Element AI, a global developer of artificial intelligence-powered (AI) software solutions, has closed a CDN $200 million or USD $151.4 million Series B round of financing led by Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec (CDPQ), with participation of McKinsey & Company, Gouvernement du Québec, and returning Series A investors, including DCVC (Data Collective), Hanwha Asset Management, BDC Capital, Real Ventures, Daniel Gauthier, and others.
Tencent, a Series A investor, did not participate in the new round. The Series B funding close brings total amount raised so far to CDN $340 million or US $257M.
Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec made its investment through recently formed CDPQ-AI Fund. A CDPQ representative will join Element AI board of directors.
New funding will allow Montreal based Element AI to accelerate the deployment and commercialization of solutions that meet customer needs for the operationalization of AI, while continuing to develop AI products.
Founded in 2016 by JF Gagné and Dr. Yoshua Bengio, PhD, Element AI turns cutting-edge research and industry expertise into software solutions that exponentially learn and improve.
Element AI Raises CAD $200M (US $151.4M) Series B Round to Transform Commercial Operations of Company
Second funding round to fuel global product and services development centered on client needs, accelerating the commercialization of AI
MONTREAL, QUEBEC–September 13th 2019–Element AI, a global developer of artificial intelligence-powered (AI) software solutions, today announced it has raised CAD $200 million (USD $151.4 million) in a Series B Round of financing. This investment will allow Element AI to accelerate the deployment and commercialization of solutions that meet customer needs for the operationalization of AI, while continuing to develop AI products.
New investors include the Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec (CDPQ), a long-term institutional investor, McKinsey & Company, a global management consulting firm and owner of advanced analytics company QuantumBlack, and Gouvernement du Québec, as well as returning Series A investors, including DCVC (Data Collective), Hanwha Asset Management, BDC Capital, Real Ventures and many others, bringing the total amount raised so far to CAD $340M (US $257M).
“Operationalizing AI is currently the industry’s toughest challenge, and few companies have been successful at taking proofs-of-concepts out of the lab, imbedding them strategically in their operations, and delivering actual business impact,” said Element AI CEO Jean-François (JF) Gagné. “We are proud to be working with our new partners, who understand this challenge well, and to leverage each other’s expertise in taking AI solutions to market.”
“With this transaction, we are investing capital and expertise alongside partners who are ideally suited to transform Element AI into a company with a commercial focus that anticipates and creates AI products to address clients’ needs,” said Charles Émond, EVP and Head of Québec Investments and Global Strategic Planning at la Caisse. This transaction is part of the CDPQ-AI Fund recently created by Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec to accelerate the commercialization of artificial intelligence solutions. “Through this fund, la Caisse wants to actively contribute to build and strengthen Québec’s global presence in artificial intelligence,” added Émond.
The news comes just nine months after McKinsey’s advanced analytics and AI arm, QuantumBlack, launched its first Canadian office in Montreal. Patrick Lahaie, Senior Partner and Montreal Managing Partner for McKinsey & Company, said: “For McKinsey, this investment is all about helping our clients to further unlock the potential of AI and Machine Learning to improve business performance. We look forward to collaborating closely with the talented team at Element AI in Canada and globally in our shared objective to turn cutting edge thinking and technology into AI assets which will transform a wide range of industries and sectors. This investment fits into McKinsey’s long-term AI strategy, including the 2015 acquisition of QuantumBlack, which has grown substantially since then and will spearhead the collaboration with Element AI on behalf of our Firm.”
Allen & Company LLC acted as the financial advisor for the financing.
About Element AI
Element AI is a global developer of AI software that helps people work smarter. Founded in 2016 by serial entrepreneurs including JF Gagné and A.M.Turing Award recipient, Yoshua Bengio, PhD, Element AI turns cutting-edge research and industry expertise into software solutions that exponentially learn and improve. Its end-to-end offering, including advisory services, AI enablement tools and products, aims at helping large organizations operationalize AI and create real business impact. Element AI maintains a strong connection to academia through research collaborations and takes a leadership position in policy-making around the impact of technology on society. https://www.elementai.com .
About Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec
Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec (CDPQ) is a long-term institutional investor that manages funds primarily for public and parapublic pension and insurance plans. As at June 30, 2019, it held CAD 326.7 billion in net assets. As one of Canada’s leading institutional fund managers, CDPQ invests globally in major financial markets, private equity, infrastructure, real estate and private debt. For more information, visit cdpq.com, follow us on Twitter @LaCDPQ or consult our Facebook or LinkedIn pages.
About McKinsey & Company
McKinsey & Company is a global management consulting firm, deeply committed to helping institutions in the private, public, and social sectors achieve lasting success. For more than 90 years, our primary objective has been to serve as our clients’ most trusted external advisor. With consultants in 133 cities in 66 countries, across industries and functions, we bring unparalleled expertise to clients anywhere in the world. We work closely with teams at all levels of an organization to shape winning strategies, mobilize for change, build capabilities, and drive successful execution.
QuantumBlack is an advanced analytics firm operating at the intersection of strategy, technology and design to improve performance outcomes for organisations.
In 2015 QuantumBlack became part of McKinsey & Company. Together they combine advanced analytics, design and engineering expertise with McKinsey’s industry knowledge and organisational change management experience. QuantumBlack was born and proven in Formula 1 – where teams live and breathe data. Today, the QuantumBlack team are still fascinated by how a marginal gain can have a significant impact on the performance of any organisation.
About ministère de l’Économie et de l’Innovation du Gouvernement du Québec
The ministry’s mission is to support business growth, entrepreneurship, science, innovation, export trade and investment. The MESI is coordinating the elaboration and the implementation of the digital strategy. It also advises the Government with a view to favouring economic development in every region of Québec, in a perspective of job creation, economic prosperity, sustainable development.
About BDC Capital
With more than $2 billion under management, BDC Capital is the investment arm of BDC, serving as a strategic partner to Canada’s most innovative and high potential firms. It offers a range of equity, venture capital and flexible growth and transition capital solutions to help Canadian entrepreneurs scale their businesses into global champions. To find out more, visit bdc.ca/capital.
About Real Ventures
Real Ventures serves mission-driven entrepreneurs and nurtures the ecosystems in which they thrive. Established in 2007, the firm backs visionary founders building innovative tech companies that will have large-scale positive impacts on society. The firm also helps entrepreneurs to realize the full potential of their companies by providing them with the guidance, stage-specific help and communities required to develop the self-awareness and operational capabilities for global success. Real has invested in over 220 companies across five funds, with $330M under management. www.realventures.com
About DCVC (Data Collective)
DCVC (Data Collective) is a venture capital fund that backs entrepreneurs applying deep tech to power new industries and revitalize old ones. DCVC supports brilliant people changing global-scale businesses for over twenty years, helping create tens of billions of dollars of wealth while also making the world a markedly better place. For more information on DCVC, visit www.dcvc.com.
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