June 15, 2017
Element AI raises historic US$102M Series A funding round
Funding to create new jobs, accelerate enterprise AI adoption and create the world's most powerful AI platform
MONTREAL -- Element AI, an artificial intelligence company that delivers groundbreaking AI solutions, announced today it has raised US$102M, 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.
Element AI solves impossible problems for global organizations that urgently 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 world-leading 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 unique, non-exploitative 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 Real Ventures, Development Bank of Canada (BDC), Fidelity Investments Canada, Hanwha Investment, Intel Capital, Microsoft Ventures, National Bank of Canada, NVIDIA, Tencent, and several of the world's largest sovereign wealth funds. In addition to laying the groundwork to hire hundreds of 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 Jean-François Gagné, Element AI's CEO. "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 democratize 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 Matt Ocko, DCVC managing partner. "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."
"Intel is all-in on AI," said Naveen Rao, VP & GM of Intel's Artificial Intelligence Products Group (AIPG). "In addition to hardware, we're committed to developing the software ingredients necessary to accelerate complex, data-intensive processes. Such an endeavor means investing in the best minds in the world and Element AI has the intellectual horsepower to help us all advance artificial intelligence like never before."
"Element AI is doing amazing work enabling AI for a wide variety of industries, leveraging NVIDIA's deep learning platform," said Jeff Herbst, vice president of business development at NVIDIA. "Element AI will benefit by continuing to leverage NVIDIA's high performance GPUs and software at large scale to solve some of the world's most challenging issues."