Montreal AI firm Zetane secures loan

Zetane Systems has received a C$500,000 loan from Business Development Bank of Canada and the PME MTL-West Island.

Zetane Systems has received a C$500,000 loan from Business Development Bank of Canada and the PME MTL-West Island. Zetane is a Montreal-based artificial intelligence company.

PRESS RELEASE

[Montreal, Canada; February 12, 2020] A half-million-dollar loan will further the development of software that enables the more transparent and inclusive development of innovations in artificial intelligence (AI). The early-stage technology company, Zetane Systems from Beaconsfield, Quebec, announced today their receipt of $250 000 each from the Business Development Bank of Canada (BDC) and the PME MTL–West Island. This latest funding tops off previous government grants from the Industrial Research Assistance Program of the National Research Council and the Quebec Ministere de l’economie et de l’Innovation of $50 000 and $43 360, respectively.

Zetane Systems will use the funds to advance its software as a service provision of a digital, visual workspace that helps streamline the development of complex AI projects. Building on top of abstract computer code, the software’s visual representation of data sets and machine learning algorithms provides new means to assess the technology’s trustworthiness and gain a better understanding of its inner workings. Support of this entrepreneurial venture in AI aligns with multiple public and private initiatives to maintain the Montreal region as a leading centre of innovation within this domain of the technology sector.

Proven applications of Zetane in industry and applied research

Corporations and technology startups, including Thales and Presagis, completed recent beta trials of the software. Notable AI applications developed with the software ranged from autonomous trains to the recognition of buildings in satellite images. Trials by the National Research Council demonstrated further the use of the software in prototyping AI-enabled training tools for surgery in neuro-oncology. In addition to further conducting beta trials in more industrial sectors, the company will exhibit its findings at the World AI Summit of the Americas happening in Montreal on March 25-26, 2020.

Shedding light on “black-box” algorithms with accessible software

AI is proven to provide substantial benefits, ranging from improved medical diagnoses to gains in the energy efficiency of buildings; however, the novelty and complexity of AI present significant challenges for its responsible use in industrial processes and consumer goods. To date, experts in the field struggle to explain how complex AI algorithms derive their conclusions and decisions. Often termed the “black-box” problem, such lack of transparency can cause a lack of confidence when deploying AI solutions in business operations and makes introducing AI into industries with extensive regulatory oversight — such as in medicine and transportation — difficult.

Current methods to develop the technology into tangible goods is also complex, and thus remains the work of select few experts in data science and computer science. Such expertise barriers inhibit efforts to include diverse professionals and the public in the development of AI. This, in turn, impedes efforts aimed at ensuring the benefits of AI technology are more equitably distributed across society.

The Zetane visual workspace addresses both problems by enabling users of the software to see inside the inner workings of artificial neural networks within 3-dimensional space. The visual and intuitive representations of AI also enable non-technical professionals to contribute towards prototyping and assessing the outputs from AI models.

“Working with PME MTL West-Island and BDC West was a great experience from start to finish. Their willingness to support our high-tech startup’s needs will provide the fuel we need for the rapid growth of our business and the further refinement of our technology. Such resources are essential to entrepreneurs on the West Island of Montreal”, expressed the CEO and co-founder of Zetane, Guillaume Herve.

“We are proud to financially support a company as innovative as Zetane Systems. Their groundbreaking platform will play an instrumental role in the advancement of artificial intelligence, specifically in providing a better understanding and optimization of smart algorithms”, said Jean Archambault, the Director of Finance and Industrial Commissioner of PME MTL West-Island.

Budding from a basement in Beaconsfield
The origin of Zetane Systems is reminiscent of the paths forged by iconic tech companies like Apple that grew from modest beginnings out of a garage. In this case, Zetane conducted most of its operations from the basement of the CEO’s home in Beaconsfield. With the new funding, the company will establish its new headquarters in commercial office space in Pointe-Claire, Quebec.

About BDC
BDC is the only bank devoted exclusively to entrepreneurs. It provides access to financing, both online and in-person, as well as advisory services to help Canadian businesses grow and succeed. Its investment arm, BDC Capital, offers a wide range of risk capital solutions. For 75 years and counting, BDC’s purpose has been to support entrepreneurs in all industries and all stages of growth. For more information and to consult more than 1,000 free tools, articles and entrepreneurs’ stories, visit bdc.ca.

About PME MTL
The PME MTL network fosters local economic activity by promoting entrepreneurship and employment throughout Montreal. Our experts, in six service hubs, offer support and financial assistance for entrepreneurs and business leaders, to help them launch and grow their business. PME MTL runs the local and regional entrepreneurship competition Defi PME MTL.
About Zetane Systems Inc.
Zetane develops the digital tools technical and non-technical professionals need to expedite the responsible, inclusive and trustworthy development of artificial intelligence. In addition to computer code, our software platform enables you to work with advanced data sets and build sophisticated machine learning algorithms in an intuitive, visual 3D environment. To know more, visit zetane.com.