups and teleradiology providers across Europe and, already today, Vara is being deployed in five European countries. SiaSearch by Merantix Automotive is the category-leading search engine for petabyte scale ADAS and automated driving data. The unique technology automatically indexes and structures raw sensor data based on intuitive semantic attributes and keywords. Merantix Automotive is working in close collaboration with major OEMs, like Volkswagen, and is a key contributor to leading research projects by partners like the European Commission and the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs.