Daniel Saaristo: Do not try to reinvent the wheel – make it better!

Interview with Daniel Saaristo who is managing all AI start-up relations in Central Europe at NVIDIA

Please introduce yourself to our readers!
Daniel Saaristo: My name is Daniel Saaristo and I am managing all AI start-up relations in Central Europe at NVIDIA based out of Munich, Germany.

What is the idea behind NVIDIA’s Inception Program? Can you explain the program?
Daniel Saaristo: With the Inception program, we have created a platform on which we assess the individual needs of each start-up in a direct and joint way. Establishing such close relations to young companies is extremely important to keep track of technological advances across all industries in general and to find out what role NVIDIA plays or could play in the development of these novel ideas.

Since it is the relatively small and agile companies that take those crucial first steps towards new innovations, we therefore must support them from an early stage on.

What are your tasks?
Based on the program, I develop an all-embracing network between start-ups, investors, industry leaders and the NVIDIA team, resulting in close collaborations and synergies. My aim is to raise awareness of new technological possibilities and turn them into opportunities to make way for fast implementation across all industries.

The first step here is to get in touch with the main responsible people within the start-up to better understand the concept and, above all, their needs, as well as to clarify the pillars of our collaboration. After a profound analysis of all the information gathered, I then take all necessary initial steps to help the team in the most effective way possible.

In addition, I organize events to connect all the aforementioned parties with the aim to create an open, informative, and interactive discussion about artificial intelligence.

Thanks to PR activities, we further increase the visibility of the participating start-ups apart from the event itself. This is done by highlighting their work through interviews and articles to further underline the relevance of the topic.

Which start-ups are in the program?
Currently, we have more than 1500 members from over 20 countries in the program and I have already built up a network of 200 AI Start-ups in Central Europe alone. Looking at those numbers and the companies’ work in detail, you can clearly perceive that AI is spreading out across all businesses in high-speed. Among the most affected industries so far you find start-ups using our technology for AI purposes in IT Services, Medical Imaging & Life Science Instruments, Media & Entertainment and of course Automotive. The latter has a very strong impact on many other businesses as it not only about self-driving but the whole driving experience.

How does a start-up get into the program?
We have set fairly loose guidelines to enable as many AI start-ups as there are in order to nurture them with anything they could most profit from at their current stage. To qualify for Inception – Artificial Intelligence needs to be at the core of each applicant and significant annual revenue may not be exceeded.

What support do start-ups get through the program?
There are several layers of support. For technical questions, we offer free guidance and training material from our Solution Architects, the Deep Learning Institute and the NVIDIA Developer Forum.

In terms of hardware, start-ups can win prizes through competitions and take advantage of discounts on enterprise solutions such as Jetson embedded development kits, as well as the world’s first AI Supercomputer, the NVIDIA® DGX-1™. We are going to add more products shortly. In any case, it is also possible to test them for free for a certain time frame. Together with our partner network we then configure workstations and servers or cloud offerings that fit both the requirements and the budgets of each individual company.

Another main aspect of the program is the marketing support. Start-ups are invited to speak and exhibit at events to present their technologies in front of potential investors, customers, the press and many more. Interviews will also be conducted, which are then published in magazines and through social media channels.

Additionally, for an extended period, we accompany selected start-ups that are doing amazing work with our platform and create successstories to then reveal to the rest of the world in what way and to what extent we revolutionize industries. On top, we also introduce Inception members to our GPU Ventures team for those seeking their next funding round.

Can you describe a typical workday of you?
Every day is different. I would say that I equally work one third of my time while travelling, at the office and at home. I prefer to be one of the first at the office to enjoy the silence and work more concentrated to get things done faster. However, because of the time difference to the US, also many conversations take place in the evening. An elaborated time management is key for a healthy work-life-balance.

Where will you be five years from now?
In five years, I can see myself being a key figure in the European Startups Community.

Finally, what 3 tips would you give to startups?
1. Surround yourself with people who personally support and inspire you on one hand, but also critically analyze and question your work in respect to product and methods applied.
2. Do not try to reinvent the wheel – make it better!
3. Do not sell an item – offer an experience!

Picture Copyright: Million Memories Photography, www.million-memories.com

Thank you Daniel Saaristo the Interview

Statements of the author and the interviewee do not necessarily represent the editors and the publisher opinion again.


Sabine Elsässer

Sabine Elsässer is founder and chief editor of the StartupValleyNews Magazine. She started her career at several international direct sale companys. Since 2007 she works main time as a journalist. While that time she learned more about the Startup Scene, what made her start her own Startup Magazine the StartupValleyNews.

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