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What is the AI-Cup?

AI-Cup is a Bavarian-French start-up initiative to support the future generation of AI entrepreneurs and establish innovative AI start-ups in Europe. It is aimed at students or researchers across Germany and France, who can demonstrate not only excellent scientific skills in the field of "Artificial Intelligence" but who also have remarkable entrepreneurial skills. 

AI-Cup Update

On 23 October 2023, the  AI Cup concluded with its final event. Seven innovative AI start-ups had been supported intensively for a year, including financial support via the Bavarian-French AI Challenge (BAFRAIC). To conclude the event, the winning teams presented their products and AI applications in captivating pitches. They focussed on using AI to offer practical solutions for current challenges in the economic, social and medical sectors.

Starting in October 2022, the winning teams had been supported financially, enabling them to dedicate all their time and energies towards developing and progressing their start-up businesses. This funded phase allowed them to pass many milestones, coached and advised by their respective universities' support services for entrepreneurs. 

  • Milestone one: Coaching and initial budget
  • Milestone two: Business plan
  • Milestone three: Interim report
  • Milestone four: Final report and business plan

Are you interested in playing with data and solving real-time problems through AI-based algorithms? Or you are passionate about AI technologies and want to build an AI-based start-up? 

If your answer is yes, then the AI-Cup challenge might be an excellent opportunity for you to turn on the competitive spirit and win price money of up to  95,000 to found your AI start-up. 

The topic of the AI-Cup is "AI for a better world". The data science challenge offers three different streams within which to compete:

AI for Decarbonisation

  • CO2 Footprint Reduction
  • Energy-Usage Optimization
  • Waste Reduction
  • etc.

AI for Smart Mobility

  • Transport and Logistics
  • Connected Vehicles
  • Smart Cities and Regions
  • etc.

AI for Well-being

  • AI in IT-Security
  • Smart Healthcare
  • Decision-Making with AI
  • etc.


The challenge is made of two components:

Scientific Challenge

The eligible candidates were provided with data sets accompanied by a scientific question. For example, data-sets included smart meter data from E.ON, gas usage data from Trading Hub Europe and bus ticketing data from DB Regio.

At the end of the scientific challenge, the solutions of the participants were evaluated, and only the teams with the best solution took part in the entrepreneurial challenge.

Entrepreneurial Challenge

The candidates with the successful scientific solutions also were expected to present a concept (business plan) describing their idea for creating an AI-based start-up. The future start-up had to bring forward "AI for a better world" and support (for example) in the areas of decarbonisation, smart mobility, people's well-being, etc.

Result & reward

As a main result of the AI challenge/competition, up to eight winning teams were offered mentorship for twelve months along with an average of € 95,000 price money in preparation for their start-up foundation. The future start-ups will need to be established or have a branch in Bavaria.

François Hoehlinger (La French Tech)

François Hoehlinger (La French Tech)

“La French Tech” is our startup scene here in France. It’s also a unique movement bringing together startups, investors, policymakers and community builders to help french startup in their expansion abroad, especially in Germany.


Rosi Keimerl (Bayern Kapital)

Rosi Keimerl (Bayern Kapital)

We are Bavaria’s venture capital and growth investor for start-ups with innovative technologies since 1995. From the approximately € 700 million investment volume we manage, we finance innovative Bavarian start-ups and technology companies from the seed phase to the expansion phase.


Prof. Dr. Andreas Pfeifer (One Data, University of Passau)

Prof. Dr. Andreas Pfeifer (One Data, University of Passau)

Business Angel & Investor

At the launch of One Data in 2013, our founder Andreas Böhm shared his vision of building a European AI champion with a home-grown technology platform. Two years later, the launch of the Data Product Builder ONE DATA marked a major step in this direction. Today, we also have ONE DATA Cartography, enabling technology and end-to-end data products that allow our customers to boost their productivity and capabilities. Many global companies now depend on our technology.


Owing to its excellent research output, an outstanding study environment and a tight-knit international network of partners, the University of Passau is a highly visible and highly respected academic and research institution in the heart of Europe. Internationally successful high-technology companies and a vibrant start-up scene, coupled with a rich culture and Lower Bavarian traditions make Passau a city with a high quality of life.


Daniela Rittmeier (Capgemini)

Daniela Rittmeier (Capgemini)

Head of AI Automotive & Thought Leader

As a leading strategic partner to companies around the world, we have leveraged technology to enable business transformation for more than 50 years. We address the entire breadth of business needs, from strategy and design to managing operations. To do this, we draw on deep industry expertise and a command of the fast-evolving fields of cloud, data artificial intelligence, connectivity, software, digital engineering, and platforms.


Prof. Dr. Carsten Rudolph (BayStartUP)

Prof. Dr. Carsten Rudolph (BayStartUP)

BayStartUP is the Bavarian startup network for founders, investors and industrial players. As the central institution for startup financing in Bavaria, we support innovative founders in building up their companies and in the search for startup and growth capital.


The AI-Cup official ­kick-off took place on 23. October 2021


23.10.2021: AI-Cup Kick-Off event
09.03.2022- 29.03.2022: Registration for participation
30.04.2022- 10.07.2022: Scientific competition
22.07.2022- 22.08.2022: Economic competition
13.09.2022: Pitch Event
October 2022: Awards ceremony 
Q4 2022 - Q4 2023: Mentoring and start-up support for the winning teams

University of Passau

The AI-Cup is an initiative led by Prof. Harald Kosch (Chair of distributed information systems) and Prof. Michael Granitzer (Chair of data science), in cooperation with the Transfer Centre of the University of Passau and involving the three hubs of the University of Passau: the Science Hub for Europe, the Digital Hub and the sustainable-development hub.

“The University of Passau is very honoured and pleased to be trusted by the Bavarian State Chancellery and the Bavarian Ministry of Economic Affairs, Regional Development and Energy to run this unique AI challenge. We are proud also to have BAYFRANCE, Atos and École normale supérieure Paris-Saclay as very close partners for ensuring the AI-Cup will be a success.”

Ulrich Bartosch, President, Harald Kosch, Vice-President

École normale supérieure Paris-Saclay  (Research Partner)

ATOS (Hosting Partner)

Atos is a global leader in digital transformation. As European number one in cybersecurity, cloud and high-performance computing, Atos provides end-to-end business solutions across industries in 71 countries.

"Atos is a proud partner of the 2022 Bavarian-French AI-Cup. As a European-based company with dual headquarters in Paris and Munich, we see a perfect cultural and business fit. I am particularly happy that our customers E.ON and Trading Hub Europe generously support our challenge with real-life use cases and datasets".

Udo Littke, Head of Atos Central Europe

Data Providers 

Other supporting partners 

  • BayFrance (Bavarian-French University Center) at the Technical University of Munich
  • BayStartUp GmbH
  • La French Tech
  • HOCHSPRUNG - The Entrepreneurship Network of Bavarian Universities

The AI-Cup was open to students, doctoral researchers, post-docs and other young scientists at universities and non-university research institutions in France and Germany. Participating students who were set to complete their studies during the course of the competition or the period of the supporting package (mentorship/funding) were eligible to participate; the same applied to doctoral students after their doctorate.

Teams had to comprise of at least two members.

Only pre-founding teams were eligible for the funding, i.e. their start-up had not existed yet at the time.


If you have any queries, please write to us ai-cup@uni-passau.de

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