CDPQ launches $250 mln fund dedicated to AI

Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec said March 18 that it has created a fund dedicated to Québec businesses with a track record in artificial intelligence. CDPQ has funded the pool with a $250 million envelop.


Creation of a $250-million fund dedicated to AI
MONTRÉAL, March 18, 2019 /CNW Telbec/ – Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec (CDPQ) has announced the creation of a fund dedicated to Québec businesses with a proven track record in artificial intelligence. Funded with a $250-million envelope, 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 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.”
This 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. 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 from these funds, once they have reached their growth phase.
Note that in 2018 this co-investment strategy, combined with a CDPQ-sponsored venture capital fund, has resulted in CDPQ making direct investments in AI businesses, such as Hopper (fund: BrightSpark), TrackTik (fund: iNovia), or even Breather (fund: Real Ventures). 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, 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 la Caisse and Espace CDPQ, to accelerate the commercialization of their AI solutions. Furthermore, CDPQ will soon have a laboratory, on Mila’s premises, that it can make available to certain businesses in the portfolio that have clearly defined AI integration programs.
Espace CDPQ, a CDPQ subsidiary, is also a founding partner of the Creative Destruction Lab Montréal which, through its extensive academic and business networks, is driving the development of AI technology companies with strong growth potential.
It should also be noted that NextAI, an innovation program designed to create artificial intelligence companies and commercialize technologies, has just moved into Espace CDPQ. Active in both Montréal and Toronto, NextAI accelerates and develops businesses in the seed capital and startup phases. NextAI works with teams that are commercializing research on AI and are interested in building global businesses.
Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec (CDPQ) is a long-term institutional investor that manages funds primarily for public and parapublic pension and insurance plans. As at December 31, 2018, it held CAD309.5 billion in net assets. As one of Canada’s leading institutional fund managers, CDPQ invests globally in major financial markets, private equity, infrastructure, real estate and private debt. For more information, visit, follow us on Twitter @LaCDPQ or consult our Facebook or LinkedIn pages.
1 iNovia, Real Ventures, BrightSpark, White Star Capital, Relay Ventures, Georgian Parners, RV Orbit, Luge Capital, InnovExport, Anges Québec Capital, CTI Life Sciences and Lumira Ventures
SOURCE Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec

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