Vanessa Cann led the KI-Bundesverband, now its own startup. In contrast to OpenAI, Nyonic focuses on Europe and industry. A podcast.

AI expert: Vanessa Cann is building an AI startup for Europe with Nyonic. The team includes other well-known experts.
Vanessa Cann/Nyonic

Vanessa Cann actually wanted to go into politics, now she heads the AI ​​startup Nyonic. The AI ​​Act shows that both topics are closely intertwined. The EU wants to regulate the new technology, similar to the GDPR. It is unclear what the AI ​​law specifically means for companies like Nyonic. Legal certainty would be important so that start-ups can concentrate on their core business without fear that a compliance procedure will destroy the future of the young company.

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After all, AI companies involve huge sums of money. As a recent leak showed, OpenAI cost around 60 million dollars to train for its GPT4 model. In addition, there is around one million dollars for daily operations. While not every AI company will make it to the size of ChatGPT, which means certain costs will be lower. In addition, Nyonic, for example, can do without mistakes that OpenAI has made and thus save money, as Cann says in the podcast “So geht Startup” with the founding scene. Nevertheless, the costs for training, operation and staff are enormously high.

Nyonic wants to get away from the classic fundraising process

Vanessa Cann therefore speaks of going into a continuous fundraising process. That means there will be no classic Series A or B. Because collecting money for and making money with artificial intelligence is so laborious, the founding team consists of five AI experts who also have economic expertise. As CEO, Cann is something of a translator, she says. She had a similar role before, as co-head of the Federal Association for Artificial Intelligence.

She wants to make the complex technology understandable for society, politics and above all for companies. In contrast to ChatGPT and other generative AI applications, Nyonic focuses on industrial customers and their needs. According to Cann, most companies would experiment with ChatGPT, but would want to rely on a solution from Europe – if only so that data and IP do not migrate to the USA. “ChatGPT is both a blessing and a curse,” says Cann. On the one hand, many users now understand what language models are. On the other hand, most think that ChatGPT is the only use case.

AI experts in the Nyonic team

In addition to Cann, the team also includes other AI experts: Feiyu Xu is the Chief Innovation Officer and was previously the AI ​​boss at SAP. She knows how to commercialize the technology. CTO Johannes Otterbach has been active for OpenAI for a long time, including for the rollout of the API. Computational linguist and professor Hans Uszkoreit and Han Dong, who combines science and fundraising expertise, are also on board.

In the podcast Vanessa Cann explains why it is so important to her team to build an artificial intelligence for Europe and how they want to take on competitors like ChatGPT. She also reveals initial information about Nyonic’s funding.


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