Element AI establishes joint $45 million fund with SK Telecom, Hyundai Motor Company, and Hanwha


ElementAI, which brought on two new leading scientists in October after raising a historic $137.5 Series A in June, is bringing cutting edge artificial intelligence (AI) know-how to Korea.

The Montreal powerhouse announced that they will be establishing a joint $45 million fund with Korean heavy hitters SK Telecom, Hyundai Motor Company, and Hanwha. The new fund will target promising sectors of commercial AI applications and infrastructure such as autonomous vehicles, household robots, manufacturing, drones, and hardware.

Element AI will provide investment advisory while the three Korean companies actively manage it, deploying capital to leading AI companies over the next 36 months.

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“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.”

The new fund will take advantage of Element AI’s extensive domain knowledge, cutting edge research and proprietary pieline to source, assess, and invest in startups focused on applying AI in advanced technologies.

“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.”

“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.” – Jean-François Gagné

SK Telecom, Hyundai Motor Company and Hanwha’s data and deep industry expertise, combined with Element AI’s expertise, will make this new fund unique in the market and add value to portfolio companies.

“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.

The partnership will also allow Hanwha Asset management to evaluate some of the latest innovations in Fintech and grow as a leading asset manager in Asia. The firm currently manages US $82 billion in AUM in Hanwha Group.

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