Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec (CDPQ) has announced the creation of a $250 million fund for Québec businesses with a proven track record in artificial intelligence.
The CDPQ–AI Fund aims to ramp up growth in businesses whose product offerings are based on the development of AI, and to accelerate the commercialization of artificial intelligence solutions.
“Since Montréal is emerging as a global beacon of excellence in artificial intelligence, we need to enhance our offering.”
“Since Montréal is emerging as a global beacon of excellence in artificial intelligence, we need to enhance our offering and ramp up the financial and development support we provide AI businesses through the various stages of their growth,” said Charles Émond, the executive vice president of Québec and global strategic planning at CDPQ. “This fund will encourage the commercialization of new artificial intelligence solutions, as they are of considerable strategic value to all sectors of our economy.”
The fund, managed by CDPQ’s Venture Capital and Technology team, will serve technology companies that have developed demonstrably sound business models and shown a capacity for continued strong growth. The companies will need to have a well-established management team as well as a dedicated team with AI experience.
The CDPQ-AI Fund’s objectives include supporting the development of the most promising businesses to emerge from these funds, once they have reached their growth phase. In 2018 this co-investment strategy, combined with a CDPQ-sponsored venture capital fund, resulted in CDPQ making direct investments in AI businesses, such as Hopper, TrackTik, and Breather. The CDPQ-AI Fund will be used for new transactions of this kind.
In addition to this new fund for growing technology companies, CDPQ has recently announced a series of initiatives and partnerships targeting young AI companies in the startup phase.
CDPQ, in collaboration with Mila – Quebec Artificial Intelligence Institute, has created a space to house nine startups from innovative sectors. Those startups will also have access to Mila’s academic resources and advice, coaching, and a network of experts from la Caisse and Espace CDPQ, to accelerate the commercialization of their AI solutions.
Espace CDPQ, a CDPQ subsidiary, is also a founding partner of the Creative Destruction Lab Montréal, which is driving the development of AI technology companies with strong growth potential.
Feature image courtesy CDPQ’s Twitter