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BDC Announces Strategic Partnership with Mila Providing Entrepreneurs Access to World-Class AI Resources

MONTREAL - January 27, 2022 – BDC today announces a new 3-year strategic partnership with Mila, the Quebec artificial intelligence institute, one of the world’s largest machine learning research institutes. The goal of this partnership is to make added-value resources available to a cohort of BDC-backed companies from across Canada, which are actively developing artificial intelligence.

The partnership gives promising businesses operating in the field of artificial intelligence an additional advantage to help them accelerate the commercialization of their products and services. This will be achieved notably by providing these companies access to the Mila community and its expertise, creating enhanced awareness of participating companies and their innovative solutions among Mila’s vast network of partners, as well as identifying potential synergies to help advance technological deployment.

“We are very excited about this partnership that will bring together bright minds: entrepreneurs innovating in the AI space and a world-renowned machine learning research and development center. We are confident that Mila’s resources, problem-solving approach and international reach will give participating businesses an edge in accelerating their growth,” said Isabelle Hudon, President and CEO of BDC. “Part of our role at BDC is to open doors for our promising tech champions and connect them with the right partners. Our partnership with Mila is helping us accomplish just that.”

Through a wide range of venture capital funds, BDC Capital – BDC’s investment arm – has invested roughly $330 million dollars in more than 200 companies incorporating AI solutions, and continues to play a vital role in accelerating the development and commercialization of this technology in Canada.

“In a few years, Mila has become one of the research institutes that develops some of the most specialized talents in artificial intelligence. Montreal and Quebec have become AI hubs and local businesses have everything to gain from taking an interest in this technology and these talents, which hold extraordinary potential for them. With this partnership, BDC demonstrates its strong commitment to ambitious clients and portfolio companies. We are proud to be able to collaborate with a visionary institution and these companies for the years to come,” said Yoshua Bengio, Founder and Scientific Director of Mila.

Each year, a number of these businesses will be invited to take part in the BDC cohort at Mila and the full inaugural cohort will be announced over the coming months. One company which has already confirmed its participation is Toronto-based Xanadu, whose PennyLane product seamlessly integrates classical machine learning libraries with quantum hardware and simulators, giving users the power to train quantum computers the same way as neural networks.

“PennyLane bridges the gap between machine learning and quantum computing, and the expertise and passion that the researchers at Mila have will continue to push PennyLane and our hardware forward,” said Cristian Weedbrook, CEO of Xanadu. “This partnership between two great Canadian organizations and the ongoing support from BDC will help to ensure that Canada will remain a leader in machine learning and quantum computing.”

Furthermore, BDC’s involvement in various industries and advisory services will serve as essential complements to Mila’s actions and programs. The Bank understands the importance of digital transformation, and the optimization of technology adoption. In fact, BDC is in the midst of its own digital transformation, frequently identifying opportunities to solve business challenges through the adoption of numerous types of technologies, including AI applications. Through this new partnership, BDC is again finding new ways to deliver an enhanced value proposition and bonify its offer to Canadian entrepreneurs.

About Mila

Founded by Professor Yoshua Bengio of the University of Montreal, Mila is an artificial intelligence research institute that brings together nearly 900 researchers specializing in machine learning. Based in Montreal, Mila’s mission is to be a global hub for scientific advances that inspire innovation and development of AI for the benefit of all. Mila is a non-profit organization recognized worldwide for its significant contributions to the field of deep learning, particularly in language modeling, machine translation, object recognition, and generative models. For more information, visit mila.quebec.

About BDC

BDC is the bank for Canadian entrepreneurs. It provides access to financing, as well as advisory services to help Canadian businesses grow and succeed. Its investment arm, BDC Capital, offers a wide range of risk capital solutions. For more information, visit bdc.ca.


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