McKinsey & Company invests in Montreal’s Element AI

18 September 2019 Consulting.ca

Element AI, a Montreal-based global developer of artificial intelligence software, raised $200 million in a Series B Round of financing. Among the investors was strategy firm McKinsey, which owns advanced analytics firm QuantumBlack.

Other new Series B investors included la Caisse (CDPQ) and the Government of Quebec, as well as returning Series A investors DCVC (Data Collective), Hanwha Asset Management, BDC Capital, and Real Ventures. Element AI has raised a combined $340 million across the two rounds.

The Montreal-based firm was founded in 2016 and offers advisory services and AI enablement tools and products that leverage the emerging technology to create real business impact. The company has a strong connection to the world-renowned Montreal AI academic community through its research collaborations.

The $200 million Series B investment round will allow Element AI to pour more resources into the commercialization of solutions that meet customer needs for the operationalization of AI.

McKinsey & Company invests in Montreal’s Element AI

“Operationalizing AI is currently the industry's toughest challenge, and few companies have been successful at taking proofs-of-concepts out of the lab, embedding them strategically in their operations, and delivering actual business impact," Jean-François Gagné, Element AI CEO, said. "We are proud to be working with our new partners, who understand this challenge well, and to leverage each other's expertise in taking AI solutions to market.”

La Caisse’s investment was from its recently established CPDQ-AI Fund, which aims to support the commercialization of AI solutions. The institutional investor is the second largest pension fund in Canada, and manages several public and parapublic pension plans and insurance programs in Quebec, with $326.7 billion in assets under management as of June 30, 2019.

McKinsey’s investment in Element AI comes nine months after its advanced analytics and AI arm, QuantumBlack, opened an office in Montreal.

“For McKinsey, this investment is all about helping our clients to further unlock the potential of AI and Machine Learning to improve business performance,” Patrick Lahaie, McKinsey’s Montreal managing partner, said. “We look forward to collaborating closely with the talented team at Element AI in Canada and globally in our shared objective to turn cutting edge thinking and technology into AI assets which will transform a wide range of industries and sectors.”

The investment is part of McKinsey’s AI strategy, which included the 2015 acquisition of London-based QuantumBlack. Since its acquisition, the analytics and AI firm has grown rapidly, and now has nine offices across the globe.


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