The Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec (CDPQ) has announced the creation of a $250 million fund for artificial intelligence (AI) businesses in Quebec. The CDPQ–AI Fund aims to ramp up growth and acceleration of AI startups and products.
“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, Executive Vice-President, 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 will serve technology companies that have shown a capacity for continued strong growth. They will need to have a well-established management team as well as a dedicated team with AI experience.
Over the years, CDPQ has invested in many venture capital firms1 that target artificial intelligence companies in the startup phase. The CDPQ-AI Fund’s objectives include supporting the development of the most promising businesses to emerge.
In 2018, the CDPQ invested in AI businesses such as Hopper (fund: BrightSpark), TrackTik (fund: iNovia) and Breather (fund: Real Ventures).
The CDPQ has also recently announced a series of initiatives and partnerships targeting young AI companies in the startup phase.
In collaboration with Mila (Quebec Artificial Intelligence Institute), the CDPQ created Espace CDPQ | Axe IA, to house nine startups from innovative sectors. They will also have access to Mila’s academic resources and advice, coaching and a network of experts from the Caisse and Espace CDPQ.
A release said CDPQ will also soon have a laboratory on Mila’s premises for AI businesses in the portfolio.