Munich-Based AI Startup Neokami Raises $1.1M

Last year’s $500 million acquisition of DeepMind by Google undoubtedly put Artificial Intelligence (AI) squarely in the minds of investors and media alike. So much so that there’s a tendency to re-badge any tech comprising of algorithms and machine learning as AI. However, regardless of where that line starts and stops, Munich-based Neokami claims it’s the real deal.

The company, which is on a mission to “help companies join the AI revolution,” has closed a $1.1 million seed round from angel investors Josef Brunner and Tom Noonan. Both previously founded JouleX, the data centre energy management tech company acquired by Cisco. Meanwhile, Neokami recently graduated from Wayra Germany, the accelerator program run by telco Telefonica.

“I think executives at top firms have all heard of AI and know intuitively that it could help them run their businesses better and more securely,” Neokami CEO and co-founder Ozel Christo tells me.

“However there is a huge skills gap in the construction, implementation and integration of AI algorithms. In addition it is not entirely clear how exactly AI can be used for their specific organisation. We fill this gap through on-site integration, customer engineering, our developer APIs and our AI-powered products.”

To date, Neokami’s AI products span a range of different use cases, from social media monitoring, image analysis to CRM. Its first product was a real-time emotional heat map.

“We connected the Twitter API to our sentiment analysis algorithms for a beautiful real-time geographic emotion visualisation,” explains Christo. “Developers can tap into our API and access our sentiment analysis altos. In the future we will also add search.”

Other examples include image-based gender and age recognition (you can try a live demo here, which confirms I look much younger than I am), and food recognition. The latter, which is currently in development, will enable you to take a photo of a plate of food and return the types of food on the plate as well as calorie estimate. “This is incredibly useful for fitness tracker applications for example,” says Christo.

And last but not least: cybersecurity. Specifically, Neokami’s AI tech is being applied to what Christo calls “cloud data sensitivity management” — that is identifying and locating sensitive documents that are, perhaps inappropriately, stored in the cloud.

“We solve the huge problem of security professionals not being able to manage the location of their sensitive data in the cloud. We use AI to auto-detect documents with sensitive data, taking the human manual element out of the picture,” he says.

Competitor-wise, Christo concedes that there are a number of machine learning-as-a-service platforms, including, Skytree, and, to name a few. “Where we seek to differentiate is practical usage and application. Most of our competitors present a horizontal AI platform that can seemingly do anything. We want to actually bring this to the masses in a transparent and very usable fashion – hence our focus on the developer API and packaged AI products that solve specific problems. Instead of talking about AI, we aim to get people actually using AI technologies comfortably and practically,” he says.