Element AI raises US$102mil; to open SEA hub in Singapore in 2H 2017
By Digital News Asia June 15, 2017
- Is the largest Series A funding round for an AI company in history
- The Singapore office will be the second office in Asia; the first being in Japan
ELEMENT AI, an artificial intelligence company that delivers AI solutions, announced on June 15 it has raised US$102 million representing the largest Series A funding round for an artificial intelligence company in history.
With this funding, Element AI will accelerate its capabilities and invest in large-scale AI projects internationally, solidifying its position as the largest global AI company in Canada and creating 250 jobs in the Canadian high-tech sector by January 2018.
The expansion in its international capabilities will see Element AI open a Singapore office during the second half of 2017. The office will serve as a Southeast Asia hub. Singapore has a growing AI presence in the region, especially in the field of fintech, and it also has a sizeable talent pool.
The Singapore office will be the company’s second office in Asia; the first being in Japan.
Besides being a target market for Element AI, Asia is a source of considerable funding. Both Tencent Holdings Ltd from China and Hanwha Investment from South Korea are significant investors.
Element AI solves problems for global organisations that need to use AI in combination with their proprietary and valuable data to leap ahead of their competitors.
Serial entrepreneurs Jean-François Gagné and Nicolas Chapados, Real Ventures and Yoshua Bengio, a co-father of deep learning technology, co-founded Element AI in October 2016 to empower industry with the massive scale of academic AI innovation Bengio was driving at the Montreal Institute of Learning Algorithms (MILA).
Together with MILA, one of the three leading centres of AI research in the world, Element AI pioneered a model of academic cooperation they have now replicated to many other institutes.
This model provides Element AI with insight, talent, and cutting-edge research that matches or exceeds even the largest tech corporations’ reach and budgets.
Data Collective (DCVC) led the funding round with participation from Fidelity Investments Canada, Hanwha Investment, Intel Capital, Microsoft Ventures, National Bank of Canada, Development Bank of Canada (BDC), NVIDIA, Real Ventures, and several sovereign wealth funds.
In addition to laying the groundwork to hire top researchers, this new funding will enable Element AI to aggressively expand on a global scale focusing on AI-powered solutions for their customers in cybersecurity, fintech, manufacturing, logistics and transportation, and robotics.
“Artificial Intelligence is a ‘must have’ capability for global companies,” said Gagné. “Without it, they are competitively impaired if not at grave risk of being obsoleted in place. Seasoned AI investors at DCVC understood this, and supported us to democratise the AI firepower reserved today for only the largest of tech corporations.
“Intel, Microsoft, and NVIDIA, as pioneers and champions of AI hardware and software, likewise understand that their businesses flourish as every company is empowered with world-class AI. This is why these leaders have backed us with the world’s largest Series A round ever for an artificial intelligence company. This historic round will help Element AI deliver profoundly powerful AI platforms for all, not just the few.”
“The most serious problems facing global industry and government today involve too much complex and rapidly changing data for the cognitive capacity of even large numbers of human experts working together,” said DCVC managing partner Matt Ocko.
“These groups - and the customers and citizens they serve - need intelligent systems that can work in concert with them to field that scale and complexity. We’re proud to back Element AI and their team of world-class researchers and engineers, who are already solving multiple global-class problems.”
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