Canada’s efforts to stay at the forefront of the global artificial intelligence (AI) race appear to be paying off, with new data showing a surge of venture capital investments into AI startups.
AI companies in the country received CAD$222 million (US$169 million) in funding in Q2 2018, which was a 104% increase over the last quarter, according to data released by professional services firm PwC. The second highest quarter was Q2 2017, when CAD$209 million was invested across 12 deals.
“From coast to coast, we have seen strong venture capital activity in the first half of 2018. A recent rebound in seed-stage deal activity and a lift in later-stage deals show broad levels of investment support across all stages of funding,” said Michael Dingle, National Technology Sector Leader, PwC Canada.
Funds are betting big on data analytics companies, with nearly half of the deal volume in the quarter going to businesses that provide analytics tools, mainly due to AI being the next generation of analytics.
While AI may look to be in its infancy, venture capital funds think AI commercialization is not too far away.
As of now, AI solutions are freeing up time for humans to undertake more creative endeavors by automating work that is tedious and repetitive. However, investors believe that the technology may one day transform everything from healthcare, agriculture, and construction, to financial and professional services.
Overall, financing to Canadian tech companies decreased 7% from Q1 2018, with CAD$1.2 billion invested across 116 deals. This is still the second-highest total in eight quarters, according to PwC.