Canadian start-up secures $102m and creates 250 jobs, just like that

14 Jun 2017

Montreal. Image: Bildagentur Zoonar GmbH/Shutterstock

Element AI’s $102m Series A funding round could prove one of the biggest of the year, though medtech and insurtech businesses are surging, too.

Canadian start-up Element AI is profiting from a global thirst for machine learning and artificial intelligence (AI).

Its business model, which allows clients to use AI in combination with their proprietary and valuable data, has drawn in the crowds.

Element AI

Today (14 June), Element AI revealed funding of $102m, representing the largest Series A round for an AI company in history.

Calling AI a “must-have capability for global companies”, and lauding the immense funding round, Element AI CEO Jean-François Gagné railed against any perceived monopoly enjoyed by major tech players in this space.

Data Collective led the funding round into the Montreal-based company, with Gagné adding that the investment will help “to democratise the AI firepower reserved today for only the largest of tech corporations.

“Intel, Microsoft and Nvidia, as pioneers and champions of AI hardware and software, likewise understand that their businesses flourish as every company is empowered with world-class AI.

“This is why these leaders have backed us with the world’s largest Series A round ever for an artificial intelligence company. This historic round will help Element AI deliver profoundly powerful AI platforms for all, not just [a few].”

Element AI will now accelerate its capabilities and invest in large-scale AI projects internationally, creating 250 jobs in the high-tech sector by January 2018.

A whirlwind of tech investment

Meanwhile, in South Korea, e-book company Ridibooks has revealed a $20m Series C funding round, claiming 2.5m users and 175 e-book downloads since its creation in 2009.

Sporting annual revenues of $50m, Ridibooks told Tech in Asia that the money will go towards improving user experience across all of its products.

In the US, healthcare start-up Xealth raised $8.5m, not long after spinning out of Providence Health and Services.

Based in Seattle, Xealth provides tools to help doctors easily deliver digital services to patients.

Staying in the US, insurtech start-up Sure raised $8m in Series A funding, with the New York company specialising in insuring pretty much anything.

Sure said that it uses an AI-powered ‘robo broker’ to help users find the best insurance.

Gordon Hunt was a journalist with Silicon Republic