Element AI, a Montreal-based AI platform and incubator that is aiming to be the place for all companies that want to build or add AI into their businesses, has raised $102 million in the venture capital funding round.
According to a report in TechCrunch, the funding round was a series A round. Proceeds will go to hire more talent, to develop the business and to invest in some AI solutions.
“Our goal remains to lower the barrier for entry for commercial applications in AI,” said Jean-François Gagné, the CEO of Element AI, in an interview with TechCrunch. “Everyone wants to have these capabilities; it’s hard for most companies to pull it off because of the lack of talent or access to AI technology. That is the opportunity.” The company currently has 105 employees, and the plan is to ramp that up to 250 in the next couple of months, he said.
The VC round of fundraising was led by Data Collective. Other investors who participated in the round of funding included Fidelity Investments Canada, Korea’s Hanwha, Intel Capital, Microsoft Ventures, National Bank of Canada, NVIDIA, Real Ventures and “several of the world’s largest sovereign wealth funds,” the company said in the report.
The round comes six months after the company announced a seed round of funding from Microsoft Ventures and just eight months after the business was rolled out. Element AI wouldn’t say what its valuation is but did note it has hundreds of potential companies that are interested in working with it.
“As we’ve been engaging with corporates and startups [to be in our incubator], we have realized that being engaged in both at the same time is not easy,” Gagné said in the report. “We’ve started to put together a business network, including taking positions in startups to help them by investing capital, resources, providing them with technology and bringing them all the tools they need to accelerate the development of their apps and help them connect with large corporates who are their customers.”
The goal is for Element AI to support as many as fifty artificial intelligence startups.