Ghent-based platform helps Stanford scientists fight complex diseases
The Californian university Stanford is going to use the platform of Robovision, the Ghent-based specialist in artificial intelligence (AI), to develop AI applications for complex diseases.
Stanford University will use the platform to provide annotated data to AI systems. “Stanford uses the platform to create AI applications”, says Jonathan Berte, chairman of Robovision. The platform of the Ghent-based company should increase productivity and help Stanford to build larger-scale AI. Medical specialists can then annotate data without having to rely on programmers or data scientists.
“The main goal is to obtain larger datasets in order to make the medical models much more performant.” – Jonathan Berte, Chairman of Robovision
Robovision is collaborating with Professor Olivier Gevaert, whose lab at Stanford focuses on oncology and cardiovascular diseases. A team of ten researchers aims to improve the detection of complex diseases. “The main goal is to obtain larger datasets in order to make the medical models more performant. The data can be annotated with more specialists, which makes it easier to manage the AI and to make it safer,” says Berte.
Berte doesn’t mention the figures of the agreement. However, he considers the agreement to be of strategic importance. “Many American companies working with Stanford will get in touch with our platform,” he says.
Robovision aims to raise between 20 million and 50 million euros in fresh capital by the end of this year under the leadership of the new CEO Thomas Van den Driessche. This involves a Series A Funding, in which investors buy shares and therefore have a direct stake in the company’s capital. In the long term, no earlier than 2025, the company aims for an initial public offering.
In 2022, Robovision raised 15 million euros through a convertible loan from PE Group, Dovesco, and Atlas Invest. At that time, it was said that there was a realistic chance that mergers and acquisitions would be necessary to break into large ecosystems.
Robovision operates in 38 countries and has more than a thousand robots active on the platform worldwide. The company has 103 full-time employees and 22 outsourced engineers. The revenue for the fiscal year 2022 was 10.3 million euros.
“Stanford chose Robovision for the platform and our medical expertise”, says Berte. The Gent-based company is involved in various projects in the healthcare sector, including the development of an AI tool to detect and monitor very small cancer lesions. “Early detection of cancer is essential”, says Stephane Willaert, head of the healthcare department at Robovision. “Collaboration with leading oncology centres is crucial, and Stanford fits into the picture.”
“New employees ask what our most impactful projects are,” adds Berte. “These healthcare projects certainly capture the imagination.”
Radiologists do not have time for managing the smallest metastases, they establish at Robovision. They can be smaller than one millimeter and are quickly overlooked. The software can change that.
Robovision also pays attention to the ecological footprint. By the end of this year, the company aims to be the greenest AI provider in the Benelux. For example, the AI servers use heat recovery.
The Robovision platform was launched ten years ago. The software proved capable of recognizing plants, even when they have very unpredictable shapes. Meanwhile, the company has shifted to smart 3D recognition. Equally important is that non-programmers can also build AI applications on the platform for various sectors. These applications can also work together. “Many companies now have several islands of automation that are disconnected from each other”, says Berte. “Our platform provides a solution for that.”
“Many companies now have several islands of automation that are disconnected from each other” – Jonathan Berte, Chairman of Robovision
The company also has a lot of experience with software-as-a-service, a software licensing model in which the customer accesses the software based on a subscription.
There are breakthroughs in the industry as well, such as a partnership with the Japanese company Hitachi. It uses Robovision’s technology for quality control of computer chips on a nanometer scale. In its home country, Robovision also helps Sioen with quality control of industrial textiles.
- Robovision reaches an agreement with Stanford University. The company’s platform assists researchers in developing AI applications to research complex diseases.
- The Ghent-based company has ambitious plans for the detection and follow-up of cancer.
- The new AI servers of Robovision will use heat recovery.