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Ontario invests in AI with $15 Million NextAI fund

Apr 02, 2018

Ontario is making a massive investment in the future of the province’s AI industry.

The new 2018 Ontario budget outlines a $15 million investment in the NextAI program over three years. NextAI is a program under the NEXT Canada organization that brings in innovative AI entrepreneurs from both Canada and abroad and helps them build their companies. NextAI also helps other organizations implement AI operations.

“If you look at how well Canada is positioned, we’re certainly fighting above our weight on the research side of AI,” says Sheldon Levy, CEO of NEXT Canada. “If we’re even close to half-right that AI will have as profound an impact on the world as the internet did, then any country—Canada no different than others—will have to take advantage of the opportunities presented to create the wealth for your country. If not, then you’ve done the heavy lifting and others have taken advantage of it. That’s what I see NextAI being.”

Right now, NextAI has a single cohort that invites companies from Canada and the rest of the world in to build out their AI venture. For the last cohort, over 480 companies applied with just 30 being accepted. Companies can receive between $50,000 and $200,000 in funding. Intuitive took home $150,000 in seed funding as the winners of the last cohort’s Outstanding Venture award.

This new investment will help NextAI expand their cohort intake. That could come in the form of an additional January intake (after the regular fall one) or an expanded single cohort.

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