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LUMO Labs invests in FruitPunch AI’s approach to creating future AI and Data talent

Jan 5, 2021 12:07:36 PM. By: High Tech Campus

It’s a bold concept and an obvious partnership. LUMO Labs Fund II is investing in FruitPunch AI, which will enter the venture builder’s new cohort. FruitPunch AI’s core business can be summed up as an artificial intelligence talent forge, shaping global talent to solve the world’s most daunting challenges through educational programs and building a global “AI for Good" community. “We see this as a creative platform for AI and Data,” said Andy Lürling, LUMO Labs founding partner. “Within that platform, FruitPunch AI can educate AI and Data Science talent. And with that, we dip into the market of in-demand AI and Data engineers.”

FruitPunch AI will have a talent development program on the platform where community members around the world get AI education for free with a focus on the safe and sustainable application of AI. This also meets LUMO Labs’ criteria that startups focus on Conscious Tech and falls under the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals, in this case, Quality Education and AI/Data.

“The revenue will come from the ‘demand’ side, the organizations in need of AI talent and/or AI solutions,” Lürling said. “Because FruitPunch AI learns community members’ soft and hard skills, we can provide optimal talent matching for partner companies. “If they have the community on one hand and the platform for the ‘LinkedIn for AI and Data engineers,’ I believe we have a gem.”

The FruitPunch AI approach starts with an incubator to create AI and Data engineers by focusing them on challenges, said FruitPunch AI CEO and founder Buster Franken. “Eventually we turn these ‘AI for good’ projects into products, spin-offs and startups.

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“The FruitPunch AI education program is challenge-based. When people complete the challenges, we ascertain their skills while also learning a lot about their character by how they interact in team settings,” said Franken. “This way we can create a fit between the people in our communities and our partner companies.”

FruitPunch AI began when founder Franken, then studying at the Eindhoven University of Technology, wanted to join a community to learn more about the application of AI but couldn’t find one. Thus, he decided to start one himself focused on challenge-based education.

Sonja Vos, Director of TU/e Participations, says “It is great to see alumni students spin-out successfully from our university, though this is not goodbye as FruitPunch AI will stay closely involved with our Eindhoven AI Systems Institute (EAISI) and will be a bridge between EAISI and the High Tech Campus with all its tech companies.” Franken adds: “And a bridge to the world as our platform is there for people with an interest to learn more about AI and Data across the globe. You just need to have an internet connection to be part of our community.”

“With this investment, FruitPunch AI is getting out in front of a trend that’s already happening in the United States where the top tech companies place technical capabilities above degrees,” said Sako Arts, FruitPunch AI CTO and co-founder. “Companies such as Google and Apple now hire talent who might not necessarily have degrees,” Lürling said. “But if people are well trained in real-world work, companies are so much more interested in you than if you simply have a four-year degree. “So, you can see why we invested in it."

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