• Hyundai Motor, SK Telecom, Hanwha Asset to jointly commit $45 million
• Montreal-based Element AI to deploy expertise in AI to manage operations
• ‘AI Alliance Fund’ to invest in startups in AI, smart mobility and fin-tech
• Hyundai to help create innovative ecosystem for startups through AI-Alliance Fund
November 16, 2017 – Hyundai Motor Company, South Korea’s largest automaker, is partnering with SK Telecom, Hanwha Asset Management and Element AI to establish a fund which will investment in startups involved with artificial intelligence (AI), smart mobility and fin-tech.
Hyundai, SK Telecom and Hanwha of South Korea will respectively commit $15 million for the ‘AI Alliance Fund’ to be launched early next year, totaling $45 million in initial funding. Montreal-based Element AI, founded by global AI guru Yoshua Benjio, will serve as an advisor for the fund. Element AI will provide its expertise in deep domain knowledge, as well as access to its cutting edge research and proprietary pipeline to source, assess and invest in startups focused on applying AI in advanced technologies.
Hyundai Motor, SK Telecom and Hanwha Asset will also leverage their expertise in their respective areas – mobility, ICT and financial services - to help create an innovative ecosystem for startups. The companies will jointly explore investment opportunities in promising startups in regions such as U.S., Europe and Israel to navigate rapidly changing business horizons with disruptive technologies.
"No single company holds the key to the future. And that's why Hyundai Motor is pursuing this alliance under the 'open innovation' spirit," said Dr. Youngcho Chi, the Chief Innovation Officer
and the EVP of the Strategy & Technology Division of Hyundai Motor. "We are pleased to join this great global collaboration project with passionate partners who know their space. We look forward to contributing to the building of an ecosystem for promising startups within AI and future business areas," added Dr. Chi during the ceremony held in Seoul today.
“Our position in the marketplace gives us extraordinary access to the most cutting-edge technologies being developed today -- all we need are partners and capital commitment to seed the future and that’s what we’re achieving today with this announcement,” said Element AI CEO Jean-François Gagné. “Hyundai Motor, SK Telecom and Hanwha share our passion for investment and building the future. I’m excited we can now work together to create a new global, industrial reality that will serve our local communities well.”
As part of its ‘open innovation’ philosophy, Hyundai Motor has bolstered efforts to cooperate with globally renowned organizations or institutions to quickly and effectively respond to rapidly changing needs and environments associated with the automotive industry.
Earlier this month, Hyundai Motor announced plans to establish an “Open Innovation Center” in Israel, spearheaded by the Strategy & Technology Division which launched in February to oversee the company’s research in future technology - AI, advanced materials, energy, and robotics. The company also launched a Silicon Valley-based incubator, “Hyundai CRADLE”, with further plans to expand such innovation hubs globally.
Montreal, Canada-based AI solutions company Element AI was co-founded in 2016 by established entrepreneur Jean-François Gagné and leading AI researcher Yoshua Bengio, and employs more than 160 researchers.
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Photo (from left to right) : Yong Hyun Kim (CEO of Hanwha Asset Management), James Ryu (Executive Vice President at SK Telecom), Dr. Youncho Chi (Chief Innovation Officer and EVP of the Strategy & Technology Division of Hyundai Motor) and Jean-Francois Gagne (Chief Executive Officer of Element AI)
About Element AI
Element AI delivers ground-breaking artificial intelligence solutions to enterprise companies, bringing together the best AI experts and top entrepreneurs to produce next generation AI capabilities for any organization. Element AI is headquartered in Montreal, Quebec and is funded by leading investors including BDC Capital, Data Collective, Fidelity Investments Canada, Hanwha Investment, Intel Capital, Microsoft Ventures, National Bank, NVIDIA GPU Ventures, Real Ventures, and Tencent.
About Hyundai Motor
Established in 1967, Hyundai Motor Company is committed to becoming a lifetime partner in automobiles and beyond. The company leads the Hyundai Motor Group, an innovative business structure capable of circulating resources from molten iron to finished cars. Hyundai Motor has eight manufacturing bases and seven design & technical centers worldwide and in 2016 sold 4.86 million vehicles globally. With more than 110,000 employees worldwide, Hyundai Motor continues to enhance its product line-up with localized models and strives to strengthen its leadership in clean technology, starting with the world’s first mass-produced hydrogen-powered vehicle, ix35 Fuel Cell and IONIQ, the world’s first model with three electrified powertrains in a single body type.
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