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Canadian AI firm raises US$102m in funding, to open SEA hub in Singapore

ARTIFICIAL intelligence (AI) company Element AI said on Thursday that it has raised US$102 million in Series A funding, believed to be the largest amount for an AI company to-date.

With this funding, the Canada-based firm said that it will accelerate its capabilities and invest in large-scale AI projects internationally.

It aims to create 250 jobs in the Canadian high-tech sector by January 2018.

Element AI will also open a Singapore office during the second half of 2017. The office will serve as its South-east Asian hub.

"Singapore has a growing AI presence in the region, especially in the field of fintech, and it also has a sizeable talent pool," said Element AI.

The Singapore office will be the company's second office in Asia; the first is in Japan.

Element AI added that besides being a target market for Element AI, Asia is a "source of considerable funding". Both Tencent from China and Hanwha Investment from South Korea are significant investors in the company.

This Series A funding round was led by Data Collective, with participation from Fidelity Investments Canada, Hanwha Investment, Intel Capital, Microsoft Ventures, National Bank of Canada, Development Bank of Canada, NVIDIA, Real Ventures, and several sovereign wealth funds.

Element AI said that it "solves impossible problems for global organisations that urgently need to use AI in combination with their proprietary and valuable data to leap ahead of their competitors".