The co-founded by the Bulgarians Prof. Martin Vechev and Dr. Petar Tsankov startup LatticeFlow, a spin-off from ETH Zurich, has announced a $2.8M financing round. The round was led by btov, a European venture capital firm known for its investments in DeepL, SumUp, and Volocopter, and Global Founders Capital, the largest tech fund in Europe that previously backed Zalando, Revolut, and Slack.
“Our mission is to bridge this gap and enable AI teams to build and confidently deploy trustworthy AI models. The widespread adoption of AI hinges on our ability to build AI models we can trust,” shared Peter Tsankov, CEO of the company. This is not the first success for the two founders, who have other two spin-off startups: ChainSecurity that they sold to PwC in January 2020, and DeepCode, an AI-powered platform for code analysis that was acquired by Snyk, a unicorn valued at $2.6B in September the same year.
A hybrid domain of AI
Apart from Tsankov and Vechev, Pavol Bielik and Prof. Andreas Krause are also part of the founding team. The mission of LatticeFlow is to build a new generation of AI that is more trustworthy than the rest of the technology which is currently on the market. “At the moment, there are two main generations in AI – the first one in AI relies on symbolic reasoning – as in mathematical logic, wherefrom knowing that a implies b and b implies c, we can conclude that a implies c. The second one is the so-called deep learning, which learns how to solve complex tasks from extensive databases.” Tsankov explains. The goal of the team is to create a third generation in AI, which will combine the benefits of the ones already existing, namely the ability to learn complex operations thanks to symbolic reasoning and is capable of dealing with big amounts of data. Although in the ideal scenario this next generation in AI is adopted by all industries, for now, the priority sectors for LatticeFlow are the banking, insurance, healthcare ones. “Right now, we are mostly focusing on tasks around computer vision as it is a booming trend in healthcare where people process medical images on a daily basis. Engineering companies are also using computer vision to automate the manufacturing process and for quality inspections. Governments also are quite interested in it,” says Tsankov.
The next steps
The deployment of a beta version of the AI solution for pilot customers is planned for mid-May or June. The startup already works with several large enterprises and governments in Europe and the US Army, such as the Swiss railways (SBB), and Germany’s Federal Cyber Security Bureau; another company on the list is Boeing, with whom LatticeFlow signed a letter of intent. It may take 3 to 5 years for the AI solution to be distributed. This suggests that LatticeFlow will need long-term investors that trust the researchers and are ready to back them up. For their series A round, the team has turned its eyes towards one of the most influential investors in Silicon Valley. “Once we deploy, we will need customer stories from companies that are convinced in the product and satisfied with it. This will be a solid base to scale as Series A investors would look at that,” Tsankov says.