Electronic Products & Technology

Montreal-based artificial intelligence startup factory launched

Stephen Law   

Automation / Robotics Electronics Engineering Software Regulations & Standards Wireless Engineering IoT

Element AI to partner with world-class entrepreneurs, leading Montreal researchers and large corporations to develop new technologies resulting in custom solutions and new companies.

An artificial intelligence startup factory, called Element AI, was launched this week in Montreal by serial entrepreneurs Jean-François Gagné and Nicolas Chapados, along with Yoshua Bengio, a co-father of Deep Learning technology. The company will enable world-class entrepreneurs to tackle hard problems by building products that solve their artificial intelligence needs.


Element AI brings together cutting edge researchers and industry leaders looking to assist in implementing an ‘AI-First’ strategy and introduces the possibility for any organization to develop their own artificial intelligence strategy.

“There’s a war for talent going on and most companies are being out-gunned by the tech giants leaving traditional organizations defenseless,” says Element AI co-founder and CEO Jean-Francois Gagne. “Our mission is to bring entrepreneurs and academics together and help them incubate advanced AI-First solutions.”


The founding team includes:

  • Jean-Francois Gagne – a serial entrepreneur who founded and successfully exited two companies in AI and Operations Research. After his last acquisition, he became CPO of the world’s largest supply-chain management software cie, where he oversaw 100+ products and 1400 employees in over 20 countries
  • Yoshua Bengio – holds a PhD in Computer Science from McGill University and did postdoc studies at M.I.T. and AT&T Bell Labs. He is the author of two books and more than 300 publications and is one of the three pioneers of Deep Learning, the most impactful recent advance in Machine Learning.
  • Nicolas Chapados – holds a PhD in Computer Science from the University of Montreal and the Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) designation. He co-founded ApSTAT Technologies in 2001, a machine learning technology transfer firm, as well as, two spin-off companies: Imagia, to provide AI-based actionable predictive oncology analytics atop medical imaging data, and Chapados Couture Capital, a quantitative asset manager.
  • Real Ventures – Real Ventures invests in ambitious entrepreneurs that are creating the Internet experiences of the future or embracing the power of the Internet to disrupt existing industries or business models. Investing pre-traction, its team and networks support entrepreneurs and propel their companies forward.

Montreal is a major technology development hub with access to world-class talent and research facilities in Artificial Intelligence. The Element AI mission is to build upon the local resources available and foster the creation of hundreds of jobs over the next five years, which will contribute to preserving local talent and boosting the Canadian economy.

“We strongly believe in the promise of Element AI because of the stellar founding team, the opportunity they’ve identified and their demonstrated ability to achieve ground-breaking innovation in a critical space that is shaping our future,” says Element AI Co-Founder and Real Ventures Partner Jean-Sébastien Cournoyer.

“Element’s “AI research lab as a service” model, combined with its product development capabilities, have the potential to level the playing field in AI and provide Element partners with the ability to succeed in their respective markets,” Cournoyer adds.



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