Copenhagen / New York City, February 3, 2020
modl.ai, the Danish start-up at the forefront of a rising paradigm shift in artificial intelligence has closed US$1.7M in seed financing led by Danish-based PreSeed Ventures, Saltagen Ventures (Hong Kong), and Norwegian Propagator Ventures along with other investors including Pool Global Partners (Toronto, San Francisco), and SEED Capital (Copenhagen).
Founded by a team of world leading experts in games, psychometrics and artificial intelligence, modl.ai will enable game developers to efficiently test games in minutes rather than days or weeks by deploying AI-driven player persona archetypes that mimic human behavior. While beating humans at games with superhuman ability has long been an AI benchmark, mimicking behavior is the next frontier. Applied to games, it enables developers to reduce the cost and time required for game testing and content development.
CEO in modl.ai, Christoffer Holmgård, explains the core idea behind the technology: “Modern computer games have the ability to monitor not only what players are doing, but also to store information about what context they are acting. This forms the perfect observatory for following players’ decision making, finding different types of players, and identifying patterns that we can leverage to predict what they would do in other situations.”
“AI Personas are unlike any existing solution in the market. The technology allows developers to create experiences that respond to player motivations in real-time and lets designers tailor the game to engage them. They allow unprecedented insights into what compels players to play their game and how to personalize content for them” says Benedikte Mikkelsen, CPO in modl.ai.
“The gaming marketplace is no stranger to disruption and innovation - mobile technology and online communities have driven strong year over year growth in the sector, which is expected to top US$200B by 2022. Emerging fundamental technologies, especially AI will be driving this growth” explains Managing Partner at Pool Global Partners, Sally Daub about modl.ai’s market potential.
Anders Kjær, Investment Manager at PreSeed Ventures agrees, that artificial intelligence is unlike anything that has come before: “the ability to model and predict player behavior to improve content generation, weed out bots from online communities, and optimize player engagement through a fleet of accessible tools will not only democratize the world of gaming but has a huge potential to disrupt a series of industries. The cost, limitations and pitfalls of user testing and behavioral tracking today is a huge business problem and if anyone modl.ai’s team of global experts can solve it. That made it an obvious investment from our side.”
And the potential outside of gaming in areas such as simulations and eCommerce: it is estimated that 85% of customer relations will use non-human interaction by 2020, representing a huge opportunity for modl.ai. “Most things are games if you look at them the right way. Gaming provides a unique and useful testing ground for modelling human behavior to drive AI integration in other sectors that will benefit from seamless AI-human collaboration” noted a Fellow of Creative Destruction Lab where modl.ai was one of only four teams out of 240 applicants to graduate from the highly competitive AI-accelerator in 2019.
Lise Rechsteiner Partner at Propagator Ventures concurs with this: “The gaming market in itself is a huge and lucrative market (TAM 150bn in 2019; expected to grow to 300bn by 2025). Games as a service, or GaaS, is a massive opportunity and a trend expecting to substantially overtake more of the gaming market in the near future. Viewing the case as deep tech investors, the field of games is closely interrelated to AI/ML development in two ways: 1) simulated/virtual environments are already essential to machine learning and we expect a broadening to more diversified AI/ML application areas, 2) AI/ML has great potential to automate the creation of such simulated environments.”
modl.ai is already gaining traction - while their platform and personas are still in beta, they have secured agreements with global gaming studios looking to improve their content generation processes.
The modl.ai team has plans for rapid growth and international expansion, especially in the growing market of Asia with the assistance from Saltagen Ventures, and new employees are joining over the next few months doubling the size of the team. They are continuing this momentum, expanding their client portfolio and the capabilities of their platform.
Christoffer Holmgård, CEO: Co-Owner and former Managing Director of award winning game studio Die Gute Fabrik, former Assistant Professor at Northeastern University in Boston.
Benedikte Mikkelsen, CPO: Game Dev. & Design Veteran, Co-Founder of Duck and Cover Games.
Lars Henriksen, COO: Game and Simulation Entrepreneur, Co-Founder of Apex Virtual Entertainment, International Incubator Fellow and Advisor.
Julian Togelius, Research Director: Associate Professor at New York University, globally recognized innovator in the field of games and AI and author of the book Artificial intelligence and games. Winner of the 2020 IEEE Computational Intelligence Society (CIS) Outstanding Early Career award.
Georgios N. Yannakakis, Research Director: Professor at the University of Malta, globally recognized innovator in the field of games and AI and author of the book Artificial intelligence and games.
Sebastian Risi, Research Director: Associate Professor at the IT University of Copenhagen, Alumnus of Geometric Intelligence and Uber AI.
modl.ai creates unique AI solutions that empower game developers around the world by automating game development and enhancing player engagement. By embedding our technology in key development stages, our customers are better able to succeed and grow. Our award-winning AI researchers combine psychometric research with state of the art artificial intelligence to bring the AI revolution to game development.
PreSeed Ventures is Denmark's largest and most successful early stage investor. For almost 20 years they have spotted, fostered and financed the winners of tomorrow in syndication with top-tier investors around Europe. They empower talented founders to realize their dreams through pioneering early stage investments and support from their own startup school PreSeed Academy. The strong team has worked with more than 300 exceptional entrepreneurs and helped startups like Trustpilot, Vivino, Templafy and Lunar Way get off the ground.
Propagator Ventures is a deep tech fund based in Oslo, investing globally. The fund invests in early stage startups in machine learning, quantum computing, robotics, materials and encryption. Propagator works closely with its advisory board of world-leading researchers and deep tech experts to track early and promising technological development and find great talent.
Saltagen Ventures is an early stage venture capital firm that invests in science and technology based startups with an investment strategy focusing on the verticals of edtech, biomedical technology, AI & machine learning and media technology. Saltagen looks for startups that have strong defensibility and patentable technology. These startups can benefit from Saltagen’s deep networks in specific verticals and expertise of both sides of the Pacific provided from our experienced investment team and ecosystem partners. Saltagen empowers startups to grow their business and develop efficiencies across the border via Canada and Hong Kong as a strategic base.
Pool Global Partners is an early investor in emerging fundamental deep technologies and applications that are accelerating global disruption. Pool is based in Toronto, Canada and San Francisco, California.