Neckarsulm, 02 October 2023 – Bechtle AG has acquired a 51 per cent stake in Rostock-based AI company Planet AI GmbH. First established in 2015 as a spin-out of Planet intelligent systems GmbH, the company has since been active in the field of deep learning and creating solutions for intelligent document analysis and process automation. Boasting a number of international awards, the AI specialist partners with research institutions and universities, but also IT manufacturers such as IBM. Planet AI currently employs 41 people, mainly in R&D and focusing on its proprietary AI platform, PlanetBrain, which builds on patented core technology and is itself the foundation for the company’s intelligent document analysis software, IDA. The AI-powered solution is used in logistics, traffic surveillance, banking and insurance, healthcare, and archiving. With its majority stake, Bechtle aims to pair use-case-oriented AI research with the extensive marketing capabilities of Germany’s largest IT system house, while mounting a joint effort to bolster Europe’s AI ecosystem and take a leading role in future innovation. Despite its focus on R&D, Planet AI brought in a revenue of 3.1 million euros in the past fiscal year.
“As a future-first IT partner, we always seek to drive and sustain our customers’ success through future-oriented technologies,” says Michael Guschlbauer, COO, IT System House & Managed Services, Bechtle AG. “With Planet AI’s innovative developments, we strengthen the core business processes of our customers through excellent AI applications.”
Planet AI management to remain on board
Planet AI’s leadership team, including its founders, will remain aboard the company following a slight reshuffle that saw Jesper Kleinjohann take the helm as Planet AI’s CEO, replacing Hagen Wustlich who will switch to the company’s advisory board. Welf Wustlich will continue in his role as CTO. Brothers Hagen and Welf Wustlich have a more than 30-year background in artificial neural networks, founding Planet intelligent systems as early as 1992, which would eventually spawn Planet AI. “We knew that our developments are top notch but we were short a partner who could accelerate our growth with broad market access and is able to deploy our solutions at scale. Bechtle has both these things, and a determination to tap into the enormous capabilities of AI for business,” says Jesper Kleinjohann, CEO, Planet AI.
Deep learning is Planet AI’s home turf
Planet AI is an internationally renowned specialist in deep learning, a subset of machine learning that relies heavily on the use of artificial neural networks. Its core product is a multifunctional software platform with leading accuracy over competitive solutions, enabling companies to automate the processing of hand and machine-written documents, receipts and other text, as well as classify document types and harvest information. Other use cases include image and voice recognition.
Bechtle’s stake in Planet AI is not subject to approval by competition authorities. The purchase price is to remain confidential as is customary. Bechtle has a call option to acquire the remaining 49 per cent of shares in the company.
With more than 85 system houses and IT e-commerce in 14 countries, Bechtle is one of Europe’s leading IT providers and never more than a stone’s throw away. Bechtle also has a worldwide partner network to fulfil the needs of its customers on every continent. Founded in 1983, the Bechtle Group is headquartered in the southern German town of Neckarsulm and currently employs over 14,500 people. Over 70,000 customers from the industrial, trade, financial and public sectors rely on the company to drive their digital transformation. Bechtle is listed on the MDAX and TecDAX indexes. In 2022, the company generated a revenue of €6.03 billion. In 2023, Bechtle celebrates its 40th anniversary. Read more at: bechtle.com
About Planet AI:
Based in Rostock in the far north of Germany, Planet AI GmbH was founded in 2015 and currently employs 41 people. A spin-off of Planet intelligent systems GmbH, which first began its journey in 1992, the research-driven AI company is dedicated to developing software products with human-inspired cognitive capabilities for information processing and understanding. By utilising proprietary deep learning and artificial intelligence technology, Planet AI empowers customers to unlock information trapped in unstructured documents, seize digitisation opportunities, and eliminate manual effort for data capture. The IDA software suite for intelligent document analysis offers comprehensive capabilities for customers who seek short time-to-value automation and high-quality data capture, extraction, and understanding. Read more at: planet-ai.com