From idea to scalable AI business in 12 weeks


AI Founders is a 12-week idea-stage incubator program in Heilbronn that helps aspiring founders with new startup ideas launch successful AI businesses. Our Mission is to empower talented experts in the field of AI to systematically build scalable businesses that solve real-world problems and help shape a better future.

Are you an (aspiring) idea or early-stage founding team or venture that is comprised of one technical and one business co-founder? Or a single founder with high potential? Are you ready to commit fully to your idea, and make a difference?

We will support you with the following benefits, completely free and without taking equity

12-week structured program

Our program is divided in to two tiers: Beginner tier for idea stage founders Advanced tier for pre-seed startup teams, ideally with a working MVP The structured curriculum focuses on developing your business in the “business track” and developing your AI models in the “AI track”. In the beginning of the Business Track you will validate your idea and find your “problem-solution-fit”. Afterwards, you will develop a suitable business model, start building your solution and aim to achieve your “product-market-fit”. In the last part of the program, you will incorporate your business (if you haven’t already), start building traction in the market and present your startup and share it with our broad network at the Demo Day after week 12. The AI Track will first help you find the relevant data that you will need to build AI models for your solution. In a next step you will start optimising your data models and learn how to scale it.

25K per team

During the program qualified participants may receive a stipend or get the possibility of financing through our financial partners, based on milestones we create together at the start of the program. The purpose of the milestones is to give you important guidance during the program on what to focus on. These milestones are well aligned with your entrepreneurial journey and with hard work you will have a very high chance to reach them.
The stipend will be payed out in 3 tranches, with a first instalment taking place directly at the start of the program, providing you with support that truly makes the difference from the get-go.

Free top-tier co-living accommodation during the program

Our stunning apartments at Rosenberg Quartier are there for you, your team and the whole cohort to provide comfort, convenience, and an inspiring environment for you. As our workshops and sessions are on-site only, we have your stay in Heilbronn covered during the program. This is a place where AI Founders go from strangers to friends, and we can tell you this will become an unforgettable experience.
Located in the heart of Heilbronn, our apartments provide easy access to a range of amenities, including shopping centers, restaurants, and cultural attractions.

World-class mentors

Our top-tier AI and business experts are highly experienced professionals who are passionate about helping your startup succeed. They bring years of industry knowledge and expertise to the table, and are committed to guiding and mentoring you on your journey to success. Their guidance and advice can provide invaluable insights, help overcome challenges, and stay ahead of the competition, giving you a significant advantage on your journey to success.

Some of our mentors and experts

Access to our Campus Lab space

During your participation in the program you have access to our different working spaces.

Benefit from modern equipment such as high-speed internet, a vibrant community of like-minded individuals, all while being conveniently located in the heart of the city.

Thriving community with relevant stakeholders to accelerate your business

To be successful, startups and innovations need a strong network. For that reason we act as a connector for the startup and innovation ecosystem. Talent, entrepreneurs, regional and international startups, investors, mentors, experts and corporations are actively participating in our community, both physically and online.

Become part of one of Europe's next AI hotspots

Heilbronn is developing into Europe’s most relevant ecosystem for applied artificial intelligence through large scale investment initiatives by the Baden-Württemberg government and the Dieter Schwarz Stiftung, projects such as IPAI and startup events like SLUSH’D Heilbronn with growing reach. Collaborate with companies, AI specific investors and service providers that are settling here as they believe, just as much as us, how Heilbronn can foster each stakeholder in the startup and AI ecosystem. Become an active player in this developing ecosystem. Our Demo Day will provide a platform for you to meet our ecosystem including investors and corporates to bring your startup to the next level.



Or nominate a startup or founder that should

Application process

Don't just take our word for it, here's what our alumni have to say.

You created a program that turns strangers into friends

Patrick Imcke

Your Easy AI (batch#1)

This is the most qualitative program from the many programs that I have insights to.

Julien Van Hoeylandt

Upskyld (batch#1)

We met so many different people, business angels and investors which was amazing

David Winker

Leadnow (Batch#1)


No. Our program is specifically designed for founders and early-stage startups who want to leverage the power of AI to solve a problem. There are other, more suitable programs available for your case. Check out the startups tab to learn more about other programs we offer like our investment vehicle or startup workshops.

Usually, the most successful startups comprise at least two co-founders who can cover the technical and business bases. If you are an exceptional talent and believe that you have what it takes to start your own business we may make an exception. In addition, we may be able to match you with a suitable co-founder. Get in touch and let’s see if we can help you out.

What we expect from our founders is that they are fully committed to the program and building their startup. If you are working full-time or in the midst of your studies, then it will be difficult to keep up with the fast pace of the program. We require that at least one of your co-founders is working fully on the business. Ideally all.

Our program is designed for aspiring founders who have an AI related business idea as well as early-stage startups. The maximum threshold for early-stage teams is: max. 6 employees (incl. co-founders), annual sales volumes of at most 50.000EUR, and at most 50.000EUR in equity investment. Grants do not count towards the investment.

Depending on the quality and number of applications we will be aiming to select an equal amount of teams in the idea-stage as well as the early stage. However, this is not set in stone and will purely depend on the applications we receive. In either case, you are not at a disadvantage, as long as you submit a strong application.

As our curriculum is fast-paced and challenging, we expect you to focus solely on AI Founders full-time.

Yes, this is one of our requirements. In order to get the most out of the program, physical attendance is highly preferred During the program, we provide you with accommodation through a living stipend in case you do not live in Heilbronn or the vicinity.

For batch #2 we will be selecting 10-15 teams.

For idea-stage founders we will focus on the problem you are trying to solve, why you want to solve it, the severity of the problem, how many people you will impact with your solution, your relevant expertise in the industry/domain of choice and whether you have been affected / tried to solve your own problem. Finally, we will assess whether your team is comprised of a technical and business co-founder and has what it takes to build a successful business in this area.

For early-stage startups we will similarly look at the problem you are trying to solve with AI, your product/solution, the innovativeness of your idea and your competition, the size of the market you are addressing, the scalability of the idea, your business model and the team.

In both cases, we will assess to what degree AI is relevant to your solution and whether we believe you are personally a good fit for the program and the community.

After the application deadline, all applications will be reviewed by a diverse team of evaluators. After the evaluation committee meets to discuss the applications, 30 startups will be invited to pitch their idea/startup. After all the pitches, the team will decide which 10-15 teams will be accepted to the program and will inform the teams accordingly by email.

Yes, absolutely! There are many reasons why you might not have been selected, such as personal circumstance or a strong pool of applicants. Continue to work on your idea and with enough determination, a bit of luck and the right timing, you may be accepted to one of our future batches.

You will receive your first installment of 8,333 EUR at the start of the program, your second tranche will be paid out during the 6th week with the last installment being transferred in the 12th week of the program.

If you participate in our workshops we do expect you to reach your milestones. Depending on the agreement you might or might not receive the installment when you do not reach your milestones

We will be running a number of community events and Q&A sessions before the beginning of the batch. You may join us there to have your questions answered. Alternatively, reach out to