Montreal-based SCALE AI invests $29 million in five AI projects

SCALE AI, the Montreal-based AI investment firm funded by both the Canadian and Quebec governments, is investing another $29 million in five projects.

SCALE AI develops programs aimed at supporting investment projects of companies that implement real-world applications in AI, the emergence of future Canadian flagships in the sector, as well as the development of a skilled workforce.

“Things are moving fast. Now we see the first concrete results and how the success of the early adopters has inspired new projects on an increasingly large scale,” said CEO Julien Billot. “Our team is enthusiastic about the diversity of the projects in which we have invested—big and small, and coming from all sectors. The five projects announced today, representing total investments of $29 million, illustrate this trend and the accelerated pace of growth we are experiencing in all our programs.”

The Quebec government has pitched in $83.4 million to support the activities of SCALE AI until 2023. In SCALE AI’s first year, it invested $120 million alone.


Here’s the five projects:

1) Smart supply chain for the minerals and metals sector

Project Lead: Groupe Optel
Partners: Aluminium Association of Canada, Laserax, Lithion Recycling, Université Laval, SmartyfAI
SCALE AI’s investment: $5.4 million
Total investment: $16.6 million

The initiative will enable digitization of the mineral and metal value chain in order to improve performance. The project will make it possible to measure the socioenvironmental impact of these value chains thereby maximizing the Canadian industry’s competitive advantage, while making better and more planet- friendly use of resources. The development of highly advanced AI algorithms will provide an essential tool for industry stakeholders to meet commercial and environmental requirements.

2) Port Logistics Optimization Tool

Project Lead: Montreal Port Authority Partners: Montreal Gateway Terminals Partnership, Canscan, EI Systems, Termont
SCALE AI’s investment: $1.3 million
Total investment: $2.7 million

The movement of containers through the Port of Montreal’s network is driven by a complex web of information exchange
between numerous stakeholders. A data-driven approach provides, at best, good upstream visibility on the rail and marine supply chain in order to support decision-making. At a tactical level, this upstream visibility can be enhanced through AI and
predictive analytical tools. A better synchronization of all elements of supply chains is expected to bring substantial benefits to the entire gateway ecosystem.

“This project is another critical milestone in our progress towards the ‘Smart Port’ vision we are implementing,” said Montreal Port Authority’s Daniel Dagenais. “It will benefit all stakeholders involved in the chain, reducing cargo delays and overall dwell time, while maximizing global throughput to our major logistics hub.”

3) Demand forecasting and real-time monitoring in retail businesses

Project Lead: FIND A.I.

Partners: Pr Chi-Guhn Lee, Pacific West Commercial Corporation, Boathouse Apparel, Cook Culture Ltd, Bella Group, Plenty Apparel, Purdy’s

SCALE AI’s investment: $1 million
Total investment: $4.5 million

Predicting and managing consumer demand is an incredibly challenging task for retailers in the apparel, footwear and accessories (AFA) space. Like their customers’ requirements, their supply chain continually changes while new fashion trends are constantly invented. The right inventory mix, lead times, and fulfillment can make or break an entire business, while
significantly impacting the environment. This is even more important in an era when the retail industry is heavily impacted by the current pandemic, as supply chains are disrupted and consumer demand is even more unpredictable.

FIND.AI says it offers an industry-specific inventory and supply chain planning solution for AFA retailers that ensures improved predictability of product demand and control of production, thereby reducing production waste and environmental impacts,
while maximizing financial gains.

“By focusing on the needs of AFA retailers, and teaming up retail know-how with AI expertise, we create tools that offer incredibly accurate forecasts and real-time monitoring of product demand,” said FIND.AI CEO Poya Haghnegahdar.

4) An AI-based prediction platform for driving supply chain efficiencies

Project Lead: Fleet Complete
Partners: Pitstop, Sensata, NPL
Canada, Superior Propane
Scale AI’s investment: $0.9 million
Total investment: $3.6 million

Vehicle and equipment downtime is the leading cause of inefficiencies within supply chain and logistics in terms of costs and time. AI brings new ways of better managing the maintenance of commercial vehicle fleets with predictive analytics. Fleet Complete says it will be able to provide advanced brake and tire prognostics to fleet owners and managers to significantly reduce downtime and lower the cost of ownership for their mobile assets.

“At project completion, the global automotive industry will gain an AI-powered prediction platform that will support the entire connected vehicle ecosystem in driving cost and time efficiencies, as well as help promote growth and employment opportunities across Canada and abroad,” said Fleet Complete CEO Tony Lourakis.

5) Intelligent forecasting for a more reliable supply chain

Project Lead: Distribution Pharmaplus
Partners: Groupe Horizon Santé,
Pharmacie SM, CS et AP Inc, Sodan
Conseillers TI, Thales Digital Solutions
SCALE AI’s investment: $0.8 million
Total investment: $1.6 million

Distribution Pharmaplus relies on AI to improve pharmacy inventory management, reduce shortages and increase revenues. The Alter Ego Pharma solution is an innovative cloud-based platform for improving the drug distribution chain.

“As science brings pharmaceutical innovations for patients, AI offers new ways to manage our business and improve the distribution of pharmaceutical products in the complex network of the health care system,” said CEO Denis Forget. “The Alter Ego Pharma solution will allow us to unlock productivity by improving inventory management, limiting the impact of shortages and reducing administrative management—a typical win-win solution, as we reduce our costs, while increasing our sales and offering better service.”

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