Deeplite AI optimization software gets $7.5 million

Montreal’s Deeplite is raising $7.5 million ($6 million USD) in funding to support its AI optimization software platform.

The round was led by PJC with participation from Innospark Ventures, Differential Ventures, Ajay Shah, Executive Chairman, Smart Global Holding, and existing backers Somel Investments, BDC Capital and Desjardins Capital.

CEO Nick Romano told Techcrunch that the company wants to help make more efficient the complex task of running deep neural networks that require high computing power, memory and batteries to run.

“Our platform can be used to transform those models into a new form factor to be able to deploy it into constrained hardware at the edge,” Romano told the news website. “Those devices could be as small as a cell phone, a drone or even a Raspberry Pi, meaning that developers could deploy AI in ways that just wouldn’t be possible in most cases right now.”

Deeplite’s software optimizes DNN (Deep Neural Network) models and enables AI for edge computing on edge devices such as cameras, sensors, drones, phones and vehicles. It calls its customers major OEM brands, semiconductor and application companies.

Its product, Neutrino, allows clients to specify how they want to deploy their model and how much they want to compress it to reduce the overall size and the resources required to run it in production. “The idea is to run a machine learning application on an extremely small footprint,” noted Techcrunch.

“Compression reduces the size of the model so that you can deploy it on a much cheaper processor. We’re talking in some cases going from 200 megabytes down to on 11 megabytes or from 50 megabytes to 100 kilobytes,” CPO Davis Sawyer told the website.

The company will use the cash to accelerate R&D development, expand its team and to expand to new markets.

Deeplite was spun off at the TandemLaunch company creator and incubator in 2019, and now has 15 employees in Montreal and Toronto. It was cofounded by Ramano, Sawyer and Ehsan Saboori.

Positive sign for Montreal after Element AI downfall?

The Deeplite funding is a positive sign for a deep learning and machine learning community that took a bit of a hit when Element AI sold to ServiceNow just prior to Christmas 2020. We detailed that story, and how it affected the broader artificial intelligence startup community here in Montreal.

RELATED: As Element AI’s legacy debates, local AI shops say they’re left picking up the pieces

Regardless, the Deeplite news should send a message that this type of innovation in Montreal clearly remains alive and well.

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