Element AI has launched a $57 million AI fund with SK Telecom, Hyundai Motor Company, and Hanwha.
The fund will target companies working on AI applications in autonomous vehicles, household robots, manufacturing, drones, and hardware. The fund will be actively managed by the three Korean companies with Element AI acting as an investment advisor.
“Infusing large companies with AI capabilities is the future of global industrialisation,” said Element AI CEO Jean-François Gagné. “Our position in the marketplace gives us extraordinary access to the most cutting-edge technologies being developed today — all we need are partners and capital commitment to seed the future and that’s what we’re achieving today with this announcement. SK Telecom, Hyundai, and Hanwha share our passion for investment and building the future; I’m excited we can now work together to create a new global, industrial reality that will serve our local communities well.”
Element AI was chosen as a partner for its domain knowledge and pipeline to source, assess, and invest in startups focused on applying AI in advanced technologies. Following its historic $137.5 million Series A this year, Element AI has begun its mission to help companies adopt more AI solutions within their infrastructure. The company recently partnered with Montreal-based Automat to collaborate on Automat’s conversational marketing platform.
Co-founder Yoshua Bengio has also been active in supporting the AI ecosystem outside of Element AI, and recently joined Samsung’s AI lab in Montreal.
“SK Telecom is striving to create a ‘New ICT industrial ecosystem’ that shares various technologies, services and infrastructures such as AI and autonomous driving to create new value,” said Ryu Young-Sang, executive vice president and head of strategy and planning division at SK Telecom. “SK Telecom is leading the Korean AI industry by launching NUGU, the first AI speaker service in Korea, and by introducing the world’s first 5G Connected Car. Last month, we launched the ‘Around Alliance’, an alliance of industry-academia and collegiate autonomous vehicles, to secure autonomous driving technology. We hope that the joint investment from different fields will lead to the growth engine of New ICT.”
Capital will be deployed to AI companies over the next 36 months.
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