SCALE AI this week announced a combined $50 million being invested across 12 projects in Canada, including multiple in BC.
The investment and innovation hub, which accelerates adoption and integration of artificial intelligence, is designed to contribute to the development of a world-class AI ecosystem right here in Canada.
Based in Montreal, the federally and provincially funded SCALE AI works with industry partners and research institutes to financially support companies that implement real-world applications of AI and facilitate the development of a skilled workforce.
“In just a few years, AI integration has gone from experimental to established processes for many applications,” says SCALE AI CEO Julien Billot. “The projects announced demonstrate that regardless of the size of the company or the industry, integrating AI enables companies to identify new opportunities and create sustainable value, which includes increased revenue growth and improved competitiveness.”
Many of the projects are aimed at the supply chain, which has been battered in recent years and stands to be significantly optimized through further advances in technology. BC-based Save-On-Foods—which is working with Burnaby’s D-Wave Systems, White Box Analytics, and more to improve logistics—is one example.
“The AI project supports our efforts to improve the supply chain and ensure we have the right products at the right time for our customer,” stated Chris Allen, Vice-President Information Technology for Save-On-Foods.
Another example is Toronto’s Flybits collaborating with TD Bank Group, Toronto Metropolitan University, and Vancouver’s own Mimik Technology to develop a data ecosystem and a predictive solution to help businesses overcome current and future supply chain disruptions and crises. The project received $2 million from SCALE AI.
“One major challenge in the use of data and AI to help forge effective and sustainable business relationships lies in the availability, mobility, and effective use of privacy-preserved data,” noted Hossein Rahnama, who founded Flybits in 2013. “This solution can prove especially beneficial for companies active in supply chain and logistics, which maintain a myriad of interdependent supplier, vendor, and client relationships.”
SCALE AI is making the Canadian economy “more agile, competitive, and resilient,” according to The Honourable François-Philippe Champagne, Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry.
“With over 50 multinational AI research centres, nearly 1,000 AI start-ups, and thousands of top researchers, Canada continues to be a global leader when it comes to artificial intelligence,” he stated. “The 12 projects announced today by SCALE AI demonstrate how Canadian companies are using AI to compete on a global scale.”
Canada Drives, a Vancouver-based marketplace for buying and selling cars online, is working on another project. To provide value and convenience, Canada Drives must predict market prices and reconditioning costs to provide accurate prices to sellers and buyers.
Canada Drives will use recent funding, including nearly $1 million from SCALE AI, to acquire intelligence in the form of data and machine learning models in order to fuel the development of consumer-facing solutions.
“In launching this project, we are scaling our capacity to support rapidly evolving demand at fair prices, in a distinctive approach that combines the best of our know-how with the best in AI technology,” said Canada Drives’ Vice-President of Data & Analytics, Andrew Hall.
Routific, which makes software for local delivery businesses, also received funding. To give back to their hometown economy Routific recently launched Shop Local, an online hub for Vancouverites to discover bakeries, florists, breweries, and other companies that deliver in their area.
“Routific’s growth is a reflection of the impact they’re having on small businesses all around the world,” said Scott Lake, Hello Ventures CEO and Routific investor. “This is a great example of how technology can empower small businesses and give them a chance to thrive in the competitive world of e-commerce.”