New Victorian AI program launches with $100 million VC fund

New Victorian AI program launches with $100 million VC fund

The Boab AI Scaleup program is backed by venture capital management firm Artesian

Credit: Dreamstime

An accelerator program targeting mature artificial intelligence (AI) companies has been launched in Victoria, aiming to be supported by a $100 million venture capital fund. 

The Boab AI Scaleup program has already received about $1.5 million backing from LaunchVic and $8 million in private sector capital last year via venture capital manager, Artesian. 

It will be complemented by a new $100 million AI investment fund, yet to be raised, to support the growth in up to 150 artificial intelligence companies with AI at the core, across all industry sectors, with a focus on the Asia Pacific. 

The Boab AI Scaleup program is set to support 32 mature AI scaleups over four years, with the first round, including Victorian companies Pi.Exchange, Plaetos and Strongroom AI, along with other Australian companies Daitum and Remi AI. Applications for the second intake of scale up AI companies will commence in March.

Under a six-month tailored program, each company receives a minimum of $300,000 in capital to help tackle their own unique challenges.

“Boab AI is the first AI scaleup program targeting developed companies that have mature artificial intelligence products with significant traction and revenue, and I feel like we’ve hit a real sweet spot,” Boab AI managing director, Andrew Lai said. 

P.I Exchange CEO, Quan Pham said historically, it would had to go overseas to find investors but glad to be receiving support in Victoria. 

"We’d love to see the entrepreneurial ecosystem grow further in Australia, and Victoria particularly, with the hope to help rally both industry and entrepreneurs to support local AI companies and scale AI employment opportunities," Pham said. 

There are more than 300 AI startups in Australia – including 65 startups and scaleups in Victoria.

These programs build on the Victorian Labor Government’s focus on accelerating the growth of its innovation ecosystem and the digital economy with the Victorian Budget 2020/21 confirming $626 million to upgrade digital infrastructure and develop tech skills and more than $130 million for the startup sector.

“We are backing Victoria to be a world-leading innovation hub, and this funding will help us attract and develop the best talent, investment and artificial intelligence expertise,” Minister for Innovation, Medical Research and the Digital Economy, Jaala Pulford said. 

“Supporting our startup and scaleup founders drives Victoria’s future economy and creates new opportunities for Victorians.”

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Tags victorian governmentartificial intelligence (AI)


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