Revolution AI: Waterloo veterans putting artificial intelligence to the test in the real world

Revolution AI: Waterloo veterans putting artificial intelligence to the test in the real world

Not every artificial intelligence venture is a startup. In fact, there’s a sizable community of established entrepreneurs that are well ahead of the AI game: Waterloo, Ont. It’s home to a burgeoning population of robotics/AI companies, many of which have landed substantial VC financing deals over the years.

Aeryon Labs, a developer of unmanned aerial systems (drones) for example, raised $60 million of growth equity from Summit Partners in October 2015. Clearpath Robotics, makers of autonomous mobile robots, raised $30 million in October 2016 from backers that include the venture arms of Caterpillar and General Electric Co.

David Proulx, vice-president of product and marketing for Aeryon, says Waterloo has created a healthy ecosystem. As with a number of companies in the area, the business was founded by graduates from the University of Waterloo who specialized in mechatronic engineering and control systems, he says.

Unlike the more typical software startups, many of the region’s success stories have their roots in hardware, which can be a much tougher sell. “We built the business the hard way: designing a product, showing it to customers for feedback, refining, selling and reinvesting in the process,” Proulx says. “That was a different road compared to seeking early state seed or VC funding.”

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[Source : Financial Post]