The Virtual Assistant That Impressed the European Commission

The Virtual Assistant That Impressed the European Commission


Can a recently-formed team made up of barely-known members win a very high level competition against squads that have been working together for several years on a well-defined goal? No, logic would say. It rarely happens in sports and equally rarely when at the center of the dispute there is an entrepreneurial idea that by its nature needs time and resources to move from the 'idea' state to that of a solid and well-defined project.

The project is called aiLearning and among the seven members of the group is Sinibaldo Della Fonte, a graduate of the Bachelor in Management (2013) and the Master in Finance (2015) at Bocconi. After winning the #EUvsVirus hackahton, organized in Brussels in late April by the European Commission, the team (that also includes Corrado Palese, Nicola Di Nardo, Giorgia Gaetani, Valentina Rao, Stefano Marinoni and Serena Cantoni) participated in Matchathon, again sponsored by the European Commission.  It was held in late May and during it the innovators were able to meet important investors worldwide with the aim of completing the development of their project. "The challenge launched by #EUvsVirus", continues Sinibaldo, "was to find innovative ideas that could give answers to the problems caused by the coronavirus". The competition was attended by over 21,000 innovators who presented 2,160 projects. “We won the e-learning & Tools category, which was part of the Education macro category. A result beyond our expectations ".

aiLearning is based on a sophisticated algorithm, a sort of virtual assistant that has the aim of simplifying the management of remote school and university exams . "The system," explains Sinibaldo, "allows students to perform oral exams online by interfacing with a bot integrated into systems such as Zoom, Teams or Slack which, initially, collects the answers, converts them into text and subsequently analyzes the content, providing teachers with a first evaluation in real time". But that's not all, because aiLearning can also be of help to the students themselves, "who can use it as a tool to prepare for the exam with suggestions and real-time assessments."  

The project aroused the interest of many, from the Italian Ministry of Universities to the European University Association, which counted aiLearning among those of potential interest for the universities in its network.

“During Matchathon two institutional investors showed a particular interest in our project," concludes Sinibaldo, "and we are in the negotiation phase. We hope to close it positively and give a decisive impulse to the project".  

by Davide Ripamonti
Translated by Richard Greenslade

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