November 14, 2017 5 min

SK Telecom, Hyundai Motor Company, Hanwha and Element AI Create $45M USD Global AI Fund

Unique alliance amongst major Korean companies aims to accelerate open AI innovation in Korea, support global AI startups, and reinforce the Element AI mission of fostering worldwide transfer learning

SEOUL, South Korea and MONTREAL, Nov. 15, 2017 - Element AI, an artificial intelligence company that delivers groundbreaking AI solutions, today announced it has established a joint $45M fund with Korean conglomerates SK Telecom, Hyundai Motor Company, Hanwha. The new fund leverages each partner's unique value and targets the most promising sectors of commercial AI applications and infrastructure, specifically emerging AI-based technologies including autonomous vehicles, household robots, manufacturing, drones, and hardware.

The $45M fund will be actively managed by the three Korean companies with investment advisory by Element AI. Capital will be deployed to leading AI companies over the next 36 months. The fund is designed to use Element AI's extensive domain knowledge, cutting edge research and proprietary pipeline to source, assess, and invest in startups focused on applying AI in advanced technologies. SK Telecom, Hyundai Motor Company and Hanwha's data and deep industry expertise combined with Element AI's artificial intelligence knowledge will both differentiate the fund in the market and add immense value to portfolio companies.

"Infusing large companies with artificial intelligence capabilities is the future of global industrialization," said Element AI CEO Jean-François Gagné. "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. SK Telecom, Hyundai, 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."

"SK Telecom is striving to create a 'New ICT industrial ecosystem' that shares various technologies, services and infrastructures such as AI and autonomous driving to create new value," said Ryu Young-Sang, Executive Vice President and Head of Strategy and Planning Division at SK Telecom. "SK Telecom is leading the Korean AI industry by launching NUGU, the first AI speaker service in Korea, and by introducing the world's first 5G Connected Car. Last month, we launched the 'Around Alliance', an alliance of industry-academia and collegiate autonomous vehicles, to secure autonomous driving technology. We hope that the joint investment from different fields will lead to the growth engine of New ICT."

"No single company holds the key to the future and this why Hyundai Motor is pursuing such an alliance under the 'open innovation' philosophy,'' said Dr. Youngcho Chi, the Chief Innovation Officer and the Head of Strategy & Technology Division of Hyundai Motor. "We are pleased to join this great collaboration project with passionate partners who know their space. We look forward to contributing to the building of an ecosystem for the promising startups within the AI and autonomous driving industry," added Dr. Chi.

Hanwha Asset Management is a comprehensive asset manager with US$ 82bn in AUM in Hanwha Group. Through this partnership, Hanwha will look to create synergies for its portfolio companies, increase the firm's footprint among global start-ups, and strengthen the firm's internal capabilities in assessing innovative technologies and originating new investments. Moreover, this partnership will allow Hanwha Asset Management to closely evaluate the latest Fintech innovations, and grow as a leading asset manager in Asia.

About SK Telecom

Established in 1984, SK Telecom is the largest mobile operator in Korea by both revenue and number of subscribers. The company holds around 50 percent of the market, and has reached KRW 17.092 trillion in revenue in 2016. SK Telecom has led the advancement of mobile technologies ranging from 2G to 4G, and is currently setting important milestones in its journey to 5G. The company is not only leading innovation in the field of mobile network, but also providing IoT, AI, automotive, media, home and platform services. SK Telecom is determined to play a significant role in the Fourth Industrial Revolution by achieving innovations and promoting shared growth with other players in the industry. For more information, please contact skt_press@sk.com or www.globalskt.com

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.

More information about Hyundai Motor and its products can be found at: http://worldwide.hyundai.com or http://globalpr.hyundai.com

About Hanwha

Hanwha Group, founded in 1952, is one of the Top-Ten business enterprises in South Korea and a "FORTUNE Global 500" company. Hanwha Group has 56 domestic affiliates and 226 global networks in three major sectors: manufacturing and construction, finance, and services and leisure. With more than 60 years track record of industrial leadership, Hanwha's manufacturing and construction businesses encompass a broad range of fields from chemicals & materials, aerospace & mechatronics, total solar energy solutions, and global construction. The finance network, covering insurance, asset management and securities, is the second largest non-bank financial group in South Korea. The services and leisure sector offers premium lifestyle services with retail and resort businesses. For more information, visit: www.hanwha.com

About Element AI

Element AI delivers groundbreaking 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