Abzu

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About

Abzu was born from a desire to challenge the fundamental assumptions of contemporary AI, believing that the future of AI lies in the more lifelike simulation of self-organizing systems. Abzu’s pioneering machine learning technology is inspired by quantum mechanics and neural networks, resulting in a transparent and trustworthy AI. Founded in January 2018, Abzu is an applied research startup with offices in Copenha...

Chris Cave
Mathematician
Elizabeth Gil-Roldán
Solutions & Projects
Elyse Sims
Marketing Lead
Jaan Kasak
Data Scientist
Jonas Nygreen
Commercial
Jonas Wilstrup
Finance & Operations
Kevin Broløs
Software Engineer
Martin Mathiasen
Product & Customer Success
Meera Machado
Data Scientist
Tom Jelen
Software Engineer
Valdemar Stentoft-Hansen
Data Scientist
Victor Galindo
Software Engineer
Jonny Sloan
Senior Software Engineer
Lykke Pedersen
Bioinformatician
Sam Demharter
Bioinformatician
Maria Jacobsen
Office Lead
Niels Johan Christensen
Computational Chemist
Karin Bondgaard
Product Lead

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Funding announcement

Record-breaking investment in groundbreaking Danish AI: Abzu announces a 5.8m € seed round

Record-breaking investment in groundbreaking Danish AI: Abzu announces a 5.8m € seed round

Denmark-based Abzu®, creator of a revolutionary high-performing, transparent, and explainable AI, has announced a 5.8 million euro seed round led by Danish Seed Capital, Inventure, and PreSeed Ventures. Other notable participants in the round are existing investor Vaekstfonden and angel investors. The round follows Abzu’s increased traction with several of the world’s largest pharmaceutical companies. Introducing: A new standard of interpretability in AI Abzu’s pioneering technology, the QLattice®, introduces a new standard of interpretability to artificial intelligence, a domain that has lacked the crucial elements of transparency and explainability required to realize its full potential – until now. “Incumbent AI platforms still struggle with interpretability,” says Casper Wilstrup, CEO of Abzu. “This is an enormous problem when you depend on understanding ‘the why’ behind ‘the what’ in decision making. Why can’t this drug target the genes causing my cancer? Why was I denied this credit line? If you can’t understand why something happened, then you really don’t know anything at all.” This inability to account for ‘the why’ in data-driven decision making is the common shortcoming shared by current AI solutions. “There is no algorithmic accountability with Big Tech’s black box AI. Black box AI is unimaginative and biased because it reflects our own limitations and prejudices. And we’ll never be able to see how those defects contribute to an outcome because the AI architecture is opaque,” says Casper. “Abzu will make transparent and explainable artificial intelligence accessible to everyone and inspire data scientists to be more scientific,” asserts Casper. And so begins another chapter in a longstanding tradition of Denmark punching way above its weight in technical innovation. Technology: Quantum physics made easy “We’re inspired by quantum mechanics, specifically path integrals,” says Casper, “but you don’t have to have a PhD in physics to understand the path of least resistance.” The QLattice is essentially a simulator that maps all possible paths, or relationships, within the data in your dataset. Abzu’s patent-pending algorithm then finds the simplest and most accurate mathematical solution to your problem, whether that’s revealing a causal relationship or predicting the next event, with clear justifications as to why. The transparency and explainability that makes Abzu’s QLattice exceptionally unique is achieved through their simple user interface and Python library Feyn®. Abzu is disrupting domains previously dominated by black box AI with straightforward graphs, simple mathematical functions, and clearly stated scale, weight, and bias. Application: Interpretable models delivering insights and billions in pharma “In drug discovery, there is a gap between hypothesis-driven research and traditional machine learning techniques. Abzu’s technology has the potential to fill that gap and empower scientists and decision makers with simple and interpretable models,” says Anders Gersel Pederson, Former VP R&D Lundbeck and board member at Genmab, Bavarian Nordic, Hansa Medical, and Avillion. Several of the world’s largest pharmaceutical companies are already working with Abzu’s QLattice, and the results are extremely promising. Just 3 months into a collaboration with an undisclosed blue chip pharmaceutical company, their digital drug discovery lab improved their selection hit rate significantly. Understanding ‘the why’ behind compound quality – which was previously hidden obscured in black box predictions - improved the efficiency of this company’s drug discovery funnel by 20%, representing a value of billions of dollars. The QLattice has also helped scientists quickly interpret and explain the relationships between treatments and their effects in clinical studies, ultimately helping to pave the way for personalized drugs. “While tools do exist to estimate feature importance, weight, and interactions, I don’t see any other method being as supportive as the QLattice in building stories about trends in data, especially linking insights from data to biology. Abzu is unique. In explaining ‘the why’ behind results, the QLattice is leaps ahead any other tool I’ve worked with or heard of in the last 17 years that I’ve worked with machine learning,” says the Head of Bioinformatics at ALK. Abzu is awaiting the publication of a scientific benchmarking study comparing the QLattice’s performance to established machine learning models Funding: Standing on the shoulders of giants Prior to this record-breaking seed round in Denmark of 5.8 million euro, Abzu has raised a total of 2.9 million euro. Abzu plans to accelerate commercialization within pharmaceutical drug discovery and mature its AI platform for application in other industry verticals. “We really like the founding team, and we’ve been impressed by their ability to balance deep tech product development with commercial proof at all stages. We believe their proprietary technology has global breakthrough potential, and the commercial opportunities are staggering,” says Niels Vejrup Carlsen, General Partner at Seed Capital. “When Inventure made the initial investment in 2019, we were already impressed by the team and the technology. Abzu’s commercial traction in the pharmaceutical industry should put them on everybody’s radar as one of the most interesting deep tech companies coming out of the Nordics, perhaps even Europe. Artificial intelligence should be transparent and explainable, and we believe Abzu will be the company to make that a reality on a global scale,” says Timo Tirkkonen, Partner and Co-founder at Inventure. ”Abzu has developed a groundbreaking machine learning technology that can explain its reasoning. The scientific, ethical, and commercial value of being able to open up the black box of how existing machine learning algorithms reach results or decisions will be immense. It’s rare to see people who can make such significant contributions to the field of explainable AI, and it made it an obvious choice for us to be part of the journey,” says Richard Breiter, General Partner at PreSeed Ventures. “At Vaekstfonden, we want to drive innovation, new technologies, and build the companies of the future. Abzu’s technology has the potential to define a whole new category of AI – a product of the future – and together with strong competencies and skills, we believe Abzu has the potential of becoming a global player within their field of expertise. We are very pleased to support Abzu on their journey,” says Jesper Hart-Hansen, Investment Manager at Vaekstfonden.

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