From Czechia, a new fund for CEE’s AI start-ups

The goal of Look AI Ventures is to highlight promising AI projects on the European market, focusing on the CEE region.

Artificial intelligence (AI) start-ups across Central and Eastern Europe received a boost this week with the launch of a new investment dedicated exclusively to AI solutions.

Prague-based AI Start-up Incubator’s (AISI) Look AI Ventures is the first such investment fund in Czechia to focus entirely on AI start-ups, and is looking to raise 20 million euros to invest in early-stage companies addressing major markets with AI-driven solutions at their core.

Over the past five years, AISI has built its own scouting network, unique evaluation methods, and processes specifically designed for the AI industry. By focusing on innovative companies in the pre-seed and seed stages with high potential for growth and application of AI technology in key sectors, AISI has successfully added nine AI start-ups to its portfolio.

According to PwC, AI has the potential to contribute up to 15.7 trillion US dollars to the global economy by 2030.

However, despite AI being one of the fastest-growing technology industries worldwide, North America and China mainly account for the most significant economic gains. Due to the rapidly increasing number of favourable investment opportunities in AI, AISI partners decided to establish a fund of qualified investors. Their goal is to highlight promising AI projects on the European market, focusing on the CEE region.

A proven megatrend

“Artificial intelligence is in a unique situation,” says Martin Dostál, Chief Science Officer and Partner at AI Start-up Incubator and a member of the Look AI Ventures Investment Committee.

“On the one hand, it is a proven megatrend, but at the same time, it is far from reaching its full potential. Regarding the economic situation, we view the timing of the market as extremely favourable, given there are high-quality projects under much better conditions than in recent years.”

Look AI Ventures fund (LAIV) SICAV incorporates all AISI know-how, a network of contacts, and partners into its structure, along with an existing portfolio of nine start-ups including successful projects such as Trackbar from Austria or Swiss Visense.

In addition to investment, the AISI team offers mentorship – business and technical support in the artificial intelligence sphere – to the start-ups within its portfolio.

“A fund focused on AI is good news for start-ups that develop deep tech and are looking for investors who understand them from a technology perspective,” says Ivo Denemark, director of the Start-ups and Innovative SMEs Division at CzechInvest.

“Such a strategic partner can better understand the potential and value of the startup. At the same time, they can bring not only finance but also industry know-how to the growth of start-ups”.

Disruptors wanted

The LAIV fund was established by an experienced team of managers, entrepreneurs, and technology and artificial intelligence experts.

The founders are major Czech investors with over 20 years of experience: Daniel Kunz, Pavel Rosendorf, and Alexander Brányik.

The team also consists of AISI partners Martin Havlík, Martin Dostál, and Angelo Burgarello, who are members of the LAIV Investment Committee and manage the scouting and evaluation processes of investments.

The LAIV fund focuses on AI start-ups in pre-seed and seed stages with the potential to disrupt major industries. The targeted investment amount in one start-up is 250.000 euros, with the possibility of reinvesting up to one million euros into start-ups that will show the largest potential in the following years.

The team aims to build the LAIV fund’s portfolio of at least 35 start-ups over the next three years. The fund is currently in the process of fundraising.

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