Stop thinking, start doing. This is the new tagline with which Leen de Graaf and Gaëtan Giraud, the founders of the Delft-based company Cuurios, are entering a new phase in their business. One tangible step in this development is its relocation to NEXT Delft, the new accelerator building for scale-ups on TU Delft Campus Zuid, which has just opened its doors this month. They discussed this with Joost Poort, who is developing a new and all-encompassing AI-based innovation initiative, also in NEXT Delft.
As its name suggests, Cuurios’ activities involve the specific in-depth analysis of (or ‘curiosity’ into) customers’ processes and the people associated with them. The aim is to use the information generated by their platform to link people and data and to bring about improvements to processes. “The right information at the right time makes it easier to reach the right decisions. It means that, every day, we make our customers’ businesses just that little bit better,” says De Graaf.
One of those customers that makes good use of the platform is, for example, an operational team responsible for offshore gas production. Cuurios provides the team with automated and data-driven advice. This enables the customer to make better decisions and to produce as optimally as possible and to avoid unplanned downtime. The result is very concrete: a three percent increase in production.
“Innovation and optimisation are learning processes that require an in-depth knowledge of substantive processes and challenges. No two companies are the same, but by ‘doing’, users gain an increasingly better understanding of what AI can offer. By gaining experience, our customers understand the added value of our data-based applications for their businesses,” explains De Graaf. “People often think AI is a kind of magical application,” adds Giraud, “but it actually involves a lot of hard work. If the input is substandard or if there is insufficient data, then models do not work.”
“The best compliment we get from customers and users of our platform is their constant stream of new questions about continued development and applications,” says De Graaf. “Committed clients who stimulate us to keep improving our range are worth their weight in gold!”
AI ecosystem on TU Delft Campus
Joost Poort sees parallels with the new Cuurios tagline and the initiative he is working on. TU Delft is already ‘doing’ a lot when it comes to AI, data, and digitisation as part of the university’s AI Initiative, and as part of the convergence collaboration in which the TU Delft, Erasmus MC and Erasmus University Rotterdam work together and other partnerships in the region and nationally. The concentration of knowledge and research, as well as of companies and partnerships, on the campus has created a unique ecosystem for AI development and innovation. For some time now, a new, accessible and unifying institute has been in the making that is now taking shape in NEXT Delft, and which is bringing together all the stakeholders in the ecosystem. “In that sense, we too are making the move from ‘thinking’ to ‘doing’, and we will be proactively getting down to work with stakeholders from inside and outside TU Delft alike, in order to bring them together, to create visibility for all that we do, and eventually to make a real impact. We see considerable potential in AI and we are convinced that further innovations can play a major role, with applications in healthcare, energy, and mobility, for example.”
Cuurios to NEXT Delft
De Graaf and Giraud are very pleased with the new location for Cuurios in NEXT Delft. They founded their company four years ago, since when they have made excellent progress, with customers like TotalEnergies, Translink and Isover in their portfolio. “As a technology company, we thrive in a technological environment and we are also delighted with the link to the university. Apart from the fact that NEXT Delft is such an attractive, green and transparent building, it makes us an active part of the TU Delft Campus ecosystem. In the current phase of growth that our company is experiencing, this environment will enable us to attract the talent we need to build up our team,” says Giraud. In addition, Cuurios took part in the Investor Readiness programme of tech incubator YES!Delft, based alongside NEXT Delft, which resulted in a pleasing investment by Secondstage Ventures.
Poort is hoping that the proximity of Cuurios and the new AI technology centre in NEXT Delft will also lead to a solid partnership. “Without a doubt, there is definitely room for the appeal and best practices of Cuurios, which will be inspiring and instructive for other entrepreneurs, as well as for students and researchers. And who knows what potential new customers will be inspired by their stories?”