New operation will focus on early-stage AI launches
Good AI Capital, a fast emerging Silicon Valley venture fund based in San Francisco, has selected Montréal to open a new office that will focus on investing in early stage AI companies, further bolstering the city’s reputation as a centre of excellence in artificial intelligence.
The new office will be headed by Milad Alucozai, a founding partner at Good AI Capital, who will relocate from San Francisco. With his background as a neuroscientist, entrepreneur and inventor, Mr. Alucozai has extensive experience in helping startups, nonprofits, and large organizations build products customers love, commercialize lab-bench research, and innovate and scale.
“By relocating Milad to Montréal we are setting the stage to not only invest in local Montréal companies but also to work with them in a hands-on manner to succeed,” said Darwin Ling, Founder and General Partner at Good AI Capital. “Our Montréal office will also work closely with our office in San Francisco, giving companies in our portfolio access to the best of the Silicon Valley ecosystem in terms of expertise. Our values are well aligned with Montréal’s entrepreneurial ecosystems and we intend to build the most successful startups of tomorrow.”
With a mission to “do well by doing good,” Good AI Capital invests in technical innovators who are keen on applying AI to solve challenging problems and create competitive advantages. Focusing on AI companies of tomorrow in fintech, healthcare and enterprise software, it was an early investor in SoFi, an online personal finance company that provides student loan refinancing, mortgages and personal loans. It is currently valued at $4.3 billion US. Most recently, the fund – along with Elementum Ventures and Novartis – invested in Mekonos, an AI chip technology company dedicated to tackling cancer.
Mr. Alucozai said Good AI Capital selected Montréal for its latest office following extensive research that took him and his colleagues across the United States, United Kingdom, Hong Kong and Canada.
During our many trips to Montréal we were humbled by the overwhelming reception received from various universities, accelerators, incubators and local venture capital groups. It was clear to us that the Montréal ecosystem was shaping in a way that was ripe for our involvement and hungry for our style of venture capital.
More specifically, Mr. Alucozai said three main factors influenced the company’s decision. First, Montréal has a growing body of local AI talent able to meet the demands of the most cutting-edge technologies and companies. Second, the city has an “AI-for-Good” mission of leveraging AI to improve lives and impact the community. This mission has been especially advocated by Yoshua Bengio, a deep learning pioneer and head of the Montréal Institute for Learning Algorithms (MILA). Thirdly, Montréal has a growing AI ecosystem fueled by startups, academia, venture capital groups, accelerators, incubators and industry and government leaders.
“We are already looking for investment candidates and actively working with startups in Montréal, including mentoring promising companies at Techstars Montreal AI Accelerator, Holt Fintech AI Accelerator and Centech,” Mr. Alucozai noted. “We are proud to be the first San Francisco-based venture fund to set up an operation such as this and we look forward to paving the way for others.”
Hubert Bolduc, President and CEO of Montréal International, said Good AI Capital’s decision to establish an office in Montréal represents a significant win for the city’s growing AI community. “Mr. Ling and Mr. Alucozai have a proven track record of identifying and helping startups grow more effectively by offering early-stage investments, deep technical expertise and valuable access to global networks. Their decision to establish a permanent presence in Montréal is another great addition to our thriving artificial intelligence community.”