Brickendon opens office in Toronto, its third in North America

05 June 2018

British consultancy Brickendon has opened an office in Toronto – its first in Canada. The rapidly expanding firm’s Toronto office is its third in North America; Brickendon opened locations in New York and Raleigh, NC, in 2016 and 2017, respectively.

London-based consultancy Brickendon has grown at a heady pace since being founded in 2010. The firm recently announced that it had grown 300% since 2012, despite challenging market conditions in Britain – with some reports expecting Brexit to shrink the financial services market by as much as 10%. As such, foreign markets are especially enticing in order to keep up growth in case of a harsher than expected economic fallout from Brexit.

The consultancy announced that it has opened its first office in Canada, in Toronto. The Canadian office gives the firm a total of six global locations, having opened branches in Warsaw, Krakow, New York, and Raleigh in the past two years.Brickendon opens an office in Toronto, third in North AmericaBrickedon specializes in five consulting areas: strategy, risk & regulation, data, quality & testing, and digital. Its clients include global banks, hedge funds, asset managers, and FTSE 100 companies. However, with the Bank of England warning about the potential loss of 75,000 financial services jobs in the wake of Brexit, many consultancies – especially those who support financial services firms – are looking to other markets in order to maintain healthy growth in potentially turbulent times.

The consulting industry in Canada is worth an estimated US$4 billion, with further growth expected in 2018. Though a much smaller market than the US, many international consultancies are keen to expand into Canada – especially after gaining a foothold in the larger market to the south. Having already expanded its firm to Poland and the US, Brickendon’s offices have over 100 professionals serving almost 30 clients.

The management consultancy believes that it offers a unique springboard for reimagining the financial services sector – integrating digital, cloud, AI, and blockchain tech – while challenging the status quo of larger firms. The company also has a forward-looking diversity policy, having signed the UK government’s Women in Finance Charter, publicly committing itself to bolstering the role women play in the financial services industry. Indeed, Brickendon has pledged to achieve 50% female representation in senior management by December 2019.

Commenting on the consultancy’s expansion to Toronto, Brickendon CEO Christopher Burke said, “This is another positive step in our plans to expand the company and use our innovative solutions to transform our clients’ organisations around the world. We are excited about this great opportunity.”

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French tech consultancy Axionable opens AI research lab in Montreal

11 April 2019

Paris-based Axionable, a consulting firm specializing in enterprise data and artificial intelligence strategy, has announced the opening of a research lab in Montréal. The lab will hire 50 new employees over the next two years.

"Opening a facility in Montréal was a natural choice for us," Gwendal Bihan, Axionable CEO, said at the World Summit AI conference in the Quebec metropolis. "The city is now one of the top global centres of artificial intelligence (AI) research. We are eager to work alongside the world's most renowned researchers and to be part of a booming ecosystem that includes industry leaders as well as promising start-ups."

Axionable was founded in 2016, and has approximately 50 employees across offices in Paris and Lille. The firm provides high-demand consulting services in data analysis and AI, with expertise in image and video analysis, natural language processing, and prediction. Axionable also delivers a full range of support services, from needs identification to performance-improving AI solutions. The firm supports clients across financial services, media, distribution, and industrials, and has worked with notable organizations such as Michelin and Crédit Agricole.

French tech consultancy Axionable opens AI research lab in Montreal

"We are undertaking this international expansion phase not long after the company was founded, and it would not have been possible without the support of organizations like Montréal International, Investissement Québec, and Business France,” Bihan said.

Montréal is a burgeoning hub for AI, with firms such as McKinsey’s advanced analytics company QuantumBlack recently moving into the city. Montreal’s world-class AI research is centred around McGill University and l’Université de Montréal, as well as the Montréal Institute for Learning Algorithms which was cofounded by the two educational institutions.

"Quite a number of foreign companies are investing in the area,” Hubert Bolduc, president and CEO of Montréal International, the city’s economic development agency, said. “The team has supported over 30 AI projects in the past two years, totalling $500 million. Montréal stands out not only due to its concentration of deep learning researchers, but also by how much consideration it gives to the social and ethical impacts of AI."

Axionable has already started the recruitment process for its Canadian AI lab, searching for experts in automatic learning, deep learning, information technology, and communication. The lab will work on defining and implementing AI and data strategies for clients in North America and Europe.

"This new lab will provide further stimulus for the technological revolution taking place in Québec and create a great many highly specialized jobs,” Pierre Gabriel Côté, Investissement Québec president and CEO, said. “We are proud to have played a role in showcasing the advantages of choosing Montréal for this key player in the AI industry and to have provided help and guidance with investing here."