TU spin-offs: What became of ... AIUI?

The start-up makes AI accessible to everyone

Making artificial intelligence (AI) available to everyone - this is the motto of the Ilmenau-based company AIUI. The tools developed by the TU Ilmenau spin-off make it possible to easily evaluate data using AI.

The creative core team of AIUI, consisting of Ilmenau alumni Tobias Bauer, Dr. Martin Schiele, Stephan Gasterstädt and Pengcheng Fan.

Finding technical solutions to problems has always been the aspiration of engineers. Automotive engineer Dr. Martin Schiele was also puzzled when he set himself the task of autonomously controlling complex systems during his doctorate at the Automotive Engineering Group at TU Ilmenau. AIUI was born when Dr. Schiele, who had no programming skills himself, took up the challenge of using AI as a tool to learn complex control systems for combustion engines. He had a clear goal in mind - to develop an AI tool that works without programming knowledge. What began as an idea in 2018 ended in 2021 in his own start-up, which Dr. Martin Schiele founded together with other Ilmenau alumni: AIUI. The founders' vision: to make AI accessible to non-developers in industry and research.

In addition to Dr. Martin Schiele and Stephan Gasterstädt, a computer science student at the time, Pengcheng Fan, also a computer science student at TU Ilmenau at the time, is also on board the start-up. Tobias Linus Bauer, who completed his bachelor's degree in mechanical engineering at TU Ilmenau, joined them later. They combine their skills in the company: In addition to his specialist knowledge, Martin Schiele primarily contributes his communication skills as Managing Director, while Stephan Gasterstädt has a wealth of experience as a development manager in various IT companies and is responsible for the overarching software architecture as Chief Technical Officer. Pengcheng Fan uses his analytical thinking and previous AI knowledge as an AI lead developer. Tobias Linus Bauer enriches the team with his extensive practical experience and works as an IT administrator and project manager. A network of business angels accompanies AIUI, especially in the first year, after which the company is financed by the "SHUTTLE" research project. The start-up raises additional capital via bm-t beteiligungsmanagement thüringen GmbH and the crowdfunding website companisto.

From building blocks to AI innovation

The name of the start-up: AI - Artificial Intelligence, UI - User Interface reflects the basic idea of the company: Artificial intelligence with a self-explanatory and easy-to-use user interface. AIUI's first product, AIMS, is an AI construction kit module for non-programmers. Data such as images, graphics, Excel spreadsheets, audio files or texts are fed into AIMS. Users such as engineers then train the AI for specific tasks. It is then ready for use.

AIUI's product range also includes AIVA, an on-premise chatbot that is used in image classification, knowledge databases, customer support, text composition and coding. AIQA, the third product, automates documents and digitizes forms such as (handwritten) housing benefit applications.

The AIUI tools are used in a variety of ways. For example, they predict the demand for products in e-commerce, make recommendations on share purchases in stock market trading or ensure the quality of goods in industrial production. They also support and relieve employees in sectors such as medicine, robotics, mechanical engineering and administration. Especially since the chatbot "ChatGPT" has become commercially popular, interest in AIUI has also increased, says Dr. Schiele:

'Our products offer tailored solutions for efficient, secure and modern work processes. We also rely on local data processing, which guarantees a high level of data security.

Relaxed working environment

With more than ten employees, including five TU Ilmenau alumni, AIUI's interdisciplinary team has a diverse mix of expertise. Although the headquarters are in the TGZI, the majority work remotely, which, according to Dr. Schiele, promotes a global perspective and a broad diversity of ideas. In addition to Ilmenau, employees also live in Berlin, Jena or Hamburg.

Everyday working life is characterized by unconventional collaboration, fast communication and creative elements such as memes. Virtual tools support the agile way of working, while transparent communication forms the basis for the innovation process. "The relaxed and humorous working environment helps to create a positive atmosphere and promote creativity within the team," says the start-up founder.

AIUI is actively represented in various networks, including ITnet Thüringen and the Bundesverband mittelständische Wirtschaft BVMW. According to Dr. Schiele, these memberships not only provide insights into current industry trends, but also promote strategic partnerships. ITnet Thuringia strengthens the company's presence in the regional IT landscape, while membership of the BVMW facilitates nationwide contacts and synergies with medium-sized companies:

These network participations contribute significantly to positioning AIUI as an innovative company in the field of artificial intelligence.

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