Disruptive AI 2024

Who are we?

The EIT AI Community is an initiative of the European Institute of Innovation and Technology (EIT), led by EIT Digital, aimed at fostering the European AI ecosystem and boosting business and skills based on the triangle model.

Call for participation

The programme aims to boost AI innovation in Europe by supporting high-risk, high-gain ventures. It provides mentorship, networking, and investment opportunities to help AI start-ups thrive.

Application deadline: 20 August 2024

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Europe has significant potential to enhance its standing in the global AI landscape, but currently faces challenges in maintaining its competitive edge (EU Innovation Agenda 2030). To address this, we are committed to supporting "high-risk/high-gain innovation" to position Europe at the forefront of AI advancement. In response to these challenges, the EIT AI Community, led by EIT Digital, is launching a programme focused on early-stage ideas in Disruptive AI. This initiative aims to foster a culture of bold entrepreneurship by providing essential support to AI start-ups, with the goal of transforming industries and establishing Europe as a global leader in AI innovation.

Why should I apply?

  • Personalized Mentorship: Receive expert guidance to refine your innovation and business strategy.
  • Investment Opportunities: Pitch to a wide audience of investors and strategic partners.
  • Visibility and Recognition: Gain significant recognition within the EU AI ecosystem.
  • Networking: Connect with top talent, investors, and industry leaders.
  • Accelerated Growth: Access training and support to fast-track the development and commercialization of your AI technologies.
  • Cost Savings: Benefit from a service valued at over EUR 5000 for free, saving valuable resources for your startup's growth.

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Who is the programme for?

The ideal participant is a European early-stage AI start-up with disruptive, high-risk, high-gain innovation ideas. The start-up should have 1-3 years of activity. The programme is not suited for individuals or mature scale-ups.

Assessment Criteria

  • Degree of Innovation and Disruption: How groundbreaking and transformative the AI technology is, with a focus on its potential to disrupt existing markets and create new ones.
  • Market Potential: The potential size and growth trajectory of the market, emphasizing untapped or emerging markets where the startup can create significant impact.
  • Scalability: The startup's ability to scale rapidly and efficiently, considering both technological and operational scalability.
  • Risk Level: The startup's willingness to take substantial risks, balanced by a clear understanding of those risks and strategies to mitigate them.
  • Visionary Team: The entrepreneurial vision, expertise, and risk-taking capability of the startup's team, including their track record of innovation.
  • Feasibility of Disruption: The practical feasibility of the startup's disruptive potential, considering technical viability and implementation challenges.
  • Potential for High Reward: The expected returns on investment, focusing on the high-reward nature of the startup’s technology and business model.
  • Strategic Fit: Alignment with the EU goals and ability to leverage the EIT ecosystem and resources provided to maximize disruptive impact.

Financial backing from third parties such as investors and strategic partners will be considered a strong indicator of the startup's credibility and potential for success. Moreover, EIT-supported startups will be highly prioritized as they are already strategically aligned and have proven team competencies and market potential.

Programme & Timeline

  • Call for Applications: We invite start-ups to submit their high-risk, high-gain solutions, highlighting the disruptive nature of their AI technologies and their potential to generate substantial returns on investment. – Deadline 20th of August.
  • Initial Screening: An independent expert panel will evaluate the submitted applications. Each application is assessed by at least three independent external experts. Each expert evaluates the proposals following the evaluation criteria outlined above.
  • Review Gate: During the Review Gate, the experts come together to discuss each application based on their own individual assessments and assign in consensus a Review Gate Score. Based on the results, due Diligence Interviews might be requested afterwards following a Consensus Meeting with EIT Digital & Experts to align the scores. The highest scoring applications that have passed any relevant thresholds will be selected as winners of the Disruptive AI. All applicants will receive the feedback and the “go/no go” result- 2nd of September.

Mentorship & Training: Selected finalists (2-3) will receive tailored mentorship, AI strategic guidance, to further develop and scale their high-risk, high-gain AI innovations-Management, Strategy, Business Development, Access to Finance, US Landing & Pitching Training | 3 months. Investment Events: The selected start-ups will pitch their refined business plans and investment propositions to a wider audience of potential investors, corporation Clubs and strategic partners. Visibility and Recognition: The winning start-ups will recognition and visibility within the EU AI ecosystem. We can connect them with EU funding/scaling opportunities and give them visibility and support through our Joint focus group AI, and strategic AI event in December. Community support: The selected startups will become part of a prestigious pool, receiving ongoing support in the coming years. As this is a pilot year, additional activities will be introduced in the future.

Call launch Evaluation Training Investors Event Final AI event
20 June 2024 20 August 2024 September 2024 October 2024 December 2024


How much does the programme cost?

The programme is free of charge for the selected start-ups.

Does the programme require me to physically attend the activities?

The 3 months training will be online, but the participation of the event will require a physical presence (travel & accommodation costs may be included in the programme up to 1000 per start-up).

What does the selection process looks like?

The applicants will be ranked according to the criteria noted here and the final decision as to the participants will be made by the selection committee. Applicants will receive responses by 11th July. If you wish to submit a complaint about the answer you got following the selection process, you can email us: orestis.trasanidis@eitdigital.eu. Please explain your complaint as clearly as possible, deadline: 15 July 2024.

What can I expect as an outcome of the programme?

As an outcome of the programme, you can expect to receive tailored mentorship and strategic guidance, opportunities to secure funding and form strategic alliances through investment events, and enhanced visibility and recognition within the EU AI ecosystem, potentially leading to further growth, and scaling opportunities.

Do you have open office hours for more information?

Please send us an email to EIT Artificial Intelligence Community ai@eitcommunity.eu and we will organise a meeting with you.

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Co-Funded by the European Union