New venture capital firm Curiosity launched an early-stage fund and made their first investment of 800.000 euro in Dutch ‘explainable AI’ startup Deeploy. Curiosity is based in Amsterdam and Zoetermeer (Zuid-Holland) and focusses on early-stage investments in AI-driven software companies in the Benelux, Nordics and Baltics. You can find their press release below and on their website.
This article at DeOndernemer.nl (Dutch only) might interest you as well: Investeringsfonds Curiosity wil AI-startups in Noord-Europa helpen groeien
Launch of € 50 million venture capital fund Curiosity for early-stage AI-startups in Norther Europe; First investment in ‘explainable AI’ startup Deeploy
Today, January 18, 2022, the new VC-firm Curiosity officially launched its early-stage fund by
announcing a €0.8 million investment in the Dutch ‘explainable AI’ startup Deeploy. The new
investment fund focuses on early-stage AI-driven software startups in the fastest growing tech hubs of
Northern-Europe to unlock the enormous growth potential.
Curiosity was founded by the experienced investors Herman Kienhuis, former managing director of KPN
Ventures, and Maurice Beckand Verwee, founder of startup investor Crosspring, to carry out their mission
to support European entrepreneurs in building the new generation of AI-driven software companies to
serve the world. The investment fund specifically targets early-stage investments of tech companies in
growing fields such as Enterprise software, Marketing/E-commerce, FinTech, Cyber Security, LegalTech,
and PropTech. Thereby, focusing on Europe’s fastest-growing tech hubs: the Benelux, Scandinavia, and
Curiosity has a unique community-driven approach and aims to grow towards a fund size of
€50 million to invest in 20 software companies. By now, 35 investors – mostly entrepreneurs and family
offices – have pronounced their commitment to the fund, including co-founders of BinckBank, Scoupy,
Litebit, and SecurityMatters.
European technology sector and AI are booming, but seed funding is lacking
By focusing on the early-stage investments of AI startups located in the Benelux, Nordics, and Baltics,
Curiosity aims to fill in the current gaps in the financial market. Europe, and especially Northern-Europe,
has become one the fastest growing regions in the worldwide technology sector. However, this growth is
entirely attributed to the financing of companies in later growth phases. In the Netherlands, the amount
invested in the pre-seed and seed phases of startups has been hovering around €200 million for years
now*. In 2021 this included merely 4% of the total investments, while market demand is growing rapidly.
In addition, the AI software market shows enormous growth potential, with Europe leading the way in
setting up regulations regarding responsible deployment of Artificial Intelligence. Curiosity focuses
specifically on companies that align with these developments.
Software company Deeploy for AI transparency
Today, Curiosity officially launches its maiden fund by announcing the first investment of €0.8 million in
Deeploy, a Dutch startup developing software for transparency, explainability, and traceable
accountability for the use of AI. Together with the participation of the founders, a total of €1 million was
raised. The funding will be used by Deeploy for further software development aimed at serving large
enterprise customers, and building a professional sales organization to prepare for future international
expansion. In the long term, Deeploy also aspires to further develop the current cloud-based software
into a full SaaS solution.
“More and more data is available and collected, combined with smarter technology and algorithms for
data processing and machine learning. Therefore, AI is on the verge of its big breakthrough, and will soon
be adding substantial value to countless industries. This also means there’s an increased focus on the
transparency and accountability of the decisions made by algorithms, and The European Union is working
on new regulations regarding the use of AI as we speak. Deeploy’s software fits in perfectly with these
developments, and the four founders have the right expertise, execution power and to help companies
with an effective product offering”, Herman Kienhuis, co-founder of Curiosity, states.
“Besides the obvious fit with the fund’s focus areas, and two experienced investors in charge that combine
practical and strategic expertise, for us the community focus of Curiosity adds enormous value. By making
both entrepreneurs and advisors co-owners of the fund, a cross-fertilization of various expertise and
knowledge is stimulated. This makes for a strong supporting network to create continuous growth for all
companies in the portfolio”, says Bastiaan van de Rakt, co-founder of Deeploy.
A community-driven fund for growth
By targeting a portfolio size of 20 fast-growing startups, Curiosity offers investors an opportunity to seize
the growth potential of this market while managing risk through diversification. Entrepreneurs that are
backed by the fund, benefit from an active community of expert advisors, entrepreneurs, investors and
service partners for support and knowledge sharing. Most distinctive about the investment fund is its
community-driven approach. Entrepreneurs supported by Curiosity become co-owners of the fund,
leading to an increased interest in portfolio growth, and encouragement of peer-to-peer knowledge
sharing. In addition, the founders have gathered a group of experienced advisors to join the community,
including established names such as Daniel Gebler (Picnic), Ulla Kruhse-Lehtonen (DAIN Studios), Patrick
de Laive (TNW), Jan Kees de Jager (Easygenerator), Aik Deveneijns (Levelup), and Christina Caljé
(Autheos). These advisors will also become co-owners of the fund and will invest their time and expertise
to support the fund management and companies within its portfolio.
Curiosity emphasizes the importance of corporate social responsibility. The fund specifically focuses on
funding software companies that aim for the responsible deployment of AI, and will assist the
entrepreneurs in developing a strong AI ethics policy, in line with European values and regulations. In
addition, Curiosity has joined the #Fundright movement, and is therefore actively set on building a diverse
team, community and portfolio, offering equal access to opportunity.
*source: Techleap / dealroom.co
Curiosity is a Dutch venture capital firm, focusing on early-stage investments in AI-driven software
companies in the Benelux, Nordics and Baltics. The company was founded in 2021 by experienced
investors Herman Kienhuis (McKinsey, SanomaDigital, KPN Ventures, River Venture Partners) and Maurice
Beckand Verwee (Walvis Participaties, Crosspring, River Venture Partners). The company is based in
Amsterdam and Zoetermeer in the Netherlands. Curiosity Early Stage Fund Cooperative U.A. and Curiosity
Venture Capital B.V. are both registered at the Dutch Financial Authority (AFM) as alternative investment
fund and fund manager.
Deeploy is a Dutch software company, founded in August 2020 by Bastiaan van de Rakt, Tim Kleinloog,
Maarten Stolk and Nick Jetten. With a growing number of Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning
models going to production to boost efficiency and smart business operations across industries, Deeploy
offers a software solution for manageable, explainable, and accountable deployments.