Fabrizio Del Maffeo from Axelera AI: “You need to be a bit crazy if you want to change the world around you”

At UPTEC we welcome not only the most recent startups, but also big and established companies. This month at “Open Doors”, we present Fabrizio Del Maffeo from Axelera AI who chose UPTEC as it embodies the collaboration, creativity and spirit of innovation desired in a hub

Axelera AI Fabrizio DelMaffeo

Fabrizio Del Maffeo || CEO and Co-Founder
Axelera AI || 150 employees

Axelera AI is Netherlands-based and provides the world’s most powerful and advanced solutions for AI at the edge. Its game-changing Metis™ AI platform – a holistic hardware and software solution for AI interference at the edge – enables computer vision applications to become more accessible, powerful and user-friendly than ever before.

Tell us about you and your company.

I’m Fabrizio Del Maffeo, the CEO and Co-Founder of Axelera AI, a fast-growing startup of over 150 people. We develop game-changing technology designed to accelerate Artificial Intelligence workloads.

Why did Axelera AI come to Portugal?

We chose Portugal for its exceptional people and remarkable talent and intend to continue expanding here.

What made you choose UPTEC to develop your company?

Our team sought more than a coworking space; we were looking for a hub that embodies collaboration, creativity, and the spirit of in-person innovation—a place that would enable us to successfully expand our team. UPTEC provides all these features and more. The decision to settle there was an obvious one, thanks to its excellent facilities, which offer us the flexibility to start with a coworking space and the option to grow into our own dedicated workspace. The strategic location was also a key factor in our decision. The strong partnership with Porto University, particularly with FEUP, is the primary catalyst for attracting more talent to our team.

What do you think about the Axelera AI experience in Portugal?

So far, it has been great; we have a fully engaged team of passionate colleagues helping us realise our vision of democratising AI, delivering a powerful and affordable technology that can unleash a new wave of innovation.

How did you get your idea/concept for your business?

I have worked for 15 years in the domain of embedded computing and the Internet of Things, covering several roles. During my last year in the Asus group – it was 2019 – I saw a growing need for an affordable and powerful technology capable of efficiently processing the data created from all the devices around us, such as cars, robots, drones, medical equipment, and security systems. I decided to design and deliver some solutions based on Intel Movidius Myriad X, but it became clear that the market needed something more powerful and usable. With that in mind, I decided to take a deep dive into all the latest technology, reading multiple papers and reaching out to the authors. After one and a half years, together with our CTO and 16 brilliant minds, we started Axelera AI, a company with a product on the market, strong customer traction, and more than 150 people in 15 European countries, growing to 200 in the coming months.

To what do you attribute your company’s success?

I don’t consider Axelera AI a successful company but a company with decent chances to succeed. I must praise a team of extraordinary colleagues for all our achievements so far.

If you had one piece of advice for someone just starting, what would it be?

If you have the ambition to build a company that can have a significant impact, keep in mind that it will be a hell of a ride, going down to the moment of desperation and then up to a moment of pure joy. It’s a great journey, but it needs big sacrifices. You must be strong and understand that failure will be your breakfast for a long period. You need to be a bit crazy if you want to change the world around you; you must stay strong and hungry throughout your journey. And never, ever give up: if you fall, you have to stand up and move forward. And if you are really going to fail, try to do it fast; try to validate your business plan as soon as possible so as not to lose further time and energy. And relax, behind thousands of successful founders are thousands of failures.

Share Article