Amsterdam-based new venture capital firm Curiosity has rolled out its early-stage fund with maiden investment of €0.8 million in Dutch ‘explainable AI’ startup Deeploy. Focusing on early-stage investments in AI-driven software companies in the Benelux, Nordics, and Baltics, the Dutch VC will invest in sectors such as enterprise software, marketing, and e-commerce, fintech, cybersecurity, legaltech, and proptech.
With a community-driven approach, it aims to grow towards a fund size of €50 million to invest in 20 software companies.
Founded by Herman Kienhuis, former managing director of KPN Ventures and Maurice Beckand Verwee, founder of startup investor Crosspring, the fund has already roped in 35 investors. This includes co-founders of BinckBank, Scoupy, Litebit and SecurityMatters. Interestingly, entrepreneurs supported by Curiosity also become co-owners of the fund.
The machine language operations (MLOps) platform, Deeploy is working towards making AI explainable and accountable. Founded in August 2020 by Bastiaan van de Rakt, Tim Kleinloog, Maarten Stolk, and Nick Jetten, the Dutch startup will use the maiden funding for further software development. In the long term, it plans to further develop the current cloud-based software into a full SaaS solution.
“AI is on the verge of its big breakthrough and will soon add substantial value to countless industries. This also means there's an increased focus on the transparency and accountability of the decisions made by algorithms, and the European Union is working on new regulations regarding the use of AI as we speak. Deeploy’s software fits in perfectly with these developments, and the four founders have the right expertise, execution power and to help companies with an effective product offering,” Herman Kienhuis, co-founder of Curiosity said.
"By making both entrepreneurs and advisors co-owners of the fund, a cross-fertilisation of various expertise and knowledge is stimulated, which makes for a strong supporting network,” said Bastiaan van de Rakt, co-founder of Deeploy.