SK Telecom, Hyundai Motor Company, Hanwha & Element AI Create US$45M Global AI  Fund

SK Telecom, Hyundai Motor Company, Hanwha & Element AI Create US$45M Global AI Fund

by November 19, 2017

Element AI, an artificial intelligence company that delivers groundbreaking AI solutions, today announced it has established a joint $45M fund with Korean conglomerates SK Telecom, Hyundai Motor Company, Hanwha.

The new fund leverages each partner’s unique value and targets the most promising sectors of commercial AI applications and infrastructure, specifically emerging AI based technologies including autonomous vehicles, household robots, manufacturing, drones, and hardware.

The $45M fund will be actively managed by the three Korean companies with investment advisory by Element AI. Capital will be deployed to leading AI companies over the next 36 months. The fund is designed to use Element AI’s extensive domain knowledge, cutting edge research and proprietary pipeline to source, assess, and invest in startups focused on applying AI in advanced technologies.

SK Telecom, Hyundai Motor Company and Hanwha’s data and deep industry expertise combined with Element AI’s artificial intelligence knowledge will both differentiate the fund in the market and add immense value to portfolio companies.

Jean-François Gagné

“Infusing large companies with artificial intelligence capabilities is the future of global industrialization,”

said Element AI CEO Jean-François Gagné.

“Our position in the marketplace gives us extraordinary access to the most cutting-edge technologies being developed today –all we need are partners and capital commitment to seed the future and that’s what we’re achieving today with this announcement. SK Telecom, Hyundai, and Hanwha share our passion for investment and building the future; I’m excited we can now work together to create a new global, industrial reality that will serve our local communities well.”

In the past 7 years there have been over 100 exits in the robots space totaling $18.6B in enterprise value. In just 2016 alone, $600M was invested globally. By 2020, global spend on robotic is expected to to exceed $188B. This is investment is being driven, in part, by an overall decline in productivity growth of 0.05% YoY. It is expected that AI and Robotics will shift the productivity growth curve for the global economy by creating efficient knowledge-based systems that drive revenue, optimize costs, improve quality, and experience.

As manufacturers begin to consider technological assets as core to their competitive advantage, they are turning to acquisitions to help accelerate development and increase efficiency thus generating lucrative returns for early-stage investors.

“SK Telecom is striving to create a ‘New ICT industrial ecosystem’ that shares various technologies, services and infrastructures such as AI and autonomous driving to create new value,”

said Ryu Young-Sang, Executive Vice President and Head of Strategy and Planning Division at SK Telecom.

“SK Telecom is leading the Korean AI industry by launching NUGU, the first AI speaker service in Korea, and by introducing the world’s first 5G Connected Car. Last month, we launched the ‘Around Alliance’, an alliance of industry-academia and collegiate autonomous vehicles, to secure autonomous driving technology. We hope that the joint investment from different fields will lead to the growth engine of New ICT.”


“No single company holds the key to the future and this why Hyundai Motor is pursuing such an alliance under the ‘open innovation’ philosophy,’’

said Dr. Youngcho Chi, the Chief Innovation Officer and the Head of Strategy & Technology Division of Hyundai Motor.

“We are pleased to join this great collaboration project with passionate partners who know their space. We look forward to contributing to the building of an ecosystem for the promising startups within the AI and autonomous driving industry,”

added Dr. Chi.

Hanwha Asset Management, a comprehensive asset manager based in Korea with US$ 82bn in AUM, strives to introduce new and innovative products for its investors. Through this new joint investment partnership, Hanwha Asset Management will adjoin its investment expertise alongside the technical and domain expertise of its strategic partners – Hyundai Motors, SK Telecom, and Element AI.

Together, this partnership will strive to invest in leading technology start-ups in Artificial Intelligence, Autonomous Driving, Fintech, and various other disruptive technologies that will drive innovation in existing industries.

Through this partnership, Hanwha Asset Management will look to create synergies for its portfolio companies, increase the firm’s footprint among global start-ups, and strengthen the firm’s internal capabilities in assessing innovative technologies and originating new investments. This will further enhance the firm’s capabilities in introducing new and innovative financial investment products to its investors.

Moreover, this partnership will allow Hanwha Asset Management to closely evaluate the latest Fintech innovations, and assess their suitability for improving the firm’s internal systems and processes and grow as a leading asset manager in Asia.