AI Startup Rising channels the startup activities of hessian.AI. The goal is to aggregate and expand existing competencies in Hesse and to build an internationally visible AI innovation ecosystem that understands the region’s cutting-edge AI research as a source of sustainable high-tech and deep-tech startups, produces successful startups, and acts as a point of attraction for talent, investors, and companies.

What AI Startup Rising offers


Join our Open Idea and Startup Competitions to win attractive prizes. Or participate in Industry Challenges & Hackathons.
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AI Academy

Exciting talks on AI and entrepreneurship topics. Join our Master Classes for an intensive course program.
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Incubator & Accelerator

We support AI startups in every phase with our incubator program Ignition and accelerator program Rising.

Mentoring & Networking

We connect you with mentors, investors and fellow founders and are supported by a vast industry partner network.
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AI Startup Rising Community Members

Mentoring & Networking

AI STARTUP RISING will build a mentoring program, an investment and acceleration network and a rich community for AI startups and founders. Stay tuned – more info will be available soon.

AI Startup Rising

AI Startup Rising is a project of the Hessian Center for Artificial Intelligence (hessian.AI) and the universities involved in the center, TU Darmstadt (TUDa), University of Kassel (UK) and Technische Hochschule Mittelhessen (THM), with special reference to the respective incubators or startup-promoting departments. With AI Startup Rising, a startup and scaling platform for high- and deep-AI startups from science is created in Hesse. The common goal of the partners is to build an internationally visible, AI innovation ecosystem that understands the region’s top AI research as a source of sustainably successful high- and deep-tech startups, produces successful startups and acts as a point of attraction for talent, investors and companies.

A special focus of the offers and measures is on accelerating and promoting the process of transferring AI-based research potentials into startups and accompanying these with targeted inclusion of (regional) expertise in the establishment and further scaling. Cooperative and in-depth networking of AI research with application disciplines and users from business and society helps to identify start-up projects that have particular growth potential because they develop solutions for the major economic and social challenges of our time.

Selected startup projects and startups receive intensive, cross-phase support tailored to their individual needs, so that their likelihood of success increases and connectivity to scaling programs is ensured. Close relationships with (regionally based) companies as potential customers and partners, but also with accelerators, incubators and investors, which promote the successful establishment and growth of the startups, contribute to the achievement of the objectives.

AI Startup Rising Logo


As a key technology that is used in a variety of application areas, AI offers immense innovation and startup potential. In order to leverage this potential, AI Startup Rising has established a service that supports founders throughout the entire process of idea generation, validation and transfer into viable business models, all the way to the scaling phase.


The aim is to contribute to the emergence of new start-up projects. Those interested in founding a company, both with and without a concrete idea, are motivated and supported in the generation or identification of promising start-up ideas (also on the basis of research results). In addition to technical AI support, this phase also includes bringing together complementary founder profiles and an initial concretization of business models.


The goal is to open up areas of application, evaluate the innovation and market potential, and iteratively develop the business model further. In addition to the development of an initial product-market fit, all technical requirements of the solution are examined for feasibility, scalability and economic viability in this phase, and AI-specific requirements for data, infrastructure as well as ethical and legal framework conditions are sounded out, evaluated and implemented. Especially in this phase, a close and agile exchange with users is immensely fruitful.


The measures in the acceleration phase create all the conditions for rapid progress in the startup’s development. In particular, the foundation is laid for a successful (international) market entry and the connection to further, growth-oriented programs.

AI Startup Rising is an AI model project supported by the EXIST program of the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Climate Action (BMWK).
Project duration: November 2021 – October 2025.