A|I: The AI Times – Pan-Canadian AI strategy, part two

Plus: Stradigi AI lays off no less than 50 employees.

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Government of Canada invests $506 million into AI, computer science research (BETAKIT)

A total of around 69 institutions were granted with funding from the Discovery Grants program this year, representing more than 1,725 researchers. Researchers from across Canada will receive over $430 million of this cumulative amount to continue research programs in a wide variety of disciplines such as artificial intelligence, computer science, climate change, and biology.

Stradigi AI lays off no less than 50 employees (JOURNAL DE MONTREAL)

Montréal-based AI startup Stradigi AI has cut at least 50 employees—nearly all of the company’s team—according to Le Journal de Montréal, which reported that the firm is seeking new financing. In 2019, Stradigi AI raised $53 million from Investissement Québec and the Fonds de solidarité FTQ.

Federal government reveals plans for $443 million second phase of Pan-Canadian AI Strategy (BETAKIT)

“This is a race to the top and I intend for Canada to own the podium,” said François-Philippe Champagne. The Canadian government established its national AI strategy in 2017, providing $125 million for that first phase.

Ocado Seeks $704 Million From Share Placing to Fund Expansion (BNN BLOOMBERG)

The British e-commerce group will raise the funds via an accelerated share placing, which includes a tranche for retail investors, the company said in a statement Monday. Ocado also agreed a new £300 million credit facility with a group of banks and reiterated its outlook for this year.

M&A likely to be a significant driver of value for Canadian tech firms in 2022 (BETAKIT)

Canada will soon close out the first half of 2022, and already, the market for initial public offerings (IPOs) appears unrecognizable from that of 2021. PwC’s Canada-focused M&A report found M&A activity across the country saw similarly explosive growth last year.

Self-Driving Big Rigs Are Coming. Is America Ready? (THE WALL STREET JOURNAL)

While the self-driving passenger-vehicle industry struggles to gain traction despite decades and tens of billions of dollars in investment, proponents of self-driving trucks say they could be here—and making money for their operators in commercial services—much sooner.

Impro.AI secures $2.25 million CAD to improve its AI-augmented corporate coaching solution (BETAKIT)

“Impro’s ability to enable these executives is what impresses us the most.” The startup claims over 20 corporate clients across North America and Europe, who pay them on a per employee per month basis. Those employees use Impro’s micro-coaching service delivered by an Impro coach.

SoftBank Vision Fund’s 4th Japan Investment Is a Legal Tech Bet (BNN BLOOMBERG)

SoftBank Group Corp.’s Vision Fund will lead a 13.7 billion yen ($101 million) Series D fundraising into Japanese startup LegalForce Inc., in the world’s biggest tech investor’s fourth outlay in its home country.

Autodesk alums close $5.3 million CAD to automate building design with Augmenta (BETAKIT)

“There’s only so much you can do with better document management, or better scheduling, or better tracking of your people on site,” said Augmenta co-founder and CEO Francesco Iorio. “What we’re doing has the opportunity to make a more important delta, as it touches the entire value chain.”

Instagram tests using AI, other tools for age verification (AP NEWS)

The use of face-scanning AI, especially on teenagers, raised some alarm bells Thursday, given the checkered history of Instagram parent Meta when it comes to protecting users’ privacy. Meta stressed that the technology used to verify people’s age cannot recognize one’s identity — only age. Once the age verification is complete, Meta said it and Yoti, the AI contractor it partnered with to conduct the scans, will delete the video.

Why VC Deven Parekh doesn’t mind “overpaying” for a good deal (BETAKIT)

Parekh has invested in software for his entire VC career but has never seen growth quite like during the COVID-19 pandemic. He chalks this growth up to a massive acceleration of companies adopting software, first for working remotely during the depths of the pandemic but now for a hybrid and flexible work future.

Exclusive: Grindr partners with Spectrum Labs on AI moderation (AXIOS)

Grindr is partnering with Spectrum Labs, tapping the startup's AI-based system to help filter postings on the LGBTQ dating service. For years, Grindr has chosen not to implement an AI system for content moderation, not because it didn't want to augment its keyword-based filtering system, but because it was concerned that the models weren't sensitive enough to keep users safe without introducing other types of bias.

Potloc raises $35 million to expand social media sampling tech across North America, Europe (BETAKIT)

“Potloc is a growth story that we are excited to be a part of,” said Tony van Marken, managing partner and co-founder at First Ascent Ventures. “They are disrupting old methods by delivering tangible value in new ways and having a major impact on how companies acquire consumer insights to make decisions.”

Areto Labs secures $1 million to address online abuse with machine learning (BETAKIT)

“What our technology does is help organizations address the risks that come to their business with the presence of online toxicity directed towards their spokespeople, brand ambassadors, or employees,” Areto Labs co-founder and CEO Lana Cuthbertson told BetaKit in an interview.

Michael Edgar

Michael Edgar

Michael is a multimedia journalist working out of the U.K. and a staff writer for BetaKit.

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