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Singapore and Canada Link Up in Strategic AI Partnership Led by SMU and Element AI

November 16, 2018

Montreal-based Element AI, a global company focused on artificial intelligence products for business, just announced a major strategic partnership arrangement with GIC, SGInnovate and Singapore Management University (SMU) in a move targeted to create a strong cross-country bridge between Canada and Singapore.

The strategic national importance of the the partnership was highlighted in that the event announcing it was also attended by the Prime Minister of Canada, The Right Honourable Justin Trudeau, accompanied by Minister of International Trade Diversification Jim Carr. Also in attendance to witness the signing and provide remarks was Singapore Minister for Communications and Information H.E. S Iswaran.

These partnerships expand the Element AI footprint in Asia and reinforce its commitment to the Singapore AI ecosystem, from large corporations to the startup community to academia. As part of its mission of global expansion, Element AI is replicating a proven model of success by working with key Singapore based corporations, startup incubators, and research institutions to convert the latest academic breakthroughs into robust AI products that can be integrated and uniquely customised at scale.

"The Singapore industrial ecosystem consists of renowned institutions with deep expertise in building global enterprises, incubators with a proven history of launching world-changing companies, and prestigious academic institutions conducting the research critical to understanding the world around us and lighting the path forward," said Element AI CEO Jean-Francois Gagne. "This Singapore technology ecosystem is familiar to us at Element AI because it's that environment that led to the creation of our company, so we're thrilled to be signing agreements with these like-minded partners today. Through collaborative research drawing on the best and brightest expertise from Singapore and Canada, we're very excited about what is possible as we focus on augmenting collective intelligence and transforming industry as we know it with the help of role-centric AI products."

The Singapore AI ecosystem is unique in its ability to integrate government, academia and private enterprise efforts to advance technology adoption in AI. For example, GIC through its innovation labs, accelerates the use of innovative technologies and incubates new ideas, in collaboration with its business units, start-ups, research organisations, and universities. The new partnership between Element AI and GIC initiates a collaboration that will focus on the application of advanced machine learning techniques to challenging problems encountered by large asset managers. Together, they will undertake research on technology trends that can be implemented enterprise wide.

The partnership between Element AI and SGInnovate will prioritise the expansion of the deep tech talent pool in Singapore, and the development of the fast-growing technology startup ecosystem in ASEAN. Together, Element AI and SGInnovate will focus on the potential of AI-related startups to help corporations and governments address a variety of challenges. To this end, both parties will co-host a series of events and work alongside technical founders to create opportunities for startups to deploy, improve, and further scale AI solutions. This will be done, in part, through collaborations with the portfolio companies of SGInnovate as well as from the wider market.

Steve Leonard, Founding CEO of SGInnovate said, "Two years ago, SGInnovate was launched with a mission to help 'scientist-entrepreneurs' form, build, and scale deep tech startups. Given how hard it is to build a deep tech company, we know how important it is to work with great partners. Our new relationship with Element AI, one of the most exciting AI startups in the world, will help us to increase our impact as a deep tech investor and company builder. SGInnovate and Element AI will look to generate commercial opportunities for deep tech startups to build, deploy, improve, and scale AI-system solutions. Through the shared work of SGInnovate and Element AI, the deep tech startup ecosystem across ASEAN will also be given a boost."

SMU is a dynamic city university located in the heart of Singapore, and focuses on the areas of Management, Social Sciences, and Computing (including AI), and their intersections. The university adopts an integrated research-teaching-learning-practice approach that creates positive impact on business, government, and society. The SMU School of Law was recently awarded a competitive grant of $4.5 million by the Singapore National Research Foundation to establish a first-of-its-kind Centre for AI and Data Governance (CAIDG), which they launched publicly in September 2018.  Element AI and SMU School of Law will be embarking on a research collaboration in relevant areas on the governance of AI. Specifically, SMU will be responsible for carrying out the Singaporean and ASEAN aspects of research while Element AI will focus on the North American aspects as well as leverage its global researcher network. Together, all parties will share information, tools, and approaches in order to deliver issues and recommendation papers.

Associate Professor Goh Yihan, Dean of SMU School of Law and Initial Director of CAIDG, said, "In carrying out our research on AI Governance issues, we have emphasised the importance of reaching out to both academia and industry. This is especially true as we create meaningful impact in this fast-moving space, and why we are very excited about our collaboration with Element AI. This is certainly a wonderful partnership; I look forward to working together in identifying and researching relevant topics in the months ahead."