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Caisse creates artificial intelligence fund for Quebec businesses

Investors are more focused on the social impacts of AI and the risks of plastics and microbial resistance that were once under the radar.

Caisse de depot et placement du Quebec, Montreal, has launched the CDPQ-AI Fund, dedicated to investing in Quebec businesses with track records in the development of artificial intelligence, a spokesman confirmed.

The C$309.5 billion ($232 billion) fund, which manages Quebec public pension and other provincial and municipal assets, created the fund with $250 million in assets. The CDPQ-AI fund "aims to ramp up growth in businesses whose product offerings are based on the development of AI, and to accelerate the commercialization of artificial intelligence solutions," a news release said.

The fund is managed by CDPQ's venture capital and technology team and will serve strong-growth companies with well-established management teams as well as dedicated AI teams with deep experience. The objective of the fund is to support the development of the most promising businesses in which CDPQ has previously invested through venture capital firms that target AI companies in the startup phase, the news release said. Previous direct investments include investments in AI businesses such as Hopper, TrackTik and Breather.

"Since Montreal is emerging as a global beacon of excellence in artificial intelligence, we need to enhance our offering and ramp up the financial and development support we provide AI businesses through the various stages of their growth," said Charles Emond, executive vice president, Quebec and global strategic planning at CDPQ, in the release. "This fund will encourage the commercialization of new artificial intelligence solutions, as they are of considerable strategic value to all sectors of our economy."