Future 50
A New Generation of Leaders Has Arrived

For using AI to identify engineering and product design issues—early

Build it fast. Build it right. That dream scenario for project teams can be undone by costly and time-consuming rework when surprises pop up—especially if the finish line is in sight. Looking to help teams avoid that scenario, Florian Grigoleit and his German startup Modelwise developed Paitron, an AI-driven program that can spot potential design and engineering imperfections before teams get in too deep.

“Technology should be safe. But humans and even engineers make mistakes,” Grigoleit says. “Because of that, we are using AI to find design flaws early and help engineers to build safer products.”

Grigoleit and Modelwise liken Paitron to a spellchecker for engineering teams. The goal is to substantially accelerate timelines for performing systems’ functional safety assessments by automating almost 90% of the process. The time saved can set the stage for hardware teams to emulate their software peers through a more iterative design process. And to get teams up to speed quicky, Paitron was designed with an intuitive interface that the company says requires minimal training for users.

An engineer and former Fulbright Scholar, Grigoleit developed the idea with Modelwise co-founders Arnold Bitner and Iliya Valchev while they were researchers at the Technical University of Munich. After completing a prototype in 2020, Grigoleit set out to build a network of mentors who could provide insights and help attract project partners that could test the tech. To that end, Grigoleit and Modelwise participated in startup accelerator programs in 2022 at the University of California, Berkeley, and at Intel Ignite, a program aimed at advancing innovations to improve safety in the auto industry.

Buzz—and investors—soon followed. In April, Modelwise raked in more than US$2 million in venture capital funding from Berlin’s Join Capital and California’s Emerging Ventures. For Join Capital, the appeal was about more than tech. The firm estimates that more than 20,000 functional safety engineers will be needed in Europe alone—a demand Paitron could dramatically cut.

With clients already lined up in Europe, Asia Pacific and North America, Grigoleit believes Modelwise will be a multibillion U.S.-dollar business by 2030.

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