MTS AI Center, an international AI subsidiary of Russia’s largest telecom operator MTS, which is dual listed on the New York Stock Exchange and the Moscow Exchange, has launched a $100 million AI fund and accelerator to “spearhead the development and commercialization of AI solutions and promising AI start-ups across Asia, Europe and North America”.
The VC fund and accelerator platform, Intelligent Machines (Intema), will focus on supporting artificial intelligence start-ups with smart money: financial support, deep technical and business expertise, access to computing power and networking, leveraging its world-class AI experts and the established position of its parent company MTS, a leading multinational with expertise in telecoms, fintech, cloud technology, Big Data, and AI.
Over the next three years, the MTS AI Center will invest more than $100 million in AI start-ups via a venture fund that will invest up to $20 million in individual projects and companies, and a start-up accelerator that will invest up to $100,000 per project.
This will enable MTS AI to support AI firms at both established and early stages of their growth journeys, covering AI start-up development from idea phase companies to mature projects with a business model and product.
MTS AI’s scouts will identify the most promising teams and help them scale. The MTS AI Center venture fund will focus on start-ups at the late seed stage, as well as series A and B, offering a maximum investment of $20 million.
The fund has successfully made a maiden investment of $10 million in to Kneron, a manufacturer of AI microchips used for accelerated and energy-efficient processing of AI algorithms and related software.
The accelerator will welcome aspiring founders and early-stage entrepreneurs. Successful participants will gain access to the computing power necessary for the high-quality training of neural networks and the opportunity to conduct a pilot project jointly with the Center, as well as investments of up to $100,000 to drive growth.
Moreover, the accelerator will provide the support of technology experts from the MTS AI Center and other world-renowned mentors comprising successful entrepreneurs, and executives from leading tech organisations such as Google, Samsung, Shazam, Apple, Intel, Nvidia and others who will deliver one-on-one mentor sessions and give tailored guidance to improve the core AI of the business and finesse their products for the market.
Prospective candidates are invited to apply for a three-month acceleration program which is scheduled to start in October 2021, through the MTS AI Center accelerator website.
The MTS AI Center accelerator and the VC fund will focus on finding projects related to natural language processing, edge computing, behavioral and predictive analytics, digital twins creation, image recognition and processing, AI-based logistics and warehouse optimization, and energy efficiency improvements through the use of artificial intelligence.
Alexey Posternak, chief financial and investment officer, member of the BoD MTS AI Center, says: “We are delighted that the MTS AI VC fund and accelerator will support promising teams around the world and help developers of AI-based solutions to bring their products to a new level.
“The guiding vision for MTS Artificial Intelligence Center is to establish itself as an AI institute, with deep technical expertise, boosting the capabilities of its investee firms to bring new products to the market.
“The field of AI services has huge, transformative potential and our full-cycle platform will enhance our position in this dynamic global market by fostering innovation and seeding a diverse network of cutting-edge AI businesses. We are ready to support the rapid growth of promising teams and invest in both early-stage projects and more mature start-ups.”