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Montreal’s Element AI create global AI fund with Korean conglomerates

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Unique alliance amongst major Korean companies aims to accelerate open AI innovation in Korea, support global AI startups, and reinforce the Element AI mission of fostering worldwide transfer learning

Element AI, an artificial intelligence company that delivers groundbreaking AI solutions, today announced it has established a joint $45M fund with Korean conglomerates SK Telecom, Hyundai Motor Company, Hanwha. The new fund leverages each partner’s unique value and targets the most promising sectors of commercial AI applications and infrastructure, specifically emerging AI-based technologies including autonomous vehicles, household robots, manufacturing, drones, and hardware.

The $45M fund will be actively managed by the three Korean companies with investment advisory by Element AI. Capital will be deployed to leading AI companies over the next 36 months. The fund is designed to use Element AI’s extensive domain knowledge, cutting edge research and proprietary pipeline to source, assess, and invest in startups focused on applying AI in advanced technologies. SK Telecom, Hyundai Motor Company and Hanwha’s data and deep industry expertise combined with Element AI’s artificial intelligence knowledge will both differentiate the fund in the market and add immense value to portfolio companies.

Work together to create a new global, industrial reality

“Infusing large companies with artificial intelligence capabilities is the future of global industrialization,” 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.”


“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.”

Ecosystem for promising startups within the AI and autonomous driving industry

“No single company holds the key to the future and this why Hyundai Motor is pursuing such an alliance under the ‘open innovation’ philosophy,” said Dr. Youngcho Chi, the Chief Innovation Officer and the Head of Strategy & Technology Division of Hyundai Motor. “We are pleased to join this great collaboration project with passionate partners who know their space. We look forward to contributing to the building of an ecosystem for the promising startups within the AI and autonomous driving industry,” added Dr. Chi.

Hanwha Asset Management is a comprehensive asset manager with US$ 82bn in AUM in Hanwha Group. Through this partnership, Hanwha will look to create synergies for its portfolio companies, increase the firm’s footprint among global start-ups, and strengthen the firm’s internal capabilities in assessing innovative technologies and originating new investments. Moreover, this partnership will allow Hanwha Asset Management to closely evaluate the latest Fintech innovations, and grow as a leading asset manager in Asia.



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