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Welcome to another episode of Category Visionaries — the show that explores GTM stories from tech’s most innovative B2B founders. In today’s episode, we’re speaking with Daniele Grassi, CEO at Axyon AI, an AI platform for financial markets that has raised $5.5 Million in funding.

Here are the most interesting points from our conversation:

  • Early Passion for AI and Finance: Daniele’s journey into the intersection of AI and finance began early, with him programming a stock market simulation at just eight years old. This early interest led him to pursue software engineering and eventually to the founding of Axyon AI.
  • Specialization in Financial AI: Unlike broad AI applications, Axyon AI focuses on the specific challenges of applying deep learning and advanced machine learning techniques to financial time series, aiming to optimize financial market predictions without typical pitfalls like overfitting.
  • Building a Startup in Modena: Known for high-performance automotive brands like Ferrari and Maserati, Modena, Italy, provided a surprisingly rich environment for AI development, with a strong engineering focus spurred by local industry demands.
  • Challenges of Early AI Adoption: In the early days, Daniele faced significant challenges explaining what AI is and convincing stakeholders of its potential, especially following the disillusionment from the previous AI hype cycles.
  • Impact of Generative AI on Perception: The release of more advanced AI models like ChatGPT significantly changed public perception and acceptance of AI, easing some earlier challenges Axyon faced in market education and acceptance.
  • Vision for AI in Investment Strategies: Looking forward, Daniele sees AI becoming an indispensable component of investment strategies, not just for gaining an edge but as a fundamental necessity to compete effectively in financial markets.



Focus on Specialization to Stand Out:

Daniele emphasized the importance of specializing in a niche area, like Axyon AI has done with AI for financial markets. This specialization not only differentiates a business from competitors but also builds deeper expertise that can be more compelling to potential clients within that niche.

Build a Strong Technological Foundation:

In AI and other tech-centric fields, having a solid technological and scientific foundation is crucial. This rigor helps in building trust, especially in industries like finance where the stakes are high and the margin for error is low.

Leverage Local Ecosystems for Global Impact:

Axyon AI's decision to base operations in Modena, an area with a strong engineering heritage due to its automotive industry, highlights the advantage of tapping into local expertise and infrastructure, even for a seemingly unrelated field like AI.

Educate Your Market:

Daniele faced initial challenges in educating potential users and investors about AI's capabilities and benefits. Startups should invest in educating their target market, particularly when introducing innovative or disruptive technologies.

Use High-Profile Advisors to Gain Credibility:

Engaging with well-known advisors or securing investments from respected figures can lend credibility and facilitate easier entry into tightly-knit industry circles, as Daniele's experience with Axyon AI shows.

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