Dutch startup FruitPunch AI lands six-figure investment to create future AI and data talent ‘for good’

Eindhoven-based FruitPunch AI has today announced that it will join venture builder LUMO Labs’s new cohort having received a high six-figure investment from LUMO Labs Fund II.

Founded in 2018, FruitPunch AI’s core business is harnessing ‘AI for Good’. They’re shaping global talent to solve the world’s most daunting challenges through educational programmes and building a global ‘AI for Good’ community. 

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.

The FruitPunch AI approach starts with an incubator to create AI and Data engineers by focusing them on challenges. FruitPunch AI’s CEO and founder Buster Franken, said: “Eventually we turn these ‘AI for good’ projects into products, spin-offs and startups. The FruitPunch AI education programme 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. This way we can create a fit between the people in our communities and our partner companies.”

“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 programme 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.”

Sonja Vos, Director of TU/e Participations, said: “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.”