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MTS launches AI startup accelerator program

Article ImageLucky startups have the chance of pitching to Nvidia, Intel and others

The AI subsidiary of MTS, Russia’s largest telecoms operator, has launched an accelerator program, giving startups access to investments of up to $100,000 per project.

Set to last for 12 weeks, the program looks to help develop future AI leaders. Upon conclusion, participating startups will be given the chance to present their projects to potential investors including Nvidia, Bosch and Intel.

The most successful projects are eligible to apply for an additional investment package of up to $500,000 from an Intema investment fund.

“We at Intema are advocating a holistic approach to building profitable disruptive AI businesses, said Aleksandr Khanin, Intema CEO. “We are not here to simply teach our participating startups how to make a presentation at the Demo Day, instead, we will provide them with a route to becoming viable and lasting companies developing the AI tools that will become mainstream in the next decade.”

“Collaboration between industry-leading experts and young AI organizations is a motor for the development of the AI tech of tomorrow and Intema is proud to support startups on this journey.”

Major firm mentors to give AI guidance

Startups participating in the accelerator could choose a personal mentor from 45 experts with experience at companies such as Google, Shazam and PayPal.

Mentors would deliver one-on-one sessions and give guidance to improve each startup’s core AI and finesse their products for the market.

Mentors would include former Google employees Jonas Vang Gregersen, who was the company’s Nordics business operations manager, and Christian Michio, a lead product manager.

Another Google-linked mentor is Eldar Sadikov, who also was a senior director of product and engineering at PayPal.

Cathy Jeffries King, an AI expert and author of the book Using Artificial Intelligence in Marketing, is also a mentor, as is Alberto Levi an international MBA professor at IE Business School.

MTS launched the Intema VC fund in September to invest in AI startups developing tech related to natural language processing, edge computing and warehouse optimization.

And in mid-December, it snapped up VisionLabs, the computer vision firm, for $100 million.

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